Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 Episode 2 – sewing patterns and sewing tips


On to week two!

We have searched the sewing pattern database to bring you the best selection of patterns inspired by the the second 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 second episode there are nine contestants remaining after we said goodbye to Tom last week. This episode has been all about mastering fiddly sewing for children’s week. The first challenge was sewing a hoodie, next was reimagining faux fur coats into fancy dress beast costumes before the final challenge of making made-to-measure dance costumes. 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: Children’s hoodie

The children’s hoodie was a classic design with ribbing at the cuffs and hem plus a kangaroo pocket at the front. Take a look at our pattern suggestions for children’s hoodies below and tips for sewing with sweater fabric and overlockers at the end of the post.

Elemeno Patterns – Zip-up hoodie

This zip-up hoodie from Elemeno Patterns is a great make for children. In addition to the pattern used on episode 2, it has a zip that makes it much easier to get on and off. It also comes with a sleeveless option that can be used for layering over a t-shirt in Spring and Autumn. You can really make a fabric print pop with this hoodie using contrasting or complementary ribbing.

Sizing: Newborn to 6T. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF pattern.

Brindille and Twig – Hooded Raglan Sweatshirt (FREE)

We love this hooded raglan sweatshirt from Brindille and Twig, which is free to download from their website! This is a great way to practice sewing for little ones and the raglan sleeves mean it will be much quicker to sew up. It also has a good sized kangaroo pocket for children to keep their hands warm or store small toys. Add a pop of colour with the faux piping running along the raglan sleeves or for the hood lining fabric. It’s suitable for a medium weight jersey or French Terry fabrics.

Sizing: Newborn – 6T. Available in the shop: No, it’s free directly from the designer.

Schnittchen – Julius hoodie or sweatshirt

Currently available with German instructions, the Julius hoodie/sweatshirt sewing pattern by Schnittchen can be made using a lighter-weight jersey fabric or for colder months fleece lined jersey to stay cosy. It’s got a generous sized hood and will be quick to sew without the need for cuffs or ribbing at the hem.

Sizing: 86 – 158cm. Available in the shop: No.


Task 2: Upcycling faux fur into children’s fancy dress beast costumes

In the upcycling challenge contestants used faux fur to reimagine a children’s fancy dress beast costume. A range of sewing patterns were used for this task so we will make some suggestions based on these below for children’s animal costumes.

Simplicity – 8527 Children’s animal jumpsuit

I’m not sure how many times you might sew a crocodile outfit but if you are in need of one for a school play or party then this ticks all the boxes! With realistic features such as spiny back and tail along with contrasting lining to the hood, every child will look fierce in this outfit.

Sizing: 22″  – 27″ chest. Available in the shop: No.

Simplicity – 1765 Children’s dinosaur and dog costumes

If you are looking for a more prehistoric vibe then this dinosaur costume from Simplicity could be right up your street. A more complex make, it has claws, horns and contrasting spots and panels, and any child wearing this will make an authentic reptilian statement!

Sizing: S (13″), M (15″), L (17″). Available in the shop: No.

Simplicity – 1032 Toddler’s animal costumes

This fleecy pattern set of toddler’s animal costumes will cover all your fancy dress needs as you can make a unicorn with wings, dog, cat and penguin!

Sizing: 19″ – 23″ chest. Available in the shop: No.


Task 3: Children’s dance costumes

The contestants used a wide range of patterns to create dance costumes for their real life models. There were street dance tracksuits, a swan lake themed dress and a forest fairy’s outfit to name a few! Take a look at our pattern suggestions for the children’s dance costumes featured.

Jen’s highland dance outfit

New Look 6278

Jen decided to make a structured highland inspired dance outfit with peplum bodice, buttons, lacing, built in sleeves and a gathered tartan skirt. A close match is this New Look full skirted dress with side zipper that can be made with a contrast ruffle and trim variations. Make it a day dress with a bow or add trims and a ruffle for a special occasions.

Sizing: 3 – 8 years. Available in the shop: No.

Sheila’s street dance tracksuit

True Bias – Children’s mini Hudson pants

Sheila decided to make a sparkling street dance outfit using a zip up hoodie and tracksuit trousers. The mini Hudson pants by True Bias are a perfect match for the cropped tracksuit trousers. You can pair this with the zip-up hoodie by Elemeno Patterns listed at the top of this post. The mini Hudson pants are a skinny sweat pant with an elastic waistband, drawstring, pockets, and cuffs. The urban fit of these pants leaves a bit of extra room around the hips and then tapers into a skinny leg.

Sizing: 2 – 10 years. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF pattern.

Janet’s Sailor’s hornpipe outfit

Merchant and Mills – Skipper Girl’s Dress

Janet’s inspiration came from her family’s passion for sailing and she chose to make a hornpipe outfit. It featured a blue leotard with red circle skirt and rick rack plus a sailor’s collar. You could recreate this look using a leotard pattern and circle skirt over the top but we also liked this nautical pattern from Merchant and Mills, which features a cute sailors collar and gathered dress. The pattern pays homage to the town of Rye in the UK, where Merchant and Mills originate from.

Sizing: 3 – 8 years. Available in the shop: No.

Alexei’s forest fairy and Ben’s contemporary dance outfits

Butterick – B6469 children’s leotards

Alexei’s love of a midsummer night’s dream inspired his forest fairy outfit. It was composed of a sleeveless leaf print leotard with layered skirt and chiffon wings. Ben on the other hand chose to make a contemporary dance outfit with a customised monochrome fabric leotard, tulle skirt neck ruffle and cuffs. Both these garments could be recreated using the Butterick children’s leotard set, you would just need to adapt the tulle skirt and add the wing/ruffle accessories.

Sizing: 2 – 8 years. Available in the shop: No.

Riccardo’s Tarantella dance outfit

Simplicity 1452 dress

Riccardo was inspired by the Tarantella, a dance in the south of Italy inspired by the Tarantula spider. His pattern included a frilled shirt, lightweight circle skirt with apron and a decorative velvet bodice. This Simplicity dress is a close match with it’s gathered puff sleeves, decorative bodice and circle skirt. The dress has a zipper back gathered skirt and also comes with the option for short sleeves or to be sleeveless. The bodice can have square or v-neck.

Sizing: 3 – 8 years. Available in the shop: No.

Juliet’s Igbo cultural dance outfit

Angel Lea Design – Lexi Ruffle Skirt

Juliet chose to make a Igbo cultural dance costume inspired by her time at school in Nigeria. She paired a tube top with a ruffle skirt with sequinned African wax fabric and layered with netting. The Angel Lea Design Lexi Ruffle Skirt is a perfect match for this with four tiers of gorgeous ruffles and an adjustable elastic waistband (option included for standard elastic waist too).

Sizing: Newborn to 7 years. Available in the shop: No.

Sewing Bee: tutorials and top tips

Task 1: Children’s hoodie


How to sew ribbing with Dana from Made Everyday


Five tips for using an overlocker with Lucy from Sew Essential.

Cutting knit fabric/jersey

Tips on how to cut knit fabrics with Tilly and the Buttons

Topstitching knit fabric/jersey 

A tutorial from Sew DIY on how to topstitch jersey fabric.

Task 2: Upcycling faux fur into children’s beast costumes

Working with nap and pile

Learning about fabric nap and pile with Colette.

Sewing with faux fur

Top tips from Erin at Tuesday Stitches about sewing with faux fur.

Task 3: Children’s dance costumes

Sewing with spandex fabrics

Melly Sews shares her top tips for sewing with spandex and elastane.


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