You may remember a couple of weeks ago I started playing with Liberty of London’s current collection of Christmas fabrics. It has been SO much fun and sparked a lot of Christmas-in-England memories as I’ve been sewing.
Here’s a little peek at what I’ve been making.
I deliberately chose to keep the design very simple with a neutral background fabric that would let the busy Liberty prints shine on their own and not compete with each other.
The background fabrics I used are Riley Blakes Linen/Cotton blend in Natural and Navy.
These Yule Town prints are part of Liberty of London’s Christmas collection of quilter’s cottons. The detailed prints are just adorable and beautifully colored. You can still find many of the Yule Town prints available in shops on Etsy.
As with many classic Liberty prints, they are typically smaller scale and very detailed. Giving each print its own star block spotlights the details of each print, which was my goal.
Here is what I’ve made so far. I’m thinking of making this one a smaller lap quilt and keeping it for myself. Sewing with these classic English prints has made me ‘homesick’ for Christmas in England!
(Post Update: Finished pattern available here.)
This print is my favorite and it makes me SO nostalgic – it’s called Yule Town and it features a charming English village in the gently falling snow. And can you spot the tiny Liberty of London store? Be still my heart.
The first Christmas season that I lived in England I was wrapping up my semester University program in London and feeling SO sad about the thought of leaving this city I’d fallen in love with. I remember visiting the Liberty of London store for the first time that December and marveling at the beautiful interior and items for sale. (At that point they carried couture wedding dresses and I was much more interested in ogling those than in looking a fabric. 😉 )
I still remember my last full day in London. I visited the British Museum with friends and then walked from there through Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Regent Street before catching the bus for home at Oxford Circus. London at Christmas is magical with festive lights, shop windows and other decorations.
When I got to Leicester (pronounced Lester) Square there were carnival rides and a festive atmosphere. As I walked through there was a brass quartet playing the song In the Bleak Midwinter and my dramatic, young-adult heart just ached with the beauty and Christmas-spirit-ness of it all. It’s still one of my favorite Christmas memories. And seeing this print brings that feeling back for me.
I also fell irrevocably in love with the song In the Bleak Midwinter – which wasn’t as familiar in the US at that point.
Liberty of London Union Jack quilt blocks
As I was feeling my Christmas pangs for the UK, I suddenly had a stroke of genius and urgent need to make Union Jack blocks using these English Liberty of London Christmas prints. (I am using my recent Regent Street Union Jack quilt pattern.)
I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty jazzed about how they’re turning out. They’re a match made in heaven! (Also threw some Liberty Winter Flower Show florals into the mix.)
I’m feeling pretty swoony about where this is going…
One of these blocks got made into a pillow for a special friend. My second holiday season spent in the UK was a couple years later during my time as a Latter-day Saint missionary. I’d lived on the Isle of Man for six months, ending half way through December, so I got to experience a little bit of the Christmas season on that beautiful, charming Isle.
From there I moved to Liverpool where I spent the Christmas holiday with wonderful people who have become some of my life-long friends. Liverpool is very different from the Isle of Man – at the time it was a gritty, run down, post-Industrial city, but with some of the most hilarious people with hearts of gold. Once again, I heard In the Bleak Midwinter in multiple settings, solidly solidifying it as one of my all-time favorite Christmas carols. (This James Taylor version is one of my favorites, if you’re unfamiliar.)
I kind of love that I got to experience the Christmas season in three different British (or Manx) environments. Posh London, the quaint and charming Isle of Man, and gritty, grungy, hilarious Liverpool. I get extra sentimental at Christmas time thinking about each one.
Thanks for letting me wax sentimental. I’m hoping to pick some borders (I’m having a hard time deciding which print to use…) and get them sewn on this baby and off to the quilter asap!
This quilt design came out of my head as I was experimenting. When the Liberty of London Christmas quilt is finished, I’ll share a simple tutorial of how to make it. But that may not happen until after Christmas. (Just think, you’ll be way ahead of the game for next Christmas!)
