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Thursday 27 February 2014

Great Sewing for Spring

The Great British Sewing Bee is back on the telly. And while, yes, it isn't quite Bake Off, it does provide a much needed weekly dose of niceness, plus the incentive to get busy with a sewing machine again. I know I'm not alone. John Lewis are cashing in on the nation's enthusiasm celebrating their haberdashery heritage with a new branded sewing range. And it's really rather lovely - I fell in love with their heritage sewing machine when I saw it on Retro To Go earlier in the week and its adorable button and scissors decoration. Priced at £89, it's aimed firmly at beginners.

The theme is continued with this sewing tin, only £9, perfect for your sewing bits and bobs, or a secret biscuit stash. While I can't help but feel some of the range owes a little too much to Merchant & Mills, it's good to see John Lewis celebrating their haberdasheries (go on, make them bigger and better!) and sewing using a colour other than pink.

Even cheaper than the John Lewis tin and a sweet gift for someone who is picking up a needle for the first time is this vintage crafts travel sewing set, a mere £3.95 from Dotcomgiftshop. There are some equally charming accessories too - such as this coloured pin set, only £1.95.

Tools covered, then you reach the exciting - and potentially expensive - and exciting business of picking your fabrics. Is anything nicer than a crisp cotton in spring and summer? The Liberty range is always gorgeous (cheaper fabrics are available) and the latest collection includes the Forget-Me-Nots design shown above, available for £22 a metre.

Those wanting to whip up something for their home can also get mega excited about Heal's relaunching their fabric collection - the collection goes on sale on 1 March, and includes reissues alongside new designs. The pattern above is by Hvass and Hannibal.

Now the important issue of what to sew? Well, the Sewing Bee of course does have its own book out, but you can find a whole stash of useful tips and inspiration on Tilly and the Buttons, the blog of one of last year's former Sewing Bee contestants (remember her lovely face?). She also designs and sells her own patterns - she's modelling the latest release, the Coco. The pattern is available as a PDF for £7.50 or £12.50 as a printed pattern (she's also got a book coming out in May).

Colette always produce beautiful patterns, and we love both DIY Couture and By Hand London, but I've been really excited to recently discover the range at Backstitch which covers all levels (and some gorgeous designs for kids if you've got a little person to sew for). The pattern for the Tallis Gather collar illustrated above is £6.

I've never heard of Victory patterns before but their designs are fun and young. The Hazel dress looks gorgeous, while the Madeleine skirt is just dying to be made up and taken out for a good time.

Anyone else got a sewing bee in their bonnet? What are you planning on making this spring?


  1. Even though I have no space or need for it whatsoever, I desperately want that sewing machine.

    1. I know exactly what you mean Laura - my machine works brilliantly and is much loved, but...

  2. That sewing machine is pretty and reminds me of the old Singer one my Mum inherited... she's sadly got rid of it now. I'm also enjoying the Sewing Bee even though it is very similar stylistically to the Great British Bake Off. It's quite good timing as I learnt how to thread my sewing machine a few weeks ago and want to make lots of things not just curtains and cushions. I quite fancy nice skirts, costumes for the little munchkin and maybe a reading tent. Will have to check out a few of those pattern companies. :-)


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