Hello Sailor, too cool for school and (Dr) Who the Dickens is that??
So on to this week's episode and it was Children’s Week in the sewing room.
For the pattern challenge the judges went nautical with a child’s sailor suit. This challenge had several different sewing elements involved including a classic square sailor collar, elasticated shorts, ties, contrast trim on the collar and sleeve cuffs and snap fastenings.
All this had to be completed in only 3 hours and 45 minutes. It was the contrast tape that seemed to cause the most difficulties for the contestants, it was very narrow and there were two rows to align just half a centimetre apart. With corners to turn this was no easy task.
The snaps also proved difficult for some of the sewists and it was lovely to see them coming together as a group to work out how to attach them. This may be a competition but the camaraderie and the support of fellow contestants is so lovely and always clear to see in the Sewing Bee 💓.
All the Bees produced a sailor suit which on the whole these were pretty good.. The judge issues were generally with the way the tape was attached and the corners turned. Annie found herself in last place for choosing the wrong fabric (too bouncy for the turn ups) and for the waistband on her shorts not being tight enough which led to the trousers falling down.
At this point Ellie, one of our Stitch Sewcial members did make us laugh with her comment in the chat of ‘Imagine how thrilled a small boy would be with the ease of those loose trousers for a quick a wild wee or moony. They’d think it hilarious’ 🤣🤣
For their transformation this week the contestants were tasked with making outfits from old school uniforms that a child would want to wear outside of school. There were lots of different styles of outfits made although Marnie and Cristian both opted for their take on a hoodie.
Unfortunately, Marine sewed in her zip upside down leaving her making some hasty alterations and ending up with a zip that had no stoppers at the top, However, Cristian scored a second place with his gilet hoodie which was considered ‘cool’ by Patrick. Early on in the challenge Gill had said about her make ‘I know that Esme is not going to like these colours’ and unfortunately for her neither Patrick or Esme liked her tracksuit top and bottoms creation.
Esme questioned if a child would actually want to wear them and Patrick retorted ‘I think there would be an argument’. Consequently Gill found herself in last place for this challenge.
Annie created a wrap style dress out of two gingham dresses using the collars as a peplum and contrasting gingham on the diagonal, which received high praise from the judges.
And just like that we were on to the made to measure challenge for this week. It felt somewhat out of sync for the time of year the programme was broadcast, as the contestants were asked to make spooky Halloween outfits incorporating a 3D element. However the contestants again produced some amazing outfits. I’ve said this already, but in my view the standard of the sewists this year is one of the best ever.
I loved the way some of the contestants really thought outside of sewing notions when considering how to incorporate the 3D element into their costumes, some were a real feat of engineering. The judges wanted to really be amazed and spooked by the shapes and the design of the costumes, with Patrick saying ‘I wouldn't be surprised if one of them made an Esme Young costume which prompted the following sewing room fun! Who do you think wore it best??
Annie’s amazing dragon had a 3D head and a hole through its nostrils, fortunately there was no fire breathing as Esme took up the dangerous sport of picking the dragon’s nose during her judging!!
No halloween party would be complete without a spider and this challenge had two, including a banana spider complete with fluffy yellow ringed legs. The costumes all looked fabulously spooky coming down the catwalk this week.
But, It was Debra with her simply amazing Miss Havisham outfit that stole the catwalk show. Patrick described it as ‘an absolute work of art’. It was both spooky and stunning, and in my opinion, and that most of us in the Stitch Sewcial chat, it quite rightly won the garment of the week.
Sadly Marnie’s dark fairy didn’t cast a spell over the judges and she was the 5th contestant to leave the sewing room. Marnie had demonstrated some amazing sewing skills throughout the series and I was truly sorry to see her go, but again the standard this year is so high that these decisions for the judges are especially difficult this year.
Don't forget there is a regular round up of Sewing Bee inspired patterns from the fabulous people at the Foldline each week, and we will be back in the Stitch Sewcial facebook group as usual next week for more chat about all things Sewing Bee.
Episode 6 next week is another first for the Sewing Bee as it will be music week, with Mod culture, country music and homages to David Bowie all making appearances on the main stage….sorry catwalk!!
