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The past few years has seen a rise in smaller sewing companies and now there seems to be patterns to suit everyone, whatever their style. From French style to vintage inspired, here are a few of the best independent sewing pattern companies out there and the pick of my favourite makes. If you know of any others that should be added to the list, please let us know in the comments below!

Why not read about our family-run history or head to our online shop to purchase your favourite sewing supplies?

By Hand London Independent sewing pattern label By Hand London has only been around for a few years but is creating quite a stir in sewing circles. The company was set up by Londoners Charlotte, Elisalex and Victoria, who create up-to-date takes on classic clothing styles and even show you how to make completely new versions of their designs. With roots firmly in London, the girls’ blog also features lots of tutorials and tips for overcoming sewing problems.
Favourite pattern: The Elisalex dress
byhandlondon.com Tilly and the Buttons Previous Great British Sewing Bee contestant Tilly Walnes only started sewing six years ago but has seen her brand grow significantly in that time. She has launched her own range of patterns and a book to demystify the sewing jargon that puts many people off learning to sew and her vintage-inspired patterns appeal to many. Her newest pattern, the Fifi camisole, is perfect if you want to try your hand at something new and the rest of her patterns are great for beginners too.
Favourite pattern: The Francoise dress
tillyandthebuttons.com Sew Over It Lisa Comfort set up Sew Over It, her sewing shop and cafe, in 2011, with the intention of teaching as many people to sew as possible. Her dressmaking patterns are inspired by the past and range from the easier silk cami top and men’s tie to the more challenging vintage shirt dress. There are now two Sew Over It locations in London which provide the perfect atmosphere to learn in as well as the sewing cafe, where you can take your projects along to complete.
Favourite pattern: The Betty dress
sewoverit.co.uk Republique du Chiffon French brand Republique du Chiffon has a great range of sewing patterns with a modern, international, influence. Although the brand isn’t all that well known in the UK, it has attracted a cult following for its loose-fitting garments and there seems to be quite a few examples on Pinterest too. I first learnt of the brand when making the Marthe top but there are plenty of other great options to try out, such as the Lucie dress or the newly released Nadine top.
Favourite pattern: The Marthe top (although you’ll need to know a little French to be able to make it)
republiqueduchiffon.com Simple Sew patterns Simple Sew patterns aren’t all that well known in the sewing world but their patterns are underrated. I’ve tried my hand at a few of the sewing patterns from the brand, including the classic trouser and Ruby dress and the instructions are easy to follow and hassle free. Plus the brand has partnered up with Love Sewing magazine in recent times to produce more great makes.
Favourite pattern: The classic trouser
simplesewpatterns.com Gather Kits Gather Kits is another sewing pattern company based in London with a small range of patterns to get you started. Taking inspiration from literary figures to name their designs, Gather’s makes are easy enough to have a go at and you can even buy the kits for some of their patterns, which includes everything you need to get sewing. If you want something to start you off, try the Tallis collar, which comes in both rounded and square versions.
Favourite pattern: The Mortmain dress
gatherkits.com Check out William Gee’s range of dressmaking pattern here What sewing pattern companies would you recommend? Are there any sewing pattern companies you think we should add to this list? Let us know below!

The post A guide to the best independent sewing pattern companies appeared first on William Gee UK.

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Part 1: Tools of the TradePart 2: Pattern HackingPart 3: Interfacing | | Part 4: Fastenings

It’s what’s on the inside that counts… It’s an old adage that it is what is on the inside that counts, and when it comes to constructing a professional garment, it makes a huge difference to collars, cuffs, waistbands and more…

