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Sewing Bee Style Guide - Series 7, Episode 1

As with previous series of The Great British Sewing Bee, we're here each week with an inspiration board of patterns and fabrics, plus tips and tricks, inspired by the week's episode. This week we met the new sewists and got off to a roaring start, taking things back to basics...

Sewing Bee Style Guide - Series 7, Episode 1

Pattern Challenge: Shell top

The bees went back to basics this week with a simple yet stylish shell top. Classic shell tops feature sleeveless arms, and an uncollared neckline for a clean and smart finish. Most are made from woven fabrics and fitted around the bust area with darts, some have extra fun flourishes for a bit more personality!

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Simplicity S9045

New Look N6622

Simplicity S9133

New Look 6513

New Look 6543

New Look 6511

New Look 6344

Fabrics inspired by the challenge picks...

Dashwood Circle Line Paint Blue Rayon Fabric

Dashwood Circle Line Temple Rayon Fabric

Riley Blake Grl Pwr - Main Multi - 100% Cotton Fabric

Multi Stripe Printed Stretch Crepe Fabric

3 Wishes Good Kitty - Painters Palette - Digital 100% Cotton Fabric

Makower Michiko - Foliage Pink (metallic) - 100% Cotton Fabric

Sew Simple Stamped Batiks - 351-11-21B Red - 100% Cotton Fabric

Michael Miller Playdate with Friends - Favourite Flower Red - 100% Cotton Fabric

Made-to-Measure Challenge: Buffet dress

The first made to measure challenge was an eventful one! This week they were asked to make a buffet dress - (no, we didn't know what this meant either) a long, flowing dress that often features multiple tiers and/or ruffling. Designed for eating plenty of food and still being comfortable!

Here's a few of our favourite patterns - in different lengths, with both tiered and non-tiered, if that's not really your thing!

 

Friday Pattern Co Westcliff Dress

True Bias Roscoe Dress

New Look 6525

Simplicity S8872

New Look 6574

Simplicity S9013

Simplicity S8912

 

New Look 6229

True Bias Southport Dress

Simplicity S8888

Fabrics inspired by the challenge picks...

Dashwood Silk Roads - Paisley - 100% Cotton Fabric

Ditsy Floral Pink Cotton Poplin Fabric

Blossoms Grey Cotton Poplin Fabric

Multi Streaks Printed Viscose Fabric

Ditsy Floral Red/Pink Cotton Poplin Fabric

Makower Pamper - Handbags White (metallic) - 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Glam Girls - Dresses White (metallic) - 100% Cotton Fabric

Mustard Linen-Look Ramie Fabric

Beginner-friendly, buffet-friendly!

Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Dress

Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress

Want to learn more about the fabrics you see on the show?

If you're new here, you may not have seen that we have made our very own fabric sample guides. They're a way to help you learn to identify different fabrics and how they feel and behave. The books include 52 samples of common fabrics, alongside useful info like composition, what to use them on and needle type required.

 

April 15, 2021 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 10

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

The final, already! My how time flies when you're having fun watching other people sew... and what a challenge they picked for the final three. This was certainly one I'd never want to be doing under pressure, as they tackled Celebration week!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 10

Pattern Challenge

They kicked things off with a pattern matching challenge beyond all others: a traditional pleated kilt! Boy was it a tough one, to match not only the pleats but also the waistband... not one I'd fancy tackling, but this easier take on it might not be so bad!

Fabric Suggestions: a traditional kilt is obviously always made in a woven tartan. One of the most important things that came out of this episode was that choosing your tartan print was essential to how easy it was to tackle the pleats; generally a smaller repeat/print was easier to match.

If you are going to go for a traditional style kilt, don't forget your kilt pin!

Transformation Challenge

This week, the bee's were tasked to turn a swimsuit and a prom dress into a carnival-worthy outift - such fun! Big, bold and bright was the name of the game... just like this pattern (for a more at-home friendly version)!

Fabric Suggestions: anything bright, bold or heavily embellished to catch everyone's eye!

Magenta Silky Satin Fabric

Plain Chiffon Sky Fabric

Neon Tassel Trim

Pink Tassel Trim

Metallic Gold Bias Binding

Metallic Silver Bias Binding

Made to Measure Challenge

The final challenge - a red carpet-worthy gown, no pressure! What a challenge to end on, and there was some extremely impressive sewing going on. If you've always wanted to try making one, why not give it a go? Take your time and enjoy the process! (Pssst the top one is the actual pattern Nicole used on the show!)

