Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa Evelegh

The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa…
On the back of the recent BBC series this book essentially covers the projects that the contestants were asked to make. What is also included in the book is some historical details on Sewing Bee's, including those hosted by the then Queen, and more commonly and affectionately known the Queen Mum.

From 1939 The Blue Room at Buckingham Palace was opened and all the female staff invited to attend the "Stitch to Victory" sewing bee that took place twice weekly. It was an attempt, and a successful one too, to get the women in the Country behind the War work and bring a sense of togetherness when the Country was at it's darkest days.

Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine
Image courtesy of Cardiff University
Also included is a rare known fact that the husband of Mrs Beeton included a traceable pattern in every printed edition of The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine. The magazine was published from around 1880 and the patterns started being issued from 1863.

The book also contains how you can create your basic sewing kit.

Once you have gone beyond basic sewing kit and the history elements of the book the projects begin. Each project is described in full, with handy tips and guidance all the way through. There is a real mix of projects; from an apron to patchwork throw, a bow tie to waist coat, laundry bag to curtain, cushions to dresses & skirts.

There is guidance on selecting material, tacking, sewing seams, patterns and much more.

I have to say, I was plunged back to my childhood as I read the book. To moments of having to stand still whilst my Mum hemmed up the latest dress she had sewn,  to helping her look for lace for her latest creation or patchwork squares for a quilt. Looking back now recalling how I hated wearing handmade dresses, not understanding or appreciating the effort and skill it took to pull it all together into a fine piece of clothing; and whilst I hated wearing those handmade articles, I was never laughed at by the other kids, which means that it was a good job well done; as we all know kids can be brutal when it comes to perhaps being different.

I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed what it was trying to achieve, I enjoyed revisiting those memories, things I hadn't thought of in years and the things that I had forgotten about. The book is well laid out and presented. There is lots of guidance and ideas for sewing projects.

The final pages of the book are given to an index with the acknowledgements to the show and book production teams.

An earlier post written by me with links to the programme editions on YouTube is HERE

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