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Ok, I don’t know how I’ve failed to see any adverts for this but there’s a new TV show starting on Tuesday called The Great British Sewing Bee.

Given that I’m a craft enthusiast and lover of anything that harkens back to ‘the good old days’ it is a bad reflection on the BBC’s publicity team that the first I (surely a member of the shows target audience) hear of the show is from a publisher asking if I would like to review the book that will accompany the series?? :-/

But how exciting!?  Another ‘Great British’ programme and this time it’s sewing!!  Obviously I can’t pass comment on the series yet, but here’s what I think of the book.


What They Say:

Capturing the creative energy of the series, the book provides an irresistible collection of over 25 projects covering garments and homewares that will delight sewing enthusiasts everywhere. As in the series, the projects offer something for both sexes and all ages. Garments include a flattering tea dress, pencil skirt, unisex pyjama bottoms and a waistcoat. The homewares and accessories include aprons, a stylish tote bag, laundry bag, a selection of cushion designs and three different window dressings. All are complete with instructions and patterns for sizes 8 16 available as a pdf download free with purchase. 

Including select items from the TV series, technical know-how and insider sewing tips from the judges, this book will help the beginner achieve professional results.

What I Say:

This is a substantial book and is laid out in a similar fashion to the Great British Bake Off books.  There are forewords by the shows experts, the Women’s Institute’s May Martin and the handsome, bearded, Patrick Grant aswell a little history about the Queen Mother’s Sewing Bees held in Buckingham Palace.

Almost a third of this book is dedicated to explaining different types of stitches, the correct way to use a pattern and the pros and cons of a variety of fabrics: the basics.  But they aren’t THAT basic.  The book doesn’t patronise the reader, although it begins by explaining a simple running stitch (we can all push a needle through fabric), it goes on to outline increasingly difficult techniques.  

There are 28 complete projects outlined in this book, ranging from a bow-tie, to a prom dress, to curtains!  All are as easy to understand as these kinds of projects could hope to be.  The patterns are included but must be scanned  in and enlarged or downloaded for free and dress sizes range from 8 to 16 which I think is quite good.  Each project has a beautiful vintage inspired photograph and clear illustrations.  The skills used to create each piece are outlined clearly, so that you know what you’re taking on before you start and the difficulty is rated by ‘thimbles’.

As someone who has just stepped into the scary world of making clothing, this book may just be a Godsend!  Although I might not dive straight into the projects, the advice and ‘tuition’ at the beginning of the book will be useful immediately as I hone my skills before risking any of my precious fabric.  Later I’m sure I’ll be trying to make some of the lovely items, especially as the series begins and I start to covet the contestant’s sewing skills.

My only criticism is that the book could be more lively.  Although the photographs are beautiful, they are a little dull and don’t really convey the personalities of the people who will take part in the show.  As this book accompanies a series, I feel that those who take part in it should be featured more heavily, but as a stand alone book, this doesn’t detract from it’s success at all!

All in all, this is a great book for a beginner to sewing, someone returning to the art and for those who love the series.

Love Rachel

x

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Be a social butterfly...

  • Peta Coote

    Oh I may just treat myself to the book! Thank you for this as I had no idea about the programme and would have missed it without a doubt! You’r right the BBC has done very poorly at advertising this to its target market! x

  • Sarah Smalley

    I saw a couple of adverts for the programme, which I loved and found inspiring. A question about the book: does it explain how to size the patterns up to a size larger or down to a size smaller than they provide?

  • Sarah Smalley

    How shortsighted of the publishers/authors/programme makers (and how annoying!). Instantly limiting the appeal of the book to me (and probably any other plus size crafters interested in learning a new skill. )

    • i understand it’s frustrating. To be honest, i thought it was impressive that as wide a range as 8 to 16 was included as normally dress patterns are sold in two size increments. I suppose a book will never please everyone, but I’m sure it is annoying if you are one of the people who can’t benefit from the patterns. 🙁