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on 11 February 2016
I don't usually do book reviews, but having just tackled the men's shirt from this book , have to say that it is a nightmare for beginners. Had to refer to video clips on the Internet and even alter parts of the pattern. The instructions are garbled and do not match the printed patterns, and some of the pattern markings are unintelligible . This could put an enthusiastic beginner right off, luckily I'm stubborn enough to get there in the end!
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on 29 July 2014
I deliberated between this and a couple of other books as a beginner (I also purchased Dressmaking, and wanted the other Sewing Bee book) but I'm glad I picked this one up, especially at £12, which it has been on Amazon for a while. The book comes with 5 sheets incorporating all 24 patterns to be traced and used, as well as masterclasses along the way on every technique I can think of trying as a beginner, including buttonholes, concealed, standard and revealed zips, working with different fabrics, finishing seams and more. It has a detailed section on how to take your own measurements, and therefore how to adjust patterns to your unique fit. It covers a comprehensive introduction to different fabrics, and how to choose and match them to projects, as well as giving the detailed instructions and overview of finishing seams and edges.

In my opinion it is a fantastic first or early book to inspire someone to get into sewing. It makes everything accessible, exciting and has a ton of pictures. I have already read the Dressmaking book, which I would recommend also, and there is overlap but both books are still worth it. This one is aimed at getting beginners to grips with the essentials, as well as enough skill and instruction to actually make something, and I think it is pitched perfectly. I haven't tried the patterns out yet, but it's not why I bought the book. I could use everything else in this book to help me make the most of other patterns I have bought, perfecting the finishes and adjusting them to different projects. The patterns are a fab bonus (and in things I actually want to make!)

I am amazed at how much info they have crammed into this book, I think it is fantastic, and beautiful. I borrowed the other Sewing Bee book from a friend and this one has tons more info in it. If you are a beginner, it's a great place to start!
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on 8 October 2014
On the whole I like this book. I use it frequently as a reference guide for techniques. There is a good variety of patterns, although not much for men - this suits me and my sewing habits though.
The downside is that only one of the patterns is actually in the book, and the rest have to be sized up, or printed out, either of which is a faff. It was disappointing that the button-back blouse designed by Tilly Walnes is not available as a download, unless you purchase it from her website; I was under the impression that all the patterns from the book were available. One of the reviews on here stated that only one pattern could be downloaded per day from the Quadrille website - this is not so as of September 2014 at any rate.
I have been inspired to write this review by having just constructed a pattern from the book - the boyfriend shirt. Other reviewers have commented on pattern errors, but I have read elsewhere that the patterns have been revised and mistakes rectified.
Good points. I loved the bias binding button/buttonhole bands. Simple and effective. The shape of the shirt is nice, Love the pocket, and the cuffless sleeves with button-up tab. The instructions in the book were easy to follow - this was labelled a 4 button difficulty, but I didn't struggle with any of it.
Bad points. Sticking the pattern together was a fiddle, and a bit confusing. There were few markings on the pattern - I wrote on my own :) The collar was not long enough, and I had to add an inch or so in the middle to get it to fit. The layout given in the book does not work, as it shows the back yoke placed straight onto the fold - yet the grainline and the photograph shows the yoke cut on the bias (diagonal for non-sewers) The length of the shirt was incredible - not far above my knees - and I chopped a good bit off, by truncating the body of the shirt around the waist - no alteration lines on this garment. I also added extra length to the sleeves. The arms themselves are a little small - the shirt looks great on, and I love the appearance of it, but when I move there is a restriction on my upper arms. I don't think it helps that the shoulder seam is a little low - this shirt is designed for someone with very wide shoulders! - but even without that the armhole is just not quite big enough. The sizing is not generous - I fall between two sizes, and made the upper size - a nice fit (apart from the arms).
I do like this shirt, but wish I had made up a muslin first to test the pieces. I am not experienced at altering patterns, and feel that with a bit of alteration to the sleeves/armholes this would have been a really excellent pattern. I haven't made any of the other garments, but having made this and read other reviews I will be taking careful measurements when I do.
A shame, as the potential need for alterations makes this less useful for novice sewers than it could be.
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on 22 June 2013
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. However, I would have liked to have been aware before I bought the book that only one full-size pattern is provided. Also, I think the book could do better to cater for men and for a wider range of ladies' sizes.
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on 14 February 2017
This is quite good but you really need to read the instructions carefully for each pattern. The T shirt was made up as instructed but fell off my shoulders so chucked in the bin. Glad I didn't buy expensive material first. You also have to look carefully for each pattern bit you need as it is ( very ) multi purpose and requires some attention to making sure you have the right piece for the pattern and size.
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on 14 May 2013
As an compitent sewer and freelance sewing tutor
I think the book can be reviewed in 3 parts:
1. The reference sections (fabrics and techniques) are good and have clear instructions and photographs.
2. The patterns/projects: The downloading of the patterns from the publishers website is a chore, but also appreciate the benefits of being able to reprint them again and again for making differing sizes or when your origonal gets a bit worn. The downside is the pasting them together.
3. There are some mistakes on the patterns and some of the methods are dated in their construction. ie. I would not encourage anyone to make a Roman blind in the manner described in the book. There are easier shortcuts and kits available for the beginner sewer.

On the whole I am satisfied with the book more than I was about the programme (or the contestants featured). I hope that it inspires more people to learn some skills before they are lost forever since the reduction of the "rag trade" in the UK.
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2013
My wife and I enjoyed the series, so purchased the book. My wife has picked up a few tips and ideas that have lead to a few skirts for work and she is about to embark on a blouse.

I can't use a sewing machine, but with the instruction in this book I am about to start hand stitching a waiste coat using a slightly modified version of the pattern in this book to suit my taste and shape. I enjoy sewing by hand, but have never attempted anything such as this, but I am confident I can achieve my goal with the clear instruction the book provides.

The series and book together have inspired young and old that hobbies and creating something useful is a wonderful thing and much better use of your time than watching Eastenders.
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on 27 April 2014
Wife loves the TV series so I bought this. Good, easy to follow with some free patterns included. The book's content is reasonable but you can find far better books out there (example: The Dressmaker's Technique Bible: A Complete Guide to Fashion Sewing...). If you liked the TV series watch it on DVD and get a different book.
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on 22 May 2014
After watching both series of this tv show the book was something I was looking forward to reading and owning. And as some other reviews have stated there are mistakes in the book (one I noticed was that it stated a pattern was three buttons but was given a four button rating) and the patterns are something to be desired. Although they can be copied onto dressmakers paper or photocopied at 500% enlargement or printed I feel it would be too much hassle to be honest. Don't get me wrong... it's great sewing porn and all but this book leaves the greatness of the show out of it and was very mechanical.

I do like it and I do hope to do a few projects out of the book, in time, but it's just something to have on the shelf I suppose.
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on 9 August 2014
I Brought this after purchasing the second book, and I really like it and the second book, I have been sewing most of my life; although I would say I am far from perfect. this book is helpful to everyone.... and the patterns that are shown on the pages in graft form, I think it is shown in the mil square and I need to copy in larger square? fo example copy the 1mil square diagram gaft paper using the larger 1cm square, but I am shore some one here will comment correctly at least that's how my old mum told me about 50 years ago.
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