Great British Sewing Bee Modern Wardarobe Book Review

I am rather a fan of the Great British Sewing Bee, and have watched it since it first started, back in 2013.

There have been a few sewing books produced in conjunction with the tv show, but I haven’t bought any before. But when I spotted “The Modern Wardarobe”, in my local supermarket of all places, I couldn’t resist it.

Title:The Great British Sewing Bee – The Modern Wardarobe
Author:Juliet Uzor
Publisher:Hardie Grant Quadrille
ISBN: 978-1-78713-763-9

Book and Patterns

The book is a hefty 226 pages with a full colour hardback cover.

There are full colour photos throughout of the finished garments, plus lots of clear diagrams to help you perfect the various techniques required.

Included is a card pack containing patterns for all the projects featured. The book says there are 28 projects, but many are versatile and could easily be adapted to make additional items of clothing.

The Book

There is an introduction by the hosts of the Great British Sewing Bee tv programme – the suave Patrick Grant, and adorably eccentric fashion designer, Esme Young.

The book starts with an extensive section on how to use the patterns and instructions. This includes how to adjust or customise the sewing patterns, buying a dress form and creating a toile.

Next there are sections on fabric types, tools and techniques. Lots of very useful information for anyone starting out.There are loads of illustrations and everything is explained in detail.

The introduction concludes with sections on sustainable sewing and tips and troubleshooting.

The Patterns

There are seven full-size pattern sheets included. Each includes patterns for womenswear sizes 8 to 22 (UK sizes).

The paper is sturdy and the thickness of copier paper. They are annotated with standard markings.

A cutting guide is included with each project in the book to help you get the most from your fabric.

The Projects

Each project featured in the book introduces, and explains in detail, a particular technique or techniques. So creating the projects actually serves as a course in dressmaking skills.

The first project is the “paperbag waist” shorts that were featured in the show, followed by “paperbag waist” trousers. This handy technique is a great introduction pattern for less experienced sewists to attempt.

We move on to wrap-over skirts and bodices. These include a wrap dress and a wrap skirt. Again these are simple projects that are versaile and fun to wear. The chapter finishes with a cute jumpsuit.

Shirred garments feature in the next chapter, such as a cute smocked dress with matching hair scrunchie, strappy dresses and a shirred top.

These items look very complex when finished, but are explained clearly and are much easier to create than you might think.

Intermediate Designs

The projects continue with a chapter on sheer and semi-sheer fabric designs. Sheer fabrics can be tricky to handle, but as always in this book, the instructions contain lots of hints and tips to help you get to grips with it.

There are patterns for an adorable 1960s dance dress, a midi dance skirt and a a ra-ra skirt.

The next project looks at pleasts and darts – the key to beautifully fitted garments.

First up are the classic Oxford bags – these were a challenging Technical Challenge for the competitors in the tv show. But the book gives detailed guides to perfecfting the design.

A pleated dress, wool mini skirt, retro faux pleat dress and faux pleat top complete this chapter.

And we move on to Boat Neckline designs. Starting with a cute Classic Breton Top, followed by Cropped Top and Trousers, this chapter is particularly versatile.

Patchwork Designs

Patchwork designs are very in vogue, as well as being super economical to make. Here we have a lovely quited jacket, a patchwork tote bag and a bum bag (fanny pack in American).

The next chapter has some charming sleep wear designs.I love the classic women’s pyjamas – these would look so different in a variety of fabrics.

There is a sleeping mask to go with them.

Then we have men’s pyjamas – again in a timeless classic style.

The patterns conclude with a few cute shell tops.


This is a really great value book and patten pack. The projects cover a wide range of everyday clothing designs, and one really could make a wonderful capsule wardarobe from it.

Less-eperienced stitchers will gain a lot of very useful techniques and tips. More experienced clothing-makers will hopefully find new tricks and ideas to add to their toolbelt.

The projects are mainly classic styles which are always in fashion. They will stay relevant for many, many years.

The book alone is excellent value for its clear instructions and educational content.

There is also a Kindle version of the book which is a great lower-priced alternative.

And now I really must go shop for some cute pony themed pyjama fabric!

Links to The Great British Sewing Bee – The Modern Wardarobe on Amazon

Here are links to the book on (top) and (bottom). If you buy from either of these links, I may receive a small commission from the shop for sending custom their way. This is at no cost to yourself. Thank you.

The Great British Sewing Bee – The Modern Wardarobe – Sewing Book Review
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