Posted 20 hours ago

Behind the Seams: The perfect gift for fans of The Great British Sewing Bee

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Lots of name dropping of who she had met, partied with etc, I was not impressed, don't feel I got to know her at all. Her life is astonishing, from the radical fashions she created with Swanky Modes, to the daring decisions she made as a young girl living in London and enjoying the swinging 60s. In the last series in particular, there have been some tantalising hints about her previous life as a designer for the avant garde Swanky Modes, so I was really looking forward to learning more.

While watching the last series of Sewing Bee I said to my parents “I wish Esme would bring a book out, she’s had an amazing life by the sounds of it! I always thought it would be brilliant to go out partying with Esme and nothing I have read has disabused me of this notion. The style of writing was also all over the place that I started to loose interest and finally gave up.

From Swanky Modes and its place in fashion history to Sewing Bee and its place in our hearts, this is wonderful. It's straightforwardly told, with a few chapters on sewing skills too (eg, pattern cutting which is Esme's own speciality). The midsection of the book however became a catalogue of her Swanky Modes design collections and lacked the intimacy that made the other parts of the book so endearing. Her cheeky wit and flare for the unusual explain the transformation challenges in the show but also show her dedication to being one step ahead of the trend.

Fascinating if you’re a follower of the industry, but I can imagine that it’s also a really good autobiography for anyone having grown up in that same era - and some fab name drop clangs that nobody can resent along the way! You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Hubby bought me Esme Young’s autobiography for my birthday as she always has such interesting snippets of stories dropped in the TV show (like sitting in a window with David Bowie) and I was keen to learn more about her career.

What a character, the people she has worked with in the fashion and film industry was mind blowing, as well as partying with so many celebrities. I learnt a lot about pattern cutting I didn't know - in fact enough to make me not only respect the pattern cutter a great deal more, but to make me want to learn more and try to be a bit more adventurous myself.

Esme is over 70 now and has lived a fascinating and creative life, there’s just not enough pages for her to go into great depth but gives you just enough. It's packed full of surprising references to musicians and other artists - I don't know why I'm surprised, but it's maybe because Esme looks so prim and proper and she is so clearly not.The writing is so good in the sense that you do feel she is sat right opposite you telling you her stories, and her cheeky humour really comes alive too which I love! Covering her childhood, family life, career starts and many highs, friendships, teaching and ending up with her much loved time as a judge on The great British sewing bee (which is one of my favourite cosy shows).

Personally, I find her interesting because she's a woman who's never married, doesn't have children yet has created and is part of an enormous extended family she has met through her career. I had no idea who Esme Young was, I got the book as I enjoy crochet, crafting and occasional sewing, and I thought there might be some good tips on sewing/clothing repairs. I could have taken it easy, and continued to teach at college part time, and make costumes for the rest of the time… but where would be the jeopardy in that.It brings back memories of wonderful, creative times in London — our friend's final fashion degree, endless parties, and unique people we met. Some of Esme’s stories from her childhood and particularly her own and her siblings boarding school days were hilarious. Such an interesting life and clearly a wonderful woman, thoroughly enjoyed finding out all about her life, family and Swanky Modes!

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