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!