Sew here we go...... it's #getsetsew time again, and this month's Necktie 👔challenge is quite different from any of our previous challenges. Over the summer I made several silk ties and a bow tie for a wedding., hand making ties means they can be personalised to match or compliment an outfit, or a partner's outfit. The ties I made for the wedding were in the same fabric as the bride's dress and helped to bring the colour theme of the wedding party together.
Handmade ties can also be personalised, fun and even seasonal and celebratory.....can you see where this is going?? Yes I'm going to mention the 'C' word, as what better time of year is there to have a fun tie tor bow tie than for Christmas 🎅🎄 👔, the perfect Christmas gift!
And if you don't wan't to make a tie for someone, or for yourself, then how about a bow tie for your dog or cat? Yes there are patterns for these too and I have included some in the list below. In fact a google search for neck tie sewing patterns brings up a plethora of free patterns to download as well as blogs and YouTube tutorials.
Whilst ties and bow ties can look quite tricky to make, as they can involve techniques such as cutting on the bias, lining, turning out corners, and hand stitching, they really are not as difficult as they may appear. As long as you follow the instructions, and cut and sew as precisely as possible, then there is absolutely no reason why you won't succeed. And you can sew a tie with a wide rage of fabrics from cotton to linen, silk to wool, the choice is yours.
We have compiled a list of some patterns for starters. Some of these can be downloaded for free, whilst some you would need to buy. And as previously mentioned, a goggle search will give you even more options and choices.
Paid for Patterns
Style Arc Women's Chelsea Tie
Simplicity 4762 Waistcoats and Ties
McCalls 2447 Waistcoat and Ties
Free Patterns / Tutorials
My Handmade Space Tie Pattern
gathered.how How to sew a bow tie tutorial
Made for Mermaids Layered Bow Tie for Baby, Kids and Adults
The Canine Story DIY Dog Bowtie
So why not give it a go and make a tie. There is lots of choice and fun to be had with this month's #getsetsew challenge. Don't forget to use the hashtag #getsetsewoctober to show us your makes in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook group, and on intagram @starttostitch. We really love seeing what you make.
Are you ready?? GET.....SET.....SEW!!
At the Start to Stitch Academy we have a number of online courses available in our Academy, from our Back to Basics course for people who have little or no sewing knowledge, though to learning to Sew with Stretch Fabrics, and courses to teach you how to sew your own luxurious Soft Furnishings. In each of the courses we offer you’ll learn new techniques and how to troubleshoot common issues, as well as create wonderful handmade items.
🌟🌟Benefits to signing up for one of our courses include🌟🌟
🌟Lifetime access to your course, giving the ability to complete it at your pace
🌟Online App means you can access your course from any device.
🌟Access to a real life tutor via term time zoom sessions and direct messaging
🌟Spread the cost while you learn with pay by installment options
If you’re not sure what course to do first then why not take a look at our Which Course is Right for You? blog post which will help you decide. You can also sign up for our FREE Learn to Sew Mini Course, for a taste of what we do and how we do it, and 10% discount off future course purchases. So why not take a look and get started on your sewing journey today 😊
#getsetsewseptember - Underwear
We're sew excited about this month's #getsetsew challenge theme, it's one we've been thinking of doing for sometime now and one of the things we love it is how versatile it is with endless options for skills, style and pattern!
Yes it time to show us your underwear, well, your underwear makes this month.
What are your first thoughts on thinking about this challenge? Is it something like 'I cant make a bra!', 'This is complicated', or something along the lines of 'I've never used lace / stretch fabrics / knicker elastic'. Or your mind may already have moved on the the myriad of options available form, bras, bralettes, sports bras, vests, camisoles, though to knickers, boxer shorts, men's pants, children's pants, and within all of these options are so many pattern choices and different styles to chose from. And better still if you already sew with stretch fabrics this can be a great scrap buster.
