Whenever I receive a new non-fiction book, I always turn straight to the back. Is there an index? For me, this is a basic check of publisher care and investment. If they scrimp on an index, warning bells start ringing.
Good news, people! The Great British Sewing Bee book has an index.
That’s not all it has. There are patterns galore for a tunic, tea dress, prom dress, camisole, a boyfriend shirt not dissimilair to the Grainline Archer shirt, curtains, roman blinds, bags, cushion – even a classic tweed hacking jacket. (If you know what a ‘hacking’ jacket is, do let me know!) There’s a pattern for a little girl’s dress (though, sadly, little boys aren’t addressed) and adult male fashion is addressed with … a bow tie and a basic waistcoat. Oh. Two male contestants in the show and the book gives male readers two projects out of 29? That’s what I call a shame, and that’s me being polite!
How are the patterns supplied? There’s a paper pattern for a tunic in the back of the book – good-oh. Other patterns are printed in miniature on a grid paper background and readers are asked to enlarge these pieces by 500% on a photocopier. Have you ever bothered doing that? I haven’t. There’s an alternative of downloading the patterns to tape together, but when I went to the link the patterns wouldn’t download – though that may be my computer/Internet issues.
Personally, I think these patterns were a multi-media opportunity crying out to be exploited, but that would have taken time and investment and I don’t doubt that the publisher was working to an horrendous deadline, getting this book out in time for the launch of the TV series.
Our by now deeply loved contestants are all featured, without overwhelming (and thereby dating) the book. I smiled to see Stuart’s lantern dress featured on page 116. I’m guessing the dress was made up again for the book’s photo shoot. Guess what? Those lanterns still aren’t lining up properly. (You’ll have to buy the book to see for yourself.) Maybe the judges should have been a bit kinder to Stuart, but that’s whole other debate for a whole other blog post!
There are also tutorials on inserting zips, darts, gathers, making now infamous bias binding, buttonholes. (Not bound buttonholes. You can find a tutorial for those here!) You get the picture – this book would be a great resource for someone new to sewing or someone old to sewing who wants to drool over gorgeous photos and illustration.
It’s a beautiful book, gorgeously produced. The type of beautiful book that publishers have been producing for decades – they can do this with their eyes shut and with all the freelancers at the end of an email, ready to leap into action. Everyone doing exactly what they’ve been doing for a long time now. I think that’s my slight gripe. It’s all a tiny bit obvious. Personally, I think we’re in the midst of a sewing and a publishing revolution and I would have really loved to see a little more creative thinking around a tie-in book to a TV series. But that’s okay – we’re all busy people.
Fancy owning this beautiful book? I’m putting my copy out there for a giveaway. Hmmm. I’m just not sure that’s enough. *twirls finger around ringlet, what more can I offer?* I know!
Anyone remember the red dress Tilly and the Buttons made? She used a raw silk that just glowed. Very inspiring. Plus, the ever so slight stiffness of the silk made for a great silhouette.
Would you like to make a dress that glows and has a great silhouette?
I have three metres of (dry clean only) silk taffeta gingham, pink and white. It’s fabulous stuff, bought from Stone Fabrics. I’ve never used it. Sadly, I think my pink gingham days are behind me. So, I’m putting it out there, too.
One book and three metres of silk. Retail value of both combined – ooh, about £70. I think that makes for a great giveaway, don’t you?!
To enter, leave a comment below. You can apply to win a book and silk combo, just the book, or just the silk. Three options – you need to choose one and tell me which it is in your comment. The giveaway is open worldwide and the deadline is midnight GMT on Friday 19 April.
Good luck, my friends! May the Power Of The Bee be with you. Remember, tell me which option you want:
This blog post was written as part of a blog tour kindly organised by Crafty magazine, who also supplied copies of the book. Tomorrow the tour heads over to My Happy Sewing Place and then it parks up at House of Pinheiro! Other blog posts featured on the tour can be found here:
Thursday – Handmade Jane
Wednesday – Peas and Needles
Tuesday – Teasemade