Welcome to month seven of London Town, Liberty of London.
This month we are heading to one of my favourite 'sights', although it may not be in any of the guide books: Liberty of London, a beautiful shop full of beautiful things which stretches along Great Marlborough Street from Regent Street to Carnaby Street
The business was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty in 1875 with a loan of £2,00 from his father-in-law. Selling an eclectic range of textiles and object d'art from around the globe, particularly Japan which had only recently opened up to foreign traders, Liberty's became the height of fashion and the loan was repaid within eighteen months. His eye for eastern antiques was so good that some of Arthur's finds made their way into the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.
He envisioned the magnificent new mock-tudor premises as "a ship docked in the middle of London’s shopping streets, laden with art and design treasures sourced from the four corners of the globe". It reused the oak timbers from two ancient battle ships in its construction and cost 100 times that initial loan to build. Sadly Arthur didn't live to see the building's completion in 1924.
From the very beginning Liberty lead fashion rather than followed it, commissioning tableware, fabric and furniture from up-and-coming designers like Archibald Knox, Mary Watts, Charles Voysey and William Morris (with some of those timeless designs still in production today). Art Nouveau is so closely associated with Liberty that in Italy it's known as 'Stile Liberty'.
The 1930s saw the introduction of Tana Lawn - named after the lake in Ethiopia where the cotton was grown - and it has captured the hearts of fabric lovers for nearly a century. In 2017 Liberty introduced a new fabric, especially designed for quilters and crafters, called Lasenby Cotton, in honour of its founder.
This month's treat..
I defy you to visit Liberty's and come out empty handed. In fact, you'll need a bag and I think I have just the thing: the Carnaby Street Shopper. Click here to access the pattern...
This month's technique...
I took some step by step photos to help you position the ¼” bias binding that adorns our Liberty façade and you can find them in the Carnaby Street Shopper tutorial.
Please note that we are substituting the blue colourway of the Elenora print again this month (as shown on my Carnaby Street Shopper) and you will also find half a yard of the Country Red solid binding fabric in this month's parcel, please set it aside for now.