Sunday, 30 March 2014

Drafting a Pattern the "Right" Way

Image Source - The Thrifty Stitcher

After my first attempt at using my basic bodice block to draft a sleeveless top (inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee), I decided to have another go at doing it.  There were so many problems with the way the top looked.  When I learnt pattern drafting, our teacher suggested that we make a toile (or muslin, depending where you're from), then mark it how we wanted the finished garment to look. I began with some medium weight calico.  I cut an exact copy of my bodice block, but I didn't add seam allowance to the armholes and neckline.


As you can see from this picture, I had to take the photos with my iPhone.  
I was home alone while I was drafting this, so there was nooone to help take 
photos.  My iPhone and mirror seemed the easiest way to document this.

I started by using pins to mark where I wanted the neckline, armholes, dart and hem.


Once I had worked out exactly where I wanted the adjustments, I took the top off and marked with with felt pen.


Here's the front and back of the toile with adjustments marked.


I was now ready to draft a paper pattern.  I started by tracing off a basic block pattern onto a fresh sheet of paper.  I then measured the difference between the edges of the toile and the marked lines, and transferred these marks to the paper pattern.  I slashed the pattern on the top edge of the original dart, and on the marked line, and swivelled the dart into the new position.  I then patched the pattern with some extra paper and masking tape.

I bought this Belleboo floral cotton fabric from Rolls and Rems in Holloway.  It was only £6.50 per metre - much more affordable than the Liberty fabric I used on my first top.


Using my new pattern I cut my fabric and sewed the top together in exactly the same way as the first blouse. Once again, I made a rouleau loop, instead of a hand sewn button loop.  I just think it looks much neater and is stronger.  Plus, I'm really good at making extra tiny rouleau loops!


I wore my finished blouse today for Mother's Day.  The sun was out and it almost felt summery.



Overall the pattern is almost exactly what I wanted.  The neckline and armholes are the right shapes, the hem looks good and the waist fits well.  I would like to make this blouse again, but I will make a couple of minor adjustments next time.  I think 1-2cm of ease down the centre front would help it sit a little bit nicer.  I would also like to slightly widen the neckline and move the shoulder seam out by 1cm.  I think this method of drafting is much easier than guessing with paper, pencil and ruler.  I would definitely do it this way again.

Just so you can compare the re-drafted top, here is a picture of the two GBSB inspired sleeveless tops together.  There isn't a huge difference, but the re-draft is definitely better.



read more "Drafting a Pattern the "Right" Way"

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Great British Sewing Bee - Week Six Recap

It's the quarter finals this week!   There are five contestants left.


After watching episode one I thought Heather was definitely headed to the final, but last week I was surprised to see her scrape through.  David, who showed little promise early on, now looks like a reasonably strong contender.

I've got to say that this week genuinely excites me.  It's vintage and retro week - making the clothes we used to wear.  For me the most exciting part is that contestants get to sew on a classic Singer 201 machine.  This amazing, sturdy machine was made from 1928-1963.  Alex Askaroff has written about this machine on the Sewalot Site.  Alex worked with the Great British Sewing Bee to choose an iconic machine for this episode.

Image Source - Sewalot Site

This morning I headed up to the attic and crawled through boxes to pull out the very first sewing machine I ever owned.  Here it is:


This is a Singer 99X, which I inherited from my Nana.  I don't know exactly when it was made, but it does have a reverse, which means it was made after 1949.  It does straight stitches, forwards and backwards, and that's about it.  This machine works beautifully, and I used it to make my flower girl dresses for our wedding, curtains for our first home and baby clothes for Olivia.

The Challenges 

1. Sewing from a Pattern

Sew a 1930s blouse from a vintage pattern (techniques include deciphering a vintage pattern, using a vintage sewing machine, sewing a placket closure, shirring) in 4 hours.


