Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 Episode 1 – sewing patterns and sewing tips


WHOOP the Sewing Bee is baaaaccckkkkk!

We have searched the sewing pattern database to bring you the best selection of patterns inspired by the the first episode of the Great British Sewing bee series 5. If you haven’t already seen our dedicated Sewing Bee page do take a look, we’ve got loads of exciting Sewing Bee goodness!

In this first episode we welcome new judge comedian Joe Lycett and ten fresh faced contestants. It’s certainly not been an easy week with challenges including making a fitted vintage ‘wiggle’ dress, upcycling jeans into a wearable outfit and sewing a jumpsuit for a real life model! Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions below so that you can recreate these looks at home for your handmade wardrobe. Kate also talks through her favourite pattern options from the episode on YouTube.

We’ve also included some sewing tips from sewing community bloggers and pattern designers to help you with any of the tricky techniques used in the show. If you want to chat about the episode with other makes then do join us for a weekly conversation in our Facebook group after the show has aired.

Sewing Bee: pattern picks

Task 1: ‘Wiggle’ dress

We are fairly confident that the ‘wiggle dress’ featured is out of print Vogue® Patterns V8280, which you still might be able to get your hands on from third party selling sites like Ebay/Etsy. If you have your heart set on making a ‘wiggle dress’ then we have some other pattern suggestions below.

Tilly and the Buttons – Etta Dress

The Etta Dress is all about the wiggle! You can get a great fit with this dress thanks to darts at the bust, waist and shoulders. It has a choice of sleeves (darted, shown below or 3/4 length) plus a deep v- or high neck at the back. The instructions for this pattern are great so it’s suitable for confident beginners.

Sizing: UK 6 – 20. Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

Style Arc – Layla dress

The Layla dress has a more sweetheart shaped neckline with classic fitted capped sleeves. It also has a kick back pleat and the option to line it or not. This is a more involving make so would be suitable for an intermediate dressmaker.

Sizing: Approx. UK 4-30. Available in the shop: Nope.

Colette Patterns – Claudette Dress

A chic fitted dress with lots of customisable options, you’d certainly get a wiggle in this! The skirt is a little looser fitting so this will make it easier for confident beginner makers to fit. Plus there are neckline and sleeve options along with a back kick pleat version.

Sizing: Approx. UK 0-26. Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

Simple Sew – Veronika Dress

This pattern comes with several versions including a separate skirt and the option to have a fitted or full skirt for the dress. Plus you can add capped sleeves, as shown below.

Sizing: Approx. UK 8 – 20. Available in the shop: Nope.

The Avid Seamstress – Shift Dress

If you are looking for a modern take on the ‘wiggle’ dress then The Avid Seamstress’s Shift dress ticks all the boxes. Plus it’s a great beginners dress sewing pattern. It is fitted with French darts and has a scooped back neckline. in addition there is a separate front skirt panel for you to add a pop of colour or contrasting print.

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

Task 2: Upcycling denim

In the upcycling denim challenge contestants could use up to three denim garments to refashion into a new outfit. A range of patterns were used for this task so we will make some sewing pattern suggestions based on these below.

Named Clothing – Maisa jacket

I just had to add this pattern in first, although not featured on the episode tonight, it’s the perfect pattern to try out refashioning old garments you no longer want anymore. The Maisa Jacket has lots of smaller pattern pieces perfect for creating a denim patchwork! Go hunt out your old pairs of jeans for this one.

Sizing: Approx. UK 4 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, paper and PDF.

Jen’s Halter neck dress

Sew House 7 – Rose Halter Dress

The lovely Rose Halter neck dress has us dreaming of summer holidays. It’s lined with a fitted bodice and bust darts plus a V-neckline, halter neck ties, an invisible side zipper with the hem that falls at the knees.

Sizing: Approx. UK 0 – 20. Available in the shop: Yes, paper.

Sheila’s long sleeved cropped top

Trend Patterns – Tuck Sleeve top

For those of you looking for a challenge and interested design details the Tuck Sleeve Top designed by Lucy at Trend Patterns is a must. Oversized sleeves are still a key hughstreet trend and can be made in light or heavier weight fabrics.

Sizing: Approx. UK 8-18. Available in the shop: Nope.

Sheila’s long sleeved cropped top

The Assembly Line – High Cuff sweater

Alternatively you could make a similar top from knit fabrics and the High Cuff Sweater from The Assembly Line is a traditional sweater with interesting curved cuff detailing on the hem.

Sizing: Approx. UK 2-28. Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

Riccardo’s t-shirt

Helen’s Closet – Elliot sweater and tee

The Elliot tee from Helen’s Closet is a wardrobe staple with raglan sleeves and perfect for layering. There are three versions so you could even make a version with a polo neck in the colder months and then have a simple tee for summer. It’s a speedy sew and perfect for beginners.

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.

Janet’s pinafore dress

Jennifer Lauren Vintage – Pippi Pinafore

The Pippi Pinafore has darts and gently curved sides to shape the bib, creating a flattering silhouette for multiple bust sizes. The pleated front skirt and side button placket create a relaxed look while also stepping your sewing repertoire up a few notches. Straps cross over the back and fasten to the bib using your choice of overall hardware or buttons (depending on what you have in your stash). And deep, curved patch pockets make sure you have room for everything you might need throughout the day.

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 24. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.

Leah’s denim dress with elasticated waist with bow

Halfmoon Atelier – Tofo

Although strictly a jumpsuit, this pattern is such a close match to Leah’s refashioning garment. Tofo is a loose-fitting pull-on short jumpsuit featuring elastic back- and waistband, adjustable, removable straps, a knotted or bow-tie belt and pockets.

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 20. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.

Task 3: Jumpsuit

Sewing a jumpsuit for a real like model was quite the challenge for week one of the sewing bee! It was great to see the finished results and Juliet’s was definitely a firm favourite at Fold Line HQ! Here are the closest pattern matches we could find for the jumpsuits chosen by the contestants.

Juliet’s one shoulder jumpsuit

McCalls M7815

Although the jumpsuit doesn’t have a wrap bodice it does have a super flounce and exaggerated sleeve for a show stopping look.

Sizing: UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: Nope.

Alexei’s military style jumpsuit

Ready to Sew – Jean Paul Boiler Suit Coverall

This is a great match to the pattern used, all you need to do it leave off the sleeves. Jean-Paul has a relaxed straight fit, drop crotch and bust darts. Additional features include a shirt collar with front button placket; front and back bust pleat; long sleeves with box pleats or short sleeves; big patch pockets at the chest, front and back legs and optional martingale to fit the back.

Sizing: UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.

Janet’s nautical themed jumpsuit

Closet Case Files – Sallie

Janet used the Sallie Maxi-dress and jumpsuit sewing pattern from Closet Case Patterns and it’s perfect for an advanced beginner. Choose between a self lined V-neck kimono tee with tie neck closure, or a strappy tank with shoulder ties as Janet did in the sewing bee episode. On your bottom half, mix and match wide leg pants, culottes or a maxi skirt with side slits, all with convenient pockets and a comfortable elasticated waist.

Sizing: Approx. UK 0 – 20. Available in the shop: Nope.

Jen’s denim jumpsuit

New Look – 6446

This is a really good match to the pattern Jen used for her denim jumpsuit. You can add piping into the seam above the bust for an authentic look! It has wide shoulder straps, which are ideal to cover bra straps and on trend wide cropped trousers.

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 18. Available in the shop: Nope.

Riccardo’s 80’s jumpsuit

Papercut patterns – Sierra jumpsuit

We love this jumpsuit pattern from Papercut Patterns, having only been released just before Christmas! Although it doesn’t have sleeves, the tie wrap at the waist is spot on for Riccardo’s choice for the final challenge. It’s an easy wear sleeveless cross-over, featuring a detail side waist tie, three different leg style options, invisible zipper fastening at side, inseam pockets and bust darts. This is a must have for your holidays!

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 18. Available in the shop: Yes, paper.

Mercedes’ jumpsuit

Vogue® Patterns V9075

This is one of Kate’s favourite patterns, which she talks about in our video. It’s a great pattern for our first jumpsuit with pleated wide leg trousers and a fitted bodice with princess seams. In fact you may be mistaken for wearing a dress!

Sizing: Approx. UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: Nope.


Sewing Bee: tutorials and top tips

Task 1: ‘Wiggle’ dress

Sewing Darts

How to sew darts with Tilly and the Buttons

How to sew French Darts

Megan Nielsen shares a tutorial on sewing French darts as part of her sew-along for the Dove blouse.

Sewing an invisible zip

Let Colette take you through the trials of adding an invisible zipper with this definitive tutorial and video!

Task 2: Upcycling denim

The Refashioners

For lots of maker inspiration on how to upcycle jeans, take a look at the 2016 challenge, The Refashioners, organised by Portia Lawrie (Makery). Lots of bloggers and members of the sewing community took part in this challenge with some truly amazing results, who knew what you could do with a few pairs of old jeans! Take a look at what Kate made for this challenge.

8 tricks for topstitching

Colette bring you 8 top tips for perfect topstitching, an essential skill for working with denim.

Task 3: Jumpsuit

Tips for piping

Heather at Closet Case Files shares lots of tips for piping as part of her sew-along for the Carolyn Pyjamas.

How to fit trousers (for a jumpsuit)

Tilly has some top tips for fitting trousers, which are really useful for getting it right for your jumpsuit.

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2 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 Episode 1 – sewing patterns and sewing tips

  1. The pattern I used for my Jumpsuit in the Great British Sewing Bee is the Closet Case patterns Sallie Jumpsuit.

    1. Thanks Janet, i’ll add that one to the list.
      All the best, Rachel.

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