Book Review

The Great British Sewing Bee - Fashion with Fabric
and my tweed mini skirt

Blog / 18 March 2015

With this years’ Great British Sewing Bee now drawn to a close, if your anything like me you’ll be totally missing it already!

I’ve really, really enjoyed this series. I loved all the contestants and the challenges were amazing – so well thought out and really interesting to watch.

You can still get a dose of Sewing Bee goodness though with the accompanying new book The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric.

The publishers, Quadrille, got in touch so see if I would like to check a copy out – emmmm yes please!!!

It’s written by Claire-Louise Hardie, she’s the Sewing Expert and Producer for the show and as a very experienced costume designer and dressmaker, she really knows her stuff.

I first met Claire Louise in one of my early auditions for the show and got to know her while we were filming the first series and the Christmas Special. She’s so lovely and I’m over the moon for her that she has written this years Sewing Bee book – I think it's totally awesome!

The book focuses solely on making garments, which is a much better reflection of what the show is actually about.

The introductory sections talk you through how to adjust patterns including fitting techniques such as the full bust adjustment and moving a bust dart.

The book is then split into sections, each focusing on different types of fabric: Cotton, Wool, Knits and finally, Luxury Fabric.

The photography is really fresh and inspiring, I love all the colours and fabrics used. There are so many things I want to make form it.

I love the Camisole Top which is a hack from the jumpsuit. That little peplum bit at the top looks really pretty.

The sleevless version of the Sheer Blouse is so gorgeous, we've got some fabric due in very soon that will be perfect for it - so excited about that!

And these classic capri trousers might just become one of my summer wardrobe staples!

Each project offers two completely different ways to use the pattern so there are lots of options to make a garment your own.

All the full size patterns are included in a pattern pack and go from UK size 8-20 - you just have to trace your size off, as they are over lapped and printed front and back. Each sheet has a handy key to tell you what is included on it which is great!

First on my list was the tweed mini skirt adaptation of the lace pencil skirt, the same one the contestants made during the series.

You have to alter the pattern and flare out the side seams a bit but the instructions were really clear of how to do this.

I made mine out of this gorgeous Raspberry coloured woollen mix boucle fabric that you can get in my shop (link here). It’s really wide so I only needed 70cm to make a size 8.

It’s such a simple quick skirt to stitch up; just a few darts at the back and a centre back invisible zip. The skirt is lined too, which makes it perfect for wearing with tights.

Instead of a waistband the pattern calls for leather look bias binding. I didn’t have any of that, and haven’t really come across it before so I used an old bit of leather that I’ve had for years. I just cut out a rectangular strip of it, sewed it to the outside of the skirt, right sides facing (catching the main fabric and lining at the same time).

I used my walking foot as the leather was probably a bit on the thick side – it worked a treat!

I then just folded the leather over to the inside of the skirt and stitched it down, sewing in the ‘ditch’ between the leather and main fabric.

On the inside it looks like this. As the leather doesn't fray you can just trim it back and leave it.

I’m really happy with it, such a basic classic skirt pattern to have and it’ll keep me warm until this supposed spring weather sorts itself out and gets a bit warmer.

Have you made anything from the book yet? What was your favourite garment from the series?

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