Have you ever given one of those gifts that you feel really guilty giving because you know you’ll enjoy it just as much (… if not more…) as the recipient…?

Recently it was my good friend LadyP’s birthday. I bought us VIP tickets to the Great British Sewing Bee Live event in London’s Excel to celebrate… the fact that LadyP picked me up, drove me there and we drove home with the roof off swung the guilt-balance even further…! Being the totally remiss blogger that I am, I barely took a single photo either!

All the wonderful things everyone’s said about it already are true, so I’ll just give it to you in bullet points (In chronological order…)

  • Smiley faces and hellos.
  • Goodie bags with – needles, petersham, hand washing liquid, a pattern weight, a very useful show guide and a super-cool lanyard!
  • Beautiful display of vogue dresses made in vintage liberty fabrics.
  • Coffee
  • Super Theatre: live refashion, q&a with Judges Patrick & Esme, snap fastening demo from Lauren (season 1) hosted brilliantly by Jenni Eclair.

(I did get one pic…)

  • Central display of garments from the show, cool to see them up close.
  • Prosecco and a live catwalk show.
  • Pawed over half the stalls, bought some machine needles (I currently have enough to stock my own shop!)
  • Had a burger.
  • Did the other half of the stalls.
  • Walked slowly around at least three more times to feel like we’d really seen everything, including stopping each time at the live demo stage near the cafe and poking our noses in on the classes.

(We didn’t take a class ourselves as LadyP works in the industry and although there was a great selection, the ones that appealed were booked up way in advance).

We had such a great time. The whole thing was well organised, thoughtfully assembled and beautifully presented. There are plenty of photos online to show you how bountiful the choice was. And all your favourites were there. I was lucky to bump into a couple of my favourites too… and pick up some nice fabrics… which leads me onto this, the real point of this blog…!

I was specifically looking for wooly knits to make some winter jumpers. They’ve not been easy to find, the really wooly looking ones. So my eyes popped out of my head when I saw this beautiful fabric (Everything else went out of my head then too, so I scoured Instagram and recognised it on the Fabworks stand and I think it was £7 a metre… I know he said it was cotton and I know bought two metres!)

The fabric is reversible, grey and very pale grey knitted on one side and grey sweater look on the other. I wanted to take advantage of both sides so traced out pattern J from Men’s Clothes For All Seasons, a sweater with neckband, waistband and cuffs. Perfect.

I’ve made a few tops from this book, so I looked very closely at the finished garment measurements to choose the style of fit I wanted. I ended up tracing size M and lengthening the sleeves by 1 cm and the body by 3 cm. I drew the cuffs, neck and waist from the size M measurements too (with a little help from google translate). You add your own seam allowance, I ignore all the suggestions and put 1.5 cm on everything, I like to have a bit to cut off with the overlocker later.

The shoulders and neck went in nicely. I used my walking foot and the lightening stitch, then took the excess seam allowance off with the overlocker. I used the petersham ribbon from my goodie bag to stabilise the shoulders. It doesn’t really go with anything else, but the rainbow thread always keeps my insides jolly anyway.

Of course, with the fabric being so spongey, the sleeves eased in nicely too.

I didn’t topstitch anything because I wanted it to look a bit puffy, like a proper jumper. To be honest, I didn’t get my iron out for the entire sew! That was liberating.

The cuffs were snug, so I put them inside the sleeve edge to pin them. It probably says that in the instructions in the book, but, to be honest, I’ve given up translating much more than the size and fabric requirements now. The pictures make sense… mostly.

This looks a lot like the photo of the cuff, but it is in fact the waist band…

And in its full glory…

It is SO comfortable. And I love the contrast pieces, all in all I’m really happy with it. Over the moon if I’m honest!

I hear already that there’s going to be another GBSBLive next year, I suppose I’d better get booked up!

Happy sewing!

Notes to self;

  • This is the bar for wooly jersey. If it doesn’t feel as nice as this, don’t buy it!
  • Check measurements & fit from previous garments to adjust pattern (1cm sleeve, 3cm body on this one)
  • Book ‘Bee’ tickets for next year!
  • Don’t make too many jumpers, remember you want a waistcoat… and a peacoat… and some more jeans…