Fabric Suggestions: As with the previous challenge, it was all about luxury - lots of lovely texture, whether that was from faux leather or sequins and feathers. 

 

Faux Leather Fabric

Rose Gold Sequin Fabric

Soft Rose Micro Satin Fabric

Black Silky Satin Fabric

Wine Heavy Corded Lace Fabric

Lavender Duchess Satin Fabric

Black Feather Jacquard Chiffon Fabric

Black Feather Jacquard Chiffon Fabric

June 25, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 9

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

It was semi-final week this week (how quickly has that gone!) and so it seemed only right that they go for a big theme - and movie week really hit the spot!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 9

Pattern Challenge

First up was a Marilyn Monroe-inspired dress - you know which one we're talking about! As Esme said, this dress may look easy but the easy ones are the hardest - there was a LOT of perfect finishing and tricky techniques required for this pleated beauty! Rotary cutters were a must-have for accurate cutting on these tricky fabrics, especially the pleated stuff.

We've found a couple of Monroe-inspired styles that are a little easier to sew below, if you'd like to have a go at your own version:

Fabric Suggestions: The bees all had to use polyester type fabrics in different colours, but if you want to stay true to the original, white or ivory are best! You can go for pre-pleated but this is quite tricky to work with; for an easier sew, stick to a non-pleated fabric. Those with a silky touch and/or drape are good for a nicely hanging skirt.

Ivory Silky Satin Fabric

Ivory Satin Back Crepe Fabric

 

Invisible zips are hard to get perfect, but you can achieve that professional finish better with a dedicated zipper foot. This Hemline version is a great low cost version, but if you'll use it lots you may want to invest in a more expensive branded one for your machine.

Hemline Adjustable Zipper/Piping Foot

It's oh-so-easy to forget those finishing essentials, so don't forget to stock up on handy habby like hook and bars! These were essential for holding up the halternecks in this challenge, but they're also very handy to have in your sewing box for skirt, trouser and dress projects!

 

 Transformation Challenge

Scrapyard met charity shop for this transformation challenge, that took glitzy and metallic to 1000% (plus some space junk for good measure too) to make sci-fi inspired outfits. The shapes of the garments they created were dramatic and made a statement, with bold collars and sleeves... here's a few patterns that build on those bold elements and shapes:

Fabrics: anything went in this challenge - sparkly, studded, metallic, leather! Texture and shine were the main features of all the fabrics used. 

Silver Metallic Moire Jersey Fabric

Windham Solids - Silver (metallic) 100% Cotton Fabric

Windham Solids - Gold (metallic) 100% Cotton Fabric

Silver Mini Sequin Fabric

Navy Glitter Knit Fabric

Black Faux Leather Fabric

Made to Measure Challenge

 

Chic slip style dresses and sparkly sequins, beads and feathering were essential for the flapper inspired dresses of the made to measure. Don't forget the top tip for using beaded fabric - to remove the beads before sewing your seam (hammer or no hammer!)

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8545 - Women’s / Petite Women’s Dress and Top

Fabric suggestions: again, it was all about glitz and glamour, so fabrics with high detail and texture were big hits. Think feathers, embellishments, embroidery, paired with floaty fabrics like silky satin and chiffon.

Embellished Embroidered Chiffon Fabric

Plain Sky Chiffon Fabric

Black Feather Jacquard Chiffon Fabric

Black Silky Satin Fabric

Duck Egg Feather Jacquard Fabric

Duck Egg Stretch Suiting Fabric

Black Jaquard Chiffon Fabric

Black Georgette Fabric

Champagne Moire Metallic Textured Jersey Fabric

Rose Gold Sequin Fabric

 

June 18, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 8

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

Things went round the world this week with international week! Garments inspired by traditional shapes and styles from countries like the Philippines, France and Spain... oh it was a good one!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 8

Pattern Challenge

This was an interesting challenge, where the bee's had to tackle making a button-back Terno blouse with structured "puff" style sleeves. The shapes they created were stunning and actually quite on-trend too - we've pulled together a few similar (but not quite so dramatic) versions you might add to your every day wardrobe...

