Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee

(Sorry to my overseas readers for another post based on the new upcoming T.V. program from the U.K.)
My book arrived in the post today, so I thought I would share a few photos of the end papers and the contents page.
(Not giving away too much, as I don't want to spoil it for you, if you were thinking of getting the book yourselves)

The contestants are photographed beautifully in the book, but they only appear on the back cover, the end papers, a montage page near the back and another double spread after the title page.  Apart from these, there are no further pictures from the T.V. program, and not a lot of content about the show itself.  There is no hint given about the results of the T.V. show at all, which is a good thing.  That way I'll enjoy watching everybody's progress.
Here is a link to the BBC contestant profiles.
The back of the dust cover

I hope you recognise the lovely Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons sewing blog.  I am so excited to see a sewing blogger in print!

One of the projects published in the book
Here are the montage photos of the contestants.  There are only a few, but beautifully photographed.

This one has a nice photo of Lauren, another sewing blogger from Guthrie & Ghani

To give you an idea of the kind of book this is, here is a photo of the contents page.

It has a whopping 28 projects included in the book!  
The pattern pieces for the first project - a Tunic dress - come with the book and are ready to be used.
For most of the other projects the pattern pieces can be downloaded and printed, or you can take the book to a photocopier and increase the pattern drawings by the stated % or if you are really clever you could scale up the drawings onto dressmaker's squared paper, as the pattern pieces are drawn onto graph paper in the book.
If you were thinking of getting the book, do feel free to ask me any questions before you purchase.

Disclaimer:  I purchased this book myself at retail price, and am not affiliated with either the T.V. show, the publishers or the authors in any way at all.  I took these photos of the book myself, and all original images belong to Quadrille Publishing.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

My Very Own Lunch Bag

I recently fell in love with a few small pieces of fabric  called fat quarters, and I didn't really know what I was going to do with them, I just knew they had to be mine.  (Fat quarters are squares of fabric that are roughly a quarter of a metre square)
Then I received a link from fellow sewing blogger gMarie and knew immediately that this project would definitely allow my new little pieces of fabric to sing!

Lunch bag Tutorial from Ayumi at the Pink Penguin.

Ayumi's tutorial is a lunch bag that is just the right shape to hold those small, square lunch boxes with all the little compartments inside them (Bento Boxes).  It could be used for other things too of course - holding a hand stitching or crafty project, a little person's bag of treasures, to pop into your bicycle basket when cycling down to the village...etc.
But My Very Own Lunch Bag will be used for taking my (healthy) lunch to work.  And here it is!
Yay!  I found a use for those lovely vintage ladies as well as the Kaffe Fassett cabbage fabric on the handles.
It took about a half hour of careful cutting with my rotary cutter to get all the pieces ready, then it took a couple of hours following Ayumi's tutorial step-by-step to create my very own lunch bag.  I am confident that it would take far less time if I were to do it again.
The bag has a drawstring cover to keep dust out
and would keep my lunch from falling out,
 if I tip the bag over in transit.

Hope you can read the novelty ribbon in this photo.  Such fun!
This photo also shows my one mistake - a little inserted pleat because I didn't pin.
Here is the second one I have made - this one will be a gift.

Do you ever find you just HAVE to add one of these small pieces of fabric to your shopping basket?

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Claiming bloglovin' etc, not sure why.

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The Great British Sewing Bee

We now have a day, date, time and channel in which to see this new BBC TV show!
Tuesday April 2nd, 8pm on BBC2.

I am so excited!

It only has 4 episodes, so two people are out of the show each episode, which is a shame.
There is a lovely article written in the Daily Mail about it, if you click here.  
To whet your appetite, here is a quote from the article by Patrick, one of the judges:

‘There are certain things in life that are inalienable facts: we need to eat and society dictates that we have to wear clothes every day,’ says Patrick. ‘Most people can manage some kind of cooking, but the fact that nobody knows how to make clothes is very sad.
‘Human beings naturally enjoy the process of making things. There’s a creative gene in all of us, whether it’s for baking or sewing or something else. When we’re children we make things all the time, but when we become adults we spend most of our time on a computer.

Read more:

Love Productions

And here are the contestants!

