British Sewing Awards 2022 - Top Sewing Workshop
We really are beyond excited to have been nominated.....and shortlisted!.....for a British Sewing Award for our Learn to Sew:Back to Basics online course ..... eeeeeekkk!!
This really is an amazing honour in such a competitive industry and we are so very proud to have been shortlisted.
It would just be incredible if we were to win this category. But - in order for us to be in with a chance of winning this award we need to ask you, our wonderful followers, to please, please vote for us here It really would mean the world to us 🌍🥰
If you have a print copy of this months Sew Magazine you can enter by post on page 68-69 📫
I've put more details in our Stitch Sewcial Facebook Group and have also done a Facebook live to share my absolute excitement and ask you to please, please, please vote for us!
If you do vote you could be in with a chance of winning a wonderful prize, including a 21 day cruise for two people around Cape Verde, the Canaries and Morocco. It sounds idyllic 🛳 🏖 And everyone who votes will also receive a Become a Better Stitcher downloadable boxset in just for entering. So what is there to loose? it could be a win win situation for us all!
We do really hope you will take a few minutes to vote, we would be so very grateful 🙏
But we would also like to thank you all so much for your ongoing support and championing of Start to Stitch. We really love what we do, but most of all we love helping everyone here and seeing you progress with your own stitching and get as excited as we do about sewing 🥰
So we'd like to say a huge THANK YOU! to you all, we couldn't do this without you!
You are truly our favourite sewists 🧵 💓🥰
#getsetsewjuly - The Ankara Challenge
The Sewing Bee has finished for another year and that means one thing.... the Stitch Sewical #getsetsew challenge is back!!
For July's challenge we couldn't resit revisiting a previous challenge, simply for the wonderful colourful joy this fabric brings. Drum roll please 🥁........It's the Ankara fabric challenge. Traditionally Ankara fabric is made from 100% cotton and is synonymous with the countries and dress of West Africa. The pattern is printed using wax, to create wonderful designs in vibrant colours. The fabric is very stable and a dream to sew with. You can make anything for this challenge, garments, bags, cushion covers zip pouches, all work really well, and maybe this is an opportunity to try out some new sewing skills too and make something different from what you might normally chose.
The 11th - 17th July is also Ankara Appreciation Week, a celebration of all things Ankara fabric, set up by Juliet Uzor and Lena King as an Instagram challenge, sewing different garments thoughout the week. If you are on Instagram take a look at their accounts and the hashtags #sewankarafabric22 #ankaraappreciationweek22 for more inspiration.
Jumpsuits are a popular choice for Ankara fabric and one of my favourties is the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit. The Pauline Alice Pattern Mila Jumpsuit & Dress would also work well.
The stability of the fabric makes it good for jackets such as the Friday Pattern Co Ilford Jacket. and the Helen's Closet Pona Jacket. Ankara is also a good fabric for shift and cocoon style dresses and would work well with the Helen's Closet York Pinafore, Closet Core Cielo Dress and Top, and the Simple Sew Cocoon or Zoe dress and top. I have written a blog about the cocoon dress which you might find helpful for this. Peppermint Magazine has lots of free downloadable patterns that would work well with Ankara, such at the Skye Shorts, Peplum Top, and Boxy Top. They actually have lots of free patterns that are well worth taking a browse though.
I've written a short guide about Ankara fabrics, including some suppliers and things to watch out for when using the fabric. This is in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook group under the files tab, or can be accessed here. And please give Start to Stitch UK a follow on Pinterest and find even more more Ankara inspiration on our Sewing Patterns for Ankara fabrics
This really is a joyous #getsetsew challenge and we are super excited to see your makes start appearing in Stitch Sewcial this month. Don't forget to post them using the hashtag #getsetsewjuly to make sure we don't miss any. Happy #getsetsew sewing!
Forget the after-show party ....the party is in the sewing room!
It's the Final Four in the Final!!
Nooo!! How has this happened, where have that last 9 weeks gone!! I really can't believe this week was the final of season 8 of the Sewing Bee. I am going to miss watching this on a Wednesday night, but I am really going to miss our weekly Sewing Bee chat in Stitch Sewcial, it's like sitting down to watch each episode with a fabulous group of like minded sewing friends in my lounge. But hopefully there will be a Christmas Special and we can do it again 😊🤞
Before then however, there is still this year's final to discuss, and the contestants didn't disappointing with their makes. But saying that neither did the judges with their challenge choices! This was evident from the start with the final pattern choice of this series being a dress design of Esme's, that she had sold in her shop, Swanky Modes, in the 1980s. The contestants were asked to make the wonderful Amorphous dress! This dress is cut from one piece of fabric (as shown in the picture below) and joined with D rings to form the dress. It is made in a lycra fabric to fit the shape of the body, but whilst stretchy to the body form it can be tricky to stitch.
