Friday, 4 April 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee Book 2


Have you been watching the second series of the Great British Sewing Bee? I can't believe it's only a few days until the final - the last seven weeks seem to have gone by in a flash! It's interesting to see how the concept of the show has been developed this time around - there have been some really great challenges this year [SPOILER ALERT], such as drafting your own patterns, making a waterproof anorak and sewing on a vintage machine. Much more fun to watch when you're not in it, I tell ye!


And have you seen the book which accompanies the second series - The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe? It's really great! While it may not be the best introduction to dressmaking - simply because of course there's a book coming out in just a few weeks' time which is the best introduction to dressmaking book ever if I do say so myself why thank you - it's full of some really nice-looking patterns. This time the patterns are all included on full scale sheets in a nice little pattern pack that comes with the book, so you don't need to faff around with the photocopier, just trace them off onto paper (or straight onto the fabric). The womenswear patterns come in either six sizes, from 8 to 18, or four sizes from XS to L. They're targeting a wide demographic - from grandmas to hipsters - so they may not all appeal, but there's definitely something for everyone. Here are my picks...


This 1930s blouse pattern is climbing to the top of my "to sew" list. It's got some really pretty details, such as the shirred neckline, peplum and teardrop sleeve. This was the garment the contestants were challenged to make from an unprinted 1930s pattern. You can read more about the history of 1930s dressmaking patterns in a guest post by fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart.


If I remember correctly, this is the pinafore that lovely Lynda made out of a man's suit? A homage to Jenni, non? I'm quite tempted to make this - no, not just because it's shown with stripes! But yes, I do plan to wear it with stripes!


Remember the beautiful yellow coat that Tamara made? Yes, the contestants had to make a lined, tailored coat in six hours, as you do. Well this is in there. It's such a lovely, classic design - can't go wrong, really. (Well, I mean you can't go wrong wearing it, although you could go wrong sewing it, but at least you'll have more than six hours in which to do so!)


There's plenty of menswear patterns included too, such as this hipster shirt and anorak. I'm surprised nobody made a Ryan-Gosling-in-Drive version in silver with a scorpion hand-embroidered on the back. C'mon guys, you can do that in five minutes, surely?


There's also some snazzy leggings. I don't think my Polish potato farmer-inherited knees would get away with having a crazy print clinging to them, but I'm definitely going to make these in classic black. I'm embarrassed that I still sneak into H&M occasionally to stock up on basic stuff like leggings and vests, I deffo need to get my act together and start making them. Have you made leggings before?

It's a shame there isn't more Chinelo-made stuff in here (my idol), but I guess that's because she makes all her garments up as she goes along! There is a page talking about sewing without a pattern though, and some brief instructions on draping a dress, which I guess is the nod to the talented lady herself.

The book is available to buy now and, at the time of writing, it's only £12 on Amazon. Definitely worth it for these patterns alone, I reckon. Go get!

So who's excited about the final? I feel so nervous for the contestants! Wishing them all huge congratulations for winning a place on the show in the first place. Enjoy the final, y'all!

53 comments:

  1. I was really excited by this book but was put off buying it from reviews on Amazon saying the fit on the patterns wasn't great, can you do another review when you have sewn one up? I'm only a beginner so don't feel that confident about having to alter patterns drastically! The blouse and coat look so great I really want to make them!

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    1. Hi LittleChicken! Fit is such a personal thing, if the garment fit my body it would be no guarantee it would fit you or anyone else unfortunately. There's no such thing as a "great fitting pattern", as it's so subjective. If the pattern is fairly complex, like the blouse and coat, you could make a toile - ie. a test version - of it so you can get it to fit you before cutting into your nice fabric. I'll write a post about toiles soon... I hope this helps!

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    2. Thank you for your reply :) That is a good point about patterns fitting everyone differently, maybe I will have try them out after all! Plus it's probably worth buying the book just for a picture of Patrick!!

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  2. Ah ace! Thanks for that preview. Was thinking about getting the book, but now I definitely am. Dying to make that blouse as well. Thanks Tilly

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  3. I got the book a few weeks ago and love it - I had a go at the box-pleat skirt, and was really pleased at how it turned out (http://handmadebyrebekah.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/spring-picnic-gingham-skirt.html)! As you say the sizing is very personal - it's just a matter of doing some proper measuring of yourself and the pattern and being honest with yourself, I always find! I quite fancy a go at the blouse and coat as well - just need to get some courage plucked up for that one, I think!

