I luffff Fabricland, although I'm lucky and live near one so don't have to get past the website. Hobbycraft & John Lewis both recently had sales, so I splurged a little bit - and have made my daughter a sunhat recently with more expensive fabric on one side (which she chose!) and my choice of Fabricland fabric on t'other and my DD prefers the cheaper one! posted about it here if you fancy a nosy
SarahBeeny - I have just looked it up - toile is the British term, muslin is the US term. I must admit I had not come across toile before the GBSB, but I used to frequent a the Usenet online sewing and craft groups in the 1990s, so knew what a muslin was!
Unique are you me? I have the big board hidden too! Although I have 'upgraded' and brought two folding trestles from Ikea which I put either end of table and place the board over- so now can have a nice high cutting table.
I've never used a pattern so no help here either, I didn't even know they had numbers. I got a book called "DIY Couture", which shows general techniques and shapes to get certain styles. It's from the library but I may well buy a copy.
I loved the Great sewing bee. I had already become obsessed with sewing, and have been sewing Pillowcase dresses for girls. They're dead easy, but SO much fun! If anyone wants to try, let me know and I'll give you the link to a great blog with tutorial.
With regards where to keep the sewing machine, I have longed for a sewing room forever, but we live in a two bedroom with our son, so no chance! Luckily, my son's room is very large, so he's letting me have a desk alongside his. THat's my sewing desk where I keep my trustworthy Husqvarna machine.
What machines have you got? And what projects are you all creating?
Pattern numbers also get reused over time, so you may find that (for example) Simplicity 2576 from thirty years ago is a jumpsuit while Simplicity 2576 from the current catalogue is an evening dress. But they seem to be the same between the US and UK.
I did get the kids' Ottobre for a year but never made anything from it partly because a lot of the designs I liked were in knit fabric and I have great trouble finding nice knits without paying a fortune for them.