Every year that I've been to the Festival of Quilts, I've gone without a plan. This has led me to walk around a little bit aimlessly, not knowing where to look or what to buy because there is so much to see and so much choice. So this year I went with a shopping list and I did manage to get some items from the list, but then I went off piste and bought more floral fabric. In fact, my list said no kits (as I have so many!) and it also said solid fabric and linens. As you'll see, I didn't stick to that either! Before you see what I bought, I just want to say that I had been saving up for the Festival of Quilts for a long time. This is the one occasion each year where I buy quite a lot of things at once. For the rest of the year I will buy very little.
My first stop was one of my favourite shops, Sew and Quilt. I got to meet the very lovely Jessie and Robin and chat to them about the show. I've admired Jessie's work for so long. In fact, I wouldn't have even tried EPP if it wasn't for her. I'd never considered doing EPP even though I'd seen it and admired it. I was put off by the thought of making my own papers because I was short on time and just wanted to do the sewing part. I was also put off by the idea of thread basting. But one day I thought maybe I should try it and I was googling EPP papers and stumbled across her shop and the rest is history and I'm so glad! Through her I discovered glue basting and pre-cut papers, both of which make EPP a breeze. From Sew and Quilt, I bought three Liberty fat quarters and some Aurifil thread for my machine.
Next I went to Olive and Flo Handcraft and bought these beautiful Cotton and Steel fabrics. Olive and Flo Handcraft is such a lovely shop with a fantastic selection of modern fabrics.
I then went on to Pretty Fabrics and Trims and met the lovely Sarah and Penny and bought this beautiful kit which I've been admiring for so long. I had told myself not to buy any more kits but I just had to go against that to buy this and I know I will really enjoy making it.
Next up was Alice Caroline where I allowed myself to buy a few too many Liberty fabrics. They were all so lovely I had a difficult time choosing. I am planning something Christmasy with the red and green squares and I'm really excited about that.
Finally, I bought some more hexiform shapes from Ashmead Designs as I use them quite often and I thought it was a good opportunity to stock up.
There are so many fantastic stalls at the festival, it can be quite overwhelming! But I really enjoyed it and I will hopefully be back next year. If you have never been before, I highly recommend it. My two blog posts about the festival are only a glimpse into what it is like there, there is so much more to see.
Have you been? What did you buy? I'd love to know in the comments below.
It's no secret that I love Liberty fabrics, as many of you do too. I use them in many of my projects and I love everything about them, from the colours to the prints to the way they feel. Liberty tana lawn is my favourite. It has such a high thread count that you can hardly see the weave and the detail in the prints is excellent quality, so much so that it doesn't really compare with other fabrics. (Although I do absolutely love other fabrics too!)
We all know that Liberty fabrics are not cheap. In fact, the ones I own are by far the most expensive fabrics I've ever bought and ever will buy. But today I am going to share with you some ways to make sewing with Liberty fabric more affordable. These are the things I do, to make using Liberty fabric possible for me. I am on a budget so I cannot afford to buy lots and lots of fabric.
1. Use Liberty quilting cotton. Liberty released a range of quilting cottons a year or so ago and they are beautiful. The prints are as gorgeous as the tana lawn and they feel soft, smooth and drapey to work with. At around £15 per metre, the price is comparable to some quilting cottons, depending on what you buy and where, but it is cheaper than the tana lawn. So if you want to make something from Liberty but you are on a budget, this is an excellent choice. I'm currently making my hexagon quilt from Liberty quilting cottons.
2. Mixing in other fabrics. Making a whole quilt from Liberty would look spectacular, there's no doubt! But I couldn't afford to do this. So mixing Liberty with cheaper fabrics is a great alternative and also gives the Liberty chance to shine! For my hexagon quilt I'm using Makower linen texture fabric and this is one of my favourite solid fabric ranges. You can, however, mix Liberty with any fabric you wish and Moda basics are a really affordable range that I like to use and it comes in a vast amount of colours.
3. Use small pieces in small projects. Just a small piece of Liberty mixed with some linen or other fabrics is sometimes just enough to make a project shine. I've used tiny amounts in my two butterfly pouches and I lined them with cheaper, but still pretty, quilting cottons.
4. Buy small amounts. Whenever I've bought Liberty fabric, I've bought either a jelly roll (2.5 inch wide strips), fat quarters, pre-cut squares or scraps. Once I bought a couple of metres of Liberty cotton, many years ago, with the aim of lining a jacket I was making. Other than that, I only buy really small amounts. You can buy a fat quarter of tana lawn for around £5.50 to £6 and as the fabric is wider than most standard quilting cottons, you get a little more for your money. Jelly rolls are quite expensive at around £38. However the one I bought has lasted me over 3 years and I still have lots of it left (even though I have used it in many projects), because of the way I use it and mix it with other fabrics.
My top, top tip for buying small amounts is the Liberty tana lawn scrap bags from Alice Caroline. I recently bought a scrap ribbon pack (pictured above) for the first time for £4 in their sale and I was over the moon with what I received. I got a huge amount of really long strips, in all kinds of different prints. All of the strips are really long and wide enough for half inch and quarter inch hexies. Some of the strips are even wider and could be used for one inch hexies or possibly bigger. It's a really affordable way to be able to play with many different Liberty prints. Each scrap pack is different so I can't say what you would get if you bought one but I was really pleased with my selection.
