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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.