    Rx

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    1. Your skirt looks great! I think I will have to get the book! :)

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  4. I am such a beginner that I would rather start with yours first and see how I go. I love Tamara's yellow coat though....- simply gorgous!!
    I bought some fabric for my Coco in the Goldhawk road last week so I am very excited to find a moment to sew it. I need to learn how to change my needle and the foot of the machine first... Wish me good luck!
    I look forward to the final of the sewing bee, my favourite contestant is Chinelo. She wears fab clothes with African fabric details and the velvet dress she constructed was amazing. She's really talented.
    Enjoy the weekend!! Pati x

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  5. The coat Tamara made was the coat I spent the whole winter searching for. I even described it to a few baffled sales ladies, but they seemed to think it sounded nice. Will have to buy the book now. The 30s blouse looks lovely and I've always wanted to try sheering.
    I can see you in a red version of the 30s blouse, Tilly!

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  6. I just loved the first book and always refer back to it when sewing <3 I need to get this one such great information in the books x

    www.krystelcouture.com

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  7. There are quite a few patterns in here I'm keen to try. I was a little put off by the reviews, but might add it to my collection anyway. I've been loving the Great British Sewing Bee. I'm going to be so sad after next Tuesday, when there's no more episodes to look forward to.

    By the way I've been doing a summary of each episode on Random Crafting Adventures. I've also done a couple of posts on my attempts to make a sleeveless cotton blouse (based on the pattern challenge in week one..

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  8. I am shocked the anorak in the picture isn't topstitched! They were so hammering that it should be during the show!

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    1. Absolutely. And they also put in photos of Tamara's 1930s blouse with the big gap between the collar, and her coat with the chunky double-turned up hem. I don't understand why they didn't either remake the items for the photos, or fix them before they used them.

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  9. Leggings are so easy to make, but finding a pattern can be a bear. I highly recommend Cake's Espresso leggings. She has you take 7-8 measurements and you connect the dots to make a personally-fitted pattern. Fabulous! The only trick is figuring out the back-rise (I had to increase it after my test pair) but everything else fit smashingly first time around! :-)

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  11. I have the book too and wanted to try the basic t-shirt.
    I cut it all out and stitched it today but when trying it on the neck is quite wide. I as others was put off at first with the reviews online but will be more aware next time I make it.

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  12. There are some lovely projects in this book (especially the '30's blouse). What project would you suggest starting with to practice attaching sleeves? Thanks! :)

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  13. Hi, I have been very inspired to sew again by the Sewing Bee, but as a more voluptuous lady (aka short and wobbly!) I have really struggled to find any patterns that inspire me at all, which is really depressing, as I was hoping that by making my own clothes I could reflect my own style rather than the very few items I can I find that I like (and that fit) in the shops. Can you recommend any modern trendy patterns/pattern companies that do larger sizes. I am a 20 in shop sizes, but have found that in sewing patterns I need to do a larger size. Thanks x

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    1. Hi, Perhaps you could look at www.stylearc.com.au. Australian pattern company - fashion designs. They're not cheap and you will have to add shipping but they have plus sizes. Their patterns aren't multi-size though, so you nominate a particular size. However, they are helpful with emails and answers to questions and there are size charts on the website. You often get a freebie with an order too. (I'm not connected with Stylearc at all. I have just bought one of their patterns but not made up yet.)

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    2. Burda is also worth a look...it can be a bit hit or miss (there are some SERIOUS misses...but also some WONDERFUL hits)...but there's a wide variety of styles and I have personally found that they tend to be really well drafted patterns (sometimes when graded up to larger sizes patterns get a bit squiffy which can confuse things from the outset!)...its also an online community so chances are someone will give you a helping hand if you get a bit stuck...its worth a gander if nothing else... http://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns?page=1&pattern_size=3 ...just a wee note, sizes aren't UK sizes but there is a size chart to work out what you need (and as you've already worked out anyway, always use ypur measurements rather than dress size when buying/using sewing patterns!)...hope that helps!

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    3. I should note also that I have no affiliations with Burda (although if they do want to send me freebies they are more than welcome)

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    4. Sew liberated patterns go up to an American size 20 (which I think is a UK 24). I have made the Esme top and bought the pattern online in the UK. Also, By hand London's sizing is quite generous and goes up to a UK 20. They are quite expensive but worth it to make something that fits, especially if you use them several times.

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    5. As the others have helpfully noted, best choose your pattern size based on your measurements as shop sizes vary so much. Take a look at the sizing charts on a few different sewing pattern companies and you're bound to find something you like - for example, here's the sizing chart for my printed patterns which go up to the equivalent of a UK size 20 in M&S: http://shop.tillyandthebuttons.com/collections/all/products/coco
      Good luck!

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    6. Coco is a good pattern for us voluptuous ladies (I am about to embark on number 2) .

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    7. Thanks guys, I hadn't realised how much sizing charts varied company to company! An M&S size 20 is a staple in my wardrobe, so that's great to know your patterns match that Tilly! xx

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  14. WANT IT...although its a sewing book so that's not entirely surprising (I'm obsessed with sewing AND books...sewing books ergo are like heroin for me!)...OBVIOUSLY though its purchase will have to wait till after I've purchased a certain "Love at First Stitch"...but that goes without saying...

