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The Great British Sewing Bee Hardcover – Illustrated, 28 Mar 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849492875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849492874
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 2.9 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

What a brilliant but busy summer/autumn I had in 2013!
As well as writing the latest Great British Sewing Bee Book ( which reached #4 Amazon Bestseller) to companion the BBC2 TV programme, I spent sunny days down at Mapledurham, the film location for BBC2's new programme, The Big Allotment Challenge, researching and styling that companion book.

A professional journalist and author of more than 30 books, I've been writing about all things home, garden and making for about 30 years. I've always believed everyone is creative and love to inspire anyone who wants to flex those creative muscles to have a go! I do this by showing-them-how through photographs, illustrations and words. I see myself as a kind of translator - taking what seems to be complicated and making it simple to understand and easy to do for the reader.

I'm loving the current resurgence of interest - passion, even - to acquire lost traditional skills and use them in new ways. I also think, once you have those tools, one form of creativity can inform and enrich another. I live in a particularly vibrant and creative neighbourhood in South East London, which provides me with a constant source of inspiration. I personally believe simplicity in design is often the most beautiful, and this is what I aim for in any projects I produce. I hope that gives people the confidence to develop their own sense of style and creativity.

For me, I've been sewing since I was five years old and my interest in gardening started not long afterwards as I trailed behind my horticulturally-trained grandmother around her vegetable garden and flower garden. I've been writing about crafts and sewing and gardening for more than 20 years in newspapers, magazines and books, and for about five years, I had a regular column in Practical Gardening magazine.

Product Description


'The projects included in the book offer something for everyone, including a tea dress, a waistcoat, a tote bag and a range of cushions.' --Country Homes & Interiors, June 2013

'The official tie-in book to the BBC Two series of the same name provides an irresistible collection of more than 25 projects to sew. They offer something for both sexes and all ages, including garments, such as a tea dress, pencil skirt, pyjama bottoms and a waistcoat, and homewares and accessories, such as aprons, a tote bag, a laundry bag, cushion designs and three different window dressings.' --Daily Mail, 14th November 2013

'If you're feeling inspired by the BBC show, here's the tie-in book, packed with crafty ideas and patterns.' --Heat, 13th April 2013

About the Author

Tessa Evelegh has written more than 30 books on crafts, interiors and gardens. Starting as a journalist, she has worked on top selling magazines including Family Circle.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

240 of 246 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 3 April 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am an experienced sewer and was delighted when the TV series and book came out.
The book is fabulous both for beginners and experienced sewers alike with lots of clear instructions and useful tips.
However I would have happily paid more to have paper patterns for all the designs included. There was just one paper pattern included in the book for a simple top.
I downloaded the patterns I wanted only to find that the pattern for the back button blouse was missing from the list of available patterns.
I decided to make a pair of pyjama pants for my partner and printed off some 30+ pieces of A4 paper which then took over an hour to piece together. When i came to cut the pattern out I found that the markings were incorrect. I doubt that I will make the items I want to because of the effort (plus ink and paper) required to make the patterns before sitting down to actually sew.
I think that this is a great shame as the designs look lovely and I would like to make them all.

Do not let this put you off - if you have the ability to produce the patterns yourself I would certainly recommend that you give it a go. Personally I found it too challenging to accurately piece the patterns together, and would have preferred to either find the actual paper patterns inside the book or even to send off and purchase them separately.
The book itself is fabulous .
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth O'Connor on 2 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am guessing that all of the five star reviews are from people who haven't actually tried to make anything in the book. It may look the business and does have some handy hints and tips for beginners, but the patterns leave a lot to be desired. That is assuming you have got past the first hurdle of transposing them and sticking bits of paper together to make them.
I confess I am a beginner, but this book is enough to put you off for good, every thing I've made has been wrong, from the pencil skirt with the bizarre tiny waist, to the tea dress with the enormous shoulders and the boyfriend shirt with the too small collar, shoulders and armholes. If it wasn't for the other reviews from more experienced sewers I would've thought it was me at fault and have been even more depressed about it.
So if you take my advice, don't waste good time and money making these clothes, buy a nice pattern from Simplicity etc with the safe knowledge it will work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Moosey on 22 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well-presented book with lots of nice projects (unless you're a man wanting to make clothes for yourself - then you only have a waistcoat, bowtie and pyjama trousers to choose from!) and there are also tips on equipment, basic sewing skills, special techniques etc. Plenty of pictures and illustrations to help you follow the instructions. For £10, it's a bargain for the number of projects included if you consider what it would cost to buy them as separate patterns.

That said, I was disappointed that there's only one full-size pattern included with the book (for the simple tunic) - the rest require you to print and stick the pages together, scale up the pattern yourself, or take the book to a copy shop to get the pattern enlarged 500%. I've also noticed one inconsistency in the instructions for the prom dress - it tells you to cut out one neck strap piece on the fold, but then in the sewing instructions it tells you to match up the TWO neck strap pieces. Hopefully there aren't any other similar mistakes, as this could be potentially confusing for novices.

Another thing that may be useful to know is that the sizing for the women's clothes is on the small side - I'm almost always a size 10 in shops and in other patterns I've bought, but according to the size chart in this book my measurements correspond to a 12. While this isn't really a problem for me, it may mean disappointment for ladies on the upper end of the size range offered. The measurements given for the largest size (16 - the average UK dress size) are bust 38", waist 30", hips 40". I look forward to seeing how the size comes up when I make something.

In summary, I'm pleased with the book as there are lots of items I want to make, the instructions are mostly clear and the presentation is lovely.
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121 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Hardy on 1 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
In April 2013, the talents of some of Britain's top amateur needlesmiths were televised in series one of 'The Great British Sewing Bee'. Through this book to accompany the series, judges May Martin and Patrick Grant hope to encourage viewers to pick up their thimbles and thread their needles. This substantial hardback volume contains sections on getting started and basic skills, before taking the reader through 28 complete sewing projects. There's a glossary, a dictionary of fabrics and a handy index at the back of the book. The authors also also offer a few glimpses at the history of sewing in Britain along the way.

After a brief introductory section, 'Starting to Sew' takes the reader through the process of stocking a sewing box, using a sewing machine, understanding paper patterns and finding fabrics. 'Basic Sewing Skills' then outlines how a project should be approached, and offers a detailed guide to the following tasks: tacking, handstitching, sewing and finishing seams, shaping and contouring, gathering and easing, inserting zips, applying bias binding and making buttonholes. Each section is accompanied by some good, clear photos to help the reader understand each process described.

Thus equipped, we are ready to move on to the most substantial section - the 28 sewing projects. A full-size pattern for the tunic is included in the back of the book; all the rest can either be downloaded, printed and pieced together, or photocopied and enlarged, or redrawn from the illustrations in the book. Each project comes complete with a 'button rating' for difficulty - 1 being the easiest, 5 the most difficult. This rating is indicated in brackets in the list below, so that you can get a feel for the scope of the projects available.
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