Right, I’m off now to get ahead of Sara Pascoe and think of some sewing inspired songs….how about Celine Dion with ‘my Heart will Sew on’ …or Abba and ‘Sewing Queen’...or that Beatles classic ‘All you need is Thread’!!
Can you tell I’m really looking forward to this one!
A rubbish episode?? Definitely not!
They were given pre-cut squares to choose from that were sorted into colour groups in what looked like large goldfish bowls. I thought the effect of the bowls and the colour coordination was very aesthetically pleasing, though maybe not such a good idea for storage!
Most of the Bee’s had not quilted before but were excited by the colour choices for the patchwork. Their patchwork designs ranged from random, to fruits, to diagonal stripes, to ombre and symmetry.
Some of the bees were rather too excited by the patterns, and by spending way too long choosing and arranging their designs they drastically reduced their sewing time.
I really don’t think this was the idea of the ‘reduce’ in this week's theme!! Man Yee summed it up when she said ‘I have a problem making decisions, so when I have to make 96 decisions!!!....aghhhh’.
This challenge also caused a bit of a stir in the Stitch Sewcial chat, with talk about wanting to make a jacket like this, and patterns and fabric choices. I fully expect to see some quilted jackets appearing in the group very soon!
There were some really beautiful jackets made by the contestants, although a couple were not finished, including Man Yee’s (maybe unsurprisingly given her trouble with choosing her patches and design) and Steve, who had admitted that when it came to the mitred corners ‘I don’t understand a single thing I’m supposed to be doing with the bias binding!’.
The mitred corners caused issues for most of the contestants, with Brogan’s jacket being just one corner away from perfect. That honour went to Debra with Patrick saying the binding was ‘brilliant’ and the jacket ‘really well made’.
Personally I loved the fact she stitched in the ditch for the bias with no visible top stitching, it was beautifully finished.
And so, on to the transformation challenge in which the Bees were asked to breathe a new lease of life into two old coats, by deconstructing them and using elements from each to reconstruct them into one new outerwear garment.
I’m starting to think I have a lot in common with Annie, not only with our name, but we both have a penchant for leopard print. This week not only were her jeans leopard print but she also chose a leopard print coat for this challenge.
Annie said it may be ‘a bit Pat Butcher to be honest’ but I disagree, after all #everytingmustbeleopardprint
Sewing though such thick fabrics for this challenge meant some needles were broken, or as Marnie put it she ‘upset’ her machine. Man Yee’s confidence seemed to have been knocked by not fishing her jacket in the previous challenge and she felt she was ‘rushing again’ to complete her garment. After coming first in the pattern challenge, Debra decided to ‘keep it simple’ and make a cape, but when it came to judging Patrick and Esme felt this was not enough of a transformation. They also felt the same with Marnie’s pink denim and camo combo.
!All too quickly again we found ourselves on the made to measure challenge, and one that many of our Stitch Sewcial members could relate to!
As in our Stitch Sewcial #getsetsew challenge from last year, the Bees were asked to use a duvet cover ,in this instance to make a maxi dress. Again there were more amazing makes, the standard of the sewists really is so high this year.
The duvet covers were the contestants own choice and had either come from charity shops or were old duvet covers of their own. Many of those chosen had different fabric patterns, one on each side, and the contestants had clearly given a great deal of consideration to the placement of the fabrics within the garment. Marnie had even dyed part of her duvet to make a contrast colour trim. Amazing attention to detail!
Brogan was in her element with pastel flowery fabric and a puff sleeved dress that even she felt ‘might be on the verge of Bo Peep’ - if you love big collars however, it was very reminiscent of the Bakerloo Blouse pattern by Nina Lee.
Man Yee again found herself rushing to finish her dress and missed out a frill which Patrick felt let the dress down. Steve had a problem with his zip insertion which meant his fabric did not align at the back, but his solution of ‘I could just sharpie it’ was not overlooked by the judges
The Bee who did not make it through to next week was Steve. Maybe it was that he didn't finish his jacket, or maybe the use of the sharpie, but sadly this week his time in the sewing room came to an end. It has to be said that he had only been sewing for nine months before becoming a contestant so he has done really very well.
I actually thought that the whilst the garment of the week chosen by the judges was very impactful, for sewing quality it really should have gone to Debra for her spectacular quilted jacket.
