Liberty Hatboxes

Even though the patchwork block swap I’ve been participating in hasn’t quite finished yet – there’s one month to go – I have actually made all the blocks I need to and I’ve already started getting withdrawal symptoms.  Kate and Sue who have run the F2F (Foot Square Freestyle) swap for the past two years, have decided they need a break from organising duties and as I am more of a participant than an organiser I didn’t offer to take it over so, sadly, when Claire receives her 24 blocks from 8 other quilters around the world by the end of February, that will be it.

I found that participating in the swap really motivated me to improve my work, try out some new techniques and get things finished on time

So, what to do next?

I searched around the web for other swaps but the few I managed to find  had either already started or didn’t appeal.

Kate has started making a quilt – unusually it will be for herself – from a book both she and I have had for years.

kaffe fasset passionate patchwork

We’ve both been in love with one particular quilt inside it – I even made the templates for it and one block back in the mists of time – but never got any further.

Hatbox Quilt

It’s rows of vintage hatboxes made to look as if they’ve been covered in wallpaper, as olden day people used to do, and each one set in the angle of a little cubby hole with a floor and two walls.  So, lots of design decisions to be made.

Kate has been busy with it for a few months now – you can see her progress here – and I decided I would join in with her and we would aim to make three blocks per month and publish them on our blogs at the end of the month.  This will be my motivation.

I am making a wall hanging for my bedroom rather than a quilt – there is an empty wall behind the bed and I thought this might go well there rather than a picture.  I don’t want it to dominate the room or anything so I’m not making it too large, just four blocks wide x three blocks high.  If I make three blocks per month, it should be ready to start putting together in May.

Each ‘cubby hole’ is constructed by joining two trapezoids, one reversed, plus an 8.5 inch square which is set in to the angle of the trapezoids.  Eek!  I was so pleased when I got it right first time and then realised my perfect seam would be covered up with the hatbox appliquéd on top – still, that’s patchwork for you.  Here’s a ‘blank’ just so you know I can do it.

Inset Seam

And here’s the block after the hatbox has been added.


I decided to use scraps for the backgrounds where possible and Liberty tana lawn for the hatboxes.  I realised too late that, because the tana lawn is so fine, you have to be careful what you put underneath it.  You can see the stripes of my ‘flooring’ vaguely show through but I thought it sort of looks like part of the design on the box so I’ve left it.


This one is a darker print so I got away with it here but, for the other blocks, I won’t use that particular striped fabric.  I am not usually an ‘appliqué person’ but Kate has got me trying several techniques I’ve either never done before or previously said I’d never do such as foundation paper piecing so here’s one more to add to the list.  I am using Bondaweb to attach the hatbox shapes and then using a turquoise thread and machine appliquéing on to the background.

This next one had to be re-done because I had used light coloured tana lawn for the hatbox and the ‘floor’ was showing through and making it look as if there was a shadow across the box.  I had to peel it off – a tragic waste of both Liberty and Bondaweb -and use a darker design. You live and learn.


I’m enjoying making these hatboxes but my workroom is a mess – strewn with fabrics over every surface as I audition them for ‘wallpaper’, ‘flooring’ , the hatboxes themselves and the bands.  Decisions, decisions……

I will finish by proudly announcing that I have managed to complete Dry January without a drop of alcohol passing my lips – apart from that used in cooking which doesn’t count because all the alcohol comes off as vapour (boo!) .  I never usually touch Pastis – the favourite aperitif of the French – because wine is my poison and the aniseedy alcoholic tipple makes me go woozy very quickly which is a feat in itself.  However, Ricard (the favoured brand of the French when imbibing their favourite aperitif) make a version called Pacific which has no alcohol, no sugar, no calories, no nuffink apart from quite a few E numbers but I haven’t looked them up to see whether they are dodgy ones.  As with the real stuff, you dilute it with 5 parts water but, unlike the real stuff, it is already a cloudy colour.

Non Alcoholic Pastis

This, and Bucklers non alcoholic beer (which is really Lager if you are British) , kept me on the straight and narrow when temptation threatened to overcome me.  I don’t know whether you can get it (or Bucklers)  outside of France but, if you can, and you are the designated driver or want an alcohol free evening for any other reason, I would recommend it.



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  1. #1 by katechiconi on January 31, 2017 - 10:40

    Brilliant start! I hesitate to point out that if you don’t use the Bondaweb method but the ‘slow sewing’ method I use, you won’t have fabric behind the hatbox to show through…. Still, so long as you’re aware of the potential issue, you can make appropriate colour choices. I love that red lotus fabric on the middle box, really gorgeous 🙂 I have two fabulous ‘psychedelic’ prints to use for the next two boxes – can’t wait!