Stevie Knickers by Paper Theory
So Zo Undies by So Zo
So Zo Kids Speedy Pants by So Zo
So Zo Vest/Camisole by So Zo
Boxer Shorts by Peppermint Patterns
Acacia Underwear by Megan Nielson
Hipster Pattern by Makebra
Lacy Thong Panty by Fehr Trade
Paid for Patterns
Superstar Bra by Waves and Wild
Wonder Undies and speedy pants by Waves and Wild (children's and adults)
Superhero Boxers by Waves and Wild
Iris Knickers by Tilly and the Buttons
Celine Bralette by Closet Core Patterns
Josie Bra and Pants by Made My Wardrobe
Ara, Agnes and Sofia Undies by Made My Wardrobe
Fit2Sew have lots of bra and knickers patterns
Julia Camisole, Bralette and Panites by Jalie
Sewing Kits, Fabric and Notions/Findings
As we said you can use scraps for making undies but these are some suppliers for if you want something more specific , a sewing kit, or to make matching sets. There will be lots of other suppliers that can be found via google searches.
Tilly and the Buttons
Made My Wardrobe
If you're on instagram and looking for inspiration I thoroughly recommend you give Emerald Erin a follow ( she also has an Etsy shop ) as her Jordy Bralette is going to be one of our makes for this month! Also @MMadalynne - some wonderful things and a shop too!
Don't forget I have a half price offer on my Sewing Special Elastics course that covers elastics that are often used for making underwear. This course is also a FREE module in my Sewing Stretch Fabrics course.
So there's lots of choice and great fun to be had with this month's #getsetsew challenge. Don't forget to use the hashtag #getsetsewseptember and post pictures of your makes in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook group and tag us on Instagram @starttostitch we love seeing them.
Are you ready?? Get.....SET.......SEW!!
Here at Start to Stitch we have a number of online courses available in our Academy, from our Back to Basics course for people who have little or no sewing knowledge, though to learning to Sew with Stretch Fabrics, and courses to teach you how to sew your own luxurious Home Interiors. But questions we often get asked about our courses are 'which is the right course for me?' and 'what course should I do next'. So we have created this handy info-graphic to help you make that decision.... we do love a flow chart!
Many people come to our courses with some prior knowledge of sewing, be that from learning many years ago at school, learning from a friend or family member, or being self taught from books or online videos. Often learning in these ways can sometimes mean that techniques may not be fully understood which can lead to mistakes being made and frustration. Our mantra here at Start to Stitch is 'you don't know what you don't know' and often returning to the very basics of sewing can provide real 'lightbulb' moments in your sewing journey. As such, and in the words of Julie Andrews in the Sound of music, our advice would be
'Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start'
Our beginners course is the Back to Basics course. This takes you from total beginner, or returner to sewing, though to competent and confident creator of lovely handmade things in only 5 sessions. The first module of this course is available totally FREE as a 21 lesson mini course which teaches you everything you need to know to get off the starting blocks with your machine. It also gives you the chance to see how our courses are structured and an opportunity to 'try before you buy!'
Once you have completed the Back to Basics course, or if you already have confidence in your basic sewing skills then there a number of courses for you to chose from. The Skills Builder course continues from where the Back to Basics ended and will teach more advanced techniques to continue to grow your sewing skill set. Sewing Stretch Fabrics will take you through mastering sewing with knit fabrics and provide you with skills to make stretch garments from pants to T Shirts! Whilst the How to Sew Cushions and How to Sew Curtains will take your interiors sewing to a whole new level. There are more details available on all our courses here
But there are even more benefits to signing up to Start to Stitch online courses. You will have lifetime access to your course, giving you the ability to complete it at a time that suits you and to return to the course or specific modules as many times as you need to. The online App means you can access your course from any device. With multiple ways to talk to us, enjoy all the benefits of a face to face live zoom with a real tutor - Annie, for as long as you need us (during term time). We know times are tough right now, but we want you to succeed, so all of our courses have instalment options so you can spread the cost while you learn.
That's not all! we are currently working on new exciting courses for you to keep growing your sewing knowledge and skills, including Understanding Fabrics, and Using an Overlocker, which will be coming soon sign up here to be notified about these. We are also going to be running some fun live sew-along workshops, where you will have the opportunity to make garments alongside other sewists and ask Annie questions as you make your garment.
The first workshops will be for the Waves and Wild Heydays dungarees and the Papercut Patterns Nova coat. Why not sign up to our mailing list to be first to hear about these, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more hints, tips motivation, inspiration and information, we'd love to see you there. Plus you get 10% off as a welcome offer!
Don't forget to join our super friendly Facebook group Stitch Sewcial for even more sewing fun!