There are three main types of interfacing: 1. Non – woven: made from fibres all pressed together it creates a fabric like felt or paper. It has no grain, so avoid wastage by cutting any which way. It offers a firm support and no flexibility. It also tends to be the cheapest option. 2. Woven: have a grain and should be treated like other woven fabrics. They are more flexible and tend to be softer. 3. Knit: are the most flexible of interfacing, they have two-way stretch and are used to add support without compromising the stretch of a fabric. You can buy these as fusible (with glue you can iron-on) or sew-in; they come in various weights. Just remember to always buy the weight that matches your fabric i.e. if you are sewing with a light cotton pick a light interfacing, if you are sewing with heavy wool pick a heavy interfacing. Vilene is the biggest company that produces these fabrics and they tend to be the best quality – click here to view our range of Vilene interfacings. With fusible interfacing make sure that you place the shiny side down on the wrong side of your fabric and iron. Try not to get glue on your iron as it ends up a big sticky mess that will transfer to everything you try to iron afterwards. Keep it clean with an iron cleaner stick. Or if you’re lucky and have a lot of space have a spare ironing board cover and iron just for these sticky jobs.
£4.55 – £61.27
For perfect and easy hemming without sewing, use Vilene Perfect
£93.75
This Vilene H609 is a fusible knit interlining, made out
£16.80
Our Seam Tape Flexible T15 is a lightweight, fusible woven
£2.18
Wonderweb is an iron on hemming tape that makes the
£7.74 – £117.39
Vilene G785 Iron On Fusible Interfacing is a soft, ultra-lightweight and
£3.29 – £49.88
Vilene M12 Interfacing is a non-woven sew in interfacing with a
£2.63
For Securing and finishing of all rounded and diagonal edges,
£4.33
Our 12mm Bias Tape is stitched at 4/8mm. When fusing,
£2.79 – £117.88
Our Vilene Edge Tape T20 provides stabilisation when ironed onto
£4.58 – £81.17
Vilene H410 Iron On Fusible Interlining is a non-woven fusible
£4.43 – £51.45
Vilene 280 Fleece Batting, perfect for quilts, patchwork, topstitch work
£30.18
Perfect for securing and finishing of all rounded and diagonal
£5.61 – £102.21
This Vilene S320 is a Lightweight fusible interfacing for textile craftwork
£7.72 – £95.72
Vilene Decovil Light is a light fusible interlining with leather-like
£6.85 – £124.95
Vilene G700 Iron On Fusible Interlining is a woven fusible
£14.70
For securing and finishing of all rounded and diagonal edges...use
£14.50
Iron-on adhesive on paper carrier - paper supports the web
£1.00 – £18.39
Our Vilene Fuse and Fold Waistband provides a firm finish
£2.70 – £41.16
For small parts and creative work, the Vilene F220 interfacing
£4.34 – £65.94
Vilene H200 Interfacing is a lightweight fusible interlining with some
£30.18
Perfect for securing and finishing of all rounded and diagonal
£3.10 – £55.13
For accurate results with no stretching of the fabric, the
£2.70 – £41.16
Vilene H250 Iron On Fusible Interlining is a non-woven fusible
£4.55
Our 12mm Bias Tape is stitched at 4/8mm. When fusing,
£1.00 – £18.39
Our Vilene Fuse and Fold Waistband provides a firm finish
£3.79 – £57.65
Vilene S13 Interfacing is a stable and dense sew-in interlining.
£8.14 – £86.10
Revolutionise your creative needlework with our incredible Vilene Style-Vil interfacing! 
£24.50 – £435.00
This ME-9913 by Vilene is a stretched, woven fusible interfacing
£3.68
This Vilene Stretchix T30 Tape is an elasticated, heat-activated adhesive
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Part 1: Tools of the TradePart 2: Pattern HackingPart 3: Interfacing | | Part 4: Fastenings

After part 1, your sewing studio should be fully equipped and we are ready to move on to the interesting part – designing and making clothes! To make clothes there are two ways of starting: draping on a dummy or model and sewing from there, or making a flat pattern. Flat patterns are templates from which we then build our garments.

In the industry we use something called “slopers”. A sloper is a very basic form fitting shape with no design features or seam allowance – or anything really. It is meant to fit like a second skin. From the sloper we make “blocks”. We add in darts and tucks and pleats and gathers and wearing ease and allowances for sewing, and then that becomes the garment. The majority of home sewers buy ready-made patterns either from the “big four” or smaller “indie” pattern makers. This industry has boomed in the past few years with more and more people taking up sewing thanks to the Sewing Bee and downloadable pdf patterns making life that little bit easier. However, by using these patterns you are limited to what someone else has already designed for you. What happens if you find a pattern you like, but it’s vintage and it’s not your size? Or you love that dress but you wish the skirt was a bit fuller? Or the dress has a zip at the back and really you’d prefer if it had a button placket down the front and a skinnier skirt and was 3 inches longer and had puff sleeves instead of flutter and was in woven instead of stretch….Here is where we hack.