    • #2 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:42

      If I was going to make a quilt I might well use your method for a ‘softer’ finish but for a wall hanging I think it will be fine. Even though I know the fabric at the back can be cut away I can’t bear to do it – I don’t even really like covering it up at all 🙂 My next blocks will have cream or light coloured flooring – something I can’t have ‘in real life’ because of all the animals I have plus a husband who forgets to change his ‘gardening’ shoes.

      • #3 by katechiconi on January 31, 2017 - 22:49

        I keep my cut-away fabric for scraps, so it won’t go to waste. But to each her own, and this is YOUR hatbox quilt 🙂 I do know what you mean about the husbandly footwear, which is why I count my blessings in the form of polished wooden floorboards everywhere!

  2. #4 by itwasjudith on January 31, 2017 - 10:43

    Fabulous project and interesting info about Pastis, thank you.
    I remember sipping Pastis back at the time when I used to have a French boyfriend, and it was very quickly getting to my non-drinker head!

    • #5 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:44

      It is a very French ‘thing’ isn’t it? I wonder if there’s a non-alcoholic version of Absinthe 😉

      • #6 by itwasjudith on January 31, 2017 - 22:58

        I’m not aware of one! 😉

  3. #7 by poshbirdy on January 31, 2017 - 12:34

    What a lovely design. I would love to be able to create something like this and I look forward to seeing your version take shape. And well done with the no-drinking thing. You can raise a glass this weekend

    • #8 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:48

      There you go – something for you to put on your ‘things to learn/do in the future’ list. I’ve got loads on mine – I might re-learn crochet on Thursday as I’ve just discovered a lady in Mirepoix with a lovely wool shop who gives one to one lessons – good for my French too!
      I will definitely be raising a glass on Friday evening come 6p.m. and it will be a glass of organic Cabernet Sauvignon which I bought today on the way back from Pilates in preparation.

  4. #9 by claire93 on January 31, 2017 - 13:34

    lovely to see you’ve found a new project to keep you busy.

    • #10 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:49

      I always seem to be busy – I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work or have kids 😉

  5. #11 by jendavismiller on January 31, 2017 - 15:03

    Ooooh, how beautiful this will be! (While in Lampeter a few years ago, we were in Jen Jones quilt/blanket shop, and didn’t realize she was hosting a Kaffe Fassett exhibit upstairs! Opportunity missed to be sure.) I love the hatbox pattern, it’s so perfect for you, and will make an ideal wall hanging for a bedroom.Will enjoying seeing the progress on this.

    • #12 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:50

      Ooh, you might have been able to view the original hatbox quilt had you known.

      • #13 by jendavismiller on January 31, 2017 - 16:56

        I’ll keep my eyes open for an exhibition here….

  6. #14 by lovelucie1 on January 31, 2017 - 15:28

    This will be fabulous! A wonderful showcase for your Liberty fabric.
    Congratulations on Dry January!! Will you be partaking in ‘Sugar Free February’?

    • #15 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 15:51

      Certainly not! I don’t consume much sugar in any case – unless it’s fermented – does that count?

  7. #16 by Trisha on January 31, 2017 - 15:50

    What a great way to use Liberty fabric, I have found that putting a plain white cotton under some Liberty lawn fabric really makes the colours stand out more.

    • #17 by tialys on January 31, 2017 - 16:12

      Thanks Trisha. I did wonder about doing something like that but, as I’m not cutting the backing fabric away, it would mean another layer to quilt through at the end. I think I’ll just have to be careful with the background fabrics and only use the deeper Liberty colours for the hatboxes.

  8. #18 by magpiesue on January 31, 2017 - 20:30

    What a lovely way to put those Liberty prints to good use! I admire you for tackling new techniques. I’m having a hard time just getting my mojo back for regular piecing…

    • #19 by tialys on February 1, 2017 - 09:30

      The thing with me is, if I see something that somebody else has made and I like it, I’m seized with a desire to make it myself even if it’s not a craft I usually indulge in. Once I’ve tried it, I’m generally cured and go back to concentrating on the things I like best.

  9. #20 by Dartmoor Yarns on January 31, 2017 - 21:30

    That quilt is going to be gorgeous! And it’s February tomorrow, so no more non-alcoholic beverages 🙂

    • #21 by tialys on February 1, 2017 - 09:22

      I’m going to try to be extra good and wait until Friday (the weekend 😉 ) so that I can keep up my ‘no drinking during the week’ sort of self-imposed, sometimes adhered to, rule.

