Who’s already missing the Sewing Bee? Who’s missing clever clever Chinelo and lovely Sheila? Oh and Claudia, I can never get enough Claudia. Fret not as there are two lovely Sewing Bee related books out this Spring to help fill the Patrcik shaped hole. Already on bookshelves is The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Your Own Wardrobe (surely a contender for the longest book title of the year award, lets call it GBSBSYOW from now on) and out next week is Season 1 contender Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch.
When I first saw the GBSBSYOW book I was excited that you got a free pack of patterns but slightly confused as I thought it meant that you got only patterns for 5 of the garments in the book; What if I didn’t want to make any of the 5 garments chosen? I don’t necessarily need a teddy bear onsie or a prom dress but I would like to imagine one day I will make the beautiful 1950’s coat. Fortunately it doesn’t mean this at all (which you lot probably gathered), fortunately you get all the pattern pieces for all the garments. Granted on first look they do seem a touch confusing but once you zone in on what you’re making then all is cool.
As I only had a couple of hours spare I chose one of the easier projects, the Simple T, literally a front and a back and some bias binding. The book suggests using a polyester crepe but I thought this a good opportunity to use one of my many many hoarded offcuts of fabric. I used a beautiful bird print silky chiffony thing (which was a bit of a pig to cut but falls well AND folds up to nothing so perfect for summer holiday packing!).
I traced the relevent pattern pieces onto some newsprint and set to work. The instructions were clear and the book is full of helpful tips and tricks. I’ve never finished a top using bias binding for every raw edge and I love it, it’s such an easy way to make a neat edge, I will definitely use this method again. The blue of the binding was so pretty that I wanted to leave it on show (the book gives instructions for doing it like this and hiding it completely).
I think this will now be my new summer top shape of choice and I am planning on making many more. I reckon that by just extending the length of the top and making a belt I can create a cute summer dress … I’ll let you know how I get on.
The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Your Own Wardrobe (£25) is published by Quadrille Craft. For more information click here
Tilly Walnes Love at First Stich (£20) is also published by Quadrille and is out on the 8th of May. For more information click here
I have a friend. Elias is his name and socialnesting.com is his
game blog. Whenever we get together a mutual love/craft in happens and we coo over each others latest projects and ideas. He popped over at the weekend for lunch and a gossip (bringing a delicious plum and almond pudding – ignore his opinion of it on his blog post here as it was truely yummy).
Here is an excerpt from our chat …
With her fourth solo book (seventh when you add three collabs), a busy career as fashion-bible designer and a house in transition towards craft wonderland, Christine Leech takes time to talk to Social Nesting about getting fresh, her favourite kit and channeling Snow White, South-London style…
Hi Christine. How are you?
I’m well, thank you. I’m trying to impress you with the one and only posh salad I can make but failing miserably as I don’t know how to make this salad dressing.
Forget dressing. You are not allowed to be good at everything.
Now, did you ever dream that you would be the reason that people are getting busy with their hands? Not in a rude way, of course, but with glue and scissors and ink…
Not at all! It’s so lovely that I have been able to share my ideas with people. If I wasn’t writing my books I would be making all these things anyway. It just so nice that they are getting a wider audience and I have a greater reason for doing them.
Your latest book, Fresh Prints, is deceptively not about how Will Smith’s life got flipped (turned upside-down), but about tackling printing at home. Did you purposely set out to fool the public? (I am kidding, of course)
I think that is my most favourite title for a book yet. It makes me smile (and sing the Fresh Prince theme tune) everytime I see the cover.
You have done a great job of making contemporary crafting approachable. Who did that for you?
My original inspiration for the Simple Makes books were Japanese craft books and catalogues, especially by homeware/clothing/crafty brand Felissimo. I love their clean and crisp Scandi-Japanese aesthetic. I wanted to make home made things that didn’t look home made, just simple and stylish.
If you were stuck in a deserted car park in Norwich with only five things from your kit bag, what would they be?
- Bondaweb, for joining two pieces of fabric together;
- Scallop-edged scissors;
- Scapel/10a blades and metal ruler for no-nonsense cutting;
- Glue dots and sheets for no-mess gluing;
- My jar of bits and bobs – a collection from my mum and my nan’s button boxes, plus sequins, beads, tiny bits of things that-will-come-in-useful-one-day-I’m-sure. (Keep telling yourself that.)(Christine has printed hares on her stairs – just imagine what she would do to a car park.)
What hasn’t been designed yet that would make your life easier?
Self-sweeping floors… There are always loose threads, fabric fluff and scattered sequins all over my floor. Maybe I could try and befriend the animals as Snow White does to help me clear up after projects, though living in South London, the wildlife would be a bit more like the ones in Enchanted.
We chatted about many more things, Icecream, Target superstores and my future plans. To read the full interview click here
To be in with a chance of WINNING A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK either visit and ‘like’ my facebook page here or if the facebook is not your thing simply answer this question in the comments below …“When crafting what’s your favourite snack?” (Mine’s a big jar of nuts and seeds, rainsing and chocolate covered cranberries… though I pick out all the cranberries first)
Three of my favourite Elias projects
(click on images for instructions)
Today I got an exciting delivery in the post … A lovely box of hot off the press copies of my new book Fresh Prints. This is my fourth book for Quadrilles Simple Makes series (and maybe my fave, but then I say that about each one I do! Definitely my fave title. Thanks for the inspiration Will.)
Print was my favourite medium to work with when I was at college and the print room was my favourite place to be so I loved getting my hands dirty and smelling of printers ink once again to make the 20 + projects for the book.
I had lovely photographer Keiko Oikawa shooting the pictures and yet again she made all my projects look lovely, clean and fresh.