But, all things said, the standard of the contestants this year is incredibly high, and I love how they all become more familiar to us each week. There are some possible contenders for the title emerging but I think it’s going to be a very close call this year.
Don’t forget to take a look at the round up of patterns this week from the wonderful Fold Line if you are interested in making similar garments. Next week we'll be halfway through this series, how is it going so quickly? As one of the sewists in Stitch Sewciai facebook group said, the Sewing Bee hour is the quickest hour of the week…this really is so true!!
It’s children’s week next week which includes a rather out of season Halloween transformation challenge!
’ll be in the Sitch Sewcial GBSB live chat for it, hope to see you there
Hammocks, Air France and Marie Antoinette….yes really!!
The pattern challenge started bang on trend with a puff sleeved, shirred bodice, elasticated waist midi dress. Think Laura Ashley, think milk-maid, think Marie Antoinette… yes… Marie Antoinette and her shepherdess dress for her summer retreat at the beautiful Palace of Versailles!
In France this dress was known as ‘la chemise de rien’, which literally translated means ‘the shirt of nothing’, as it was so lightweight and floaty. I just love the snippets of history from Amber Butchart...
Long floaty midi dresses with voluminous sleeves have been all over the high street and really popular with home sewists for the last couple of years. Lots of members of our Stitch Sewcial Facebook group have made the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Dress, the Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown, and the Nina Lee Spring Dress. The McCalls 7969 has been especially popular, so much so it was our first Start to Stich and Stitch Sewcial TnT post.
But I digress… back to the sewing bee chosen pattern. So, this had a shirred top, something which prompted a lot of discussion in the Stitch Sewcial live Sewing Bee Chat.
Brogan was in her element this week, in fact I think she has worn a similar style dress to this for all her Sewing Bee appearances! So she in particular had a lot to live up to with this challenge.
The fabric choices were amazing, with most of the sewists opting for lightweight cotton lawn and some choosing gorgeous liberty prints. The nursery rhyme ‘wind the bobbin up’ came to mind as we watched the contestants hand winding the shirring elastic around the bobbin, not too tightly or too loosely, to ensure the fabric would gather.
Tension was rising in the work room, Bogan advised setting it at 7!! And, with a stitch length of 4 most of the sewists then generally got to grips with the shirring technique.
So onto the transformation challenge, and the Bees were tasked with making a summer outfit from garden hammocks, adding in some of the ropes, fringing and macrame to style it up. The criteria from Patrick was ‘the important thing is it ends up not looking like a hammock!’.
The contestants didn’t hang around (sorry 😉) but took this on board and produced some interesting and considered transformations this week. Unfortunately Steve failed to impress the judges again in this challenge with the design of his top and shorts outfit looking off-line.
And somewhat surprisingly Marnie found herself in 9th place as Patrick and Esme felt her dress was not a summer outfit. Brogan went nautical with her use of the rope in her skirt and came second, but it was Angela who won, with her use of the macrame on the front of her dress impressing the judges the most.
However the Stitch Sewcial group felt that the festival jacket made by Christian was amazing, this came third but was certainly up there as a fabulous and totally wearable transformation. At one point it was modelled by Sara Pascoe who totally rocked it!
And just like that it was time for the Made to Measure Challenge.
This week the contestants were tasked with making a fun in the sun two piece coordinated trouser outfit. With two disappointing makes behind him Steve needed to shine in this challenge. His look took inspiration for a shirt and shorts combo from the shirt worn by Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, immediately giving himself a high standard to live up to when Esme declared she had made Leo’s shirts for the film! However he was unperturbed and produced a very good outfit for the catwalk.
Again the standard was high with some stunning outfits made by the Bees. This is where we saw the first ‘hungry bum' of the series - the award for which goes to Marnie for her trousers.
Patrick felt Annie’s Ankara top was just about on the right side of descent, but did say that Brogan’s Spanish influence in the outfit she made showed as it was reminiscent of a flamenco dancer. She was criticised by Esme for choosing to have a tie at the front and the back of her top. The Stitch Sewcial group felt this was a bit harsh and personally I thought this looked just fine and worked for the pattern.