What does an award REALLY mean?
You may have seen, or hear, that we've been nominated for a National Sewing Award for our Learn to Sew: Back to Basics course and more recently, Annie has also been nominated in a West Country Women Phoenix award. This latter award is about identifying a person who has risen from the ashes of the pandemic and has worked hard to help change our lives, communities & economy for the better!
Many industries have some form of recognition or award scheme to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding work or contribution to the industry or business. The Oscars and the Grammys, the Brit Awards and TV Soap Awards ... to name just a few of the more well known ones.
What does it really mean to be nominated for an award?
To be told you have been nominated means that someone has taken the time and made the effort to complete the nomination process, this means that person has been inspired by you and what you do and wants to tell others about you.
2022 has been a very busy time at Start to Stitch HQ, but being nominated for these awards made us look back and reflect on how far we have come and how proud we are of the work we have done. Sometimes building a business, producing courses, marketing, social media, responding to queries, writing newsletters and all the other 101 things that are required can mean you lose sight of just what you have achieved, and these nominations have meant we have taken some time to actually consider this and recognise just how much Start to Stitch has grown, but above all how proud we are to have kept that personal, kind and friendly ethos that informs our business values.
To think that people have appreciated what we do enough to nominate us is actually very humbling.
These nominations mean that the work we are doing at Start to Stitch is being recognised both regionally and nationally, and this makes us very proud of our work and our business. It tells us that we have produced courses and created a sewing community that people are engaging with and learning from and most importantly want to be a part of.
We often get feedback from members of Stitch Sewcial and students on our courses about how friendly and supportive we are, and how much they are inspired to learn more and progress their skills. But - we also hear from people who tell us their own very personal stories about the positive impact that being part of our sewing community, and learning to sew, has had on their lives and mental health.
Running Start to Stitch is about so much more than providing online sewing courses, our core values are about being kind and creating community, so when we receive feedback like this it really makes our hearts sing and our eyes leak a little.
Having taken time to reflect on what these nominations mean to us we have also realised that being nominated is another form of feedback, a very positive a public feedback, that will introduce others to what we do and help to spread the very positive benefits of sewing that are so much more than a needle and thread.
The people who have nominated us may well be reading this blog, and we would like to say thank you so much for believing in us and taking the time to do this. We also want to thank our truly wonderful students and sewing community who continue to inspire us every day with their comments, questions, support for others and makes.
You are all all sew lovely and are without a doubt what makes running Start to Stitch so very special.
And finally If we were to win these awards it really would mean the world to us and enable us to take Start to Stitch to the next level. So if you would like to vote for us we really would be so very grateful. You can vote for us in the British Sewing Awards here. You can find us under the EVENTS category, and then TOP WORKSHOP, then BACK TO BASICS - START TO STITCH ( this is where you put your tick please!!! ) The next round of the Phoenix Award is Judge led only! So keep everything crossed for us...
AND if you haven't yet done one of our courses and want to find out what we're all about you can sign up to our FREE mini course for a take of what we do and how we do it.
#getsetsewaugust - Beachwear and Accessories
It's summertime here in the UK 🌞and we thought it only right to celebrate this with a beachwear and accessories #getsetsew for August. For our lovely followers in the southern hemisphere, where it isn't currently summertime, maybe think of this as an opportunity to get ahead of the game for your summer season! 😊
The scope of this month's challenge is wide open. Anything goes, from swim wear, changing robes, beach bags, hats, sunglasses cases, espadrilles, the world of beachwear and accessories really is your oyster! 👙😎👒👜
.The brilliant Foldline have done an amazing round up of swimwear patterns here, including one of my favourites the Vernazza Two Piece Bikini pattern from Friday Pattern Company. Hello Sewing also have a great round up of free sewing patterns for women, men and children and have some great choices. Peppermint Magazine has free patterns for a beach coverup and for a robe that would make perfect beachwear.
There are some gorgeous swimwear fabrics around at the moment from the likes of myfabrics, guthrie-ghani and sew me sunshine. Etsy and Ebay are also good places to look for more unusual designs or cheaper fabrics.
Textile express have a pattern download and video tutorial for making a Toweling Robe and also have a lovely choice of bamboo toweling. Of course you could be super thrifty with this make by using old towels you already have at home!