The pattern chosen is an early to mid-1930s blouse.  Unlike modern patterns, there are no printed markings on the pattern.  There was only a series of holes, which needed to be interpreted using a crib sheet.  This is what a vintage pattern piece looks like (the arrows and writing are not part of the original pattern):

Image Source - Threads Magazine

If you'd like to read more about techniques for working with vintage patterns, Threads Magazine published an excellent article.

There were two fabrics chosen that really stood out.  I loved Chinelo's beautiful blue floral fabric.  It was such a good choice for this challenge.  I also liked David's blue and white spotty fabric.

Deciphering the pattern was the first difficulty for contestants.  I have to assume that home sewers back in the 1930s all knew what those little holes on the pattern meant, but it looked totally baffling to me.  There also appeared to be limited instructions, and contestants had to use some common sense (like knowing to cut four pieces for the collar).  The next difficulty was the shirring.  All contestants seemed to know how to do shirring, but getting the placement right and the gathers tight enough gave contestants some headaches. David didn't sew his shirring wide enough, and ended up having to sew new stitching over the top.  The placket seemed to give everyone the most trouble of all.  Chinelo, Tamara and David all seemed baffled and Lynda was kind enough to show everyone how to get it done.

Lynda was in a very chipper mood during this challenge, and seemed totally oblivious of the time.  She chatted, gave help to other contestants and wasted time doing hand-sewn gathering.  In the end her blouse was unfinished.

The judges gave positive comments on:

  • Chinelo's good sleeves, gathers in the right place, collar even (but not sitting flat) and neat placket.
  • Heather's beautifully flat collar, neat and centred shirring, and gathers sitting perfectly centred down front of blouse.
  • Tamara's flat collar (although her shirring wasn't tight enough and there was a gap between the collars), OK placket with closure sewn on.  

The judges gave negative comments on

  • Lynda's uneven collar, neat placket but no fastening sewn on.  Her blouse was unfinished, and Patrick commented "you've made a feature of these pins throughout!"
  • David's collar not sitting well, shirring off centre, placket not stitched down, and the level of finish not terrific.

The results from 5th place are David, Lynda, Tamara, Chinelo in second, and Heather in first.

Image Source - GBSB Facebook Page

2. Alter a Basic High Street Item

Take a mens suit and transform it in 1.5 hours.  

Image Source - GBSB Facebook Page

In the spirit of Make Do and Mend contestants were given a mens suit to refashion into an item of women's clothing. This week they were now allowed into the haberdashery for any extra items.  Everything they wanted to use, had to be sourced from the suit (fabric, buttons, zip, etc).

There were a variety of approaches to this challenge:

  • Chinelo decided to be very ambitious, and made a pencil dress.  She started by cutting the fabric into pieces and creating her pattern from scratch.  
  • Heather made a very simple looking bustier with an asymetrical back.  She used darting as a feature.
  • Tamara turned her jacket backwards (she was aiming for a backwards tuxedo look) and cut out the sleeves and shoulders, used pleating and darts to shape the front, then trimmed the front with the jacket cuffs used to create ruffles.
  • Lynda made a cute little a-line pinafore dress, and shared stories of her misbehaving at school.
  • David made a halter neck top out of his jacket and used darts to shape it.  He wanted to retain the look of a cut-down jacket.

The judges first impressions:

"Amazing, absolutely amazing." May
"I'm nightly impressed." Patrick

The judges comments on each item were:

  • Chinelo's dress was ingenious and extremely well shaped.
  • Heather's top was one of the simplest transformations, but it was well fitting and quite cleverly done.
  • Tamara's top was a substantial pieces of re-engineering, but it is is just the suit jacket backwards with the sleeves and shoulders cut out.
  • Lynda's pinafore dress was effective, neatly sewn, fits well, and was incredibly well done.
  • David's top was neat, fits mannequin well, was a big transformation, but has retained a lot of the original jacket-ness.

The results from 5th place are Tamara, David, Heather, Lynda in second and Chinelo in first.

3. Sew a Showstopper

Sew an retro style overcoat, using old-fashioned tailoring techniques to fit a real model in 6.5 hours.

