Saturday, 28 February 2015

Cut up your curtains! Review of latest Great British Sewing Bee Book

I'm hooked on series three of The Great British Sewing Bee and particularly loved the vintage inspired theme in the third episode.  My favorite bit of every show is the re-fashion challenge and I think Lorna did a super job in creating the skirt above from an old pair of curtains.

Inspired by the GBSB, I was really chuffed to find this lovely vintage cotton bedspread in a charity shop for five quid.  My head is spinning with possibilities for the fabric.  It's been handmade and the fabric has a gorgeous fluidity and weight to it that would work for a skirt, dress or blouse. 

I'm regularly hacking up old curtains to use the fabric for some other project, mostly aprons and bags so far.  What I love is that you can get a decent amount of fabric from a pair of old curtains and the fabric is usually of a good weight cotton and pretty cheap.  It's not all florals either; I've found some great blue and white striped cotton curtains that I've used to make reversible aprons.  The poppy curtains above have enough fabric for a lovely little skirt or dress for a little girl I think.

I was such a lucky gal last week, because I won the newly released Sewing Bee, Fashion with Fabric book. Woohoo!  The competition was run by Fiona from The Sewing Directory.  If you haven't already discovered this great resource then you should head on over to The Sewing Directory and have a look.  There are weekly competitions to win super sewing gubbins so don't forget to go and like the Facebook page as well.

Anyway, I love this book!  Some of the sewing projects are for garments that the contestants have already tackled in the Sewing Bee such as The Walkaway Dress above(this is one of my favourites), The Capri Trousers and The Elephant Ballerina costume.  It comes with a separate pack of full size sewing patterns for the 30 projects in the book, which is not bad for £16 (current Amazon price).  I also have the previous GBSB book, Sew Your Own Wardrobe, and I've found the projects really easy to follow.  

The book is aimed at people who have had limited sewing experience and explains all the basics but it also has a lot of projects for more experienced sewers too.  It tackles sewing with stretch fabrics, leather, lace and wool and each pattern has a 'pattern hack' for adapting the pattern which is a great feature of the book.  I'm keen to have a go at the Drapey Knit Dress, The Tweed and Faux Leather Jacket, The Kimono Jacket, The Capri Pants and....hang on, I actually want to make everything!  

There are only a couple of projects for men and three for kids but if you want to start making clothes for yourself (and your a gal), then I would recommend this book.  I think my first make is going to be the simple top above; perfect for some floaty cotton lawn and swanning about in the warm spring sunshine when it eventually arrives.  An easy project to jumpstart my sewing mojo.

So, back to this lovely vintage cotton and dreams of a swingy skirt or pretty tea dress.  Anyone else out there making clothes with old curtain fabric?  And who are you backing to win the Great British Sewing Bee?!  I think that army engineer Neil has my vote.

That's all from me; Sewing Me, Sewing You, Aha! Galx

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Eye candy and a bloggy boost!

It seems that I'm not the only one who is having a little trouble with a lethargic 'sewjo'.  I've read a few blog posts where the authors reflect on the seasonal bleakness of their crafting life; we are all feeling a little 'meh' for one reason or another.  Hmmm, so what to do?

Something that made me smile recently is this little bit of advice from Neil Gaiman for those who are waiting for inspiration to write, sew or whatever creative thing it is you do.  In a nutshell, you just have to get on and do something....anything creative - anything at all.  But, let's also be kind to ourselves and take some time out to browse the books that feed our souls and imaginations and stroke and re-arrange the lovely fabric in our stashes till our hearts sing.  Sometimes we just need a little smackerel of something pretty to get our creative juices flowing.

Here is a little fabric related eye candy to tickle your crafty taste buds and perk up your wilting sewing labido.  My top creative/crafty blog crush has to be Modflowers - for the beautiful pictures of the wonderful things she makes in gorgeous vintage fabrics.  At the moment, the blog is full of all the wonderful vintage clad dolls that Sharon is making with groovy 60's fabric and bits of vintage tray cloths. 

I adore this darling day coat.  Wouldn't it be super to have a giddy aunt sized one of these for high days and holidays or even the school run?!  To have a look at these dolls, complete with groovy scanties, head over to visit Modflowers

If you, like me, are longing for Spring and making plans for your flower garden and veg plot then I can recommend you hop over to Sarah Raven's website.  Just grab a cuppa and take some time to browse the vegetable and cutting garden flower seeds and in particular, the Dahlias.  I love the descriptions of the Dahlia varieties and wow! - don't they make for some stunning floral eye candy?  I would love to have a flower bed full of these dark beauties. My grandfather was a champion dahlia grower and I have vivid memories of the whole of my grandparents country cottage garden filled with dahlias.  For a daily fix of country cottages and gardens, not to mention gorgeous dahlias, you can't beat thedahliagirl on instagram.  

Or, you can always keep up to date with the antics of your favourite giddy aunt on instagram at 

This week I couldn't resist taking some photos of the divine cakes in my favourite local coffee shop, Cocoliscious.  Not only very good coffee but they give their cakes names, like Vicky, Carrie and Snow White - love it! Cakes with personality.

So, with a tiny nugget of spring in my heart, I sowed some broad bean and sweet pea seeds this week and some windowsill herbs - imagine these iconic golden syrup tins filled with basil, parsley and coriander in a few weeks. Can't wait.

  Hope that gave your heart a little whoop.

TTFN. Galx

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