Sunhats can be a great scrap buster and are fun to make. If you have any Ankara left over from last months #getsetsew then a hat could be a perfect use for this fabric. There are lots of great patterns around and a google search will bring up lots of choices. Two of my favourites are from Elbe Textiles, the wide brimmed Serpentine Hat and the Sorrento Bucket Hat. The Patterns for Pirates Adventure Hat is a free cap pattern that looks fun and a really great scrap buster.
Again a google search for free glasses case sewing patterns will bring up a plethora of choices, from drawstring, to padded, to zipped, to folding. Another great scrap buster and a quick make.
But obviously all these things need to be carried to the beach along with all the other beach paraphernalia....sun cream, bucket and spade, goggles, books.....etc...etc. So why not have a go at making a roomy beach bag to do the job? Those of you who subscribe to any sewing magazines will probably have patterns for beach and tote bags in your own pattern store, but again there are lots of choices online too. A good place to start for lots of choice of free patterns is eknitting stitches who have some great ideas, including an extra large bag and an up-cycle project.
So there's lots of choice and lots of fun to be had with this month's #getsetsew challenge. Don't forget to use the hashtag #getsetsewaugust and post pictures of your makes in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook group and tag us on Instagram @starttostitch we love seeing them.
Have fun with this one and happy summer sewing 🌞
British Sewing Awards 2022 - Top Sewing Workshop
We really are beyond excited to have been nominated.....and shortlisted!.....for a British Sewing Award for our Learn to Sew:Back to Basics online course ..... eeeeeekkk!!
This really is an amazing honour in such a competitive industry and we are so very proud to have been shortlisted.
It would just be incredible if we were to win this category. But - in order for us to be in with a chance of winning this award we need to ask you, our wonderful followers, to please, please vote for us here It really would mean the world to us 🌍🥰
If you have a print copy of this months Sew Magazine you can enter by post on page 68-69 📫
I've put more details in our Stitch Sewcial Facebook Group and have also done a Facebook live to share my absolute excitement and ask you to please, please, please vote for us!
If you do vote you could be in with a chance of winning a wonderful prize, including a 21 day cruise for two people around Cape Verde, the Canaries and Morocco. It sounds idyllic 🛳 🏖 And everyone who votes will also receive a Become a Better Stitcher downloadable boxset in just for entering. So what is there to loose? it could be a win win situation for us all!
We do really hope you will take a few minutes to vote, we would be so very grateful 🙏
But we would also like to thank you all so much for your ongoing support and championing of Start to Stitch. We really love what we do, but most of all we love helping everyone here and seeing you progress with your own stitching and get as excited as we do about sewing 🥰
So we'd like to say a huge THANK YOU! to you all, we couldn't do this without you!
You are truly our favourite sewists 🧵 💓🥰
#getsetsewjuly - The Ankara Challenge
The Sewing Bee has finished for another year and that means one thing.... the Stitch Sewical #getsetsew challenge is back!!
For July's challenge we couldn't resit revisiting a previous challenge, simply for the wonderful colourful joy this fabric brings. Drum roll please 🥁........It's the Ankara fabric challenge. Traditionally Ankara fabric is made from 100% cotton and is synonymous with the countries and dress of West Africa. The pattern is printed using wax, to create wonderful designs in vibrant colours. The fabric is very stable and a dream to sew with. You can make anything for this challenge, garments, bags, cushion covers zip pouches, all work really well, and maybe this is an opportunity to try out some new sewing skills too and make something different from what you might normally chose.
The 11th - 17th July is also Ankara Appreciation Week, a celebration of all things Ankara fabric, set up by Juliet Uzor and Lena King as an Instagram challenge, sewing different garments thoughout the week. If you are on Instagram take a look at their accounts and the hashtags #sewankarafabric22 #ankaraappreciationweek22 for more inspiration.
Jumpsuits are a popular choice for Ankara fabric and one of my favourties is the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit. The Pauline Alice Pattern Mila Jumpsuit & Dress would also work well.