Contestants were allowed to bring in their fabric pre-cut for this challenge.  When I saw that the challenge was to make an overcoat in 6.5 hours, I was wondering how anyone would be finished in time.  I've never attempted an overcoat, and I honestly think it would take me a week of solid sewing to do a good job.

I liked the fact that this challenge was really ambitious.  Overcoats are a hugely difficult piece of sewing.  The fabric is heavy and there's lots of it.  There's loads of neat tailoring required, and tricky reinforcing to ensure a really clean finish.

This is what the contestants made:

  • Chinelo made a 1940's coat with a fitted bodice and flared skirt in a camel coloured fabric.  She decided to be ambitious with this challenge, and had to cheat a little (using iron-on interfacing) to give herself enough time to finish.
  • Heather made a 1953 swing coat with a draped collar, turn-back cuffs and patch pockets in red and black cashmere/wool fabric. 
  • Tamara made a 1967 coat with contrast lining, fitted princess seams, entire line waist and bound button holes in a bright yellow chunky weave wool fabric.  This was the first complicated pattern her mum had ever attempted.  One of the greatest difficulties for Tamara was that her loosely woven fabric was constantly falling apart, making it very difficult to handle.
  • Lynda made a 1950s coat with a shawl collar and full skirt in a wool flannel.  This was an emotional challenge for Lynda, who was inspired by her tailor mum.
  • David made a 1940s police coat with a high collar, side pleats, breast pockets and original buttons in a VERY heavy wool fabric.  David had done some research with the local heritage centre, and also obtained original buttons for his jacket.  Unfortunately he had bought his fabric over the phone, and it was incredibly heavy and hard to work with, making this challenge even more difficult.

The judges comments on each item were:
  • Chinelo - There were a couple of problems with the jacket - the hem was a bit wavy (possibly caused by the straight grain not running down front of skirt), the front edge was lumpy and not sitting flat.  On a positive note, her lining was beautiful, and the judges commented on her bagged out and under-stitched lining. nice shape and good draping.  There was a lot of good work, but the details weren't perfect.
  • Heather - Patrick was "a little sad, because it's so close to being a real knockout".  Heather was let down by a few little details - the contrast fabric was showing under the front edge when it shouldn't, the hem was not done and the shoulders were uneven.  The judges did note that the drape shawl was really effective.
  • Tamara - The jacket fits well, the shoulders were good, buttons lined up nicely with bound buttonholes.  There were some negative comments - the contrast fabric on collar was showing, the hems were chunky and shouldn't have been turned up double.
  • Lynda - The collar sat nicely, the hem was level, the sleeves were nice and slim and finished at same point, darts were even, and there was a lovely invisible hem.  Overall Lynda's overcoat was well fitted, well balanced and well executed.
  • David - The sleeves were well done, had no puckers, but not perfect, the collar was sitting unevenly and needed a really good pressing.  On a positive note the fit was really good.  This was a tricky garment, and overall David did well.


The Final Results

The contestants went off for a coffee, while the judges discussed the weekend's work.

Those in danger were:

David - pattern challenge blouse was not good at all.
Lynda - pattern challenge blouse was not finished.
Tamara - suit refashion was the least well managed.

The contestants were then called back in to hear the final results:

Garment of the week went to … Lynda for her overcoat

Image Source - GBSB Facebook Page

The contestant leaving this week was … David

Image Source - GBSB Facebook Page


Final Thoughts

I'm going to miss having David around next week.  He was such a nice contestant.  I liked his no-nonsense style.  Nearly every week he has struggled with the reinvention challenge, and he has come close to elimination week after week.  It was so nice to see how much he improved over the weeks.

There weren't a lot of hints about the challenges next week.  All that's revealed is that contestants will have to sew a dress with no pattern (surely a doddle for Chinelo?), and that everyone will find it difficult.  I'm definitely looking forward to next Tuesday night.

Want to Read More About GBSB?

