Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee

Oh Great British Sewing Bee, you have a lot to answer for. In showing those contestants artfully draping fabric and stitching seams week after week, you have made me think I might be able to make an actual wearable item of clothing for myself.

We have been down this path before. I've made plenty of clothes for the children, but never seem to pull-off adult sized garments. I think the problem lies in the fact that basically everything looks cute on a small child, whereas on a full-grown adult, handmade can easily translate into twee or homespun.

Still, I'm throwing caution to the wind yet again, and armed with a few metres of this pretty green cotton floral from Ditto Fabrics, as well as Wendy Mullin's Built by Wendy Dresses, I'm all set to stitch up a Summer frock. Or a floral smock for the children's dressing up box, depending on how it all works out!

Dress fabric
 
Built by Wendy Dresses 
If you have any dressmaking resources to share, please leave a comment - I need all the help I can get. I'm really enjoying The Sewing Directory's week by week guides to the Great British Sewing Bee, which provide everything from links to fabrics used to sewing skills tutorials.

Do you have a favourite online supplier of dressmaking fabrics in the UK? I'm not so keen on using quilters cottons for dressmaking as I don't find them drapey enough, but I really struggle to find a decent selection of lighter-weight cottons online. My current shortlist of online stores includes:


The holy grail, of course, would be a bricks and mortar fabric emporium close to home in South East Wales, Gloucestershire or Bristol. Had we still been living in Slough, Fabrics Galore would have been top of the list, but having moved back to the South Wales marches, I'm not really sure what's on my doorstep.

I'm deeply saddened that the Sewing Bee is now over and done with for this year, just as I'm getting up my enthusiasm for dressmaking. On the whole, I think the challenges were a lot harder this year! What did you make of last night's verdict?



11 comments:

  1. Hi

    There's Fabricland in Bristol, they do mail order as well, but you need to ring the head office. I think the fabric stall in St Nicholas Market (central Bristol) is still there too.

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    1. Oh yes - I've used Fabricland before, forgot they are in Bristol too! Thank you.

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  2. www.tissufabrics.co.uk have all types of fabric and are really helpful and quick with delivery. Fabricland has a website too www.fabricland.co.uk - takes a bit of navigating but they will send out samples and are very helpful if you ring/email.

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    1. Thanks, Anne - Tissu Fabrics looks great, particularly for knits. I agree about Fabricland - they are great over the phone and have a huge range.

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  3. My favourite dressmaking resources are a couple of books from the 70s / 80s - 'The complete sewing catalog' and 'Sew Smart'. Lots of details about different techniques and how to do alterations etc. Most times I go into a second hand bookstore I see books like these, though: they look very cheesy, but have so much more information inside than I find in any one online place.

    Good luck!

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    1. I know what you mean - I loved the needlecraft book belonging to my mother which I grew up using - not sure what became of that one!

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  4. Truro Fabrics are great, and I am very happy to shop at Macculloch & Wallis too, they have some spectacular fabrics.

    Oh, and I was rooting for Heather to win :)

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    1. Sorry, I tried to include a link to Macculloch and Wallis there but I seem to have got it wrong.

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    2. Macculloch & Wallis is full of such beautiful things - the website is just lovely, I could get lost in there for ages!

      I think Heather did really well in that last round. I had been rooting for Lynda until she went out. I was puzzled by the decisions made on occasion!

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  5. Hmmm... I have purchased voiles and lighter cottons from eternal maker and backstitch, both mail order. Ooh, and like the prices of http://www.celticfusionfabrics.com. I used to love shopping in ditto fabrics when I lived in Brighton, they sometimes have rolls of Liberty in stock so always worth a look. Love the green you have chosen, and look forward to seeing the dress!

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    1. Thanks Mrs Robinson! Thanks for the recommendations too. It's great that some of the quilting fabric designers are doing voiles now - best of both worlds!

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