The stability of the fabric makes it good for jackets such as the Friday Pattern Co Ilford Jacket. and the Helen's Closet Pona Jacket. Ankara is also a good fabric for shift and cocoon style dresses and would work well with the Helen's Closet York Pinafore, Closet Core Cielo Dress and Top, and the Simple Sew Cocoon or Zoe dress and top. I have written a blog about the cocoon dress which you might find helpful for this. Peppermint Magazine has lots of free downloadable patterns that would work well with Ankara, such at the Skye Shorts, Peplum Top, and Boxy Top. They actually have lots of free patterns that are well worth taking a browse though.
I've written a short guide about Ankara fabrics, including some suppliers and things to watch out for when using the fabric. This is in the Stitch Sewcial Facebook group under the files tab, or can be accessed here. And please give Start to Stitch UK a follow on Pinterest and find even more more Ankara inspiration on our Sewing Patterns for Ankara fabrics
This really is a joyous #getsetsew challenge and we are super excited to see your makes start appearing in Stitch Sewcial this month. Don't forget to post them using the hashtag #getsetsewjuly to make sure we don't miss any. Happy #getsetsew sewing!
Forget the after-show party ....the party is in the sewing room!
It's the Final Four in the Final!!
Nooo!! How has this happened, where have that last 9 weeks gone!! I really can't believe this week was the final of season 8 of the Sewing Bee. I am going to miss watching this on a Wednesday night, but I am really going to miss our weekly Sewing Bee chat in Stitch Sewcial, it's like sitting down to watch each episode with a fabulous group of like minded sewing friends in my lounge. But hopefully there will be a Christmas Special and we can do it again 😊🤞
Before then however, there is still this year's final to discuss, and the contestants didn't disappointing with their makes. But saying that neither did the judges with their challenge choices! This was evident from the start with the final pattern choice of this series being a dress design of Esme's, that she had sold in her shop, Swanky Modes, in the 1980s. The contestants were asked to make the wonderful Amorphous dress! This dress is cut from one piece of fabric (as shown in the picture below) and joined with D rings to form the dress. It is made in a lycra fabric to fit the shape of the body, but whilst stretchy to the body form it can be tricky to stitch.
Lycra can have a tendency to stretch when stitched, especially on curves. At this final stage of the competition I would have expected the sewists to have a good grasp of this issue, as well as a good grasp of the fabric 😉. That said I was very surprised not to see them using a walking foot to help avoid stretching the hems as they sewed, but .maybe that was part of the brief??
And with that it was on to the Bee's last transformation challenge. This time the contestants were given the off-cuts from previous challenges and asked to make something to wear to a party. Interestingly Brogan followed her usual fabric choice instincts in grabbing the off-cuts from her own previous makes, whilst the other contestants opted for fabrics that had previously been used by other Bees. True to her style again Brogan produced a top and skirt with lots of frills and bows, but unfortunately for her this did not 'frill' the judges and she found herself placed last again..
Debra chose to work with off-cuts which included some of Brogan's past fabrics, and maybe this was her downfall in this challenge. She made a dress for a garden party but he judges felt it lacked real party glamour, something I have to agree with, as to me it was more gardening vibe than garden party vibe. So after her first round win Debra was placed third in the transformation challenge. Annie's choice of off-cuts transported her back in time to Japanese week, making a wide sleeved blouse with an obi inspired belt.. The judges however were not totally transported with delight and she came second.
So going into the final round it was pretty clear that Brogan hadn't made the cut (oops I think that's a different sewing programme!! 😉) to win this final. Man Yee and Debra were looking were well placed after the first two rounds, but Annie definitely wasn't out of the running either. The final challenge of the series was the made to measure and the Bee's were asked to make a red carpet worthy jumpsuit for a friend or member of their own family to model.
Brogan surprisingly moved away from her traditional pastel colour choices and made a gold romper suit with a black and gold detachable netting skirt. In my view, although this make had a bit of glitz to it, there was also an air of Halloween about it too, and I don't feel it really meet the brief. But given that Brogan wasn't in a position to win by this point I think she just let herself have some fun making this, and why not, after all sewing should be fun!!
Debra made a beautiful strapless boned top jumpsuit for her friend to wear for her hen do. She softened the look with a small netting frill around the top and a beautifully draped effect front seam. It really was stylish and wonderfully made, but it did leave me wondering if it was red carpet enough for the judges. Man Yee's jumpsuit featured a beautifully flowing cape. The jumpsuit itself was made from two tricky to sew fabrics, one shiny, silky and very drapey and the other sequined. She did a fabulous job of getting four separate pieces (two of each fabric) to meet exactly in a point at the middle front of the garment, and the cape definitely gave it some red carpet drama.