You might also like to check out these other blogs that have done some posts about this episode:

  • The Thrifty Stitcher - Claire-Louise Hardie is the Sewing Producer for The Great British Sewing Bee, and usually does posts about the patterns used in the first challenge on each episode, and also has some nice posts about techniques used.  She has posted a great article on grading vintage patterns written by Alana from Lazy Stitching.
  • Little Black Duck  - Victoria Peat has posted some great links to tutorials that cover some of the techniques you can use to make your own GBSB inspired pieces.
  • The Mighty Mighty Monk Seal - Steve & Chris present a very witty recap, which is written as fans of reality television review, rather than as sewers themselves.
  • Stitch Craft Create - Jen write a short recap each week.
  • The Sewing Directory - each week an episode recap is posted, along with loads of useful links to patterns and techniques.  There is also an archive of recaps from Season 1.

    If you know any more blogs with interesting recaps or useful advice related to the GBSB, leave me a message and I can include a link.
    read more "The Great British Sewing Bee - Week Six Recap"

    Saturday, 22 March 2014

    Sleeveless Top Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee



    As you've probably noticed, I've been really enjoying the Great British Sewing Bee.  I thought I would try to challenge myself to make a few items from the show, and see how I go against the time limit.  A sleeveless cotton top (the pattern challenge from week one) seemed like a good place to start.

    Here's the challenge - sew a sleeveless cotton top in 2.5 hours.

    Image Source - The Great British Sewing Bee 

    A while ago I did a pattern drafting course, and drafted my own bodice block.  I've been wanting to have a go at creating my own pattern using the bodice block, but have been a bit nervous about doing it.  This seemed like a very simple pattern to create.  I needed to draft four pieces - a front section, a back section, a front facing and a back facing.

    Image Source - The Great British Sewing Bee

    I grabbed my bodice blocks and traced them onto some plain paper.  I then began guessing what changes I needed to make to transform the block into the top shown above.  These were the changes I made:

    • Cut the neckline down in front and back.
    • Widened the neck at the shoulder seam.
    • Cut the armhole narrower at the shoulder seam.  
    • Shortened the front section at the hem.
    • Cut a curved back at the hem.
    • Drafted the facings based on the redrafted bodice.



    I found this lovely Liberty Tana Lawn fabric at Desai Cricklewood Lane, West Hampstead) and bought 1.5 metres.    



    I used my drafted pattern and followed the steps outlined on the Great British Sewing Bee.  These were:

    1. Sew the front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulder.
    2. Sew the front and back facing pieces together at the shoulder.
    3. Sew the facing to the bodice at the neckline (right sides together).
    4. Understitch the neckline.
    5. Sew the facing to the bodice at the armholes.
    6. Clip the curves.
    7. Pull the two back sections through the shoulders, to turn the top the right side out.
    8. Sew the side seams.
    9. Sew the top of the centre back seam.
    10. Sew the bottom of the centre back seam.
    11. Sew the hem.
    12. Sew on button and button loop.

    Here's my finished top.




    First of all, let me say, I'm only moderately happy with the pattern I drafted.  As you have probably noticed I cut the shoulder in too narrow, didn't cut the neckline wide enough, didn't cut the back neckline low enough, and should have started the darts lower in the side seam.  It looks OK, and that's about it.

    Putting the pattern drafting problems aside, I was really pleased with how neatly I managed to sew the top.  I have to confess that I didn't make a hand sewn button loop.  Instead I made a tiny rouleau loop and stitched it inside the centre back seam.

    Did I complete the challenge? This top took me 2 hours and 38 minutes to sew.  Not bad at all.

    I think it would be an ideal summer top, and it could be made in a wide variety of prints.  I'd definitely like to have another go at drafting the pattern.  This time I'm gong to make up my basic bodice block in calico, then draw on it where I want the neckline, armholes and hem.  I will then transfer the adjustments onto a pattern.  Fingers crossed this will give me a much better pattern.