Fabric suggestions: structured fabrics that hold their shape were what was needed for this top, to hold the shape of the sleeves. Some used tulle in the sleeves to help give extra body.

Duck Egg Glitter Tulle Fabric

Soft Veiling Tulle Fabric

Navy Floral Cotton Poplin Fabric

Ditsy Floral Blue Cotton Poplin Fabric

Ditsy Floral Red Cotton Poplin Fabric

Summer Floral Cotton Poplin Fabric

Poppy Cotton Poplin Fabric

Dashwood Ace Cotton Lawn Fabric

Lisa Comfort Busy Blossom Cotton Lawn Fabric

Habby Essentials

 

Most of the contestants chose to make their own bias binding for the necklines of their top. If you want to have a go at it, it's really simple - especially with these handy gadgets!

One of the other key components of this top were the beautiful self-covered matching buttons down the back. If you've never tried making them, give it a go - they really add that professional touch and are not difficult to do (when you're not rushing to do it in 10 mins for a challenge!) with the buttons and tool.

15mm Metal Self Cover Button

Hemline Self-Cover Button Maker Tool

Transformation Challenge

This week's transformation was much more free with the bee's able to choose any garment of their choice, AND having a much larger amount of fabric to work with being given a choice of gorgeous French style tablecloths. There were some great little outfits created, including gorgeous dramatic sleeves and the sweetest little dress and apron... make something similar with the patterns below!

Made to Measure Challenge

Things got fun and flouncy with a flamenco inspired made to measure challenge this week! It was all about ruffles and flounces, with fitted shapes around the hips and gorgeous flaring down to the ankles. 

Get that spanish feel with these wearable patterns...

 

 

Fabric Suggestions: skirts were made from all different fabrics from scuba types to drapey viscose and tousley taffeta! You'll want something that can either hold the ruffled shape of a flounce or has enough drape to create it's own flounce.

Powder Blue Scuba Crepe Fabric

Rose Pink Scuba Crepe Fabric

Fans Navy Printed Scuba Crepe Fabric

Tribal Diamonds Printed Viscose Fabric

Ditsy Leaf Red Viscose Fabric

Black Taffeta Fabric

Leopard Print Cerise Viscose Fabric

Stof of Denmark Blossom Red Viscose Jersey Fabric

June 11, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 7

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

It was bold, bright and beautiful as we took things back to the 80's this episode! Think big bows, bold statement shoulders, and lots of luxe shiny fabrics...

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 7

Pattern Challenge

The first challenge offered up a test in tailoring, with the contestants facing a power jacket full of fitted darts, big shoulder pads and bold lapels. A jacket to make a statement! Whether you prefer a bold look or something a bit more subtle, find your next (or first) jacket pattern inspired by this make...

Fabric Suggestions: You want something with a bit of structure to hold the shape of the jacket and that can be pressed. Wool mixes are great for this and proved to be a good choice for most of the contestants who made a successfully structured jacket. 

Glitter Houndstooth Tweed Fabric

Silver/Black Tweed Fabric

Black Wool Boucle Fabric

Midnight Blue Wool Boucle Fabric

Camel Wool Look Coating Fabric

Christmas Red Washable Wool Fabric

Cerise Polyester Twill Fabric

And you can't be without your trusty shoulder pads for a true power jacket...

 Transformation Challenge

This one is always a bit whacky this series, and it was no different this time - turning high vis garments into party wear! There were fun crop tops and poofy skirts, strapless mini dresses, and retro shapes!

Made-to-Measure Challenge

Things got smart in the last challenge with fun cocktail dresses on the menu! It was all about shiny crazy fabrics like velvet, satin, taffeta and more... because more is more!

 

Fabric Suggestions: For that 80's look, it's all about luxe shiny fabrics! Think lace, sequins, velvet, lame, metallic shades and silky finishes. Check your individual pattern for what sort of fabric will work best in terms of weight, structure, and stretch.

