Tag Archives: Reading

Book: Great British Sewing Bee 2

So I know I’m way behind the times, since the series has been over for weeks now, but I’m sharing the second Great British Sewing Bee Book with you today. I got a copy free from work (one of the perks of working in a bookshop is not only cheap, but sometimes free books!). I think I enjoyed the second series of the Sewing Bee a bit less than the first, partly because I felt like some of the challenges were hard for the sake of being hard – but maybe they had to do that as they can’t make the same things in every series. And although I enjoyed the no pattern week, it kind of irritated me that it was a bit Project Runway and that I would imagine the majority of home-sewers do use patterns always.

Anyway, these were small niggles, and the patterns that come with the book are pretty good – and you get printed pattern sheets with this book instead of having to print and stick the downloadable ones like with the first book.

I think the first book had a pencil skirt in, but I prefer the one in this book. Maybe I’m just drawn to the pink and the spots!?


I really love the 1930s blouse that they made and have it traced already to make!


I also thought the baby dungarees they made were really sweet, and I was so glad the pattern was included in the book. I have already made these for my nephew (who turned 1 the weekend before last!). I’ll be posting the full details later in the week.


I also love this bowling shirt – it seems quite rare to be able to find a bowling shirt pattern. I think it could also double up as a Hawaiian shirt pattern – I have some gorgeous, genuine Hawaiian fabric that I desperately wanted to make into this shirt, but there’s only about a metre and even with a contrasting collar and cuffs, I can’t get the pattern pieces to fit, boo 😦


I’m thrilled that they included the pattern for Tamara’s 1960s coat! I would definitely not use the same fabric as her as that stuff looked like a bitch to sew with, but I really love the 60s and this coat is a really nice shape. I’m determined to make a coat at some point, so maybe this will be the pattern?


Another Grainline Scout Tee, but this time with a collar!

Before Christmas (I know, I know, I’m so behind with my posts!) I made myself another Grainline Scout Tee. I had quite a bit of the (slightly horrible) shiny navy blue fabric left over from my Gertie Bow-Tied Blouse, and I thought it would make a perfect Scout Tee with peter pan collar. I used the collar from the Emery Dress as the basis for my collar, turning it from the pointed collar to the peter pan collar by rounding the edges, as she mentions you can do in the Emery Sewalong. I already had my Emery dress cut out, hoping to get it done for the sewalong deadline (but shamefully I actually finished it yesterday – YESTERDAY! Now I need to find time to photograph it..), so I held up the collar to one of my existing Scout Tees and thought ‘yeah, that looks like it will fit’. I just had to make the collar a little longer, otherwise it wouldn’t have met at the back. I should have realised, though, that it wasn’t that simple. What I should have done was used one of any number of tutorials on drafting a peter pan collar, including in Gertie’s book, and made one from scratch. The collar is too big along it’s outside edge for the neckline of the Scout tee, so it sticks out and ripples. I have fudged it a bit at the back, taking a tuck out of each side where they meet so that the collar tapers to be thinner, taking out some of the rippling. I also sewed the collar down, just next to the neckline to stop it sticking out so much, but I have since unpicked it as I didn’t love how it looked.

Having said all that, I still love it and wear it quite a lot, but I’m sure once I’ve got more me-made things in my wardrobe and I get better at sewing (hopefully!), it will be relegated to a no longer worn pile!


Looking at the top in photos, the collar does look a bit bum-like! Ooops! Still don’t care!


You can see the fudging at the back here.


Looking at the photo, and having just read Lauren’s post about her fitting issues with the Emery Dress, I really have to start sorting out my narrow back issue – what’s the point of making your own clothes if they fit as badly as any RTW crap?


I french seamed all the seams, as with my previous versions of the Scout Tee, which makes it looks all pretty inside and was really necessary for this synthetic monstrosity of a fabric, which frayed like a bitch!


Book: A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book

If you haven’t already discovered the blog A Beautiful Mess, you should check it out now. It’s written by 2 sisters and has posts on crafts, fashion, interior design and recipes. And it looks great – it’s part of the reason I’ve been trying to improve the look of my blog, all-be-it very slowly!

The other thing about A Beautiful Mess, is they love photography and have written a book of tips for taking good photographs: A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book. It’s already out in American but doesn’t come out until November in the UK, so I ordered a copy of it from American because I didn’t want to wait!


As you could hopefully tell from the photos in my previous post, on my first Grainline Studio Scout Tee, I’ve been trying out some of their tips. Some of them are so simple, I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of them before! I’ve been trying to find good places to take the photos of the clothes I make, and I had never thought of sticking some fabric to the wall to make the backdrop more interesting! I’m still going to try to hunt around my neighbourhood for good walls/ fences/ doors but for now, and while it’s too cold to go outside anyway, I can take pictures indoors that don’t all have to have a boring white wall behind them!


I also think I’ll give the paper backdrop a try when photographing food.


I really like this blackboard paint backdrop idea, it looks really good – especially with these particular cakes!


I also tried some of their tips on photographing a collection. I spent ages trying to take a good picture of some of my wool, but I think it’s quite difficult to photograph wool! Maybe I need more practice….


There are loads more technical tips (like focusing on something unexpected or how to use filters and lighting) and artistic tips (like how to style people and use colours) and a section in the back about what to use your printed photos for. I’m going to carry on practicing and hopefully my pictures will improve! You can check out the blog for loads more photography tips too.