Great British Sewing Bee Live

Last month, the day before I went to the Balenciaga exhibition at the V&A, I went to the Great British Sewing Bee Live with my friend Sarah (who it turns out has the same birthday as me!!!) and my new friend Stef. And it was ace!

There were quite a few different displays of clothes around the exhibition, like this one by either GCSE or A-Level students, I can’t remember which!

I wouldn’t be able to make most of these dresses now, let alone when I was 16 or 18! I Wasn’t really sewing back then, but still….

I failed to take a note of what these red dresses were all about – anyone else who went know what they were/why they were there? I did love them, however!

I would love to know what structure was underneath this collar.

I slightly love all the circles on the one in the middle, below.

Probably my favourite exhibition within the exhibition was a display of liberty print outfits, showing the history of liberty prints and the history of clothing shapes and silhouettes. I’m not a huge fan of the more cintzy liberty prints but I liked quite a few of the ones they had in display. I love this blue one!

I love these psychadelic 60s ones.

I also weirdly like this more 70s dress. The colours are a little washed out, and it may be the style of the dress I’m drawn to, but I do really like it.

I love this one. I love the combination of the velvet and the print. Velvet is definitely on my radar this Winter as it seems to be everywhere at the moment. I’m thinking of making a velvet party dress for the New Craft House Winter Party – maybe I’ll copy this dress!?

This green one might be my absolute favourite! I love the silhouette and the fabric isn’t totally unfortunate.

One of the best things about GBSB Live was the display of the clothes made on the actual show they had. I loved this outfit that Rumana made.

I was going to use the pattern from the hacking jacket Lauren made in season 1 as the pattern for my suit refashion, but I couldn’t fit all of the pattern pieces onto the existing jacket pieces. Boo. I still like the jacket, though, so I might give it a go in the future….with new fabric.

The 60s jacket Jade made is one of my favourite things anyone’s every made on the Sewing Bee – and I got to see it in real life!

These gowns are both amazing in real life. I want to wear both of them!

I didn’t remember to take too many other photos as I was too busy trying to spend all my money on fabric!

I resisted the urge to buy this fabric, though I slightly regret it now looking at this photo!

I like how these lampshades looked on the Higgs and Higgs stand.

And now onto what I bought. One of the things I was determined to get was some nice white fabric with a bit of drape that wasn’t see-through to make a white shirt from. I don’t have a plain white shirt and it definitely feels like a gap in my wardrobe. There was a stall called Holland and Sherry which is a fabric mill which supplies Saville Row and usually only supplies to trade and not to ‘normal’ people. They had some amazing stuff, which was all sold in specific lengths – this one was luckily 2 metres, and cost £20 which I don’t think is too bad given how good quality it is.

This lovely off white with black-brown flecks was from Higgs and Higgs. A lot of their stuff was quilting cotton and was quite stiff, but this stuff is really soft and drapey. I’m planning probably a melilot.

I also bought some basic navy blue jersey for hopefully my first Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top, but it was impossible to photograph! The last thing is this lovely linen-y cotton remnants from Guthrie and Ghani. I also bought the Kalle shirt and shirtdress from them.

All in all I was impressed with the first GBSB Live – it was really nice to have an event specifically aimed at dressmakers. It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Knitting and Stitching Show as I was disappointed with the selection of dressmaking fabrics the last time I went, though it seems to have imrpoved in the last couple of years. I met quite a few new people and saw a bunch of people I had met before. It’s really nice to be part of such a lovely community.

I’m going to Sew Brum on Saturday – who else will be there?! I plan to buy yet more fabric, but then I think I’m going to have to ban myself from buying more until I’ve made, like, 15 garments!

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Make It: 15 Homemade Christmas Present Ideas

15 Homemade Christmas Present IdeasOn Saturday  the boyfriend and I went to see the Christmas lights being turned on in Cirencester and it was really lovely. We all sang a couple of carols then Ben Miller (or Armstrong and Miller fame), who is apparently local pressed the button then there were fireworks on the roof of the local church. It has definitely got me feeling in the festive mood so I thought I’d share my pick of homemade presents I’ve made for various people in the past – I have no ideas of things to make this year, so if anyone has any ideas I’m definitely looking for some inspiration!

(click on the picture for the full post)

One of the most versatile and adaptable presents you could make is a tote bag – you can applique something on it to suit the person you’re making it for. I’ve made them with a car, a strawberry and BBC’s Sherlock on for various people!

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For your tea-loving friend or relative, why not make them a tea-cup candle? You can flavour them with any essential oil – I used chocolate, mmmm.

Do you have a friend who loves lego? If so, you could make them a lego doorstop – there isn’t a huge amount of knitting involved, so you’ve still got time to make this in time for the big day!

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You could make a genuinely one-off present in the form of a scrapbook, as I did for my dad’s 65th birthday.

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For your music-loving friend or relative why not make a vinyl record clock?

For your internet-meme-loving friend or relative you’ve still got just about enough time to embroider a cushion cover 😉

thumbnail_img_1309For your friend or relative who loved cooking and baking you could make them a lovely apron – there are lots of free patterns out there. I used the one from the first Great British Sewing Bee.

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If you have a friend or relative who loves running or exercising, you could make them a useful present in the form of a running armband to hold their phone and keys while they’re out doing their thing.

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For Kids:

If you know a kid who needs entertaining while traveling (or at other times!) why not make the travel match game I made for my friend’s daughter?

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If you know a kid (or have a kid) who would like to learn about growing things, why not make them a felt allotment? (p.s. this is really, honestly, one of my very favourite things I’ve ever made – I was more excited to give it away than I think the recipient was when she opened it!)