Pattern hacking? Sounds brutal. All pattern hacking means is changing something about a flat pattern that you don’t like to something you do. What you will need: – Pattern of choice
– Paper – a wide roll
– Pencil
– Rubber Eraser (mistakes are inevitable)
– Metre/Yard stick
– French curves
– Paper scissors First of all decide what you want to change about your pattern. The most common hack is to make something bigger or smaller. This is called “grading”. Trace or draw around your pattern piece on to your paper. The technique used is called “slash and spread”. The terminology here is all very violent but essentially what you are doing is cutting the pattern piece into smaller pieces, moving them apart, and filling in the gaps with the extra that you need.
Crafty inspiration, just for you…
£1.75 – £14.00
Created by Prym, our range of high quality strong coloured elastics
£8.53
An ideal gift for knitters on the go - yarn
£10.00
CLEARANCE! Coats Sewing Thread in Koban 75 is a cotton covered
£2.90
Our Polyester Satin lining is a smooth, satin finished lining
£8.07
Revolving Punch Pliers by PRYM are used to punch holes
£7.20
The Prym Vario Pliers and Piercing Tool are use for
£17.50 – £230.00
The K10 interlining is one of our bestselling woven fusible interlinings!
£4.68
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£1.00 – £18.39
Our Vilene Fuse and Fold Waistband provides a firm finish
£3.02
Our Viscose Twill is a beautiful lining made for menswear
£3.00 – £4.00
Replacement barbs for a Tag Gun; price per box of
£5.50
Our Dylon Machine Fabric Dye Pods are suited to larger items or quantities
£2.72
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£2.03 – £40.75
Paragrip is your perfect solution to petersham waistbanding! Works as
£169.50
High quality, easy-to-use body forms by Adjustoform. When making a
£4.10 – £335.00
A tailoring canvas used for the construction of chest pieces
£2.72
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£19.33
Get your young ones into cool crafty projects with these
£14.73 – £101.54
The open ended metal zip from YKK is made from
£0.89 – £4.46
A fantastic buckle with prong in a nickel-plated finish. Potential Uses: -
£5.95 – £89.00
Our superior quality pre-shrunk interlining is an essential component in
£20.20 – £36.70
White Marking Tracing Paper is a plain tracing paper, perfect
£21.50
"The Toolkit for Fashion Designers" For perfect pattern planning, you
£45.00 – £395.00
A stiffened single ply layer of coarsely woven fabric used
£7.74 – £117.39
Vilene G785 Iron On Fusible Interfacing is a soft, ultra-lightweight and
£169.50
High quality, easy-to-use body forms by Adjustoform. When making a
£0.74 – £9.90
Top quality polypropylene webbing, a strong webbing with a silky
£3.60
Ergonomically designed to work on the seams effortlessly, our Prym
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Part 1: Tools of the TradePart 2: Pattern HackingPart 3: Interfacing | Part 4: Fastenings

Ever wondered what goes on in a professional sewing studio? Has the Sewing Bee inspired you to give it a go yourself? Here are some useful tips and insider secrets on how to take your projects from amateur home sewer to professional couturier in no time…

