Busy Sewing Bee

Had a fantastic time at the first Great British Sewing Bee Live event in London, despite the 5.30 am start!

My first stop was an exhibition of Liberty fabric dresses from the Fashion and Textile Museum archives. These vintage pieces were stunning and in such perfect condition despite their age. I was really attracted to this early 1980’s dress made from shantung silk embellished with quilting and embroidery.



Next up was the Super Theatre. I had unwittingly bought premium tickets which meant no queuing and a seat near the front. Good call!

Jenny Eclair was the host and they couldn’t have chosen better – I vote Jenny for the next GBSB – if we get one! She interviewed Sewing Bee judges, Patrick Grant and Esme Young whilst three past contestants paired up with 3 pre-selected members of the public for an alteration challenge deservedly won by Lauren Guthrie’s team. I don’t know how they stay so calm!


I also visited the exhibition of contestant makes from the show. I was surprised at just how well made the pieces were given that they were all put together with the clock ticking. The one item that stood out was Jade’s jacket from GBSB 2016. The quality was amazing.


Although the event wasn’t huge there was more than enough to see and do for the day. From catwalk shows to technique demonstrations, students exhibitions to dressmaking clinics. I had pre-booked an hour long course in seam construction where I learned how to sew a flat-felled, french and bias-bound seam.


After all that hard work I needed a spot of retail therapy but managed not to go too mental (although judging by all the crazed women elbowing their way around the fabric stalls I was in a minority!)


I really wanted to buy some ponte de roma fabric but couldn’t find any so settled on some lovely pink wool mix from Rosenberg’s – I needed 3 metres for a coat and there was exactly that at the end of the roll. Meant to be (especially at £6 a metre!) I also bought some bamboo buttons (for said imagined coat), yet more pattern paper (get through a LOT of this) and a box of Merchant and Mills pins – mine are well and truly blunted.


My final purchase, and last stop for the day, was a couple of I AM patterns. I fell for two designs from their new collection – dungarees (modeled by the lovely sales assistant) and a coat/top/dress pattern (still thinking of that coat!) Although Indie patterns are not cheap I like to support independent designers and, as this designer is based in France, it was a good opportunity to purchase the paper pattern free of postal costs (and choose a free sticker!)


All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day – I even had some complements about my me-made Tilly and the Buttons dress. In fact the one surprise of the day was how few people seemed to be wearing their own makes – I half expected to be surrounded by Coco dresses!

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