Presenters and contestants (L-R) Lauren Guthrie, Tilly Walnes, Jane Lake, Mark Sanders, Stuart Hillard, Patrick Grant, Claudia Winkleman, May Martin, Michelle Osbourne Matthiasson, Sandra Lavender, Anne Rowley

Here is a link to the contestant profiles on the BBC website.
The oldest contestant in the show is the amazing Anne Rowley, who is in her 80s!  What an amazing woman, and so kind to want to share her skills and love of stitching with all of us.  Her brother has said that the contestants have a contract that says they can't tell anything about the show at all, so I won't put any pressure on any of them to give us any tips or comments.
But what I will say is a BIG THANK YOU to them for opening up their lives and themselves.  I'm sure this will motivate more people to pick up a needle and hopefully to appreciate all the work that goes into their RTW garments.

That's my April Tuesday nights scheduled! (I DO hope it is good - the article says Claudia, the presenter was dancing about making them all feel a upbeat...urgh)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

WIP updates

Having finished my course of antibiotics I do feel I'm back to my normal self this week, and have hopefully kicked this bout of tonsillitis.  I've got a busy week at work ahead, with a lot of "best foot forward" expected of me, which will be a little extra pressure, so I'm just taking one day at a time.
So to give myself some me-time, I've done a bit of catching-up at Nessa's Place this week.  Here are three WIPs (works in progress) that I've updated today:

W.I.P. 1

On and off (mostly off) I am working on some hand sewing. (I tend to occupy myself with this when the mother-in-law comes to tea) It is a hand appliqued and patchworked quilt, designed by Anni Downs.  It is going to be a lovely big wall hanging quilt for our stairwell.
Today I finally finished the fourth 20" x 20" square! This large flower pot has been a bit of a nightmare - I have not enjoyed the fiddliness of the stalk and stems at all, and I think it has taken so long to do, simply because I was putting it off.

This quilt is a Block of the Month (BOM) idea called In My Garden, and was supposed to have been finished by November 2012 but oh well, life is busy. I do like it and shall keep going with it (on and off).
Actually it is quite nice to spend an hour getting the fabric and little pieces all ready and pack it all into a little project bag, ready for picking up and taking anywhere to do a little hand stitching whenever I feel the need.  I think I enjoy this preparing work quite a lot actually... I've posted about the joy of preparation before.

W.I.P. 2

On our last holiday to the Isle of Skye I bought some materials to make a small wall-hanging quilt inspired by the colours and the landscape.  Well, I have done absolutely nothing on that since the last time I mentioned it.  Could have done a bit today but I didn't feel like it.  You know how some days one project seems more fun to do than the one you know you should do?  Well today just wasn't Skye quilt's day.

But we also bought some Harris Tweed remnants that were on sale in a knitting shop.  (Harris Tweed is made in people's homes on the Island of Harris, off the west coast of Scotland, and it is lovely)  I have pressed the pieces and cut them into workable lengths, all prepared and ready to be made into cushions for our lounge room.

W.I.P. 3

As part of House of Pinheiro's International Craft Swap, I am also working on something crafty to give to my  Pinheiro-paired partner.  Just in case she reads this post, I won't mention what I am thinking of making for her just yet, but here is a sneaky peak at some of the things I just might be using to make it. 

The idea is to make something with a Nautical theme to suit my paired-up partner, and she will make something Nautical for me.  We're supposed to use things from our stash, but I didn't have anything nautical so I got a few things at the recent Stitching exhibition in Glasgow and the Quilt show that was in Edinburgh.

I'd be interested to know what you would make from these lovely fabrics and ribbons?

Monday, 11 March 2013

and it's Tonsillitis for me!

I went to the Glasgow SECC to see the International Craft and Hobby Fair on Saturday.
I went with a card-making friend and she was thrilled at seeing an entire exhibition hall full to the brim with traders all focused on card making.  I looked around with her but of course I was just itching to get into the other exhibition hall for stitchers!

There were lots of cross-stitch and embroidery stalls, lots of patchwork and a few knitting stalls.
Only one stand had bolts of dressmaking fabrics, so I got these:

The red one is quilting cotton that I will make into the godets of a red skirt.  I don't have a pattern yet, but this fabric knows what it wants to be.  I love how the wild flowers get smaller and smaller the further up the fabric they go.
I knew immediately that the green lawn and the white/blue/red chiffon-like fabric would become the blouse from Butterick 5692.  I just love it when the material knows what it wants to be!

I am also planning to make a quilt for a niece as a house-warming gift in blues, so here are some of the fabrics I bought for that quilt:

The greens won't be going into the quilt, but they came with the selection of blues as a pack, but I don't mind as green is my favourite colour and i will definitely be able to find a happy home for them.  The brown fat quarter with the vintage ladies I bought on a whim really and have no idea what I will do with those pretty gals - probably a gift.

