Winning a prize from William Gee

I frequently fill in forms that promise an opportunity to win a holiday, or something to do with sewing. But I do so knowingly – the company’s main aim is to promote their product and collect email addresses. I was on the mailing list of William Gee because I had bought some pocketing material. It was good quality and a fair price and it came quickly in the mail. But I find it hard to get enthused about white cotton fabric that never sees the light of day. It is stable. It is closely woven and thick enough to withstand wear and tear. It is not so thick that it shows. So William Gee is a firm I would go to for a dependable but not awfully exciting product. That is fine. When I saw that they were offering a chance to win a parcel of various haberdashery items I thought “why not?” and answered a couple of simple questions. So did 700 other people. Which is quite interesting if you ever want to run a quiz, prize draw or give away.

And, on this occasion, much to my surprise,  I won!

Marketeers will tell you that giving a free sample to try – be it a skin cream or a soya yogurt – is the best way to get people to buy. We rarely purchase something we have never tried before, without a trial or personal recommendation. But haberdashery? Is there any difference between suppliers? Bias binding, a zip and sewing threads are pretty standard, and you do get what you pay for.

So what was my prize?

I will show you what I won in a moment. Everything was packed in a one of three boxes and this gave me a real sense of going through someone else’s selection of trimmings. Like getting your grandma’s bits and bobs and finding some real gems in there. The selection was nicely put together and the quantities were generous, but some of the items were neither “all the rage” as Beatie put it, nor truly vintage.

However all sewing enthusiasts love and need interfacing, bias binding, ribbon, rick rack, separating zips, jeans zips, buttons, braid, little bows, elastic, lining, interfacing – what an exciting gift. And one I was thrilled to get.

There were some great items in the boxes and I opened and examined the contents with a great deal of interest, excitement and gratitude. So here is what I plan to do. Once a month I will make something entirely from the box (except for the fabric – which I have more than enough of already!)  As I seem to have gone off the boil a bit with my sewing I am hoping this haberdashery haul will stimulate my sewing creativity once more (alongside Ruth’s charming gift perhaps?)

My first project is to create a pleated skirt using a pattern in Sew magazine. The red and white sample is made up in a John Kaldor linen (£16 p/m). I decided to use my piece of John Kaldor linen (£8 p/m from Simply Fabrics), adding the interfacing, white bias binding and zip from William Gee. The pattern calls for a 9″ invisible zip but I will do a hand-picked one on this occasion (and will shorten the zip too). It looks like a simple job so maybe something I can accomplish over the Easter weekend. I might even have time to work on my coat.

WmGee Project #1 The pleated skirt
WmGee Project #1 The pleated skirt


13 Responses

  1. Jenny Lark

    What a great prize Kate. I used to enter competitions a few years ago but that was before they all became prize draws. I collected entry forms from supermarkets and subscribed to ‘Competitor’s Companion’ to find as many competitions as possible. I enjoyed the slogan competitions the most and spent much of my free time thinking up witty limericks etc. I had lots of ‘luck’ although I didn’t manage to win any cars or super holidays. I used to source the competitions which didn’t get many entries as that gave you a bigger chance of winning. I do enter the giveaways on sewing blogs and occasionally have won and it is fun opening up those parcels. I once won a beautiful double bed sized patchwork quilt and another time a 2 metre length of Brussels washed linen.

  2. eimear

    what a handy haul- I have a small ikea chest where I put excess bindings and recycled zips and its so handy to have that haberdashery to hand so very impressed with that amount you won and such a useful win! I am trying to use up the zips making purses currently!

  3. Annieloveslinen

    How exciting! I haven’t heard of that company before, that’s a splendid prize. I use bias binding and seam tape quite a bit as I prefer faced waistbands. Your linen is perfect for the skirt and it looks like you have serger thread and lining to match.

  4. helen

    Great prize! I also get e-mails from William Gee but never bother to read them. A while back I used to enter lots of competitions on the internet and one day I received a parcel with a set of Le Creuset saucepans and a set of knives in a block. I never knew what competition I had won!

  5. Stephanie

    I don’t mean to be a downer but taking in all of that stuff would make me feel as though I had taken on someone else’s clutter, like that Marie Kondo bit about not giving things to your sister just to get rid of them (though I am sure there are useful things). You seem excited though so I am happy for you that you have supplies you will use! Enjoy making the skirt. It’s very pretty.

    • fabrickated

      Yes! Right again. I did get that feeling and my first reaction was to give most of it away. But then I saw it as an opportunity to look differently at certain things. I had never opened Sew magazine for example, or made a fabric bag. So I thought – maybe I’ll give it a try. After a year I will give away anything that is left. I also have this worry that my supply of fabric and patterns is so vast beyond any chance of me using them that I too will be passing on over supply and inappropriate purchasers to others who may or may not want them.

  6. ceci

    I always love getting a happy surprise (message, gift, whatever…..) and I also love the making a plan to use some and then pass on what is left, like writing a sonnet – lavish and economical at the same time. The new skirt might go with your petrol sweater!


  7. Kerry

    What fun! I have won a pile of books two years in a row from the same competition (it’s run yearly), my husband jokes that I’m the only one who enters and that they should just parcel them up every year and send them to me. Always Australian authors and yes, I feel obligated to read at least some. Two have been short listed for the Stella Prize (women only) so I think I’ll start with those.

    As for the habby treasures, aren’t they the unsung heroes of the sewing world? Unseen but essential. I love the Kaldor fabric, it will make a great skirt.

  8. Kim

    Always fun to get a box in the post – regardless of what it contains! (I’m easily pleased). I agree that it will be interesting to see what use you make of the contents and anything you really don’t want/need can always be passed on. One mans trash being anothers treasure and all that?

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