Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2020 – Series 6 Episode 6 – Sewing Patterns

Here we go, it’s week six of the Sewing Bee!

We are so excited to have the Sewing Bee to look forward to each week on BBC 1, just what we all need right now. We have searched high and low to bring you the best selection of sewing patterns from independent designers and commercial pattern houses. These are all inspired by the the sixth episode of the Great British Sewing bee series 6. If you haven’t already seen our ultimate guide to the Sewing Bee page do take a look, we’ve got loads of exciting Sewing Bee goodness including a review of the book that accompanies the series!

In this sixth episode there are eight contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Ali in week five. The sewing bee theme for week six is reduce, reuse and recycle! The challenges included making a men’s bomber jacket from four women’s garments, transforming laundry bags into stylish and wearable garments and making a made-to-measure jumper dress from knit fabrics. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions below, we’ve tried to find the exact patterns used but where we haven’t been able to figure it out we have plenty of suggestions 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 in our special mid-week sewing bee vlog.

We’ve also included some sewing tips and tricks from bloggers and pattern designers in the sewing community to help you with any of the techniques used by the contestants in the TV show. If you want to chat about the episode and the challenges then do join us each week in our Facebook group event.

If you are looking for bomber jackets not featured in the sewing bee episode this week you can search our shop for sewing patterns here. We also have a blog post where we share our Top 10 sewing patterns for knit fabrics.

Sewing Bee: Pattern Picks

Challenge 1: Men’s bomber jacket

The first challenge of the sewing bee week five is to sew a men’s bomber jacket. This was a tricky task for the contestants because it involved repurposing four women’s garments to make the bomber jacket. The pattern used in this episode has knit ribbing for the collar, cuffs and waist, open-ended zip and two front pockets. The bomber jacket is a popular streetwear item but it’s history is colourful and has been an iconic garment for youth subcultures. The bomber jacket originated in the military, where leather versions were worn by airmen and adapted from flight jackets. A bomber jacket has elasticated sleeves and a waistband, a high collar and front pockets. From 1945, nylon became the go-to material because of it’s durability and resistance to damage. Later in 1949 the fur collar was replaced with an elasticated knit version that we recognise more today. Bomber jackets didn’t appear in Europe until the late 1950s and from then on they became an important symbol of subcultural groups. The bomber jacket was reappropriated by the gay community in London in the 1980s and by the 1990s it was popular with grunge and alternative subcultures. Since then it has been an integral part of streetwear. Here we have some suggestions of bomber jacket sewing patterns you could sew for yourself or family and friends from this BBC1 sewing bee episode.

McCalls – M7637

The M7637 unisex bomber jackets sewing pattern from McCall’s has a lined jacket with separating zippers, rib knit trim and pocket variations. Version C has contrast sleeves. Make using cotton blends, ripstop, denim or wool blends. Version A can also be made from pre-quilted fabrics.

Sizing: XM (S-M-L), XN (XL-XXL-XXXL). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


DG Patterns – Inara Bomber Jacket 

A loose fit, knit or woven bomber jacket with a front zipper and side seam pockets. The jacket also features a curved neckband, cuffs and waistband for a great fit. Make with medium weight woven fabric such as cotton sateen, denim, brocade, twill and/or medium weight knit fabric such as fleece, Ponte Roma, rayon blends (for body and/or neckband, cuffs and waistband).

This pattern is available for both women and children (ages 1 – 10).

Sizing: US 4 – 22 (approx. UK 8 – 24) / children aged 1 – 10 years. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF pattern.


Papercut Patterns – Rigel Bomber

Rigel is an easy fit unlined raglan sleeve bomber jacket with the option for a plain sleeve or a sleeve with a geometric detail. The jacket features front welt pockets; neck, sleeve and hem ribbing; an open end front zipper and a front facing. Make with light to medium weight woven fabrics such as wool, cotton, silk or linen. Make a wool one for winter and a silk one for summer!