So that was Saturday... then I woke up on Sunday, with lots of sewing intentions, and had a very sore throat and very little ability to swallow or even move for that matter.  I was so achey all over that I took the day off work and went to the Doctors today.
Turns out I have tonsillitis.
Now I am on bed rest, paracetomol and antibiotics.  Hopefully I'll be back to work by Friday.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee

...I'd read a few hints... but now it's in print... The rumours are true!!!  
...but maybe you already knew about this?  
(I've always been a few steps behind when it comes to anything popular)

There is a new TV show supposed to be airing this month (April 2nd) on BBC2 over here in the UK.
It is a competition program made by the creators of "The Great British Bake Off" - which was a fun and inspiring program! (albeit about baking)
Here is a link to a recent blog post about the release date and the contestants.
Here is a link to some photos I took of the contestants that are printed inside the book.
Here is a link to a radio interview with the author of the book discussing the TV show with an author of a 1950s housewife book.  (The interview starts at 14:00 and goes for 6 minutes)
Here is the link to the Radio Times magazine article about it.
A BBC source told the Radio Times: "We had such success with The Great British Bake Off that we wanted to see just how creative Britain could be. We feel that sewing could become the new national pastime."
"The series will represent a version of the already successful series The Great British Bake Off and it will be broadcast in March-April 2013."
Amazon already has the tie-in book listed
(but not available for purchase yet)
Apparantly it will go for 4 weeks, with 8 contestants, and will show different skills like embroidery, tailoring, customising, quilting, accessories, etc.  And they're even doing a WWII Make do and Mend episode!

I am a bit surprised that they feel it will be a TV show that creates the "new national pastime" when really sewing has always been a hobby of so many people for a very long time.  If any technology is responsible for a new generation of stitchers then it would definitely be social media and blogland.
But it will be so much fun to watch people with real sewing skill take part in some of these challenges.  
We previously had a different TV show on that tried to "inspire the nation." It was hosted by a very talkative and likable lady so you would think it would be fab, but she had no skills herself and was always bumbling and struggling with every new skill introduced to her.

I CAN'T WAIT to see some skillful sewing on TV ...hmmm, I also wonder if anyone that we know/read and love here in blogland will be featured in the show?  Oh I do hope so!

Reality TV though?
I hope this will be as good as the Bake Off program.  These days so many competition-style reality programs are cruel and negative.  The Bake Off show was supportive and encouraging towards the contestants and the judges always wanted to share their skills and help the viewers and contestants to learn.  Certainly sounds like the online sewing community to me!

Monday, 4 March 2013

McCall's 6713

It's finished at last!  The clear elastic that I'd been waiting for arrived today, so I got it home and sewed it in very quickly, then got my Mister to drive me up the road to take these lovely photos.  I almost feel like a Highlander with the tartan effect and the sheep in the Glen behind me.
This pattern has a few tricky parts to it, but the instructions and diagrams make it very easy to follow.
McCall's 6713
Walking in the woods
Obviously mine looks nothing like the one on the cover of the pattern envelope, but that's just me.  I chose view A, the dress on the envelope with the A-line skirt but with long sleeves.
I really like the draping flap at the front, and it feels so floaty to walk in too.
This was my first ever attempt at sewing with knits and I am quite pleased with myself!
I used a post from Lladybird and a post from 3 hours past for help and tips.

I also followed a suggestion from gMarie about using clear elastic around the neckline, but now that I see the finished neckline, perhaps I was getting too far ahead of myself.  After all, gMarie is quite proficient at sewing with knits.  Maybe I should have just followed the rules and lined the dress instead.  Especially as this fabric is new to me.  The neckline is cut on the diagonal and my goodness does it stretch!!  The clear elastic definitely helped bring it more snugly against my body, but the way I've done it, it has some slight gathers and looks a bit pouchy and puckered.
Here you can see the puckery way I've stitched the clear elastic to the neckline.  Also the drape is falling to the left so is exposing the front seam where it joins to the dress - you can't see this when standing though.
I really like the way the draped part hangs and falls in little pleats. 
My model pose!
Detail close up.

I think I will make this dress again, but I'll be a good beginner and stick to the rules from now on.  

P.S.  It was a very cold afternoon today, and although I couldn't wait to put my coat back on, this material was surprisingly warm-ish.  Could easily just pop a polo-neck underneath and it would be very suitable for work in this weather.

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