In the meantime, if you’re feeling the urge to make some stars, they are 10″ x 10″ finished blocks using my Sawtooth Star tutorial. 🙂
I am so British in ancestry I really should have a British passport. Haha. I have loved “The Bleak Midwinter” since I was first introduced to it in a Ward choir decades ago. I’m so glad to hear it is so popular in England. Thank you so much for letting us know how popular it is in England still today. That warms my heart on this very cold Idaho day–without snow. It’s good to be sentimental because remembering is what makes us human. Thank you so much for your wonderful website. I love it so much! Dondi M
I am from England, I live on the outskirts of London but am originally from a town in Wiltshire called Chippenham which is near Bath – an area I believe you visited last time you came to the UK. I share your love of Liberty lawns and have quite a stash and having seen your wonderful union flag cushion (I was recently corrected by a colleague who told me that it should only be referred to as a union jack if it is on a ship!) have just bought the pattern.
I love to hear that London is your favourite city and realise that when you live somewhere it is good to get a fresh perspective on places you take for granted.
This year will be rather different as due to COVID brass bands are unlikely to be able to play Christmas carols on the streets as they do in most towns and cities here every year, collecting money for worthy causes. I will miss hearing the carols as I do my last minute shopping and hope that next year will be different.
I love your blog and your wonderful tutorials and wish you and your family a safe and enjoyable Christmas
Ann, stop!! I know Chippenham – my grandfather’s father was born and lived there for generations before his family emigrated to the US. I’ve been to Chippenham a few times – I love it! What a fun connection.
And it does make me sad to think of London less festive and bustling this Christmas season. Wishing you – and all of the UK – a safe and happy Christmas. And hopefully next Christmas we are back to brass bands playing Christmas carols on corners and all the rest of the festivities. xx
PS- I just learned that about the Union Jack as well! Welp, sounds like I need to update my pattern name. (Although, us ignorant American’s would probably be confused by the term Union flag and think it had something to do with the American war against slavery…)
I really enjoy your stories about living in England! I’ve visited many times and enjoy the memories your stories evoke. I was lucky to visit during Thanksgiving the last time and Christmas was all around. Please share more when you can!
I am looking for how much yardage to purchase for the 10 in. Block.
I cannot start another project this month but would like to buy liberty of London while it is available.
I was first introduced to liberty of London while learning, and loving smocking.
Smocking is a beautiful use of that fabric. And what luxury to use in a quilt!
Thanks for your ideas, help and enthusiasm!
Fat Quarters would be plenty for the stars – they don’t take up a ton of fabric (you can get 2-3 stars from a Fat Quarter). I’ll need to figure out the background yardage, but that should be available indefinitely. 😉 And just to clarify, these are quilting cottons, not lawns so they come in 42″ wide yardage.
Ooooo, I can’t imagine how gorgeous smocking looks (and feels!) on traditional Tana Liberty Lawns! Those pieces sound like timeless treasures!
Do you have a pattern available for that Christmas liberty quilt?
Not yet. I just made it up. 🙂 I won’t have a chance to write it during this busy month, but I’ll try and get to it early in the new year!
oh mi gosh, Amy! I love it! Thanks for sharing! Do you have any idea how much fabric it might take? Just a ball park guess? Worst case, I’ll just over-buy. Not the end of the world. Thanks again!
I think Fat Quarters would be plenty for the stars – they don’t take up a ton of fabric. I’ll need to figure out the background yardage, but that should be available indefinitely. 😉
I read your post. I fell in love with the fabrics. I visited Etsy. I bought and bought and bought! Can’t wait for the tutorial.Thanks for the inspiration!
The Joyful Quilter
What sweet holiday prints from Liberty! Enjoy playing with them.
I am excited to see that you are making a pattern for your Liberty Stars! I have some C +S Christmas prints from SOJO that are screaming for a big block to show off the prints. Knowing that I could make multiple blocks out of a fat quarter helps me know that I could probably make a bed size quilt from my fq bundle once I know what I need for background yardage.
Sometimes for fun, I get on Google maps street view and ‘walk’ through London. Two trips 20 years apart is not enough!
Oh, that’s such a great idea! I need to get on Google and explore London!