    UPDATE:  I have since made three more tops (and two refinements of the pattern) and have finally perfected this top.  You can read about pattern versions two and three here and here.

    read more "Sleeveless Top Inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee"

    Friday, 21 March 2014

    My Very Own Coco

    A couple of weeks ago I received something very exciting in the post …


    I was very excited to see Tilly's new Coco pattern, and couldn't resist ordering the printed copy.  It really has been beautifully put together.  The pattern has been printed on photocopy weight paper, and the instructions are in a lovely colour booklet, with great photographs.  So much better than tissues paper patterns, and diagrams.


    On my first trip to Walthamstow I found a few knit fabrics, which I hoped would be suitable for some versions of Coco.


    I decided to use the grey and black fabrics to make a 3/4 sleeve dress.  This is the look I was aiming for:


    I started by measuring and marking my original pattern so that I could cut the front and back panels in two parts.


    I then used my tracing wheel and tracing paper to transfer the pattern to the fabric.


    This took me a few goes to get right, as I had to press really hard to ensure that the marks were clearly visible on the grey fabric.  I then cut out the marked pieces using my rotary cutter and cutting mat.


    The first step in sewing the dress was to attach the black section to the grey section, on the front and back panels.  I used my overlocker to sew the pieces together, then pressed the seam down.  Unfortunately, this fabric isn't cotton, so I had to use a pressing cloth to ensure I didn't burn/melt the fabric with a hot iron.


    After this, I followed Tilly's very clear instructions.  I sewed all seams using the overlocker, and it gave a really neat finish.  I did all the top stitching on the neckline, cuffs and hem using the stretch stitch on my sewing machine.  I decided not to use my twin needle for the cuffs and hem, as it didn't give a really neat  finish last time I used it.  Instead I carefully sewed two rows of stretch stitch.  I was surprised by how neat a finish I was able to achieve this way.


    The final step was attaching the pockets.  I carefully measured and pinned them in place, so they were evenly spaced.  I then sewed the first pocket by just guessing where the stitches should go.  Hmm …


    Dodgy, isn't it?  I decided to mark the second pocket with chalk before I stitched it, which resulted in a much more even finish.


    This is the finished dress.




    I think it looks fab.  I also love that chunky white necklace with it.  I think I need to make this dress a bit shorter though.  My plan is to halve the width of the black section.  I think this length is a tiny bit dowdy.  It's a lesson learned for next time I make a Coco (and there definitely will be a next time) - double check the measurement from shoulder to the hem before I cut my pattern!

    I can totally recommend this pattern.  It's so easy to make - even for someone who hasn't sewn with stretch fabrics before.  You can't go wrong with Tilly's clear and easy instructions.
    read more "My Very Own Coco"

    Thursday, 20 March 2014

    The Great British Sewing Bee - Week Five Recap

    We are halfway through the Great British Sewing Bee, and there are six contestants left. After four episodes I've really got to know everyone left.  There's a nice bunch of contestants here, and they all seem to be quite different.


    The Challenges 

    1. Sewing from a Pattern

    Sew a waterproof anorak (techniques include handling slippery nylon fabric, iron on seam sealing tape, attaching ribbing) in 3 hours.

    The pattern was a simple bomber jacket style anorak made in a single layer of waterproof nylon fabric, with ribbing cuffs and waistbands, and raglan sleeves.  I tried to find a similar pattern on the internet, but there just didn't seem to be anything like that out there.  I have ended up taking two screenshots from the show so you can see what it looked like.

    Image Source - The Great British Sewing Bee
    Image Source - The Great British Sewing Bee

    There's not much to say about fabric choices on this challenge.  They were all shiny, waterproof nylon.  There was a bit of interesting colour blocking on some jackets.

    The main difficulty of this challenge was that none of the contestants had sewn with waterproof nylon fabric before - let's face it, who has?  Apparently is really slippery and you can't pin it because that would put holes in it - not a great idea in a waterproof garment.  Contestants used a few different approaches to avoid pinholes in the garment - pinning in the seam allowance, using pattern weights, and (my favourite) using pieces of tape to hold the pattern in place.