The key to any successful project is to start with the right tools for the job: Scissors I have lost count of the pairs of scissors I own but I’ve narrowed it down to the five (yes five!) essentials. 1. Embroidery scissors or snips – these are for small threads, cutting into curves and those fiddly jobs. Keep these on a ribbon around your neck whilst sewing and snip as you go along. 2. Paper scissors for pattern card and paper. Cheap but sharp will do the job. 3. Aviation tin snip – may seem overkill but these are for cutting either flat steel or spiral steel boning that I put in my dresses that have inbuilt corselettes. 4. Pinking shears – for good old fashioned seam finishes and pesky fabrics that fray. 5. Tailors shears – This is the one place I advocate investing in a good pair. As long as you can pick them up, the heavier the better. I prefer ones with solid metal handles. These Wilkinson shears look perfect at 12” or 13” if you have larger hands.
Crafty inspiration, just for you…
£0.74 – £9.90
Top quality polypropylene webbing, a strong webbing with a silky
£1.95
Another fantastic product by Hemline! These 34 mm pearl headed
£2.72
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£2.06
Vilene Iron Cleaners allow users to remove scorch, starch and
£7.65
Easy-to-sew polyester boning, specially created for giving shape and support
£0.50 – £9.10
The YKK Sliders in nylon are zip pullers (or pulls)
£8.00 – £30.00
CLEARANCE!! High quality double faced satin ribbon available in 6mm
£0.89
Protect your fingertips when working with needles and pins. Tailors
£2.40
Prym's beautiful Sequin Trimming - for the creative in you! This fancy sequin
£1.85 – £28.00
The Polyester Taffeta lining is a smooth, lightweight lining with
£5.00
The small format battery-operated Prym Lint Shaver ensures that woollen
£1.85 – £28.00
The Polyester Taffeta lining is a smooth, lightweight lining with
£0.50 – £24.34
These ball and chain sliders are suitable for YKK No 5
£6.00 – £15.00
The Economy Value Zips are a nylon zip with plastic
£2.72
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£16.00
As specially designed, multipurpose tool which speeds- and removes- some
£7.20
The Prym Vario Pliers and Piercing Tool are use for
£0.67 – £22.28
Premium Industrial Sewing Machine Needles by Groz Beckert can be
£147.40
High quality, easy-to-use body forms by Adjustoform. When making a
£0.98 – £13.60
A lightweight synthetic lining suitable for a variety of garment
£4.40
Eliminate 'trailing off' (or curve separation) with these flat headed,
£7.88
An ideal gift for knitters on the go - yarn
£1.95
A top quality dress lining from William Gee, this acetate
£3.30
This Prym Travel Box Sewing Set is perfect for storing
£5.10
The No.3 weight, closed-ended flat nylon zips from Opti-lon are perfect
£8.00 – £18.30
Buttonhole elastic is a strong woven elastic which is perfect
£2.30
Prym Overlocker Needle Threaders are especially adapted to the threading
£12.50
BIGGER SAVINGS WHEN BOUGHT AS A BUNDLE! Buy these grouped
£10.21 – £29.42
This rotary cutting mat from the Olfa range is the
£2.00 – £16.00
Our classic 4-hole Trocas Buttons, perfect for shirts! A classic
£2.72
Bias binding is cut on the cross and therefore has
£0.75 – £33.94
These zip pullers are suitable for YKK No 5 Metal zips,
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Beat the January blues in our fantastic Winter giveaway! We want to give 1 lucky person the chance to win a STYLISH Sewing Kit, sponsored by William Gee! What’s more, we have some fantastic runners-up prizes too! » Prize Breakdown Winner: William Gee Sewing Kit! Runners Up: William Gee’s Pot Luck Moon Threads x 10 reels
» How to enter Entering the prize giveaway is completely FREE and takes 20 seconds to complete. There are 2 ways to enter…feel free to enter both for a better chance of being selected: ENTRY 1: Like our Facebook Page and leave a comment on the giveaway post, telling us what your FAVOURITE sewing product is (be sure to share the post and tag your sewing crew for extra sewing prowess!) ENTRY 2:  Follow William Gee on Instagram and share the below Instagram-ready text & image about the giveaway: • INSTAGRAM-READY TEXT:
Here is my FREE entry to the #WilliamGeeGiveaway with @williamgee_UK to win a stylish sewing kit! • INSTAGRAM-READY IMAGE:
Copy and paste (or screenshot) the image below:

Terms of entry
You must be following William Gee UK on the social media platform you enter on in order to be eligible for the prize draw. All entries must be received by midday on Thursday 31st January 2019. Winners will be selected on Thursday 31st January 2019 using a random generator and will be informed via social media and contacted directly. One entry per person per social media account. International entries are allowed, however prizes can only be shipped to an address in the UK.