5. Shop the sales! Yes, Liberty fabric does go into the sales every now and then. Alice Caroline have great sales where they sell scraps, bolt ends, remnants and just simply discount some prints. You can definitely get a bargain there. Also, I once bought some Liberty quilting cotton for half price in Guthrie and Ghani which was an amazing bargain! So it's worth keeping your eye on your favourite fabric shops because you never know when some beautiful prints might sneak into the sale.
I really hope these little tips will give you some ideas and inspiration for how to affordably use Liberty fabrics in your projects. As with everything on my website, I am not paid or sponsored to say any of this, there aren't any affiliate links, I just provide links for your convenience. Let me know your thoughts on this in the comments and if you have any tips please share them too.
I'm lucky enough to have been able to sign up to the Sew and Quilt Block of the month subscription box so I thought I would tell you all about it. Sew and Quilt is a lovely online quilting shop based in Cornwall. For the past few years, they have been running a monthly subscription box where you receive all of the materials and paper pieces needed to make part of a quilt (English Paper Piecing) and at the end of the year, you will have a completed quilt! I've wanted to join up for a long time but I've been unsure if I could keep up with it each month as it involves a lot of sewing and I have lots of other projects on the go. This year they released an additional quilt to their subscription boxes called the Row by Row quilt and when I saw it, I knew it was the one for me! Each month you get everything to make a horizontal row of the quilt. The beauty of this quilt design is that every month is different (except the first and last months are the same to make the design symmetrical.) This appealed to me greatly as it wasn't going to get too repetitive and each month would be really exciting as it would be something new each time.
The materials arrive each month in a lovely pink box and you get detailed instructions so you can't go wrong. Each month always includes some Liberty Tana lawn fabric too.
As soon as mine arrived I set myself up to cut the fabrics into the required shapes and I used glue to baste my hexagon shapes. That took me two days to complete. I then did a little each day to stay on track and so far I've managed to keep up with each month's box.
Once all of the shapes have been sewn together, the papers need to be removed and it then needs to be sewn to the backing fabric. Each strip of backing fabric is then sewn together to form the quilt. Here is mine so far.
I love making this quilt so much and I really look forward to receiving the special box each month. It's really fun to sew along with other people and I love the community aspect to this project.
Jessie, who owns Sew and Quilt, designs the block of the month quilts and she always picks the most beautiful fabrics. I love her style which is why I knew I would love this subscription.
This month's box is my favourite so far. The design is Dresden flowers and they are so pretty! I love the fabrics that have been included too.
Have you ever signed up to a block of the month subscription? If so, which one? I think they are so much fun, I'm already thinking about which one I might do next year!
I love to support small businesses so I thought I would share some great online sewing shops that you might like too. This is not an advert or a paid promotion, this is entirely my own opinion and I am sharing because I think it is important to spread the word about good businesses. Today I am going to share four of my favourite UK based shops, but there are so many excellent online independent craft and sewing shops that I'm sure I will feature some others in the future.
Sew and Quilt is based in Cornwall and is an excellent online shop where you can find a gorgeous selection of quilting fabric including Liberty Tana Lawn. They also sell some fantastic tools, threads and paper templates in a vast array of shapes and sizes for English Paper Piecing. I really recommend their paper templates as they speed up the epp process immensely. Their customer service is fantastic and they also go to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham each year, so this is a great way to see their products in person. I have signed up to their Block of the Month subscription box for the first time this year and I am so excited about it. I will share details about that in another post.
If you love Liberty fabric as much as I do, another great place to buy it is Alice Caroline. They have so many different designs and even some that are exclusive to them. I've also got one of their wall hanging kits which I haven't made yet but it is beautiful and the instructions are very comprehensive. Their website is so inspiring because it is a cacophony of Liberty patterns and colour. They mainly sell Liberty Tana Lawn but they do often have other Liberty fabrics such as jersey, cord and the Liberty quilting cotton range. You can also find Alice Caroline at the Festival of Quilts each year.
A great place to buy general sewing tools like scissors, embroidery hoops, embroidery threads, kits and felt is Cloud Craft. This is a wonderful online shop and items are posted out very promptly. They have really good quality supplies for all your stitching needs, including lovely fabrics for cross stitch and embroidery. They are very reasonably priced and often have unusual tools like this hexagon magnetic needle minder pictured above, which I absolutely love!
The final shop I want to share with you today is Rose Garden Patchwork. At Rose Garden Patchwork, they sell fabrics and haberdashery sourced from Japan so you can find some really unique items. The zips they sell are of a really excellent quality and I just love the overall style of everything they sell. Their fabrics are bright and colourful and excellent for quilting. Rose Garden Patchwork also sell some patterns designed by them and also some lovely Japanese craft books that are so inspiring. I hope you check out these independent businesses and that you love them as much as I do. What are your favourite online shops? Leave your favourites in the comments below. Happy sewing!
About the Author
My name is Emma and I love all things sewing, especially EPP.. My little blog is the place where I document what I'm making. I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to! All opinions are my own and I only share things that I think you will love. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.