Magenta Silky Satin Fabric

Lavender Duchess Satin Fabric

Soft Rose Micro Satin Fabric

Rust Bubble Satin Fabric

Ivory Duchess Satin Fabric

Navy Bubble Satin Fabric

Navy Glitter Knit Fabric

Silver Metallic Textured Moire Jersey Fabric

Champagne Metallic Textured Moire Jersey Fabric

Champagne Metallic Linen Viscose Fabric

Rose Gold Sequin Fabric

Silver Mini Sequin Fabric

Grey Crushed Velvet Fabric

Light Pink Crushed Velvet Fabric

Wine Stretch Velvet Fabric

Electric Blue Stretch Velvet Fabric

Sapphire Taffeta Fabric

Purple Taffeta Fabric

Emerald Taffeta Fabric

Ivory Stretch Lace Fabric

Wine Heavy Corded Lace Fabric

June 03, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 5

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

Things got intimate with lingerie and loungewear week... the Bee's got to make some interesting and more challenging garments, including a bones basque - now that's a challenge!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 5

The Pattern Challenge

Cor blimey, what a challenge this week! The contestants had to tackle making basques (like corsets but with hook and eye fastenings not lacing) with boning, and boy did they look tricky! Considering everything, we think they did a good job - except for the missing panel! If seeing their finished makes had you wanting to try one, we've found some patterns you can try out yourself...

Fabric Suggestions

The fabrics that work best for these sorts of garments need to have structure, so things like satin and brocade are great choices. You can also add lace for pretty detailing!

Ivory Duchess Satin Fabric

Lavender Duchess Satin Fabric

Black Taffeta Fabric

Black Corded Lace Fabric

Navy Corded Lace Fabric

Wine Heavy Corded Lace Fabric

That hook and eye tape seemed to cause the most problems of all! Personally, I'd much prefer to just sew them on by hand... at least I'd know it's secure! One thing I do know is that they're always handy to have around...

Bias binding worked miracles for giving a nice neat finish in this challenge too - and is a technique you can apply to any project with raw edges you can't conceal. It hides a multitude of sins!

Transformation Challenge

An interesting challenge this week, turning old pyjamas into summer garments! There were some interesting interpretations, but we really loved the shirt with billowing sleeves, the dungarees and the simple button down skirt. All things we'd be wearing!

Grab a piece of those styles with these patterns:

 New Look Sewing Pattern 6346 - Misses' Easy Skirts in Three Lengths

As always, this was our favourite challenge! There were some gorgeous 2 piece sleep sets, and all the flowy fabric was utterly delightful - we were ready to hop into bed after! 

Here's some of our fave sleepwear patterns if you want to make your evenings cosier:

Fabric Suggestions

Most of the bee's chose to use soft and flowing fabrics for their sets, especially the camisole and shorts style garments. You want to look out for silky lightweight satins, drapey viscose and viscose jersey if you want a bit of stretch for added comfort.

Some of the contestants chose to use more comfy and stable fabrics like winciette (similar to flannel), and floatier cotton lawn which is great for warm nights!

Leopard Print Silky Satin Viscose Fabric

Grey Silky Satin Fabric

Magenta Silky Satin Fabric

Navy Floral Micro Satin Fabric

Multi Micro Dot Printed Viscose Fabric

Navy Micro Satin Fabric

Ivory Silky Satin Fabric

Soft Rose Micro Satin Fabric

Navy Bubble Satin Fabric

Animal Print Stone Viscose Fabric

Plain Coral Viscose Fabric

Coral Ditsy Floral Viscose Fabric

Duck Egg Floral Printed Viscose Fabric

Mint Lightweight Linen Viscose Fabric

Peach Dot and Dash Textured Viscose Crepe Fabric

Sausage Dogs Printed Viscose Fabric

Sketch Floral Printed Viscose Fabric

Dashwood Ace Lawn Bahar Navy Fabric

All The Roses Cotton Lawn Fabric

Busy Blossom Mint Cotton Lawn Fabric

Busy Blossom Lilac Cotton Lawn Fabric

Fifi Camisole and Shorts Project Box

The one requirement the judges did stipulate on this challenge was that it had to include lace, and it did add a nice finishing touch!

Many of the Bee's did some fine cutting and trimming on their sleepwear sets, precisely cutting their lace edges - you'll definitely need a super fine pair of scissors for this, and these Milward ones are great as they have such a fine point tip for such close work.

May 21, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 4

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

This week things got active with Sports week! If you haven't watched this week's Sewing Bee episode yet, heads up - there's some spoilers below. This week saw the contestants tackle sports-related garments, including a tricky placket on rugby shirts and some very fashionable designs for the tennis court...