Lycra can have a tendency to stretch when stitched, especially on curves. At this final stage of the competition I would have expected the sewists to have a good grasp of this issue, as well as a good grasp of the fabric 😉. That said I was very surprised not to see them using a walking foot to help avoid stretching the hems as they sewed, but .maybe that was part of the brief??
And with that it was on to the Bee's last transformation challenge. This time the contestants were given the off-cuts from previous challenges and asked to make something to wear to a party. Interestingly Brogan followed her usual fabric choice instincts in grabbing the off-cuts from her own previous makes, whilst the other contestants opted for fabrics that had previously been used by other Bees. True to her style again Brogan produced a top and skirt with lots of frills and bows, but unfortunately for her this did not 'frill' the judges and she found herself placed last again..
Debra chose to work with off-cuts which included some of Brogan's past fabrics, and maybe this was her downfall in this challenge. She made a dress for a garden party but he judges felt it lacked real party glamour, something I have to agree with, as to me it was more gardening vibe than garden party vibe. So after her first round win Debra was placed third in the transformation challenge. Annie's choice of off-cuts transported her back in time to Japanese week, making a wide sleeved blouse with an obi inspired belt.. The judges however were not totally transported with delight and she came second.
So going into the final round it was pretty clear that Brogan hadn't made the cut (oops I think that's a different sewing programme!! 😉) to win this final. Man Yee and Debra were looking were well placed after the first two rounds, but Annie definitely wasn't out of the running either. The final challenge of the series was the made to measure and the Bee's were asked to make a red carpet worthy jumpsuit for a friend or member of their own family to model.
Brogan surprisingly moved away from her traditional pastel colour choices and made a gold romper suit with a black and gold detachable netting skirt. In my view, although this make had a bit of glitz to it, there was also an air of Halloween about it too, and I don't feel it really meet the brief. But given that Brogan wasn't in a position to win by this point I think she just let herself have some fun making this, and why not, after all sewing should be fun!!
Debra made a beautiful strapless boned top jumpsuit for her friend to wear for her hen do. She softened the look with a small netting frill around the top and a beautifully draped effect front seam. It really was stylish and wonderfully made, but it did leave me wondering if it was red carpet enough for the judges. Man Yee's jumpsuit featured a beautifully flowing cape. The jumpsuit itself was made from two tricky to sew fabrics, one shiny, silky and very drapey and the other sequined. She did a fabulous job of getting four separate pieces (two of each fabric) to meet exactly in a point at the middle front of the garment, and the cape definitely gave it some red carpet drama.
Annie used two contrasting fcoloured abrics for her wonderfully stitched and dramatic ivory strapless jumpsuit. This was reminiscent of a tuxedo with wide black stripes down the legs and, her pièce de résistance, the enormous bow at the back that ran into a train. Given the drape fabric she was using this really was a feat of engineering to make a bow that retained it's shape, especially given the size of it. And we all know there is nothing like an enormous bow to win Esme's vote. Not only did this outfit win Esme's vote it also won Annie the Sewing Bee crown for this series.
In my view Annie was the rightful winner, she had a slightly slow start start to the series, but it was lovely to watch her confidence and sewing skills grow so much as the weeks progressed. She certainly has an eye for style and detail and this made her garments very special and I think was ultimately what won her the title.
👑🐝 Well done Annie on your Queen Bee crown!! 👑🐝
If you fancy having a go at making your own version of the Amorphous dress, or any of the other makes in this final, the Fold Line have done their usual amazing round up of similar patterns.
So very sadly 😢that's it for this years Sewing Bee🐝 Like I said I am really going to miss watching this and chatting with everyone from Stitch Sewcial on a Wednesday evening.
But on the positive side no Sewing Bee means the return of the brilliant Stitch Sewcial #getsetsew challenge. Hurrahh!! I just can't wait to get going with that again.
Oh, just one last thing.... if any one knows where I can get hold of any sequined leopard print, fabric as modeled by Esme, then please please please let me know!!🐆🐆🐆 After all....#everythingmustbeleopardprint
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!