Annie used two contrasting fcoloured abrics for her wonderfully stitched and dramatic ivory strapless jumpsuit. This was reminiscent of a tuxedo with wide black stripes down the legs and, her pièce de résistance, the enormous bow at the back that ran into a train. Given the drape fabric she was using this really was a feat of engineering to make a bow that retained it's shape, especially given the size of it. And we all know there is nothing like an enormous bow to win Esme's vote. Not only did this outfit win Esme's vote it also won Annie the Sewing Bee crown for this series.
In my view Annie was the rightful winner, she had a slightly slow start start to the series, but it was lovely to watch her confidence and sewing skills grow so much as the weeks progressed. She certainly has an eye for style and detail and this made her garments very special and I think was ultimately what won her the title.
👑🐝 Well done Annie on your Queen Bee crown!! 👑🐝
If you fancy having a go at making your own version of the Amorphous dress, or any of the other makes in this final, the Fold Line have done their usual amazing round up of similar patterns.
So very sadly 😢that's it for this years Sewing Bee🐝 Like I said I am really going to miss watching this and chatting with everyone from Stitch Sewcial on a Wednesday evening.
But on the positive side no Sewing Bee means the return of the brilliant Stitch Sewcial #getsetsew challenge. Hurrahh!! I just can't wait to get going with that again.
Oh, just one last thing.... if any one knows where I can get hold of any sequined leopard print, fabric as modeled by Esme, then please please please let me know!!🐆🐆🐆 After all....#everythingmustbeleopardprint
You may have heard the term ‘tried and tested’ or seen the abbreviation ‘TnT’ used when it comes to sewing patterns or makes, especially in reviews and on Instagram, but what does it actually mean?? Whilst there are slightly different definitions depending on who you ask, I think of it as a pattern that has been found to be reliable with regards to instructions and fit.
It may be that someone has made tweaks to the pattern fit for their own body shape, but it is a pattern that is returned to again and again to make either the same garment or used as a basis for hacking into a new style. An instagram search for popular patterns such as the Tilly and the Buttons (TATB) Billie top and dress, the TATB Indigo dress, and the True Bias Ogden cami will show these are often cited as TnT patterns by sewists.
I love the Mccalls M7969 dress pattern, and know that lots of you feel the same way about this dress.
At StSHQ this got us thinking that it might be good to share some of our favourite TnT patterns with you... so here it is, your first TnT blog post!!
Both Jackie and I have made this dress in different lengths and love wearing our versions of it. For us sewing isn’t just about the making, it's also totally about the joy that wearing a me-made outfit, or using a me-made item, can bring. This dress brings us joy in bucket loads.
The M7969 looks stylish and is sooo comfortable to wear (think secret pyjama comfort!). There are four sleeve options to choose from and a choice of hem length, with or without a ruffle. The pattern comes in two size ranges XS-M and L-XXL. There is ease in the dress and we both tweaked the cross over front slightly to our own preference. Given the dress is gathered below the bust line this adjustment did not affect how the skirt was attached. The sleeves are a raglan style, forming part of the neckline. We both opted to make the billowing pouffy sleeve version, which has been so on trend recently, and I must say I love the way this sleeve drapes.
The techniques used in making the dress include gathering, attaching raglan sleeves and making and attaching bias binding for the neck and sleeves. The binding is hand stitched in place to finish the dress, and although a bit fiddly this could be machine stitched in place using a ‘stitch in the ditch' method if you chose to. Personally I found the hand stitching of the binding quite relaxing to do whilst watching TV!
Semi Final - Turning Japanese - Kimonos, Sashiko, Origami, and a first in the history of the Bee
This week the theme looked to the East with a Japanese influence for all for the challenges. The pattern making challenge was a kimono inspired pattern that Esme had collaborated on with her friend the Japanese designer Wakako Kshimoto. This was not a straightforward make by any means, indeed the fabric length required was probably more than my fabric stash laid end to end (OK I may be exaggerating just a bit but you get the idea!!). Patrick and Esme suggested that the Bee's should use a contrast lining, something that Debra chose to ignore at her peril. This the resulted this particular pattern challenge becoming Debra's nemesis, with it being somewhat unwieldy at the bagging out stage and her not producing her usual high standard of sewing.
