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.

great british sewing bee

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.

dress pattern 1

simple t shirt

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!).

dress attern 2

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).

finished top sewing bee

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 …

CLheadon

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.

taken from blogs.disney.com

taken from blogs.disney.com

Fresh Prints, published by Quadrille, is available to buy now on Amazon or at bookstores smart enough to have snapped it up.

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)

PlateBowl-Final

plate and bowl planter

Cement-Jewels-Final

cement jewesl hangers

drawer-lamp-1

Library card drawer lamp

see I said he was good.

freshprintsbookv2

To celebrate the release of my new book Fresh Prints I am giving away a signed copy to one lucky recipient. To be in with a chance of winning simply visit my new facebook page by clicking here and clicking on ‘like’ within the page. (if you really do like please also share the page with your friends). I’ll be picking a winner next Thursday.
For more information on the book click here.