Sizing: XXS – XL (approx. UK 6 – 18). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Named Clothing – Beryl Bomber Dress

The Beryl Bomber Dress sewing pattern from Named Clothing is a bomber jacket-inspired, unlined mini dress with a zipper fastening at the front. The pattern features a short vent at the front hem, gathered elastic waist, ¾-length sleeves with elastic cuffs, patch pockets, and a V-neck with a wide rib knit collar. Make with medium weight non-stretch fabric. The sample is made of brocade. Choose a firm rib knit for the collar.

Sizing: EU 32 – 46 (approx. UK 4/6 – 16/18). Available in the shop: Yes, paper or PDF.


Butterick – B6618

The Butterick B6618 jackets sewing pattern is a loose-fitting, unlined jacket with collar, side pockets, two-piece, elasticised hem band and elasticised sleeves. Version A has a front button closing, whereas Version B exposed front zipper. Make with Crepe de Chine, Faille, Broadcloth, Linen, Eyelet or Challis.

Sizing: A (6 – 22). Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Sew Direct.


Trend Patterns – The Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket comes with loads of details – pockets with welt opening; chest zip (not functional) and a shoulder patch pocket (optional). A stiff fabric would hold the silhouette perfectly and if made with warm winter fabrics it will keep you feeling cosy. This jacket would also work well in lighter fabrics for a Spring Summer garment too.

Sizing: 6 – 16. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Trend Patterns.


Sew This Pattern – The Birdie Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket is a great basic to add to your wardrobe and will enhance any simple outfit. There are so many ways to style it. Wear it to the pub on a Friday night or out to lunch with the girls on a Sunday afternoon. Made up in a silky floral it gives a touch of sophistication or team it with some white sneakers and jeans for a more casual style. There are so many gorgeous fabrics out there you can choose from, silky florals , animal prints, geometrics, or bold solids. It’s so easy and you will love it so much you will want to make more than one. It’s the perfect smart casual fashion piece to add to your DIY wardrobe. It is a simple raglan seam dolman sleeve jacket with an open end zipper closure, ribbed hem, collar and cuffs. The ribbed collar, hem and cuffs are easy to sew and the open end zipper is simple to insert.

Sizing: Australian 6 – 18. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Sew This Pattern.


Challenge 2: Transforming laundry bags into stylish and wearable garments

In the upcycling challenge contestants had to use laundry bags and transform them into stylish and wearable garments. Specific patterns weren’t used for these tasks as contestants had to create a garment from an existing one in a fixed time so it’s a bit tricky for us to make sewing pattern suggestions based on these design ideas.

Challenge 3: Made-to-measure Winter knit jumper dress

In the final challenge of week six, all the contestants had to make a Winter knit dress using recycled wool jumpers. Several contestants drafted their own patterns this week, as they were using several recycled garments they brought from home. For each contestant we have tried to find the pattern they used in the BBC1 TV show but at the end we also have some other suggestions of knit jumper dress patterns you could use to make your own versions.


Matt’s ‘Multi-panelled Skirt’ Winter Dress

Features: Sparkly collar and cuffs, his mum’s old jumper, sequin knit and cable knits.

Pattern: Self-drafted. Here are a couple of patterns which you could use as a base to recreate the same look.

Style Arc Alissa Knit Dress

Achieve a designer look with this simple dress. The asymmetrical drape pocket that is cleverly designed makes this style look complex but is an easy sew. The ¾ sleeves make this style versatile and suitable for any season. Make with knit jersey or any knit fabric with drape.

Sizing: 4 – 30. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Style Arc.

McCalls – M8062

These flared, pullover dresses (close-fitting through the bust) have a neck band, round neckline, hemline variations and narrow hem. Versions A and B have short sleeves. Note that versions B, C, D have the wrong side shows on hemline. Versions B and D have a high-low hem. Make with medium weight to heavy weight knit fabrics such as cotton jersey, interlock or novelty knits.

Sizing: Y (XS-S-M), ZZ (L-XL-XXL), approx. UK sizes Y (4 – 10), ZZ (12 – 24). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Liz’s ‘Panelled Chevron’ Winter Dress

Features: Her daughter’s cardigan.