All the other Bee's took heed of the advice, although still with varying degrees of success. Brogan forgot to leave a hole in her seam for bagging out meaning she had to unpick which left her short on time and unable to stitch up the seam to finish the garment. Her lining was also a little too short resulting in her hem not hanging evenly or neatly. Man Yee had a similar problem with her lining and although her garment looked pretty well made overall the collar did stand a bit proud of where it should have sat.
This seemed to cause a bit of confusion for some of the sewists. Whether they had not heard of this form of hand-stitching before, or whether it was not well enough explained but some of the resulting transformations were not really sashiko. Just for clarity wikipedia describes Sashiko as is a type of traditional Japanese embroidery or stitching used for the decorative and/or functional reinforcement of cloth and clothing.
Rather than reinforcing the holes on her denim skirt Brogan chose to make them bigger by cutting them to star shapes and patching them. She also attached some gathered ribbon to maybe make them look like shooting stars. She did do a little Sashiko around the pocket but not really as part of reinforcing the areas. Debra also adopted a similar technique to Brogan with patches and machine sewing, Whilst she had arguably incorporated a little more hand stitched embroidery than Brogan it still failed to meet the specific brief of the challenge.
Annie used some Ankara fabric to patch her denim jacket with which looked great. Unfortunately for Annie though she too was a bit lacking in the use of the Sashiko hand- stitching technique for this challenge.
It was Man Yee who employed the most effective and colorful hand-stitching with her rainbow and clouds. She also gave further not to Japan with the her sun risking from the skirt pocket. I really thought her decoration on her finished garment was fun and eye-catching and she deservedly won this challenge.
The final challenge was the made to measure with a bit of a twist, or rather a fold, this week, as the contestants were asked to make an origami dress. Annie and Man Yee were in reasonably strong positions going into this weeks final challenge, whilst Brogan and Debra needed to up their game. However this was the semi final and anything could happen at this stage of the competition.
Annie chose to make a dress inspired by the first piece of origami she had made as a child, a red rabbit. Fortunately this inspiration did not lead to a full on Easter bunny costume but a rather chic looking pink taffeta number. Man Yee took the origami inspiration to a whole new level creating a patchwork origami crane for the front of her shift dress. The bird design was so wide it almost took flight coming down the runway.
Brogan chose to add shape and sculpture to her dress design by using a neoprene fabric and creating waves flowers from the bouncy fabric. However I was left questioning, as were others in our Stitch Sewcial group chat where this actually fulfilled the origami brief, although Brogan maintained it was origami inspired. I did however result in an amazing dress, with Brogan's trademark flounciness (is that even a word?) and colour combination of pink and red.
Debra's inspiration came not from an origami shape but from Mount Fiji and Japanese cherry blossom trees. the back and sleeves of her whit structured dress were made form one piece of fabric whilst she folded over 100 origami flowers in gradients of blue, pink and red which beautifully adorned the hem of her dress.
She found herself, with Brogan in the bottom two and with an anxious wait for Sara to announce who was going home this week.
As I said earlier anything can happen in the Sewing Bee semi final and after Man Yee going into this challenge in a reasonably good position, her dress didn't keep her there. She found herself, with Brogan in the bottom two and with an anxious wait for Sara to announce who was going home this week. Again anything can happen, as with Sara looking quite tearful as she began her announcement she declared that the judges had decided that no-one was going home this week...yes it will be all four Bees who go through to next week's final.
If I was pushed I would say that maybe Brogan should have left the sewing room this week. She didn't do particularity well in the first to challenges, and for me her dress didn't quite hit the origami brief. But that said this is the first time in the history of the sewing bee that there will have been four finalists. As always the wonderful Fold Line have a done a round-up of similar patterns to those used in this weeks episode.
Whilst I really don't want this series to end I predict that whatever happens it is going to be a super exciting final. Don't forget to join us for our final Sewing Bee chat in for this series in Stitch Sewcial next week. Right, now I'm off to see if Patrick and Esme have replied to my request for three series a year.......🤞🤞🤞
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!