The post Win a William Gee Sewing Kit in our Winter Giveaway! appeared first on William Gee UK.

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Dear customers, suppliers & friends,

As we come to the end of the year, all that remains is to thank you for your support and custom throughout the year. Here’s a run down of what went on at William Gee HQ in 2018… This year, we added many new sewing products to our range, both online and in-store, and we hope that we can continue to supply fantastic products for you at competitive prices in 2019. New products included rolls of calico, buttons and cotton cords, as well as branded products from the likes of Prym haberdashery, Vilene interfacing and Fiskars cutting equipment. Having listened to what our customers wanted, we introduced lower shipping rates in the spring. Customers now have a choice of delivery options starting as low as £2.95 – not bad for a wholesaler! We knew this was something you wanted for a while, so we thank you for your patience. What’s more, we are now also open for business across over 200 countries, having partnered with DHL, UPS and TNT for our international deliveries – you’ll find our international prices very competitive too.
» Christmas Opening Hours & Online Orders

Our shop at 520 Kingsland Road is open until Friday 21st December & reopens 9am Wednesday 2nd January 2019. Final online orders for this year will be despatched on Thursday 20th December, though we will be delivering in the London area until Friday 21st December. PLEASE NOTE: During the holidays, online orders can be made but will only be despatched from Wednesday 2nd January 2019.
We introduced some fantastic new features in 2018. Our new loyalty points scheme, where customers are instantly rewarded for shopping with us online, is a great way to save on your entire bill. So many of you are now saving for every £1 spent online, which is great news! The biggest achievement this year was our continued promise to keep prices down. We do everything we possibly can to ensure your costs are as low as possible, whilst not compromising on service. Speaking of which, we managed to keep to a next-day delivery service of 97% on our orders, which we are extremely proud of! We continued developing our mobile site, improved our checkout process, hired 2 brilliant new staff members, offered incredible prize giveaways (including a Janome sewing machine!) and we even gave our shop windows- and warehouses- a big revamp to ensure that you enjoy coming into William Gee and getting a close-up feel of the products you love. We had an incredible response to our flash sales this year, where many of you saved in our online shop throughout the year- keep an eye out for the next one in early 2019 (we even held an inaugural in-store flash sale too!). We want to connect with as many of you as possible, so be sure to catch us on Instagram and Facebook for creative inspiration, as well as all the latest news from our haberdashery – we’d love to keep in touch. We have some really exciting things happening in 2019, so do make sure you come back and visit us soon! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!
Jeffrey, Adam and all the team at William Gee


The post A Festive Note & Christmas Opening Hours appeared first on William Gee UK.

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We’ve got some exciting news for our lovely friends & family… To coincide with London Design Festival 2018, we’d like to invite you to William Gee’s SUPER SAVER Event, starting Friday 21st September 2018. We’re sure you’ve been busy creating, making and mending your fabulous projects over the summer months. Now, with London Fashion Week happening, schools and colleges starting their new terms, and London Design Festival 2018 taking over the city, we thought it’s the perfect time to take advantage of William Gee’s money-saving sale, only here for 1 weekend!

Save on sewing tools, fashion design supplies, YKK zips, sewing threads, linings & interfacings and all your favourite haberdashery supplies too, only at williamgee.co.uk/shop. Make sure you check out our Guide to the London Design Festival 2018. Keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram!

How to save in our Super Saver Event: 1. Shop as normal in our online store from Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd September 2018
2. When you reach checkout, enter code SUPERSAVER and click ‘apply’
3. This will remove 10% off your entire bill…We hope you take advantage of our fantastic offer! + FREE BAG OF COLOURFUL ZIPS with every order throughout the sale!

TERMS:
Please note this offer is valid in our online shop only. Sale starts at 12.01am on Friday 21st September 2018. Sale ends at 11.59pm on Sunday 23rd September 2018. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer.


The post William Gee’s SuperSaver Flash Sale Event appeared first on William Gee UK.

