French Hatbox by Tanya Whelan - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

French Hatbox by Tanya Whelan

Tanya Whelan has kept us busy this week. What with two of her fabulous Grand Revival Designs bag patterns getting some magazine love (Flea Market Bag and Practical Bag, if you’re wondering), as well as the recent release of her fourth line for Free Spirit Fabrics, French Hatbox. This collection crosses country charm with French elegance! Sweet and pretty becomes lush and glorious. With bright bouquets, clean dots, and intricate fleur de lis medallions in soft spring and summer hues, add this line in your stash, if only to admire it!

Hi Everyone!

As I write this guest post for the fabulous Fat Quarter Shop blog I can’t help but be excited that the Fat Quarter Shop and me (well really my fabric line Darla and my Practical Bag Pattern) got a mention in the July issue of Martha Stewart Living! A super nice way to start the summer I think.

But, I’m really here to talk about my latest collection for Free Spirit, French Hatbox. I think it’s definitely the softest, most romantic collection I’ve done but it for sure has a bit of candy colored pop to it as well. Totally inspired by 19th century French designs, like those I saw and loved at the Metropolitan Museum Costume exhibit when I was a kid. The simplicity, the detail, the total embrace of femininity of design from that time never fails to wow me.

This collection draws on the romantic florals of the period but with a modern, spare simple and clean approach. I used soft ground colors with pops of fuschia in the petals of the roses and then used saturated candy colors like hot pink, grass green, and Tiffany Blue in other designs to complement and make the softer colors come alive. I love to make pillows with the soft florals and then “frame” them with a more saturated colored ruffle. Think Sophia Coppola’s movie “Marie Antoinette” which put a brilliant, modern and super girly twist on the look of the 18th century interiors.

So, I hope you like it!! I personally seriously want to cover some hat boxes in it, but I’ve already at least made some super sweet ruffled pillows, twirly skirts for my girl and started a little patchwork somethin’, I’m not sure what with it.

Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for letting me blog today and thank you have FQS blog readers for reading my post!

Have a great summer all!!!
Tanya Whelan
Grand Revival Designs
Grand Revival Designs Blog


  1. Lovely. I am always fascinated as to what inspires designers 🙂

    Coppola's Marie Antionette was a visual treat. I can see it in this collection. Thanks for sharing that.