I think my favourite project was this one …
or this one?
or maybe this one ….
but then this one is really nice.
Here’s a little more information about the book and to ‘look inside’ visit amazon.co.uk (maybe you’d like to buy a copy too?)
This is a good book. It’s a big book full of good stuff by interior stylist Megan Morton. It’s a book which I fully intend to one day sit down with a cup of tea and some biscuits and read from cover to cover (it’s probably number 10 in the queue of books waiting for that glorious day).
It’s a book that when maybe you’ve just got a little tired of amazing pictures of beautiful homes …
you turn the page and get a section of perforated cut-out-and-keep postcards full of witty slogans and pretty pictures (which is quite frankly blowing my mind as I want to use the postcards but can’t bare to tear them from the book) …
Moving on, there’s a chapter of interviews with inspiringly fabulous people …
Then one full of helpful hints to make your home look like it’s from the pages of a magazine …
And to top it off at the end you get a gatefold section (who doesn’t love a gatefold) showcasing Megan’s Styling Manifesto which actually now I’ve read this page is a bit twee and nothing groundbreaking but it looks good and really isn’t that all that matters?
Lovely Hannah Read-Baldrey my Partner-in-Craft and star of her own video tutorial channel HRB-TV had me over for a cup of tea and a chat the other day to natter about the joy that is the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing (out now) and she caught it all on camera. As well as sharing some behind the scenes secrets we also have 3 copies of the book worth £16.99 each to give away. Simply watch the video below and answer the question I posed …
AND if that’s not enough of a Liberty fix for you then I’m running a workshop this Sunday (27th of October) showing people how to make the lovely fabric covered letters featured in the book.
It’s going to be held in the Liberty Haberdashery department and for just £25 you get a copy of the book, some lovely tuition and help from me and all the materials needed to make a letter of your choice. For more information visit Liberty.co.uk or call 020 7734 1234. I’ll bring the biscuits!
There’s been another book project I’ve been beavering away at over the last year and yesterday saw the launch of the second Liberty sewing book which I was honoured to work on with the hugely talented Lucinda Ganderton. We had a wonderful day coming up with project ideas, choosing Liberty fabrics from the massive swatch books and fighting over who wanted to make what. Lucinda created the beautiful quilts while I got obsessed with Libby and her amazing ra-ra dress (I couldn’t stop adding frills!)
Some of the projects in the book require little or no sewing and are great for using up odd scraps of fabric (Liberty or otherwise). The Guardian online have posted this extract from the book on how to make these fabric covered letters.
Comments sections on these things always make for good reading and the ones on this page are pretty varied! Can I just say that the image in step 9 on the website is the right way round … There shouldn’t be an image with step 1 which has probably confused icklewickle … We’re hoping they’re going to fix this but refer to the book image above if you get confused. Ta.
(The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing. Photography by Kristin Perers, styled by Twig Hutchinson. RRP £20 buy it here)
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Not only do they have an interview with me (read it here) where I chat about the inspirations behind the book, how messy I am and my inability to do basic DIY, but there’s a chance to win one of 5 copies of the book AND there’s an extract fromt he book on how to make these beautiful quilled decorations.
Go visit their site NOW! to get the step by step instructions, they’re simple to make using thin strips of corrugated card, cookie cutters and glue. If you start now I reckon by Christmas you’ll have enough for your whole tree!
Congratulations Kimmy from Making Mondays you have been chosen as the lucky recipient of a signed copy of Scissors, Paper, Craft. Email me your address using the form in the about section of the blog and I’ll get one over to you quick smart. (In response to your comment; my gifts aren’t usually that well wrapped … I’m always wrapping them as I run out the door to see the recipient! I love a bit of brown paper and loads of Washi Tape though.)
Thank you for your book suggestions, I think I’d like to write a book on them all, though maybe I’ll need to get my nephews involved on the Hama Beads projects as they love them and probably the whole family would have to lend a hand if I tried quilting!
Excited to see a few suggestions for printing and print techniques as that’s what I’ve been working on at the moment. The book’s going to be coming out next spring along with one on knitting. I’ve been busy messing around with inks and rollers and foam and potato mashers coming up with exciting projects and techniques that I hope you’ll like.
Today’s the day that the third and fourth books in Quadrilles Simple Makes series hit the shelves. First off it’s Scissors, Paper, Craft (which you may have noticed me mentioning) written and styled by moi and secondly (but of equal importance) is the lovely Hook, Line and Crochet by Ros Badger a delightful book of 20 cute and quirky crochet projects. (more of which later)
Scissors, Paper, Craft is my favourite book so far, it uses the most humble of materials to make some really exciting projects. There’s 30 different things to make ranging from simple animals made from one piece of A4 and lovely little garlands and bunting to more elaborate feather mobiles, light up water lillies and a little bit of Japanese book binding too. There are giant paper bows perfect for decorating your house for a party … a step on from the tissue paper pom pom and cute little bird boxes with post-it note roofs and a place to keep your paperclips.
Anyhoo, to celebrate the launch of Scissors, Paper, Craft I have a signed copy of the book for the person who can tell me what craft topic they would like to see in a Simple Makes book. So far we’ve had Embroidery, Felt makes, Papercraft, Crochet and coming up next spring are books on Printing and Knitting. (I’ll be picking a winner at random in a weeks time so any comment you leave in the comment box will be counted as an entry (be kind!). Remember to follow the blog too as then you’ll be the first in the the know for more upcoming giveaways and competitions)
Marie Claire.co.uk had lovely things to say about the new book, they’ve also got pictures of some other projects. Click below to read …
Right I’m off to do some aformentioned printing. Good luck!