• Book reviews,  Sewing

    Book review: Stretch!

    It’s no secret that I love pretty much anything that comes from Tilly and the Buttons. The colour palette, the styling, the do-able no-nonsense approach to sewing patterns, the models used to showcase designs. That last point is one I really love about Tilly and her team. They always have their garments modelled by women in a variety of shapes and sizes. As someone with more of a pear shape I never really know how some patterns will fall on me when they’re only ever modelled on slim straight-up-straight down shapes so I love that they consciously release their patterns in this way. And of course that she always has a range of ethnicities modelling too. Basically, I’m a bit of a fan girl. Recently I taught some of my closest friends to sew and we went with the Bettine dress. Even though they have very different styles, both were able to go from “what’s a bobbin?” to sewing-maestros (or thereabouts) in a day and create dresses that suited them perfectly. And that’s what I think is Tilly’s greatest strength- not only that she creates designs that are versatile, but that she can make the complicated actually seem simple- even when…

  • Book reviews,  Sewing

    Book review: Sew Your Own Activewear

    It’s my turn on the Sew Your Own Activewear blog tour and I’m super excited to share my thoughts on the new book from the ever-amazing Melissa Fehr of Fehr Trade sewing patterns and blog. You might remember that I made her brilliant XYT workout top in week 6 of The Great British Sewing Bee. I’m secretly amazed she doesn’t hate me for having a bit of a disaster with it on national TV (an ill-planned combination of too-thick lycra and trying to make binding in a rush) and hasn’t banned me from touching her products again. But I’m not complaining! And I’ll tell you why: Melissa is hands down, *THE* activewear sewing guru. There is surprisingly little information out there for sewing activewear and 99.9% of that you’ll probably find on Melissa’s site. And with activewear being so popular it’s time the sewing world played catch up…Thats where Sew Your Own Activewear comes in…

  • Book reviews,  Sewing

    Book review: Make it, Own it, Love it

    I don’t know about you, but I love seeing what Sewing Bee Alumni are up to: from giving talks to crowds of people, writing magazine columns, holding run way shows- these guys are pretty darn inspirational. So I was super excited to see that the lovely Matt Chapple (winner of series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee) was coming out with his debut book: Make it, Own It, Love it, and even more excited to be sent a copy to review (and join my growing Sewing Book Library!) Sizing it up For a newbie, sewing can be really daunting. I’m sure a lot of people are put off from taking it up because they think ‘I can’t possibly do this’, ‘I don’t have X, Y, Z’, ‘I can’t even sew a straight line’. So I love the way Matt presents sewing: it’s unpretentious and makes sewing seem really doable. The book is aimed for beginners and intermediates and does it really well. It takes you through all the basics of equipment and techniques before working it’s way up skill-wise: from customising ready to wear, making brand new items to mending and repair. The book is made up of 7 main sections: