Friday, April 12

The Great British Sewing Bee Challenge - Week One

I hope everyone has been watching the Great British Sewing Bee? I am hooked! For anybody who hasn't heard of this, it is very simply similar to the Great British Bake Off but with sewing. How exciting is that. We are now waiting for week three so it is well and truly on its way and the show has inspired me to do a little side project. 

Each week the contestants have to complete three separate challenges. This changes each week. I have decided to do the challenges myself at home. I'm hoping it is going to push my skills further and teach me new techniques that at the moment I may be avoiding. 

So here is week one. The challenges were;
- From a simple pattern, create an A line skirt. (3 1/2 hours) 
- Alter the neckline of a simple high street top (60 mins)
- Fit a dress of choice to a model

I have decided to do the first two challenges and not the third as sadly I don't have a live model to make a perfect fitting dress. I could, I suppose use myself but for time purposes I am just going to make the skirt and adjust a top. 

Here is the lovely cast and the two judges who are May Martin and Patrick Grant. Claudia Winkleman is the presenter. Being a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan I am already a lover of Claudia and I think the two judges are pretty good. Love a beard. 

Here we go!

Challenge one
 From a simple pattern, create an A line skirt. 
3 1/2 hours

From the Great British Sewing Bee  
This was my favourite skirt from the episode. I love the fabric and the length and it really suited Janes personality, which is always key I think. 

Here is an example of an A line skirt. From the very start I am at a disadvantage in that I realised I didn't have a pattern. Ah well, where there is a will there is a way. I made my own. 

I traced an A line skirt I already had and then thanks to my dressmakers form I was able to create darts, hopefully in the right places. 

Here is my invisible zip before I sewed the side seams together. I usually do a centred zip so this was my very first invisible zip. It doesn't go well after this though. 

 About 3 1/4 hours later. Here is what I made. I was quite pleased with the time it took although I definitely should have spent longer perfecting it. As you can see it is an Aline skirt but definitely not one without fault. Due to not having a pattern the side seams are a little off. The left seam doesn't hang quite right but looks better when on. 

Here is the good side! The darts, I think could be a little closer to the sides and not so centred. I am very pleased with my first Aline skirt. The next one I make, hopefully will be perfect. I wonder what the judges would have thought of it. Could do better I think could definitely have been the advice. hehe!

Challenge two 
Alter the neckline of a simple high street top 
60 mins

From the Great British Sewing Bee
This was my favourite alteration from the episode. Its so pretty and simply elegant. Love it!

Here is an example of an altered neckline from the show, from May Martin. This example uses bias binding to change the style of the top with a plunging back.

I found this really simple teeshirt from H&M. It was £3.99. I had looked in a charity shop to find one similar to the one on the show but thought this was suitable enough and cheap. 

Here is the neckline I was working with. I wanted to lower the neckline and round it out so I applied some pins to outline the area I wanted to remove. I then folded the t in half and cut along the pin line so that it was even on both sides. 

I then added this lovely daisy lace I bought a few weeks ago back home. It is the same lace I used in my skirt for week twenty five. I laid it out on the teeshirt matching the curve of the snipped neckline and sewed along the two edges to attach it. The finish of the new neckline raw edge was quite easy due to the lace. I simply followed the flower pattern to create the line. 

I think my teeshirt was more successful than my skirt. I think the judges may have agreed but who knows. Things would have been very different under the pressure the contestants had. 

And there we have it. First weeks challenges completed. It was very fun to do and two creations I have never done before so I have learnt some new skills and think I will be altering some more necklines in the very near future. 

I hope you all enjoy the programme and my posts. 


  1. Don't you think Patrick is like the most handsome man ever. Sharp suited, nice and can rock a great beard while looking uber smart! Just my thoughts hehe. xxx

  2. Lovely work. Found your blog via twitter, I think your sister (?) posted this link. I really like the two pieces together, cute top and very cool skirt fabric, invisible zippers are a nightmare! I'm really enjoying the GBSB too, more TV like this would be great! Vanessa @

    1. Hello. Thank you for the comment. The skirt fabric is fun isn't it. I got it from a market stall for a bargain price so i have a few pieces in the same material. I agree with more tv like gbsb. All i am watching at the moment is that and the bake off. Love it!