Sunday, 2 March 2014

Great British Sewing Bee inspiration

Well to say the last 2+ weeks have been interesting is an overstatement, they have been horrendous. I had flu again, the second time this winter...the "can't get out of bed or attempt to open eyes or sleep or do anything" flu. I was off work for two weeks but I went back on Thursday knowing I then had three days off before my next shift tomorrow.  I only started knitting again on Wednesday, which was also the first day I managed to be up for more than an hour or two. What a relief I can do something again.

The only other thing I have done in those two weeks was manage to get up to watch the first two episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC2 aka GBSB. I love it. Like everyone else I want to see if I can still make clothes, I haven't made clothing in 20+ years as it was impossible finding fabric and expensive. Just like other hobbies, the internet has revolutionised the supplies available, the inspiration and the resources (many of which are free) available. I used to love my O level dressmaking classes at school and sewing at home too.

One very inspiring lady is "Tilly and the Buttons" who was on last year's GBSB....she now designs patterns and writes books and her inspirational blog. I love her Coco pattern which is a classic breton tunic with variations in cotton interlock fabric. I have never sewn with stretch fabrics and I want to have a go. I have scoured online, but the only fabric I can find suitable that I like is nearly £20 a metre!! That makes Boden look cheap. Yesterday I called in at Fabricland in Bristol, what an almighty load of tat, unless you want to make costumes for dance schools or theatre productions. I have resorted to sending off for samples from London shops enclosing stamped addressed envelopes that appear to have the stock, but don't have functioning websites. Antiquated and cute or just backward and annoying? So frustrating, I may be giving up before I get back into dressmaking at this rate. I know keeping a website up to date is hard work, but I did it with 1000s products for 8 years so I know it can be done.

I managed to make Get Knitted's knitting group on Friday morning, a huge tonic after being ill. I had cabin fever, but at least I was capable of having cabin fever! After knitting therapy with friends, I was driven to John Lewis by a lovely knitting friend and I bought some fabric, and I'm going to make a dress from the GBSB book that has lots of patterns in it. the material is a light cotton denim linen look.
Do I make this dress?
Shift Dress - pic from book
or this dress?
Skater Dress - pic from book
I am thinking the bottom one would be better in a stretch fabric, like Tilly's Coco, to wear with leggings. I canvassed my girls and they have given me a decision, it's interesting the bodices are identical and I could put the sleeves on the shift dress.

I am really inspired to make practical and different clothing that means I can still be active.....and I can wear whilst cycling as really I hate being seen wearing lycra, I'd like to be able to cycle into Bristol and be decent when I get there, not embarrassed!

Definitely a case of watch this space! Has anyone else been inspired to give making clothes a go again, or for the first time? I just hope the fabric sourcing problem doesn't continue to frustrate me and I give up again before getting started.


  1. Cannot wait to see you dress. I too loved my o level class and sewing since has been bags, pieces for the house and not much else. I love the GBSB and am close to being inspired to start again soon. Wishing you lots of luck and a speedy recovery

    1. Thanks Selma, I was the same having only made curtains and the odd bit of patchwork the last 20 years. Only 2 days until the next episode!

  2. Look forward to seeing your dress. I recently made a skirt with a zip, first one in over 3 decades lol

    1. I watch GBSB knowing I have done nearly all the techniques shown, but I will be a bag of nerves doing my first zip or buttonholev in 20+ years. Well done you, I aspire to your talents.

  3. Sorry to hear you've been ill, hope you're feeling better now. I like the skater dress best - more room to move about in!!!!! I'm like you, I sew in straight lines, love the Sewing Bee, but I'll stay knitting on the sofa I think.

  4. HI Fiona
    Oh poor you, proper flu is so horrid, make sure you give yourself time to get better.
    Love your sewing plans. definitely the second pattern I think, gorgeous little dress and would be really useful I think.
    Funnily enough I have had a few little bursts on the sewing machine in the last year - definitely inspired by TGBSB ! Wouldn't you just love to be allowed to help yourself from their amazing fabrics and buttons and ribbons etc etc etc !!
    Have a good week,
    Kate x

    1. A 'help yourself' material/habby shop would be fabulous! I am relatively ok now thank you, a week on light duties makes 3 weeks since it started!

  5. Hi Fiona, I vote for the second dress, it's so swingy and cute! Get well fast.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)


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