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Why not make their favourite book into a cushion cover……..

Sarah-&-Duck-cushion-2or a wall-hanging?

Clothes are sometimes a good option for kiddies (though they will grow out of them in no time at all!) I’ve appliqued babygrows, made dungarees and made the cutest dresses with matching knickers!

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Are you making any homemade presents this year? I’m not sure I’ll have time to be brutally honest, though my sister has asked me to make her some skirts so I think that will count….if I get them made in time?!

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Homemade Christmas Presents

Usually around this time of year (i.e. after Christmas) I start posting about all the homemade gifts I’ve made for people. But this year, for the first time in about 6 years, I haven’t made anyone a present. I found this year that the run-up to Christmas was a bit stressful and it went really quickly – I had only about 4 evenings and 2 weekend days off in the month running up to Christmas! So instead of posting this year’s makes, I thought I would round-up the things I’ve made in previous years. Maybe if I start having ideas now, by next year I’ll have made a couple of things!

I’ll list these from quickest to longest to make (roughly), so you’ll have an idea of what you can complete in time if, like me, you start too late!

You can easily, and quickly, make a bowl out of a vinyl record for someone, like I did with this one for my brother-in-law.

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Or another idea for a vinyl record is to make it into a clock.

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Tea cup candles are pretty and can be flavoured – I gave mine a chocolate smell! And they’re not as scary to make as you might think!

Tea Cup Candle

You can always make clothes for someone else (and not just for yourself!) as I did with this Grainline Scout Tee for a friend, out of Strawberry fabric – Strawberries are her favourite thing!

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A good alternative to clothes is an apron, which you can customise depending on the taste of the person you’re making it for – this one is cake themed for my baking friend.

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An easy gift for any new babies in your family or friendship group is to applique some baby grows. You could do flowers or trains or other animals, or whatever the kid is into (if they’re old enough to have interests).

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If you fancy a bit more sewing, you could make a tote bag for someone, using this tutorial, with their favourite thing on – in this case BBC’s Sherlock (who’s excited for New Year’s Day!?).

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Or, also requiring a bit more sewing, you can make some baby clothes.

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If you’re not into sewing, or if you fancy a non-sewn gift, you can make a scrapbook, like this one I made for my dad’s 60th birthday.

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If you know how to knit and know someone who likes lego, what better than this knitted lego brick doorstop (with an actual brick inside).

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Again for the kiddies, maybe for older ones than the baby grows, why not make a cushion or wall hanging with their favourite book or character on?

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Probably the first thing anyone makes when they learn to knit is a scarf, so why not knit one (or more) as gifts?

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If you’ve got a bit more sewing time, and an older kid than for the cushion or wall hanging, you can make a felt allotment or a (travel) matching game. This both take a while because there’s lots of bits to make (and lots of squares to sew for the matching game!), but you can make then as complicated as you like or have time for.

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Finally, if you have lots of knitting time (in front of a boxset, perhaps?!), then you could make a rug like this one, which was based on a cushion pattern).

Round, stripy rug

Do you make Christmas presents for people? If so, how early do you start and what have been your favourite makes?

GBSB Cook’s Apron

So last week was one of my best friend’s birthday and I decided to make her the cook’s apron from the Great British Sewing Bee Book.

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I made her an apron because she makes the most amazing cakes out of anyone I actually know! Behold (cue gratuitous photos of beautiful cakes):

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She even made the cakes for her boyfriend’s sister’s wedding:

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Amazing, right?

So I figured the only thing I could do would be to buy fabric with cakes on!

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The top of the apron is lined, but due to me being an idiot and misreading my list of how much fabric I needed and therefore buying too much, I lined it with the same fabric. Which is a good job because I downloaded the pattern ages ago and it turns out they mislabelled the lining and the bib pattern pieces as each other, so it didn’t make sense. I had sewed on the waist band before I was totally confident that it was wrong. Thankfully it was easy to fix. I’ve checked and they have now corrected the pattern as far as I can see (without sticking all the pieces together again). They did make one other mistake in the pattern:

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Heh, ‘coks’. I know it shouldn’t, but this made me giggle every time I looked at it! Lamentably, they have also fixed this now.

There isn’t really much to say about the pattern or construction – it’s pretty straight forward. It doesn’t need fitting, so just cut it out and away you go.

I used some really nice soft cotton from the same shop in Goldhawk Road as I got the cake fabric from for the straps and ties and I got some blue spotty bias binding. I quite like how it all matches without being too matchy-matchy.

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The only thing I would change, would be to get softer bias binding. This stuff was a bit thick, so it made the ruffle at the bottom a bit stiff.

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This might be the neatest top stitching I’ve ever done, btw!

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And the finished article:

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Book: Great British Sewing Bee

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been obsessed with The Great British Sewing Bee! So much so, that as soon as I knew there was going to be a book, I had to get it. The advantage of working in a bookshop, is that I can get sneaky free books from the publishers sometimes. I may have done that with this book……

Jacket

There are definitely a few patterns that I want to make in here!

The boyfriend shirt: (I especially love the fabric choice and styling!)

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This tea dress is really cute – again good styling!

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This camisole is cute. Not sure it’s my style, but I might give it a go once day.

IMAG0571I like this apron, might be a good thing to make as presents for people.

IMAG0569I love the hacking jacket that Lauren made in the show! Definitely going to give this one a go! And maybe in exactly the same fabric……

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This top is pretty – I’m always  sucker for a peter pan collar!

IMAG0572The patterns are all printable PDFs, downloadable from the Quadrille website. I’ve printed off all the patterns I think I might make, now I just have to tape them all together…..