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The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe Hardcover – 20 Feb 2014

256 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (20 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849494142
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849494144
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 4 x 26.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,774 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

'The book takes you through all the basics in easy to understand language and with useful illustrations.'--Heat, 22nd March 2014

'An absolute essential for fans of the show. Five full-size pattern sheets are included in a range of sizes - so there's no excuse for not having a go!'--Inside Soap, 15 March 2014

'It offers up invaluable advice for beginners from fabric and trimming selection to fitting garments to your own measurements and creating the perfect finish. With fashion forward designs, this book will see you creating beautiful one-off garments in no time.'--Making Magazine, 1 April 2014

'This book contains a fabulous selection of projects for inspired sewers to complete. Based around wardrobe essentials...there are a huge range of projects for sewers of all abilities.' --Sewing World, May 2014

'With gorgeous staples such as a pencil skirt, wrap dress, prom dress and 60s style coat, there's something for newbies and more experience sewists...We were chuffed to find the pattern sheets in sizes from 8-18 too, hoorah.' --Mollie Makes, Saturday 15th March 2014

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

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 134 people found the following review helpful By Borrower88 on 31 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover
I love the range of patterns in this book, and have made a few already. However, there are a lot of mistakes, none of which are dealbreakers for me (so far), because I don't tend to follow pattern instructions. However, given that this book is made to accompany a series that may be introducing newcomers to sewing, I think they're pretty unacceptable.

They range from missing notches (the shift dress pattern), to really bizarre instructions (the bound buttonhole instructions for the coat make no sense - they suggest adding them in the second-to-last step using a method that doesn't finish them on the inside of the coat. Also annoying things about the photography, for example the book never shows how the simple T-shirt should look on a person, the main photo obscures the neckline which means that like the other reviewer, I ended up with a massive thing that fell off my shoulders! A lesson to always measure the pattern pieces and make a muslin!

I still think it's excellent value for money in terms of the number of patterns provided, but the instructions, mistakes and poor proofreading leave a lot to be desired, which means this book is actually not that fit for purpose if you consider its target audience of non-experts. A shame.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A B S on 28 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover
The books full of lovely patterns and ideas I was extremely pleased with it until I got stuck trying to make 1960s coat . The description of how to do the tailored buttonholes. The book does not complete the full instructions of how to finish the tailored or 'bound' button holes, on the inside of the coat.
You need to stitch the tailored or bound buttonhole onto the front of coat, But!
(the buttonhole does not go right through the facing, or lining, at this stage)
You then attach the lining/ facing to the back of this afterwards;
Then where the inside buttonhole is, cut same kind of slit in lining/faceing,
Fold raw edges under on lining/facing button hole slit.
and then stitching it to the edge of the back of the main buttonhole.
Giving you a neat finish on the inside... which is pretty important.

I found it very hard to find out, how, to do this. But once I found the instructions. Which I found in a very old 1940 "Compleat Book of Sewing" book.
(that I downloaded on my Kindle) I was okay.

I also looked it up on YouTube.
I also found the coller pattern was too short at the neck ... And I did check and doublecheck, it was shorter than it should be but didn't spoil my nice 60's coat. And once I sorted out the button holes... it is a lovely coat!!! :-) If I was a novice at needlework, I would make a trail up first, in the cheapest fabric. but we should do this really. Don't be put off... I like the book I will make lot of the patterns up. But for worned is helpful. So double check things like the notches. I think they need to try run and proofread it by printer and Coe.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By ali on 21 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have now bought both books for the sewing bee programmes. Love the TV programme but the book! How do you know what the patterns are - they don't tell you unless you look at the pattern sheets. Very poor instructions too with some mistakes. Do they not test the instructions and proof read?? There are much better books out there
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Barenfeet on 28 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
I was very excited to buy this book as The Great British Sewing Bee has re-invigorated my desire to make my own clothes (not done much more than make curtains for the last 20 years!) and even have a go at adapting patterns and, if I'm really brave, creating a garment without a patterns at all. I hoped the book would help me in this.
There are some good tips, but I am only on page 40 and have spotted many mistake/errors/omissions.
For example, in the chapter on Fit there is a reference to "Stitch the shell" when, unless I missed it, we have not been told what a shell is.
And in the hemming section, under curved hems, I think a few sentences have been missed out. The text reads "...Cut along that line. When you get back to the beginning fold under the remaining end so that it aligns with the seam line". This makes no sense at all! Only after re-reading several times and looking at the diagram did I work out there is a step mixing about applying the bias binding to the cut edge. I have been sewing for years and this threw me. If I was new to dressmaking I wouldn't have had a clue!
This is a real shame as on the whole the book is good and the TV series was inspiring. May and Patrick clearly know their stuff and so should be more careful in putting their names to a sub-standard publication.
At the very least could the BBC and/or Quadrille Publishing review for errors (sewing construction errors not just typos) and publish errata online?
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By H. M. Hawker on 5 April 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've never been moved to write a review, until now...this is a case of a book rushed to print far too quickly without proff king reading or indeed, reading by anyone it seems. I'm a competent sewer and either do not understand or find mistake so far in many examples. Eg.the right/wrong side of the fabric is sometimes 'wrong' with text/diag not matching. I think I've found a cut and pin (page 40, item 1?) mixed up: disastrous! I was given this book, a purchase by my mum through Amazon, a delightfully accepted pressie as love the BSB and wanted a book like this. But please- check (by sewers, not proof readers who don't see sewing mistakes) before you print , BBC, and include more photographs! Disappointing.
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