Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric. Inside the book + project


Hello friends,

Can you believe the final of GBSB is already 12th March? Only two episodes left to watch. I think it has been another fun series and it's always great to see sewing promoted on TV. As with previous years this series is also accompanied by a sewing book and I got all the deeds for you.

Spoiler & Disclaimer: If you haven't watched GBSB series 3 you probably don't want to see this projects just yet!  The book was a courtesy from the publishers so I can share my own personal opinions with you. I know the author and some of the team involved in this book so I have high expectations (and some love!)


How this book differs from the first two books?

The first two were written by Tessa Evelegh, a lifestyle journalist and +20 books writer.
Fashion with Fabric was written by Claire-Louise Hardie, a trained costume designer and sewing producer the show. She runs a dressmaking course in London.

The first GBSB book was more about setting the scene along with the TV program. A lot of information on starting to sew. The projects are a mix of home decor, men and woman patterns. 
GBSB Book 1 in-depth review here

The second GBSB book came with 5 full size patterns accompanied by master class sewing techniques. My favourite projects were the 1960's coat and Anorak. Chapters  divided by Fabric, FIT, and Finish. No home decor and projects started to get more challenging. Yeah!

Both books are well presented, have good information and inspiration. So what's new? Series 3 book just got much better and it's safe to say it's my favourite of all. 

Sewing books have limited amount of space. Publishers & readers want loads of projects. There so much to talk about each project/subject. Like with many craft magazines, sometimes pattern instructions get omitted, mainly assuming the reader has some previous understanding but sometimes on the editing process. This book seems to use the pages well making room for the pattern instructions to be more detailed and has less of "starter content". You know, the content that once you read in one sewing book you don't look at it again. 


Fashion with Fabric has all the expected "how to" use patterns, basic sewing skills etc. The book has 30 projects (yeah) and patterns are full size (yeah yeah). Patterns come in an extra pattern pack folder like the second book. 

All patterns fit on 5 sheets which come overlapped. Tracing is required! I use Waitrose's own brand of greaseproof paper but you can use any paper. If you use swedish tracing paper you can sew to test the fit. The texture it's like coffee filters and it's very durable.


Patterns names are easily identified on the top of each sheet. They are also colour coded. Note that all pieces may not be presented in the same sheet. 


Pattern size range comes both in metric and imperial: Women// Size 8 (83cm: 65 cm: 92 cm) to Size 20 (116 cm: 98 cm:123cm). Men size range 34 to 44


Breakdown of patterns by chapters.

Chapter 1: Cotton
Sleeves shell top// Button back blouse
Capri trousers
Girl's shirred elastic dress// Shirred elastic maxi dress
Walkway dress
Jumpsuit// Casual Trousers
Camisole top
men's corgo short
Vintage curtain maxi skirt

Chapter 2 : Wool and other animal fibres.
Silk woven tee
Shift dress
Leather jacket/ Tweed and faux leather jacket
Men's kilt


Chapter 3: Stretch Fabric
Drapey knit dress/ Sleeved stripy knit dress
3 hour slouchy cardigan/ Woven kimono
Kid's board shorts
Men's classic t-shirt
Elephant ballerina


Chapter 4: Luxury Fabric
Lace pencil skirt/ Tweed A line mini skirt
Vintage inspired blouse/ Sleeveless collared blouse
Corset gown/ Denim bustier top
Double layered skirt

What I loved?
The patterns are modern, have a good variation of techniques.
No home decor (don't get me wrong, I love crafting but in separate books)
Not much filler of "really basic of sewing" but enough to be someone's first sewing book
Relevant information on fabrics before each chapter
Quality of the illustrations
Art and photography
Finish garment measurements (so helpful to pick the right size)
Good mixture of easy to intermediate patterns and enough challenging projects to build up skills.

What I wish the book had it ?
Technical drawings.  I love design lines and it helps with my pattern hacks.
More pictures of each pattern, side and back version.

So, what did I made from the book? I made secret pyjamas home outfit a.k.a Casual Trousers.  


Only took me an 1 hour to make. This is such an easy pattern. I love making trousers and was looking for an easy project in between pattern testing. This is actually the bottom part of  the jumpsuit. the Jumpsuit and the leather jacket are my favourite projects on the book.


Size 8. I used a stable knit (Gleeful by Sew Caroline for Art Gallery Fabrics) and worked well. The waist and hips have a lot of ease but perfect for woven fabric recommended. I added an extra 3cm  hem. 

I could adjust the fit on the waist and hips but it's so comfortable and perfect for big lunches. This must be the most perfect sewing-day outfit, ever. 


I found a very small error. The lay plan for the casual trousers have you cut the waistband in a long pattern piece along side the trousers (grainline) but the actually pattern piece is smaller and cut on fold. I think they must have changed the configuration of pattern pieces to fit on the sheets and that small change got overlooked on the lay plan. Nothing major. Pattern fits perfectly.

What's on your sewing table right now? And who are you cheering for the GBSB final?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two Tone Yona


So what to make when you are dreaming about the change in season but the weather is still cold ? A transitional piece that not only still keeps the cold at bay but adds that nautical feel associated with the arrival of spring.


And nothing says 'welcome spring' as navy and cream! Right? Add a floral lining and we could almost smell the bluebells!  