 

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 4

Pattern Challenge

This week the Bee's kicked off with making rugby shirts! Whilst they may not seem so complicated, turns out a lot of them struggled with mixing stretch and woven fabrics, adding cuffs and worked hard trying to get the perfect placket! Stripes were very popular, so we thought we'd pick out some of our favourite stripes for you if you fancy giving it a go at home yourself...

(I couldn't find any rugby shirt patterns or even anything remotely similar, so I've tried to inspire you with some fabrics instead this week!)

Classic Stripes Black/White Double Knit Fabric

Mint/Silver Cotton Lurex Stripe Jersey Fabric

Stof of Denmark Mustard Stripe Avalana Jersey Fabric

Stof of Denmark Navy/Turquoise Mini Stripe Jersey Fabric

Tilly and the Buttons Wide Stripe Lilac Organic Cotton Jersey Fabric

Tilly and the Buttons Wide Stripe Multi Organic Cotton Jersey Fabric

Multi/White Stripe Jersey Cuffing Pack

Navy/White Stripe Jersey Cuffing Pack

Dark Teal Plain Tubular Ribbing Fabric

Stof of Denmark Baby Pink Avalana Ribbing Fabric

Navy Plain Tubular Ribbing Fabric

Black Plain Tubular Ribbing Fabric

Rugby Shirt Essentials

Cotton twill tape was an essential part of constructing the placket on the shirts - if you fancy trying a placket you'll need to use this or something similar to stabilise this area.

20mm Herringbone Cotton Tape - White

Transformation Challenge

This was a fun one! The contestants were challenged to turn lightweight waterproof jackets into onesies for kids. There were some great creations, including contrast stripes, nappy velcro sections and more!

If you'd love to make a little onesie, Simplicity have a few patterns which could be adapted to use waterproof fabric if you want.

Birds Navy Water Repellent Raincoating Fabric

Hearts Navy Water Repellent Raincoating Fabric

4mm Coloured Cotton Braid - Pink

4mm Coloured Cotton Braid Cord - Sky Blue

4mm Coloured Cotton Braid - Sky Blue

Made to Measure Challenge

This challenge really let their style shine, with the chance to make any outfit that could be worn on a tennis court - from traditional all-white to a trendy racerback dress and shorts. There were some fab interpretations, with racerback dresses and more modern athletic wear proving popular with the Bee's...

If you want to recreate any of their looks, we've pulled out some similar fabrics and patterns for you to have a try!

Black Triangles Activewear Fabric

Pink/Black Melange Activewear Fabric

White Cotton Poplin Fabric

Black Slinky Ity Jersey Fabric

Plain White Cotton Jersey Fabric

Plain Black Cotton Jersey Fabric

Plain Fuchsia Pink Cotton Jersey Fabric

Petrol Blue Plain Cotton Jersey Fabric

Prym 38mm White Soft Waistband Elastic

Prym 38mm Pink Soft Waistband Elastic

Sportswear Essentials

As you're most likely going to be working with high-stretch fabrics for your sportswear, don't forget to get some Stretch needles and ball point pins! They will help you prevent piercing the fibres (which can create holes in the fabric in the long run) and stop skipped stitches and other stitching issues. 

Clear elastic can also come in handy for stabilising seams!

Klasse Sewing Machine Needles - Stretch 90/14

I'll be honest... a lot of what they made in this episode is not really anything I'd make or wear myself. My active wardrobe consists more of gym-style clothing like leggings and tops. So I've popped a few more activewear sewing patterns and fabrics you can use below for those of you that want more standard designs to sew!

Khaki Green French Terry Fabric

Grey Marl French Terry Fabric

Dinosaurs on Navy French Terry Fabric

Monkey Party Printed French Terry Fabric

Pandas Grey Marl French Terry Fabric

Two Tone Pink Melange French Terry Fabric

May 14, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 3

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

This week they took things down a size with kids week! They covered a range of different techniques and made some gorgeous outfits for their mini-me's in each challenge - if you were inspired to sew your own kidswear, take a look at our recommendations this week!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 3

Pattern Challenge

The challenge got significantly harder this week, with the Bee's tackling decorative smocking AND perfect peter pan collars to make a smock dress!

If you want to try it at home, give it a go with this Simplicity pattern for a classic dress...

Fabric suggestions: the best smocked dresses were made in stable woven fabrics like cottons and cotton mixes. It's easy to gather and still holds the shape, but doesn't move around when you're adding the decorative stitching.

