Blog tour & review: GBSB Fashion with Fabric

GBSB book

I’m the second-to-last stop on this blog tour, so sorry if you’re bored of the reviews going around! But I’m glad to be part of the team sharing the newest GBSB book, The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric, because it really is the best of the bunch so far.

GBSB book

Written by Sewing Bee technical advisor Claire-Louise Hardie, the book’s USP is to take a fabric-first point of view in order to advance your skills, which when you think about it makes total sense. Selecting and handling fabric correctly is such a big part of a successful sewing project – something we’ve probably all learned the hard way – and it makes a world of difference to know your business in the fibre department. Starting with easy cotton and working through wool, knits and special/luxury fabrics, each chapter focuses on a fabric’s unique properties and goes up in difficulty as the book progresses. What I especially like is that for once it’s a book that does not pander to beginners. While it does have a concise chapter at the beginning with all that basic knowledge on how to use patterns I’d say it’s more aimed at intermediate sewists, who will definitely pick up some new tips from its pages.

GBSB book

GBSB book

The other big attraction of the book for me is the 30(!) included patterns. Claire-Louise clearly took great care in selecting the project range, both to complement the book’s fabric-first theme and to appeal to a wide range of readers. Several patterns have gone onto my to-sew list including the woven silk t-shirt, capri trousers, and elasticised jumpsuit. Each pattern includes ‘hack’ variations, such as using the jumpsuit pieces to make a camisole or casual trousers. There are also a couple of kids’ patterns (including that elephant costume) and some surprisingly nice and wearable men’s patterns – a classic crew-neck tee and cargo shorts. Maybe Josh will get some summery treats!

GBSB book

There’s a bumper envelope as large as the book containing the patterns on generous full-size sheets so they are painless to trace off, even for this tracing-hater. Each sheet has a handy contents list in the corner for the patterns it contains, so you don’t need to unfold them all to find your pieces. Two thumbs up there.

GBSB book

I made up the casual trousers (a variation of the jumpsuit) to test the patterns’ fit and usability. (Rachel made the same pair in her review.) Tracing and cutting this very simple pattern only took an episode of GBSB, and I had all the sewing finished in another session. This is a handy little pattern to have in the stash for sure, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be making a couple more pairs to use as PJs and lounge pants.

GBSB book

For me, it’s the wealth of fabric-specific information and breadth of the included patterns that makes Fashion with Fabric a worthwhile buy from my point of view. I think the contents and patterns are best suited to advanced-beginner and intermediate sewists, who are bound to find a bit more knowledge and inspiration in its pages. Will you be adding it to your sewing book library?

Check out the other blog tour reviews and projects here:
2nd March – Did you make that
3rd March – House of Pinheiro
4th March – Elena Cresci
5th March – Cut Out + Keep
6th March – A Stitching Odyssey
8th March – Handmade Jane

I was given a copy of the book by Quadrille Publishing for review. The Amazon link is an affiliate link.

14 thoughts on “Blog tour & review: GBSB Fashion with Fabric

  1. AvatarHélène

    Thanks to a reader on some sewing blog, I found a way to catch the program in Canada (through TunnelBear) and it is excellent. Then the many reviews about the book convinced me to order it. The book wasn’t offered on, so I ordered it directly at the Book Depositary and I can’t wait to receive my copy by mail this week! Many thanks for your review, Katie. I might also try this pattern to make yoga pants.

  2. AvatarSam

    Thanks for the review Katie. I’m tempted by this one, but I hate buying books like this without being able to look inside them first, and of course this one comes all sealed up in cellophane. The good reviews I’ve seen though are pushing me in the direction of making a purchase.

  3. AvatarMarilla

    Definitely tempted by this as I’ve seen a few of the womenswear items I like and the men’s patterns look perfect for my husband. I think I’ll be angling to get this as a future birthday gift!

  4. AvatarEmily

    Ooh I didn’t realise this was out yet, bit slow on the uptake. I have the other two books and whilst I have used them a lot and love some of the patterns, I found some had too many mistakes and there wasn’t much fitting help, so great to see this has your seal of approval.

    1. AvatarKatie Post author

      I didn’t mention, but this book has some handy common alterations guidelines in the front section too – full bust adjustments and the like.

  5. AvatarAlison Sansum

    Just about to get fabric to make the shift dress hack of the silk woven tee and can’t find the pattern for either on any of the five sheets. Am I missing a trick here?

    1. AvatarAlison

      Ah ha…found it. It is on the back of the pattern sheet with the leather jacket and classic man’s t-shirt on (along with the sleeveless shell top and button backed blouse). Also, the elephant suit is on the reverse of the sheet with jumpsuit and camisole top. Would have been a good idea to write on the front of the folded pattern sheets what is on both sides to save having to open them all up.

      1. Avatarannie

        Oh thanks, I hadn’t realised pieces were listed on BOTH sides of the sheet and hadn’t been able to find the shell top!

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