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  15. Hoping to hear news about a US release of your book in the not-too-distant. Or I'll get impatient and order from Amazon.co.uk instead . . .

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    1. It'll be published in the US by Roost Books in October!

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    2. I ordered Tilly's book and the sewing bee book combo from Amazon UK and I live in the states. I couldn't wait

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    3. I ordered Tilly's book and the sewing bee book combo from Amazon UK and I live in the states. I couldn't wait

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  16. Loved the sewing bee first time round and am also loving this series too. My daughter is just getting interested in fashion & sewing. She is also deaf and we were really rooting for Lynda to get to the final. Thought her personality really engaging to watch and we loved her pinafore dress and pyjamas. Have already pre ordered your book Tilly but may have to put this one on my wish list too.

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  17. I've just got the book and thought I'd mention it was even cheaper from The book people :)

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  18. Hi Tilly,does your book include full sized patterns? I'm not sure I can enlarge them and put all the pieces together.
    Julie

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    1. Yes! Full size pattern sheets in the back.

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    2. �� yippee !!! Definitely getting it,thank you.Im only on my first ever real sew,you have inspired me to give it a go.

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  19. Hi! Just to say I got my copy for £8.99 the other day from The Book People. Lots of fab things to make. Jen

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  20. Hey Tilly,
    have you seen it, Chinelo's got a blog here: http://chinelobally.com She also writes about freehand-cutting :3
    yacurama

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  21. Think I will buy the book now, as I have been dreaming of making myself that mustard coat.
    I found myself with nothing to do on a Friday night a couple of weeks ago, and decided to try making my own leggings by hacking apart my old ones (they had a hole in the knee). I re-watched the 90 minute challenge clip first for tips - worked a treat!

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  22. Just been busy trying to hunt down the pattern for the 30s blouse so it's very exciting to find it's in the book! Such a pretty blouse. I've really been loving this season!

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  23. Here's the thing about basic leggings and tees: you well know that you'll spend way more in fabric before even spending the time to make them. That coat though, is definitely worth the time and money to make!

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    1. That's not true at all, it just depends where you shop. I've bought lovely knit fabrics from Goldhawk Road for £2.50pm. I made a gorgeous Coco dress for £5. You can't buy anything nice for that price. I also splashed out and bought some fabulous knit fabrics for £10pm (you only need 1m for a tee) and I reckon that's an absolute bargain.

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  24. the 1930s blouses we're my favourite! I wonder how easy it will be to get the book to Australia? though i really thought Chinelo would have topped the class in the non-pattern challenges but i guess draping is a different beast!

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  25. Thanks for the review! I have been eyeballing this book for weeks now, but from the few pages you can look at on Amazon you can't really tell what patterns are included in the book! Thanks a lot!

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  27. I have just discovered your blog and absolutely love it! http://finestprocrastination.blogspot.co.uk/

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  28. Hello lovely Tilly I have been following the sewing bee but I did enjoy the first series more than this one, not sure why, even so it has been good. I have ordered a special sewing book for my birthday and wonder if it is the same one you are talking about Tilly, it sounds rather a good one and I cannot wait to get it. Have a lovely week Tilly, always a delight to read your wonderful blog. Big hugs
    Dorothyxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  29. I was eyeing this up in the shops the other day but the fact that it was all sealed up made me walk away. Now that I've read your great description though I'll definitely be going back to get it soon, thanks!
    Naomi
    http://www.etsy.com./uk/shop/buildingmywendyhouse

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  30. Thanks for the review and sneak peaks! I wasn't intending on buying it as most sewing books end up with having very similar patterns, but during the series I fell in love with the 30s blouse and 60s coat, only for them I would already buy it!
    x Ilse

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  31. I've just made the easy sew skirt from the book (http://cyandaisy.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/a-very-busy-sewing-day/) and thought it is lovely unfortunately there was an error in the pattern; instead of the short edge of the skirt piece being 34cm and the bottom edge being 22cm, it should be 17cm and 22cm (when folded). Thought it would be good for you to include that if you end up reviewing the book again! =)

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    1. I'm just doing the pattern now and thought the measurements seemed wrong, thanks!

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    2. You are a lifesaver! Is the measurement for the waistband (34cm when folded) right in the book or should that be different as well?

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    3. No worries =)
      Yes Alison, it should be 34cm when folded, then the total waistband length is 34cm x 4 = 136cm and the total length at the top of the skirt is 17cm x 8 = 136cm, so it fits together perfectly!

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  32. Phew, thank goodness somebody else has worked this out. I thought I'd made a mistake cutting out the pattern for the easy skirt because I couldn't get it to fit on the material and I have been tearing my hair out!

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