Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 Episode 5 – sewing patterns and sewing tips


On to week five where it’s all about recycling fabrics!

We have searched the sewing pattern database to bring you the best selection of patterns inspired by the the latest 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 fifth episode there are six contestants remaining after we said goodbye to Alexei last week. This episode has been all about recycling fabrics with the first challenge sewing a pussy bow blouse. In the upcycling challenge, discarded fabric scraps from previous episodes were transformed into outfits before the made-to-measure challenge where the contestants made a day dress. 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: pussy bow blouse

The first challenge involved contestants creating a pussy bow blouse from second hand garments. The sewers could use up to four garments and reuse button plackets to create the pattern. Our pattern suggestion is the Pussy Bow Blouse from Sew Over It, which has a seam down the centre front and this can be modified with the addition of a button down front and yoke at the back.

Sew Over It – Pussy Bow Blouse 

The Pussy bow blouse sewing pattern from Sew Over It is perfect for an intermediate dressmaker. With two different style options you can choose between a v-neck version or a keyhole opening. Stylish and versatile, it’s perfect for the office but can be dressed up for a night out. This classic bow tied blouse will look great tucked into a skirt of slung on over jeans to add a bit of glam to any outfit. It would work best in a rayon, sandwashed silk, crepe or other lightweight fabric with a lot of drape.

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

Named – Madeleine Bow Tie blouse

An alternative option to the pussy bow blouse is this interesting top sharing the same button down front, bow tie closure and slit cuff details. The Madeleine bow tie blouse sewing pattern from Named also has a yoke and wide piping details at front. The bishop sleeves have slits and wide cuffs with a button closure. This top is also designed for light shirting fabrics such as chiffon, voile, batiste or organza.

Sizing: approx. 4 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.

For other pussy bow blouse options try The Señorita Blouse from Alice and Co Patterns, the Pussy Bow Blouse and Dress or Lottie from Simple Sew, Tiffany Blouse from Style Arc or the No. 104 buttons and bows blouse from Decades of Style.

Task 2: Upcycling fabric scraps

In the upcycling challenge contestants used fabric scraps from their previous challenges to make a whole new outfit. A range of sewing patterns were used for this task, with a definite ruffle theme, so we will make some suggestions based on these below.

Mercedes’ and Juliet’s ruffle dresses

Vanessa Pouzet – Hippie dress and top

The Hippie comes in top or dress options. It is romantic and bohemian! Sew in lightweight fabric with drape. Beautifully finish with French seams.

Sizing: EU 34 – 48. Available in the shop: No.

McCalls – M7168

This is actually a swimsuit pattern but the close-fitting, elasticized bra top is a great match for Juliet’s refashioned top and you could definitely make it using a different fabric.

Sizing: UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: No.

Jen’s fitted wrap skirt

Tilly and the Buttons – Arielle skirt

Arielle is an asymmetric pencil or mini skirt with an adorable button opening to one side. Long darts and a high waistline create a flattering, figure-hugging shape. The unlined version is an ideal project for confident beginners, or take your sewing prowess up a notch by adding the optional luxury lining. To recreate Jen’s skirt you would need to divide the skirt into panels.

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

Task 3: Day dress

The contestants used a range of patterns to create day dresses for their real life male models. The patterns had to be made from using old curtains and bedspreads.

Leah’s Stripy Blinds Day Dress

New Look – 6341

This New Look dress with princess seams and scoop back is perfect for any occasion. Dress can be worn just above the knee with or without lace sleeves, floor length with short sleeves, or sleeveless with floor length high low.

Sizing: UK 6 – 18. Available in the shop: No.

Juliet’s Net Curtain Day Dress

Juliet used the Simplicity 8635 dress and romper, adding a high-low skirt.

Sizing: UK 6 – 22. Available in the shop: No.

You might also like this similar design from an independent pattern designer…

By Hand London – Flora dress

The Flora dress is flattering with a cinched waist and voluminous pleated straight or dipped hem circle skirt, definitive party dress! Choose from two entirely different bodice variations: a classic sleeveless faux-wrap style or the more demure tank bodice, with her high square neckline and simple shoulder straps. The version featured below is the closest match to Juliet’s net curtain day dress.

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

Riccardo’s Charity Shop Day Dress

Riccardo used a vintage Vogue Paris Original 1483; ca. 1960 that he found in a charity shop. The pattern comes with a one piece dress and coat.

Available in the shop: No, out of print, but may still be available on third party reselling websites.

Image source: Fandom.

Jen’s floral Curtains Day Dress

Simplicity – 1080

The Simplicity 1080 Dress and Tunic pattern is perfect for a beginner dressmaker. Play with pretty prints and patterns, designed by Dottie Angel for Simplicity. The pattern includes cap sleeve dress with optional contrast band, or tunic, all with large contrast patch pockets.

Sizing: UK XS – XL. Available in the shop: No.

Janet’s Boned Curtains Day Dress

Janet used Vogue® Patterns 1392.

Available in the shop: No, out of print, but may still be available on third party reselling websites.

A similar pattern from an indie pattern designer is…

Alice and Ann – Kendra Dress

Create your own unique look using the Kendra Dress sewing pattern. It is a pretty fit and flare style dress with a V-shaped neckline, flattering princess line bodice with an empire waist, a generous pleated skirt and the all important pockets. The pattern details feature a fully lined bodice, a centre back zipper, hem facings, and hand finishing touches.

Sizing: 0 – 20. Available in the shop: No.

Sewing Bee: tutorials and top tips

Task 1: Pussy bow blouse

Drapey fabrics

Get nerdy sewing tips on working with drapey and silky fabrics from the ladies at By Hand London

Task 2: Fabric scraps


Selkie Patterns recently shared a blog post with lots of ideas on what to do with your fabric scraps.

Project ideas

Megan Nielsen shares a useful tutorial on making a braided rug from fabric scraps and old clothing.

Task 3: Day dress

Bias binding

Make your own bias binding with this tutorial from Tilly and the Buttons.


The ladies at By Hand London share tips on using boning as part of a bonus strapless variation of the Georgia Dress.


C Sews has shared this great resource list that brings together everything you need to know about sewing with lace!

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