At least the daffodils are out.

The pattern was a courtesy from Indie Sew. They recently just celebrated having 100 independent patterns over their roof. I'm really delighted to collaborate with them. 


I will be picking a pattern of my choice once in a while and share the finished item with you. All opinions will remain my own. I'm quite excited to try new to me designers but for our first collaboration I picked the Yona, is a loose fitting / boyfriend style coat. 


Named patterns work for me pretty much straight from the envelope //size 38. The only change was adding 3 cm on the sleeve hems and breaking the pattern up to create a two tone coat. 


I love their clean Scandinavian style and been making a lot of their patterns. The recent ones been  Tala, Mai and Shadi. 

If you are new to coat making you will find raglan styles a lot easier and fun to sew. Just remember to pre-skrink your wool.  I did but unfortunately my patch pockets got slight shrunk on the final press.

I made this coat in two long sewing sessions. It's was quite quick to put together. The instructions aren't very compressive because of the level of knowledge that it assumes has but I didn't encountered any issue making this coat. I really actually really enjoyed the whole process.


Fabric: the beige wool c/c Minerva for the blogging network. The navy wool melton and the cotton lining are from my stash. 

To make the pattern more interesting I sewn a contrasting piping between my lining and my facings and added a ticket size pocket on the inside.


I used soft tailoring techniques as per Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas Nordheim and I will write all in detail on another post. 


Changing subject: I got a new camera lens and I think the out-of-focus issue I was having is sort of solved. I'm much happier how sharp the pictures look. Even when they show how bad my hands are suffering from chilblains and recovering from a cold. I'm not built for the cold weather. Spring please arrive soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Awkward situations...


Pins fall out when you remove your jacket at busy public places. 

Pins tangled on your hair without you noticing and your friends got to point it out...

You hear a loud Ouch from the other room- "why there are pins in my shoes/ dressing gown pockets".

When you see random people walking over full of threads you been leaving/ transferring behind after you made your food order.

Have sewing ever put any awkward situation? Do share..

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sweet sweet shorts


Hello friends,

What to do when sewing a crop top and you cannot find the right zipper? A.k.a the elusive 17 cm open ended invisible zipper. Your brain is filled with solutions. Turn it into a dress, a jumpsuit etc?  Placed in that dilemma when making this embroidery bustier  I lay on my sewing room floor ( I do that often) and immersed into the sea of patterns from the stash.


If you need inspiration, just browse your collection.. you end up wanting to sew everything. It's terrible for when you want to keep up your sewing plans but terribly good for upping your sewing motivation.

Have loved the first version in a very wearable denim, I picked Pattern Runway sweet scallop shorts. When a pattern is winning, why not repeat it, right? Specially when a scrap of black crepe de chine you been hoarding would suit it perfectly.


Fabric talk, shawl we?
Crepe de chine can be mainly found in two weights: fine and medium. It drapes beautifully but be warned. If improperly pressed your project is ruined. Also don't forget this fabric rips/mark so easily. When pinning I try to keep within seam allowance. 

Essential supplies: I used a very sharp needle size 70, lightweight black interfacing, and damp cloth/medium heat iron.

Workroom tips: Steam it to pre shirk. Use basting thread to mark the right side with an X and trace darts. Set your pins paralleled to the selvage. To avoid the imprints on the scallops I exchanged the overlocker/serger finish for pinking sheers.


As you know, the jumpsuit never was but I had all my pieces cut and interfaced ready to sew on top of my WIP/UFO pile. With my coat almost finished (YAY) I had an urged to move to a simple/quick project and delightfully sew it during an evening. FYI: Used size Small 

Pattern changes:



Details shoots:

Pokadot cotton for the waist facing. Did you know that we call it 'petit poa' in Portuguese. There are a lot of words derived from French. Specially fashion related.



Have a lovely weekend, let me know what you are up to!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What I am wearing: Tweed (handmade)+ leather


Hello friends,

For a while I been thinking to have "what I am wearing" feature and share how my handmade clothes get used in my day- to-day. Making clothes is a fantastic hobby but they need to stand the test of time and use. 


For the first one I dig deep into my closet to share a Chanel style tailored tweed jacket I made back in 2011. I was taking drafting/couture classes in Brazil during the months I was recovering from a back operation. The jacket was partially made during the course and at home using mom's mini Janome.


It was made to measure (draft to sew) and altho the fit is not as perfect as when I first made it (body changed a little in the last 4 years), it remains good and I like wearing, specially when I'm layering up other coats on top.  The wool is warm but thin.


It's hard not to wear only black during winter and Camel lightens up the look. I have recently bought 2 midi/ long-ish circle skirts. Not a look that ever made part of my 'uniforms' or I wear often but recently I decided to have a go and found that they easily incorporated with the clothes I already own.


I like trying new styles from time to time. How about you, have you been trying something new? 


A bit of a librarian vibe? Cute nonetheless. 



Beyond all the tailoring techniques used this project was also my first fully lined garment.  


I have to say this jacket taught me so much. My instructor was quite fierce. Baste Baste Baste. She would say. Twice I tried to trick her and not baste a seam and she would make me unpick. Her lessons would be a great post of quotes. Maybe one day....