    Because the fabric slips and slides while you try to sew it, the contestants had to use a walking foot to control the fabrics, which most of them seemed unfamiliar with.  I've never used one either, but it's on my list of accessories I want.

    The seams were also sewn in a very weird way - they were sewn with wrong sides together and seams on the outside, which were then sealed with an iron-on waterproof tape.  I've noticed this tape inside jackets before, but never seen it being used.  It was a very clever method for finish seams, but the contestants were given hardly any instructions on how to iron it, and most of them struggled.  You can buy the seam seal tape and waterproof fabric from Pennine Outdoor.  I believe this company was the supplier of materials for this episode.

    Image Source - Pennine OurdoorWaterproof fabric, acrylic ribbing, seam seal tape

    The final difficulty of this challenge was to use the very stretchy ribbing to make cuffs and a waistband.  The ribbing had to be stretched evenly and sewn carefully to avoid puckered seams.

    For once, everyone did their best to follow the pattern exactly as it was written.  Even Tamara managed to avoid unnecessary flourishes.

    The judges gave their most positive comments on:
    • Tamara's neat topstitching, properly secured seam tape, and overall good work.
    • Jenni's colour blocked fabrics, properly secured seam tape, but her topstitching wasn't perfect. 

    Their most negative comments were on:
    • Heather's missing topstitching, puckered seams, and tape not fully secured.
    • Chinelo's missing topstitching.
    • Lynda's  unfinished collar, squiffy seams, and unfinished jacket.

    The results from 6th place are Lynda, Heather, Chinelo, David, Jenni in second, and Tamara in first.

    Image Source - GBSB Facebook Page

    2. Alter a Basic High Street Item

    Take a sleeveless white top and pieces of leather, and transform them in 1.5 hours.  

    Image Source - New Look
    The contestants were given a basic sleeveless, white, high necked top with a buttoned back in a heavy, double knit, jersey fabric.  They were also given a variety of leather in different colours and finishes.

    Heather seemed a little too excited about the leather, and looked like she was ready to go bonkers.  As usual, there was a wide variety of approaches, although everyone made a revamped ladies top:

    • David cut out the front and made a leather wrap in two tones of blue.  He had trouble with the double sided tape and it stuck everywhere.  The top was actually looking quite nice until he went mad with a stanley knife and slashed it up.
    • Tamara turned her top back-to-front and added a yellow scalloped leather collar with reverse appliqué detail in a shiny blue leather.
    • Heather cut a sweetheart panel out of the front of her dress and added two rust coloured leather panels, ribbons, lace and buttons.  If she'd just stopped at the leather panels, it would have been a much nicer top.
    • Lynda seemed to be the most adventurous, and made a bustier with aubergine leather panels, bias tape trim and a gorgeous leather flower detail.
    • Jenni cut the back out of her top and replaced it with a scoop back in mauve suede, and added a leather necklace style trim on the front.
    • Chinelo made a one-shouldered top and added a leather and lace ruffle, and a leather and ribbon corsage detail.

    The judges gave their most positive comments on:
    • Chinelo's clever cutting and neat work.
    • Jenni's really nice leather panel in the back.
    • Lynda's nice smooth lines and lovely flower detail.


    Their most negative comments were on
    • Heather's additions of lace, grosgrain tape and floral buttons which Patrick didn't understand.  May felt she'd done a nice job with the suede, but had then gone a bit mad.
    • David's seams with tape stuck in them, and a confused and messy front. 

    The results from 6th place are David, Heather, Tamara, Jenni, Chinelo in second and Lynda in first.


    3. Sew a Showstopper

    Sew a pair of velvet trousers to fit themselves in 6.5 hours.

    David summed up this challenge for me when he said "who wears velvet trousers?"  It's certainly not a fabric that interests me, and I can't see myself ever making velvet trousers.  That said, it was interesting to see how difficult a fabric it is to handle.