Inspired by the Bee's fabric choices...

 

Lewis & Irene Village Pond - Spring Blossoms 100% Cotton Fabric

Makoti by Stuart Hillard - Blue Stardust 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Fossil Rim 2 - Tiny Dino 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Flutter and Shine - Berries Pink 100% Cotton Fabric

Liberty Flower Show Spring - Forget Me Not 100% Cotton Fabric

Windham Fabrics Pink Lemonade - Floral Lemon 100% Cotton Fabric

Free Spirit Morris & Co - Strawberry Thief 100% Cotton Fabric

Transformation Challenge

We won't lie to you, this was one of the most odd but most fun challenges yet! We have absolutely no fun food costume patterns, but if you want to get creative like the bees, why not accessorize what you have at home with some felt to transform into your own costume? The sushi and grape outfits were fab!

Made-to-Measure Challenge

We were SO hoping to find a cute pair of mini dungarees appear this series, and we weren't disappointed this week!

There were so many adorable versions made by the Bee's - here's a few pattern ideas if you wanna make your own too...

(And for those wanting to make an adult version...)

Fabric suggestions: most of the Bee's chose to use corduroy, needlecord or denim to make their dungarees. Something with a bit of structure and weight is needed, although lighter weight dungarees for spring/summer can also be made in fabrics like chambray or jersey for easy wearing. Just make sure you're using a knit pattern if you use jersey/knit fabric!

Inspired by the Bee's fabric choices...

Plain French Navy Corduroy Fabric

Riley Blake Deep Blue Sea - Anchors Navy 100% Cotton Fabric

Mustard Stretch Needlecord Fabric

Indigo 7.5oz Medium Weight Denim Fabric

Jade Stretch Needlecord Fabric

Glow in the Dark Spaceman Jersey Fabric

Red Needlecord Fabric

Dungaree Essentials

You can't have dungarees without a fastening for the straps! These simple but hardwearing buckles are great for all dungaree and pinafore style projects - I've used them on my Cleo pinafore dress, and they're very easy to apply!

 

You can also add extra buttons like many of the contestants with matching jean buttons!

If the thought of buckles scares you, or you want to make dungees for a very little one, snaps make a great alternative to buckles for the strap fastenings. All you need is a pair of snap pliers and your snaps, and you're away! 

Prym Love Pink Vario Pliers for Press Fasteners Tool Set

Watch Amy's video on how to apply...

 

 

May 07, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 2

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

We got all the holiday vibes from holiday week with tropical trousers, hawaiian shirts and fun beach wear too. Take a peek at our inspiration from this week's projects!

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 2

Pattern Challenge

Week 2 saw the contestants tackle a trendy summer favourite - palazzo pants. Whilst we love a pair of these flattering trousers, there were some trickier techniques the Bees had to tackle here, invisible zips and re-inforced waistbands mainly! They came up with some gorgeous holiday-inspired designs though which we'd happily recreate ourselves. 

Take a look at our pattern picks below to make your own (including a few more beginner-friendly patterns too)....

 Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8885 - Misses' Skirt and Pants

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8134 - Women's Easy-to-Sew Trousers and Shorts

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 1069 - Women's Wide Leg Trousers or Shorts & Skirts in 2 Lengths

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8457 - Women's Amazing Fit Trousers

New Look Sewing Pattern 6582 - Misses' Pant, Top and Clutch

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8389 - Women’s Trousers with Length and Width Variations and Tie Belt

Fabric Suggestions: cotton or linen blends, viscose and crepe are perfect for this style of trouser! Look for light to medium weight fabrics, ideally with a bit of drape - viscose and viscose blends will give your trousers a lovely hang on the leg. For beginners, try a more forgiving fabric like cotton lawn that is a touch easier to sew with but still creates the right shape for the trouser.

Inspired by the Bee's choices:

 Tropical Leaves Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

Tropical Leaves Linen Viscose Fabric

Green Stripe Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

Green Stripe Linen Viscose Fabric

Teal Floral Garden Printed Viscose Fabric

Teal Floral Garden Printed Viscose Fabric

Tropic Brights Printed Viscose Fabric

Tropic Brights Printed Viscose Fabric

Yellow Multi Diamond Crepe de Chine Fabric

Yellow Multi Diamond Crepe de Chine Fabric

Leopards Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

Leopards Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

Transformation Challenge

This was a fun one this week, and one I thought you might be more likely to tackle at home for once! The Bees had to make a women's garment out of old beach towels, which meant lots of interesting takes - some more practical than others! There were some great ideas for wearable beach wear, for which we've included some similar sewing patterns below if any of the styles took your fancy.

