The Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric. Inside the book + project

Hello friends,
Can you believe the final of GBSB is already 12th March? Only two episodes left to watch. I think it has been another fun series and it’s always great to see sewing promoted on TV. As with previous years this series is also accompanied by a sewing book and I got all the deeds for you.
Spoiler & Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched GBSB series 3 you probably don’t want to see this projects just yet!  The book was a courtesy from the publishers so I can share my own personal opinions with you. I know the author and some of the team involved in this book so I have high expectations (and some love!)
How this book differs from the first two books?
The first two were written by Tessa Evelegh, a lifestyle journalist and +20 books writer.
Fashion with Fabric was written by Claire-Louise Hardie, a trained costume designer and sewing producer the show. She runs a dressmaking course in London.
The first GBSB book was more about setting the scene along with the TV program. A lot of information on starting to sew. The projects are a mix of home decor, men and woman patterns.
The second GBSB book came with 5 full size patterns accompanied by master class sewing techniques. My favourite projects were the 1960’s coat and Anorak. Chapters  divided by Fabric, FIT, and Finish. No home decor and projects started to get more challenging. Yeah!
Both books are well presented, have good information and inspiration. So what’s new? Series 3 book just got much better and it’s safe to say it’s my favourite of all.
Sewing books have limited amount of space. Publishers & readers want loads of projects. There so much to talk about each project/subject. Like with many craft magazines, sometimes pattern instructions get omitted, mainly assuming the reader has some previous understanding but sometimes on the editing process. This book seems to use the pages well making room for the pattern instructions to be more detailed and has less of “starter content”. You know, the content that once you read in one sewing book you don’t look at it again.
The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric has all the expected “how to” use patterns, basic sewing skills etc. The book has 30 projects (yeah) and patterns are full size (yeah yeah). Patterns come in an extra pattern pack folder like the second book.
All patterns fit on 5 sheets which come overlapped. Tracing is required! I use Waitrose’s own brand of greaseproof paper but you can use any paper. If you use swedish tracing paper you can sew to test the fit. The texture it’s like coffee filters and it’s very durable.
Patterns names are easily identified on the top of each sheet. They are also colour coded. Note that all pieces may not be presented in the same sheet.
Pattern size range comes both in metric and imperial: Women// Size 8 (83cm: 65 cm: 92 cm) to Size 20 (116 cm: 98 cm:123cm). Men size range 34 to 44
Breakdown of patterns by chapters.
Chapter 1: Cotton
Sleeves shell top// Button back blouse
Capri trousers
Girl’s shirred elastic dress// Shirred elastic maxi dress
Walkway dress
Jumpsuit// Casual Trousers
Camisole top
men’s corgo short
Vintage curtain maxi skirt
Chapter 2 : Wool and other animal fibres.
Silk woven tee
Shift dress
Leather jacket/ Tweed and faux leather jacket
Men’s kilt
Chapter 3: Stretch Fabric
Drapey knit dress/ Sleeved stripy knit dress
3 hour slouchy cardigan/ Woven kimono
Kid’s board shorts
Men’s classic t-shirt
Elephant ballerina
Chapter 4: Luxury Fabric
Lace pencil skirt/ Tweed A line mini skirt
Vintage inspired blouse/ Sleeveless collared blouse
Corset gown/ Denim bustier top
Double layered skirt
What I loved?
The patterns are modern, have a good variation of techniques.
No home decor (don’t get me wrong, I love crafting but in separate books)
Not much filler of “really basic of sewing” but enough to be someone’s first sewing book
Relevant information on fabrics before each chapter
Quality of the illustrations
Art and photography
Finish garment measurements (so helpful to pick the right size)
Good mixture of easy to intermediate patterns and enough challenging projects to build up skills.
What I wish the book had it ?
Technical drawings.  I love design lines and it helps with my pattern hacks.
More pictures of each pattern, side and back version.
So, what did I made from the book? I made secret pyjamas home outfit a.k.a Casual Trousers.
Only took me an 1 hour to make. This is such an easy pattern. I love making trousers and was looking for an easy project in between pattern testing. This is actually the bottom part of  the jumpsuit. the Jumpsuit and the leather jacket are my favourite projects on the book.
Size 8. I used a stable knit (Gleeful by Sew Caroline for Art Gallery Fabrics) and worked well. The waist and hips have a lot of ease but perfect for woven fabric recommended. I added an extra 3cm  hem.
I could adjust the fit on the waist and hips but it’s so comfortable and perfect for big lunches. This must be the most perfect sewing-day outfit, ever.
I found a very small error. The lay plan for the casual trousers have you cut the waistband in a long pattern piece along side the trousers (grainline) but the actually pattern piece is smaller and cut on fold. I think they must have changed the configuration of pattern pieces to fit on the sheets and that small change got overlooked on the lay plan. Nothing major. Pattern fits perfectly.
What’s on your sewing table right now? And who are you cheering for the GBSB final?
  • Great review – mine arrived yesterday. You have a new photo shoot location – certainly shows off your outfit – I love blue and yellow as a combination. GBSB? I reckon Neil as winner and Deborah runner up – so sad we have said goodbye to Ryan!

