Behind the scenes at Liberty fabrics

It is no secret that we're in love with Liberty’s Art Noveau-inspired prints, especially after we featured Sally Ablett’s Hesketh House quilt in issue 47. Here we chat to Mary-Ann Dunkley, Head of Design at Liberty Fabrics, to find what went into the creation of Liberty's newest collection.

Hesketh House traditional liberty quilt pattern

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Named after an artwork in the Liberty archive dating from the 1890s, The Hesketh House Collection (Liberty’s outstanding new fabric range, available from EQS) draws inspiration from heritage interior details of an English stately manor.

When you were looking through the archives at Liberty, were there any surprises within? 

We rediscovered ‘Hesketh’, one of my favourite designs. It was wonderful to edit the colourways and present it again for this story. Following the garden trilogy for the first collections on our Lasenby cotton we wanted to move inside. This design evokes the feeling of excitement when you sit inside a warm cosy interior looking out onto a winter garden and see the first snowdrops appearing.

How did the process unfold? 

We always start with the story concept, then go to our archive. We work with the Liberty archivist team, looking back at our history to see how the theme can resonate with our heritage. Studying the team’s discoveries, we work out how to redraw, reinterpret and use archive designs, while adding new painting and drawing from our talented artists in our studio. This ensures we maintain a modernity with depth and variation.


How did you decide which prints to rework for this collection?

The brief was to take inspiration from classic English interiors, wallpapers, textiles and decorative details. We imagined the florals you might find inside or looking out into a winter garden from the warmth of your favourite armchair underneath your cosy quilt. 

What traditional elements of the fabrics did you keep and why?

Lots of the designs have very classic repeat layouts and spacing. Fine outlines on designs are often found in our prints and help the dyes to find an edge, giving detailing well known in Liberty Fabrics.

How did you decide on the colour palette?

We mixed paint colour charts from contemporary interiors with classic English furnishing and textiles. We used colour to tie together prints with quite different handwriting – fresh blues, deep greens and rich jewel tones, along with soft pinks and greys.

“The Art Nouveau style of design produced such fabulously curvy shapes, depicted in swirls of lovely colour. With Liberty’s The Hesketh House Collection I adore the mesmerising combination of dark blues and greens, flowing in to the soft colours of spring, and it was a joy to work with them on my Hesketh House quilt. Making the quilt with two blocks – the Single Irish Chain block and the Star Puzzle block – keeps the construction simple and lets the beauty of the fabrics shine.”
Sally Ablett
hesketh house quilt pattern
Hesketh House quilt by Sally Ablett

Do you have a favourite print and colour from the collection?

The navy Hesketh is hard to beat, but I love Harriet’s Pansy in the green colourway. It’s a very Arts and Crafts style, so has Liberty in its DNA, yet it captures a modernity in the new colours. It combines exquisite drawing with beautiful printing quality on the perfect base quality.

Do you think reworking classics will encourage new quilters and sewists? Is this how we can keep the tradition of quilting alive?

Absolutely! It’s certainly a new look for the Liberty Lasenby cotton collections. I think it will appeal to our existing customers – it’s full of classic appeal, but offers something for a new audience. The triumph of the collection is the mix of fresh colour and design with vibrant artwork. It’s hard to achieve in one story, but exciting to mix. All the designs make me feel comfortable and cosy, yet they have a confidence that says luxury and Liberty.

About EQS: EQS is a leading distributor of patchwork and quilting products established in 1996 to provide a wide range of high quality fabrics, wadding, threads and more to shops throughout the UK and Europe who share a passion for quilting. To find out more and view their range of

Find your nearest Liberty stockist

Northern England

  • Bibelot 2 Sheep Market, Leek, Staffs ST13 5HW
  • Cheshire Needlecraft Cranage Retail Park, Cheshire CW4 8HE
  • Copperfield Crafts 4 Mile Bridge Rd, Valley, Anglesey LL65 3HB
  • Crafter’s Companion Aycliffe Business Park, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham DL5 6DR
  • Creative Thread 68B Church St, Garstang, Lancs PR3 1YA
  • Design Stitch Create Hulmes Bridge House, North Moor Lane, Halsall, OrmskirkL39 8RF
  • Gillies Fabrics 2 Peter Lane, York YO1 8SW
  • Kreations By Kaz 88 Cromwell Crescent, Pontefract, West Yorks WF8 2EP
  • Patchfinders 159 London Rd, Poynton, Cheshire SK12 1LQ
  • Patchwork Garden 630 Abbeydale Rd, Sheffield S7 2BA
  • Quilt Sandwich at the Royal Bridlington 1 Shaftesbury Rd, Bridlington YO15 3NP
  • Quorn Country Crafts Parkside Works, East Leake, Leics LE12 6JG
  • Sew Me-Me 4 Bakery Court, Market St, Ashby-de-la Zouch, Leics LE65 1AN
  • Sewing Centre 54-56 Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough YO11 1XW
  • Sewing Days Fabrics 99 Lidget, Oakworth, West Yorks BD22 7HN
  • The Wool Shop 13 Broad St, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1NG

Southern England

  • Country Threads 2 Pierrepont Place, Bath BA1 1JX 
  • Crafty Days 27 High St, Saffron Walden, Essex CB10 1AT
  • Doughty Brothers 100 Barrs Court Rd, Hereford HR1 1EG
  • Elphicks 10 – 13 West St, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7DN
  • City Cycle Centre 7 Market St, Ely, Cambs CB7 4PB
  • Franklins – Colchester 13 St Botolph’s St, Colchester CO2 7DU
  • Franklins – Salisbury 41 Fisherton St, Salisbury, Wilts SP2 7SU
  • GTS Sewing Machines Queensway Shopping Centre, Banbury, Oxon OX16 9PQ
  • Kathy’s Patch Shearway Business Park, Folkstone, Kent CT19 4RH
  • Kis Quilting Ltd Basepoint Business Park, The Havens, Rawsomes Europark, Ipswich IP3 9BF
  • Knit Wits 28A High St, Dereham, Norfolk NR19 1DR
  • Material Needs Ltd 79 High St, Burnham-on-Sea TA8 1PE
  • Owl Tree Crafts 24 Church St, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8QS
  • Purple-Pixie Fabric & Craft The Hop Farm, Maidstone Rd, Paddock Wood, Kent TN12 6PY
  • Quilters Corner Oat St, Evesham, Worcs WR11 4PJ
  • Sally’s Sewing Box 4 Duke St, Princes Risbourough, Bucks HP27 0AT 
  • Serendipity56 Fore St, Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9AE
  • Sew & So 1 Landsdown, Stroud, Glos GL5 1BB
  • Sew & So’s of Bungay 14 Upper Olland St, Bungay, Suffolk NR35 1BG
  • Sew Creative 11 St Giles St, Norwich NR2 1JL
  • Something Special Feathers Yard, Holt, Norfolk NR25 6BF
  • The Bramble Patch West St, Weedon, Northants NN7 4QU
  • The Cambridge Fabric Company 7 Peas Hill, Cambridge CB2 3PP
  • The Cosy Cabin Risby Barns, South St, Risby, Suffolk IP28 6QU
  • The Nimble Thimble 1B Well St, Buckingham MK18 1EW
  • The Quilter’s Den 9 Smith St, Warwick CV34 4JA 
  • Williamsons 45 Victoria Rd, Woolston, Southampton SO19 9DY


  • The Quilting Bee, 28 Queens Rd, Craig Y Don, Conwy LL30 1AZ
  • Threads 40 Clwyd St, Ruthin, Denbighshire LL15 1HW

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