Richy opted to use a self drafted pattern for harem pants, which included 30 pleats, probably more pleats than I’ve had broken machine needles!! However he admitted he had not tested the pattern, which begs the question ‘’WHY ON EARTH NOT?????’
This ‘oversight’ showed when had to give up on the pleats and gather the fabric instead due to a miscalculation in his pattern drafting. He also had a problem inserting the zip, which left his model pinned into the trousers for the catwalk …ouch!!
The Garment of the week went to Debra with her Business Class Air France outfit, unfortunately once Patrick had described it as this it was hard to see it as anything else!. It was however, impeccably made, with a crisp clean finish and was a well deserved winner.
Sadly for Richy his mistakes this week were too much for the judges, and as Steve had redeemed himself in the final challenge it was Richy who was sent home.
Reduce, Reuse and Re-cycle is the theme for next week’s episode and with the up-cycling of duvet covers it will be a must watch for Stitch Sewcial members. We were ahead of the Sewing Bee game with our very own #GetSetSew duvet transformation challenge last year.
I wonder if the Bees can live up to the stunning creations that were made by our amazing group members? Not long to wait to find out now, see you in the live chat 😊
If you want a roundup of the patterns in this episode check out our favourites The Fold Line who have written a fabulous post!
In which #everythingmustbeleopardprint
The pattern challenge, and a first for the Sewing Bee, was footwear, in the form of high top trainers. This challenge was a big hit in the Stitch Sewcial chat, and led to lots of discussion and googling for patterns, soles and trainer kits.
The personalities of the sewists really came to the fore in this challenge in their choices of fabric, including the rather unusual choice of tweed for footwear, which reminded me of the time my bonkers husband did a cross country ski touring marathon in Switzerland wearing tweed breeches and a flat cap, maybe that should be the subject of another blog sometime!!
Back to the Bee, and trainer making was not the easiest of challenges, involving the identical placement and punching of 28 eyelets for the laces to make the perfect matching pair. This left Debra asking what was wrong with velcro as a fastening!
Gill ran out of time to complete her pair, whilst Marnie told the judges that her fabric placement showed her trainers meant business at the front and a party at the back!
There were some amazing trainers for the judges to choose from and obviously I agreed with their winning choice being Man Yee’s, after all, have you seen my favourite memade dungarees?? #everythingmustbeleopardprint
So onto the transformation challenge and this was certainly a very different one, transforming netball kit into glamorous daywear, what could possibly go wrong?
As it turned out - not too much.
This was probably one of the more considered transformations by the sewists, who used the pleats from the skirt in some very creative ways, on the whole creating some amazing garments.
My absolute favourite was Debra’s top, where she had stitched the pleats down to create a gorgeous wavy design on her simply styled top, which Patrick said was ‘inspired’. However the winner was Brogan with a dress that used not only the pleated netball skirt, but also contrasting netball bibs and had so many details on it that it was hard to believe it had been made in the transformation challenge
And in the blink of an eye, or the snip of a thread, it was time for the made to measure challenge...
This Week the contestants were asked to make a jacket inspired by their sporting hero. The Bees’ thinking about how to represent their chosen sports person was truly inspired.
There was not one but two Tom Daly jackets, one of which also gave a nod to his talent out of the pool, with hand knitted cuffs and collar by Richy, whilst Chichi used a patch work of colours and a lace sleeve (just the one sleeve) to represent both Surya Bonaly and Florence Griffith Joyner in her jacket.
Angela played homage to Freddie Flintoff with a nod to Lancashire with a Lancashire rose fabric lining her pockets, and Gill lined her jacket with a wild cat fabric (that leopard theme again!) to represent Nicola Adams.
Many of the jackets produced were amazing, and looked stunning on the catwalk. It has to be said that the sewing ability and standard of the contestants this year is very high indeed.
Man Yes’s pattern was inspired by the climbing wall used by her sporting hero Kim Ja-in, and was beautifully made.
However it was Marnie’s jacket, inspired by Heather Stanning, that won high praise from the judges and Garment of the Week, it really was impeccable. The contestant who left the show was Chichi, sadly her one armed jacket was not well finished and the judges felt she had not done enough this week to stay in the competition.
