Thanks to Quadrille, today I'm reviewing The Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric and giving away a copy to one lucky reader in the UK! Although I can't compare it to the books from the first two series of the popular BBC show - I don't own them - I can tell you that I'm pretty impressed with it as a standalone book.
As I had a bit of 'free' time on my hands, I decided to make a project from the book for a well-rounded review. Predictably, my love of vintage drew me to the Walkaway Dress - based on Butterick 6015 from 1952 - which featured as one of the challenges in Episode 3. Look out for a full reveal of my dress soon!
I found the instructions to be well illustrated, but a little lacking on the written explanation part. The book isn't aimed at beginners and does make assumptions that the reader has a good understanding of basic techniques. However, it provides excellent guides to Core Skills like setting in sleeves, inserting an invisible zip, shirring, and many more.
Overall, it's an excellent reference book covering topics like common sewing terms, choosing fabrics, how to use the patterns, and basic hand sewing stitches. It also contains some great tips for equipment, as it explores the use of more challenging fabrics.
In fact, its exploration of challenging fabrics is one of the book's greatest strengths. It's broken down into four fabric categories - cottons, wool and other animal fibres, stretch fabrics, luxury fabrics - each category complete with a comprehensive breakdown of types of fabric, as well as a super useful glossary.
If you're like me, you'll be pleased to know that the whopping 30 projects on offer are all of the dressmaking kind! There's so many of them that they even come in a separate slipcase! The bad news is that you have to trace them out (eurgh!!!), but the good news is that each pattern sheet is clearly labelled with the projects it contains (phew!!!).
Undoubtedly, the best part of this book is the variety of desirable and wearable projects on offer. There's literally something for everyone, whether you're a selfish or selfless stitcher. There's also enough choice to strike the delicate balance between enticing a beginner and challenging someone more experienced.
If you're a UK resident, this is your chance to win a free copy of Fashion With Fabric! Just leave a comment and your email address below by midnight GMT on Thursday 12 March. I'll then pick a winner at random and the good people at Quadrille will do the rest!