    • Great, what are you sewing first? Yes I moved my sewing bookshel to give me some wall space. It’s too cold for location shoots. I really would like to see Neil winning.

  • Thanks for the review! I was debating whether or not to get this book, seems like I do now! The walkaway dress looks divine… Your pants are brilliant too, love the fabric you chose! 🙂

    • Thanks darling. The walkway intrigues me but I’m too scared to have a dress malfunction. It’s too windy in the UK

  • Your trousers look brilliant. At work we were all pouring over the pages and choosing what to make, I wanted to sew the walkway dress – not sure if its me but couldn’t find the pattern pieces. Maybe its because I was searching for a full skirt shape – back to the book pattern to see!

    • Thank you. I normally don’t sew casual- stay at home clothes but I’m so glad I done this. The fabric is so soft and makes me so happy to wear yellow.

  • What a fab pair of trousers and you totally rock that lovely yellow fabric Rachel! My GBSB predictions are the same as Clarinda Kaleidoscope – Neil to win, with Deborah and Lorna as runners up/finalists! x

  • This book does look more of interest to the sewer with a bit of experience who wants to tackle more complex projects. Your trousers look like a fun and wearable make.

    • Yes, the leather jacket and the Japanese inspired dress are great to build skills but book is full of wearable basics.

  • I can’t wait to get my hands on it too! CL did such a great job! I never had an interest in this book, but this one really looks great. Neat trousers!

  • great trousers – thanks for the review – i think its one of the better thing on tv (but i am biased) and this year more than ever i am acutely aware of how short a time they are given for each task – and when i compare how long it takes me to make skirt/top etc ……………not a chance!

  • I get that dreamy hearts in my eyes look when I think about this book! Great review – I am ALWAYS wanting to know exactly what patterns are included in the sewing books before I jump in and buy! Thanks again!

  • These trousers are great, and thanks for the detailed look at the patterns included in the book! I have both the other GBSB books and have made a couple of things from them but this definitely looks like the best book so far. The trousers/ jumpsuit and knit dress look like great patterns.

  • The book is very tempting, I have my eye on a few of those patterns, the blue dress, the stripy one, the slouchy cardigan….

    But what is going in with the styling of the guy wearing the kilt. Since when do you wear a kilt with a jumper and short socks? Anyone else think it’s wrong?

    • Anonymous

      ……. very wrong – trying to be trendy but really missing the mark. A big chunky jumper worn over the kilt instead of tucked in – plus a big chunky pair of leather boots and thick handknitted socks would have been so much better. But that apart it is a fantastic book and the best series of Sewing Bee yet. Can’t wait to make the ” origami ” dress – what a brilliant ( and flattering) design.


  • Thanks for all the pattern details Rachel, that’s really helpful! I might have to treat myself to this one 😉

  • Great review. I didn’t kmow they had published books for the show.

  • Rachel, It’s got the kilt and the walkaway, now I need this book!

  • Who’s going to be the first blogger to make a kilt???

  • Thanks for a great review, I love some of the dresses! Can’t wait to get my hands on it now x

  • Thank’s for a great review. I think I might just have to get this book. I want to try that walkaway dress.

    I think maybe it’s extra fun for me to watch the GBSB because I was in the Norwegian version of the competition before Christmas last year, and I know what they are going through with all that pressure. It’s really fun to compare the assignments to the ones we got. I can’t believe they actually sewed a leather jacket in the semi finals! I’m cheering for Neil to win.

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  • Kerrie Coggins

    Hello…. I also love this book. I’m not sure where to find the silk woven tee pattern though. Have you made this top yet? Many thanks

    • not I haven’t. So many patterns to try

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