Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Feeling stitchy

Image for Episode 1
So who tuned into the Great British Sewing Bee last night? And what did you think? Curiously, it was my husband who had earmarked this for my viewing pleasure as I had no idea it was on. I'm interested to see how the series goes and will definitely be continuing to view, even though I'm reserving judgement on whether the slow-burn of dressmaking quite lends itself to the Great British Bake Off format. I'm also not quite sure who the programme is aimed at yet. The laundry bag 'tutorial' which was spliced in midway through the programme was a case-in-point. Although a drawstring bag is a great beginner's stitching project the speed with which the instructions were rattled off, with only partial views of assembly could have left even an experienced stitcher reeling! I did enjoy watching the contestants getting to grips with the two challenges though, and found myself itching to get out the scissors and snip into a nice swishy piece of tissue paper pattern. And I also found myself window-shopping the fabrics, patterns and haberdashery which were being put to use. The Sewing Directory have posted a great crib-sheet of where to buy the fabrics, tools and notions used on the Great British Sewing Bee programme, as well as a list of contestants' blogs and websites, plenty of good linkage to while away a few hours.

Meanwhile, I'm suddenly possessed by the urge to make an item of clothing again. I have a pretty navy blue floral print in my stash picked up in John Lewis which I want to use to make a top. Can anyone recommend some lovely top or blouse patterns for woven fabrics? I'd love to be able to find a failsafe pattern that I could knock up in a few different fabrics, with scope for neckline and sleeve variations. But I'm steering well clear of anything fitted until I've completed a few more pilates classes and become a more proficient dressmaker. Let's just say I need a little margin for error on both counts!

I like the shape of these two tops, from my dressmaking inspiration board over on pinterest, the pleats and also the little capped sleeve on the second top, for a simple over-the-head shape with no darts or zips.

I'm also adding a few more books to my most-wanted over on my 'sewing books' page, and would love an opinion from anyone who has used any of them:
How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns: From Shop-bought Patterns to Drafting Your Own: A Complete Guide to Fashion Sewing with Confidence by Lee Hollahan
Design-It-Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch
Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe by Wendy Mullin
The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook by Nora Abousteit and Alison Kelly

I shall be blaming the BBC if I fail to make a wearable top at the end of all this!


  1. I really didn't expect to enjoy it, and I really did. Thought the judges were a tad harsh in places. I do feel like getting on with some garment sewing again though. It's been too long!

  2. have you thought of the Washi Dress?
    I've made a few, and it's really great. You can adjust the neckline, length, sleeve options, etc etc.

  3. Loved it. Am totally hooked.
    Not sure I'm going to be buying the book though, I've never made clothes and think that the programme has just proven its really hard so maybe one for me to miss.
    Looking forward to next week

  4. The programme didn't 'do it' for me I'm afraid. It is a long time since I sewed anything, but once upon a time I made most of my own clothes, including my own wedding dress. Knowing a fair bit about dressmaking I wanted to know more about what they were doing ... the stretched silk of the wrap dress is a case in point, it should have been easy to stabilise it, so why didn't she? And I agree, at the opposite end of the spectrum, beginners were quite probably left reeling. I'm told the book has a lot more info, but I won't be buying. I might watch again though, but only because I'm curious to see who wins!

  5. I think, for me, the main problem was that I don't think I would have worn a single item that was featured in the first programme. I don't think sewing fits into a fast, competitive format and I'm not sure how many tips I will pick up from watching. But I probably will watch the series anyway.

  6. The ladies at Fancy Tiger in Denver, CO, USA, have been showing some really cute patterns over the last several weeks for tops they've been whipping up like crazy.

  7. I liked the fact that Littlest wanted to sew immediately after watching it. Apart from that, not sure. It seemed to be very unfair to criticise those blokes who hadn't made a dress before.

  8. I enjoyed it and made myself a quick shell top the following evening. Though I agree with the skiming of how to make a laundry bag. I knew what they were doing but non sewing friends or mine when WT#! when we were facebooking afterwards.

    I think it would be better if the show was more informative. This program is trying too much to be a UK stylised hybrid between great british bakeoff and project runway!
    It'll be interesting to see how it evolves and develops over the next 4 weeks.
    see what happens.

  9. I am enjoying the show too! I wish they would give the contestants more time. I'd rather see triumphs than half finished stuff. Too bad it is only 4 episodes. Maybe more next time?


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