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We have a fantastic opportunity for a Full-Time Sales Assistant to join our friendly team in our shop in Dalston, London.  William Gee is a long-standing family-run haberdashery in Dalston, London, who are celebrating successful high street trading for 112 years. Our shop is now looking for the right candidate with retail experience who has a keen interest in our products, as well as sewing, haberdashery and the clothing trade. This full time position is for a retail sales person who is looking to work for a company whose emphasis is on excellent customer service. Description:
Position: Full Time Sales Assistant
Start Date: Immediate start
Location: Dalston, London E8
Salary: To be discussed at interview stage; depending on experience
Benefits: 30 Days Holiday
Hours: Full time, Mon-Fri 9am – 5.30pm (shop trades 5 days a week) Duties include:
– Selling haberdashery, fashion design equipment & trimmings to customers
– Advising customers on their requirements – in person & by telephone
– Fulfilling online orders
– Restocking the shop & general shop maintenance
– Working with a cash till / credit card machine
– Writing invoices for customers Requirements:
– Knowledge of clothing trade / fashion industry an advantage
– Ability to provide excellent customer service
– Product knowledge very advantageous
– Good mathematical skills important
– Previous shop experience essential and an ability to work in an organised manner and within a team are key qualities Full in-house training will be provided during a 4 week trial period to assess suitability for both parties. To apply:
Send us your CV and covering letter to info@williamgee.co.uk with subject line: William Gee Sales Assistant. Successful applicants will be asked to come in for an interview.

The post William Gee are hiring: Join the team in our London shop! appeared first on William Gee UK.

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The Great British Sewing Bee returns in 2019 & are NOW OPEN for applications!
• Sewing Bee set to broadcast on BBC 2 in 2019
• Applications close Monday 28th May 2018
• No broadcast date as of yet; Joe Lycett hosts new show
Are you nifty with a needle or handy with a hem? Put your skills to the test! Producers of the show, Love Productions, are looking for the next group of brilliant, amateur sewers to showcase their talents for an exciting new series of The Great British Sewing Bee. So if you or someone you know is a brilliant amateur sewer, then why not apply?       Buy dressmaking supplies, tailoring tools & haberdashery at William Gee Online Joe Lycett will be hosting the new GBSB show which is back on BBC2 for a 5th series. To keep us all entertained over the weeks, we will be introduced to 10 of Britain’s top amateur sewers, competing in three challenges to test their sewing skills, time management and ability to cope under pressure. Presented by Joe Lycett, the sewers will be scrutinised by expert judges, (now confirmed) Patrick Grant and Esme Young, as they tackle three commonplace, but often notoriously tricky, fabrics. It’s a great show which provides inspiration, hints and tips and most of all MOTIVATION to finally dust off the sewing machine and delve into the wondrous depths of home sewing!

Good luck!

The post Great British Sewing Bee: Apply Now for 2019 appeared first on William Gee UK.

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That’s right, you heard correctly, our favourite TV Programme is back! Though one person will be missing from the mix…We can confirm that Claudia Winkleman will NOT be presenting the show, which as of yet does not have a broadcasting date.  Head to William Gee Online for professional sewing, dressmaking & fashion design tools with FAST delivery! After a couple of years of being “off air”, the Sewing Bee is set to be revived on BBC2. Although the show has not yet formally been recommissioned, trade magazine Broadcast report that comedian Joe Lycett is to be her replacement…either way, the news is that the Sewing Bee is set go into production soon!

Joe Lycett will be hosting the new GBSB show which is back on BBC2 for a 5th series. To keep us all entertained over the weeks, we will be introduced to 10 of Britain’s top amateur sewers, competing in three challenges to test their sewing skills, time management and ability to cope under pressure. Presented by Joe Lycett, the sewers will be scrutinised by expert judges, (now confirmed) Patrick Grant and Esme Young, as they tackle three commonplace, but often notoriously tricky, fabrics. It’s a great show which provides inspiration, hints and tips and most of all MOTIVATION to finally dust off the sewing machine and delve into the wondrous depths of home sewing! Claudia Winkelman, meanwhile, is working on the new BBC One series Britain’s Best Cook with Mary Berry as well as hosting Strictly Come Dancing, and her  Radio 2 programme. What are your thoughts? Excited as much as we are?!

The post HUGE NEWS! Great British Sewing Bee is set to return in 2019! appeared first on William Gee UK.

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