New Look Sewing Pattern 6291 - Misses' Jumpsuit & Dress Each in Two Lengths

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8932 - Misses' Vintage Bikini Top, Shorts, Wrap, Skirt and Coat

New Look Sewing Pattern N6638 - Misses' Knit Tops

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 7650 - Women’s Vintage Caftan Dress

Made-to-Measure Challenge

Made to measure couldn't have gotten any more British this week, with the contestants making holiday shirts - think Brits abroad for this challenge! There were quite a few "hawaiian" style prints involved, which let's face it, brings a real sense of holiday into our homes at a time when we don't get to enjoy them! 

Recreate your own version of the Bee's creations with some easy patterns and fun fabric choices inspired by their makes:

 New Look Sewing Pattern 6197 - Misses' and Men's Shirts

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8180 - Boys' and Men's Shirt, Boxer Shorts and Tie

Fabric Suggestions: The most successful shirts of the evening were those made from cotton or cotton blends - it's offers just the right amount of structure while still offering a lighter touch to the weight. Opt for 100% cottons, cotton lawn, cotton poplin or even cotton/linen mixes. For a lighter weight shirt you could also use viscose, but bear in mind it's a little more slippery!

One of the Bees tried to use jersey - we wouldn't recommend it for a shirt as the stretch takes out any structure, but we have popped our fave hawaiain inspired jersey at the end for a bit of fun!

 Riley Blake Novelty of the Month - Llamas Novelty Pink - 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Novelty of the Month Llamas - 100% Cotton Fabric

Tiny Toucans Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

Tiny Toucans Printed Linen Viscose Fabric

In the Beginning Fabrics Mini Tropicals - Surfboards - 100% Cotton Fabric

In the Beginning Mini Tropicals Surfboards - 100% Cotton Fabric

Pastel Palms Printed Viscose Fabric

Pastel Palms Printed Viscose Fabric

Tilda Bird Pond - Anemone Night Blue - 100% Cotton Fabric

Tilda Bird Pond Anemone Night - 100% Cotton Fabric

Stof of Denmark Mini Palms Navy Avalana Jersey Fabric

Stof of Denmark Mini Palms Cotton Jersey Fabric

Handy Helpers

Achieve a neat finish when you sew your zips on garments like the palazzo trousers with this adjustable zipper/piping foot that fits most low shank machines (check your machine manual for compatibility).

Hemline Adjustable Zipper/Piping Foot

Turn your shirt collars out and ease the corners in a breeze, with a seam gauge/point turning tool! This handy gadget from hemline helps you achieve cool, crisp collars for a professional finish. 

Hemline Sewing Gauge and Point Turner

April 30, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 1

Sewing Bee is back for another series, and we are so happy! Each week we'll be bringing you a review of the episode plus some inspiration if you felt inspired to get sewing by the challenges in the episode...

Sewing Bee Style - Series 6, Episode 1

Pattern Challenge

The first episode of the series kicked off with a style staple - a gorgeous wrap skirt! These come in so many styles to suit all shapes and tastes, and they can be a great first project for a beginner to dressmaking as there's no fiddly fastenings to deal with.

Fancy giving it a go? Here's a few of our favourite wrap skirt patterns:

 Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8606 - Women’s Wrap Skirt in Four Lengths

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8746 - Women's Wrap Skirts

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8133 - Women's Learn to Sew Wrap Skirts

Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8612 - Women's Easy Wrap Skirts by Ashley Nell Tipton

Fabric suggestions: always check the back of your pattern specifically for what to use if you're not confident choosing your fabric. Most wrap skirts require a woven fabric like cotton, linen, denim or viscose. For a more structured style, stick to cottons and linens; if you want a drapier effect to your skirt, you want a fabric with drape like viscose/rayon, crepe or silky satin types.

We loved these fabric options, inspired by the choices of the sample skirt and the contestants' fabric choices!