      • #22 by Dartmoor Yarns on February 1, 2017 - 10:57

        Good girl! I too try to stick to no alcohol in the week – otherwise it’s too easy to end up having it with every meal.

  10. #23 by Postcard from Gibraltar on February 1, 2017 - 14:53

    Your hat boxes are truly lovely 😊 I hope you enjoy your celebratory glass of something tonight. Congratulations on making it through a dry January!

    • #24 by tialys on February 2, 2017 - 10:32

      Thank you – I’m holding out until Friday when Mr. Tialys gets back from the U.K. – I have a bottle or three in the wine rack ready for the weekend 🙂

      • #25 by Postcard from Gibraltar on February 2, 2017 - 11:12

        Enjoy it when the time comes… I’m sure it will taste like nectar from the Gods!! 😊

  11. #26 by sewchet on February 1, 2017 - 17:15

    Well, now I’ve just got to look up that book and see if it’s still available. This is payback for those boots, isn’t it?!

    • #27 by tialys on February 2, 2017 - 10:28

      I see Amazon has some used library versions at a reasonable price and then some hideously expensive ones – I must take care of mine, it’s obviously an heirloom in the making 😉

      • #28 by sewchet on February 2, 2017 - 12:08

        Yes, I saw that, around £25-30 each. It’s going on my birthday list 😊

  12. #29 by dezertsuz on February 1, 2017 - 20:27

    Your ending made me smile. Are you continuing your abstinence? I have an alcohol-free life, very close to more decades than I want to admit living. LOL It’s a good goal to get it out of your system and brain. Who needs all those useless calories anyway?

    Your hat boxes are wonderful, and I think Liberty lawn is the perfect hatbox fabric. That is a lovely miter, indeed, and I’m sure you’ll be able to make many just like that. Personally, the show-through has never bothered me on any applique. This is no exception.

    • #30 by tialys on February 2, 2017 - 10:21

      I probably won’t be continuing my abstinence but, as I only drink at weekends – and then, only wine – I don’t think I’m too much of a lush and, anyway I live in France where wine is practically the only thing that’s not expensive 😉

      Thank you for the encouragement for my appliqué efforts – I’ll carry on as I’ve begun but I’m going to be a bit more careful what I lay the Liberty on top of for the next blocks.

  13. #31 by Fred the Needle on February 2, 2017 - 19:40

    What lovely inspiration! Can’t wait to see the finished quilt!

    • #32 by tialys on February 5, 2017 - 10:02

      Well, I’m making a wall hanging rather than a full quilt so I only need twelve blocks which I’m going to make at a rate of 3 per month so it should be ready to assemble in May.

  14. #33 by Born To Organize on February 3, 2017 - 19:17

    I love the idea of a hatbox quilt and have enjoyed seeing the details on your blog and Kate’s. I still work part time and have a son at home, but all these ideas are brewing as possible hobbies when I have more time to myself. Meanwhile, I’m living (and enjoying) these posts through you.

    • #34 by tialys on February 5, 2017 - 10:07

      I’m fortunate enough (depending on your point of view) not to be working outside the home. I still have a daughter at home too but she mostly does her own thing and my husband is usually working away during the week so I’m fairly time rich and, once the animals are sorted, my time is my own and very little of it is spent doing housework 😉

      • #35 by Born To Organize on February 6, 2017 - 05:26

        With your husband away all week, I can see that you would have a good amount of free time. When my husband traveled extensively, my boys were young, so I had even less free time. Now he travels a lot less, so we enjoy the evenings together. My time will come.

  15. #36 by Beads and Barnacles on February 5, 2017 - 11:58

    Ooh I love a good glass of Richard. Shame I don’t have any here…
    These look lovely. I can’t wait to see the finished thing

    • #37 by tialys on February 5, 2017 - 13:35

      I think I have actually started to like it myself – although if I have one, I must remember not to put it in a great big glass and guzzle it down as I was doing with the non-alcoholic version :/

  16. #38 by Sariska Jeep Safari on February 6, 2017 - 09:53

    What a beautiful plan. I would love to have the capacity to make something like this and I anticipate seeing your adaptation come to fruition..

  17. #40 by Kim on February 7, 2017 - 19:19

    I love the hat boxes! So very pretty – I look forward to seeing more blocks as they are made.
    I just checked Amazon (where I thought you could buy EVERYTHING!) and they don’t have that alcohol free Ricard. I am so bored with cordials now I could cry 😦

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