    Some of the challenges of velvet are the fact that layers of fabric creep as you sew them, which will result in uneven, puckered seams.  Lynda hand tacked her seams, and Heather used about 5,000 pins in each seam to avoid seam creep.  Any stitching will show on the garment, so topstitching is difficult, and unpicking mistakes will often show.  I also noticed everyone using scraps of velvet when pressing, to ensure they didn't damage the nap of the fabric.

    There was a variety of appraoches used:
    • Heather chose a very simple pattern with an invisible zip.  She also chose a firm, easy to handle velvet.  Heather had experience sewing with velvet before.
    • Jenni chose a very 80s style highwaisted pattern with a cuff on the hem and a fly zip.  She chose a fluid, synthetic velvet, which gave her a world of trouble.  It was also her first time sewing with velvet.  Jenni was so busy reinforcing her waistband with layers of interfacing, that she sewed it on the wrong way around.
    • Lynda chose a classic straight leg trouser with a fly zip.  She'd only sewn velvet once before, but seemed quite confident.
    • David chose a chino style mens trouser with a fly zip.  He seemed to manage without too much trouble.  He had plans to machine sew his him, but decided to hand sew after advice from Patrick.
    • Chinelo chose a skinny leg trouser with an asymmetric peplum.  She works with velvet all the time and seemed quite confident.  Chinelo showed her technique for cutting the asymmetric peplum, and it was fascinating to see how it was done.
    • Tamara chose a capri trouser in a lightweight cotton velvet with a printed cotton contrast, and an exposed zip. 


    The judges gave their most positive comments on:
    • Heather's trousers were well done, but the pattern was very simple.  There was a minor problem with uneven darts.
    • Lynda's trousers were neatly sewn, fit her well, had a flat waistband and invisible hems.  Her zip had one tiny pucker, but that was the only problem.
    • Chinelo's trousers fit really well, the peplum was interesting, and overall they were pretty good.  There was a minor problem with the hook and eye.
    • Tamara's very good fit and "smashing" welt pocket, although there was some seam creep, and the contrast fabric on the waistband was showing.
    • David's trousers were a good fit, darts were well pressed, pockets and fly were good, but there was some seam creep.  "Overall they are a perfectly wearable trousers" - lukewarm praise indeed!

    Their most negative comments were on:
    • Jenni's difficult fabric, waistband sewn on the wrong way, fly not concealing zip and hems lumpy.


    The Final Results

    The contestants went off for a coffee, while the judges discussed the weekend's work.

    Those in danger were:
    • Jenni - came 2nd in the anorak challenge, 3rd in the alteration challenge, but her trousers were a mess.
    • Heather - she came 5th in the first two challenges, and although her trousers were very good, they were the simplest pattern.

    The contestants were then called back in to hear the final results:

    Garment of the week went to … Tamara for her waterproof anorak.



    The contestant leaving this week was … Jenni.



    Final Thoughts

    This week used fabrics that I haven't sewn with before, and probably wouldn't sew with myself.  It looked like an incredibly challenging weekend for the contestants, and really tested their skills.

    We were given a glimpse of next week, which includes a baffling pattern challenge, altering an entire mens suit, and making overcoats.  I cannot imagine making an entire overcoat in a day, so this is going to be an incredible challenge.

    Want to Read More About GBSB?

    You might also like to check out these other blogs that have done some posts about this episode:

    • The Thrifty Stitcher - Claire-Louise Hardie is the Sewing Producer for The Great British Sewing Bee, and usually does posts about the patterns used in the first challenge on each episode, and also has some nice posts about techniques used.  She has just posted two stretch fabric classes (make your own leggings and Breton t-shirts) which will run later in March.
    • Little Black Duck  - Victoria Peat has posted some great links to tutorials that cover some of the techniques you can use to make your own GBSB inspired pieces.
    • Mighty Mighty Monk Seal - Steve & Chris present a very witty recap, which is written as fans of reality television review, rather than as sewers themselves.
    • Stitch Craft Create - Jen write a short recap each week.

      If you know any more blogs with interesting recaps or useful advice related to the GBSB, leave me a message and I can include a link.
      read more "The Great British Sewing Bee - Week Five Recap"