The verdict in Stitch Sewcial was that this was another great episode in what looks like it is going to be an amazing series this year. If you cant wait to get out there in our own Sewing Bee inspired me-mades then don't forget to take a look at the Foldline’s round up of patterns similar to those used this week.
And don’t forget to share your makes with us in Stitch Sewcial we love seeing what you’ve been inspired by..
Next week it’s all about summer outfits. With so many fabulous summer styles around at the moment I can’t wait to see what the contestants come up with.
But - I’m going to finish this week’s blog post with something that Brogan said that rang true for me! When contemplating sports week she said ‘Fabric shopping would be my sport of choice…because that can get quite hot and intense’...if you've ever been fabric shopping in Goldhawk Road in London you will know exactly what she means!!
But the best thing was that it was so lovely to have our weekly Facebook Stitch Sewcial sewing bee group chat back again, I’ve missed this so much!
The theme for week one was to create a capsule wardrobe of three items. In honour of their new location in an historic woollen mill in Leeds, the first Pattern Challenge was to make a wool mini skirt. The contestants were tasked with creating a skirt with a faced waistline and two piped edge patch pockets, both of which require sewing precision. The sample skirt that Patrick and Esme discussed the construction of with Sara raised a few eyebrows in the Stitch Sewcial chat, as the pockets certainly looked to be uneven! But that aside the first challenge was underway and the Great British Sewing Bee was back! Understandably the nerves of some of the new sewists was evident, with pattern instructions not being fully read (Patrick always knows!!) and piping edging being trimmed too short. However, some of the bees managed to keep their cool and produce some fabulous skirts, with Angela winning the first challenge. Her blue wool skirt with the contrast cotton piping that she made herself received high praise from the judges.
So onto the Transformation Challenge and given that comfy clothing has been a wardrobe staple for many of us during the lockdowns the contestants were asked to up-cycle ready to wear loungewear into a top for going out. Think disco, think glam, think party, that’s certainly what they needed to be thinking for this challenge. As ever with the transformation challenge the results were somewhat mixed. Patrick was reminded of Dennis the Menace by Mitch’s make, whilst both Marnie’s and Man Yee’s creations impressed the judges. It was Marnie who won the challenge with her fabulous 80s inspired top with big pouffy sleeves and a contrast pink bodice
And so to the final challenge and one of my favourite parts of the show, the Made to Measure. This time it was a wrap dress. You may know, I blooming love a wrap dress so I was super excited to see what the contestants would make.
However, being something of a pedant, especially when it comes to sewing terms, I found myself super frustrated by the repeated descriptions of a flounce as a ruffle, you could say my flounce was truly ruffled!!
Anyway, back to the sewing bee wrap dresses! All the contestants produced a dress for judging although some were not totally finished. Man Yee deserves a special mention here for using organza for her dress, a notoriously difficult fabric to work with.
Overall, there were some really made lovely wrap dresses and it was hard to call the winner. Annie’s Ankara dress was one of my favourites. I have my own version of an Ankara wrap dress which makes me feel so chic so I may have been a bit biased here (it was a flounce and not a ruffle on this dress!!), I also really liked the keyhole back of ChiChi’s dress. It was a hard choice for the judges as the standard in this round was very high with lots of the sewists including features such as flutter sleeves, puff sleeves, colour blocking, contrast edging and did I mention flounces?! The winner was Debra with her beautiful watercolour wrap dress with contrast edge binding.
The contestant who left the competition this week was Mitch. After his mini skirt with uneven pockets and Dennis the Menace transformation, I think the rather too short for a dress length of his wrap dress meant his fate was sealed. As much as I would have like to have seen him stay, I think this was the right decision.
The verdict in Stitch Sewcial was that this was an amazing start to the series. If you’re itching to sew any of the garments made in the episode The Foldline have done their regular round-up of sewing patterns similar to those used.
Next week is sportswear week. This is not usually one of my favourite weeks,, but the Bee has upped their game this year (see what I did there !!) with the inclusion of a challenge to make high top trainers. This has definitely piqued my interest no end and now I really can’t wait until next week’s episode.
Don’t forget to share your makes with us in Stitch Sewcial ... we love seeing sewing bee inspired garments. Oh, and come join us for our live chat and quite possibly a cheeky G’n’T!
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!