Red Plain Cotton Fabric by Makower - Cotton Dressmaking Fabric UK

Makower Spectrum Bright Red - 100% Cotton Fabric

Hamburger Liebe - Cosy Cabin Circles Teal - Printed Viscose Twill Fabric

Hamburger Liebe Cosy Cabin Circles Teal - Viscose Twill Fabric

Hamburger Liebe - Cosy Cabin Circles Navy - Printed Viscose Twill Fabric

Hamburger Liebe Cosy Cabin Circles Navy - Viscose Twill

Lewis & Irene Hann's House - Shapes Navy - 100% Cotton Fabric

Lewis & Irene Hann's House Shapes Navy - 100% Cotton Fabric

Studio E Boho Blooms - Paisley Blue - 100% Cotton Fabric

Studio E Boho Blooms Paisley Blue - 100% Cotton Fabric

Faces Jacquard Fabric

Faces Jacquard Fabric

Dashwood Mustard Dovestone Rayon Fabric

Dashwood Studios Dovestone Mustard Rayon Fabric

Transformation Challenge

Contestants were put to the test right from the start this series, charged with turning some men's office shirts into something exciting. It was a tough challenge but they did come up with some interesting shapes... a bit like these!

If you liked the pleated details, have a try at this New Look skirt with simple pleated designs.

 New Look Sewing Pattern N6605 - Misses' Skirt with Neck Tie

Love the simple halter style dress that was made? Recreate a more chic version yourself with Simplicity's summery pattern.

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8909 - Misses' Dresses

The beautiful button down skirt was a favourite of ours, and we've found a very similar style from Mimi G. 

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8927 - Misses' Tie Front Tops and Skirts by Mimi G Style

Or opt for the simple panelled A-line skirt which is so wearable!

New Look Sewing Pattern 6579 - Misses' Skirts

Made-to-Measure Challenge

It was a classy one this week, with tea dresses taking the stage for the made-to-measure challenge where the sewists had to fit their garments to a real body! There were so many wonderful iterations of this classic style - 

Want to try your hand at a tea dress at home? Here's a few patterns to inspire:

 New Look Sewing Pattern 6574 - Misses' Dresses

Sew Over It Sewing Pattern - Doris Dress

Sew Over It Sewing Pattern - 1940's Wrap Dress

Sew Over It Sewing Pattern - Betty Dress

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S9013 - Misses' Dresses in Two Lengths

New Look Sewing Pattern N6594 - Misses' Dress In Three Lengths

New Look Sewing Pattern N6617 - Misses' Dresses

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8875 - Misses' Dresses

Simplicity Sewing Pattern S8946 - Misses' Dresses

True Bias Sewing Pattern - Shelby Dress & Romper

Fabrics inspired by the Bee's tea dresses

Powder Blue Double Spot Printed Polyester Peachskin Fabric

Powder Blue Double Spot Peachskin Fabric

Ditsy Floral Stone Printed Stretch Crepe Fabric

Ditsy Floral Stone Stretch Crepe Fabric

Liberty Flower Show Spring - Malvern Meadow - Lasenby Quilting Cotton Fabric

Liberty Flower Show Spring Malvern Meadow - 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Sweet Melody - Main White - 100% Cotton Fabric

Riley Blake Sweet Melody Main - 100% Cotton Fabric

Black Feathers Printed Stretch Crepe Fabric

Black Feathers Stretch Crepe Fabric

Makower Linen Texture - Aquamarine T3 - 100% Cotton Fabric

Makower Linen Texture Aquamarine - 100% Cotton

Handy Helpers

The contestants seemed to struggle quite a lot turned out their tubes for the rouleau loops, and I'll admit - it's a job I've always hated until I found these amazing little gadgets! The tube turners from Prym are a life saver and make a quick meal of turning out; usually it can take me up to half an hour to do it bit by bit, but these had me done in about 30 seconds flat! A fantastic little addition to your sewing equipment.

Prym Love Tube Turning Set

A lot of unpicking happened on this episode too, and once again, it's one of those jobs that seems to take longer than you want! Next time you're fed up of this chore, reach for a Seam Fix seam ripper - the innovative silicone head helps you to remove your unpicked threads SO quickly and easily, simply rub it along like a rubber to remove in a flash. Less time unpicking = more time doing the fun bits!

Hemline Seam Fix Seam Ripper

April 23, 2020 by Amy Gilbert
Tags: sewing bee