Pattern: Self-drafted. Here are a couple of patterns which you could use as a base to recreate the same look.

Vogue® Patterns – V1634

This multi-pieced dress V1634 has neckline and sleeve variations and topstitched seams. Version A has a contrast hem band, optional purchased trim and bell sleeve. Version B has a self-faced yoke front, slim sleeve and stitched hem. Make with moderate stretch knits (35% cross grain): medium weight knits or Ponte knit.

Sizing: A – J (approx. UK 8 – 32). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

Dhurata Davies – Maxine Dress

The Maxine Dress from Dhurata Davies Patterns is a stylish and versatile loose fitting dress. The pattern was designed to work well with a wide variety of medium to heavy weight stable knit fabrics, as well as light to medium weight woven fabrics, making it a perfect layering garment for all seasons. It features a criss-cross front detail, generous secret pockets, drop shoulder short sleeves, two neckband variations for knit fabric (A and B) and facing for woven (C). You can use ribbing for the neckband as well, whatever fabric you choose for the body. The pattern is suitable for confident beginners and more experienced sewists alike.

Sizing: UK 6 – 20. Available in the shop: Coming soon.


Mark’s ‘Asymmetric’ Winter Dress

Features: Jumper dress with high wide collar made from an old keyboard motif jumper.

Pattern: Self-drafted. Here is a pattern which you could use as a base to recreate the same look.

Style Arc – Venice Knit Dress

Cocoon shaped knit dress with angled seams, long sleeves and slit pockets. Refresh your wardrobe with this sophisticated dress of the moment. The asymmetrical lines create a soft cocoon shape and the optional slit pockets are a great design feature which sets this mid length, long sleeved dress apart. Make with knit, jersey, knit cashmere or any knit fabric with drape.

Sizing: 4 – 30. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Style Arc.


Therese’s ‘Twisted Jumper’ Winter Dress

Features: Front and back jumper for the sleeves and the jumper’s sleeves and shoulder seam are used to shape the bust.

Pattern: Self-drafted. Here is a pattern which you could use as a base to recreate the same look.

Simplicity – S9014

Loose-fitting tunic or tops with cowl necklines, dropped shoulders and loose sleeves. Easy to sew. Can be constructed using an overlocker. Tops designed for stretch knits only.

Sizing: A (XXS – XXL). Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Sew Direct.


Clare’s ‘1920s Puffin’ Winter dress

Features: Zig-zag skirt in colours inspired by a puffin bird.

Pattern: Based on the Decades of Style 1925 Zig-zag dress. It is a loose fitting, sleeveless pull over dress with a rounded or V-neck line. The shoulder seam falls forward on the Front Bodice just a bit with gathers there instead of a bust dart. A long Tie finishes the back neck edge and provides an elegant design detail. The eight-gore skirt is where the dress really shines. Each gore has a pointed top and creates a zig zag line at the hip where it attaches. It is flared and moves like a dream. We love this pattern and we think you will too! We recommend dress weight fabrics in the fiber of your choice. There is 6″ of ease at the bust and 4″ at the waist. There is 2″ of ease at the hip but the zig zag shaped seam provides more ease than that.

Sizing: A – C. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Decades of Style.


Nicole’s ‘Stripy Puzzle’ knit dress

Features: Cocoon dress with stretch ribbing cuffs, wide high collar and multiple contrasting panels.

Pattern: Style Arc Cher Knit Dress. Avant-garde pull over dress featuring a funnel neck and cocoon shaped body. A designer dress that is easy to sew and wear. Make in jersey, pane, sweater knit or any stretch fabric.

Sizing: 4 – 30. Available in the shop: No, available directly from the designer Style Arc.


Peter’s ‘Wicked Witch’ Winter Dress

Features: Bouffant sleeves with hood and a layered skirt.

Pattern: Self – drafted. If you have any ideas for a pattern for this outfit please let us know!


Sewing Bee: Tutorials and top tips

Here are tutorials from indie designers and bloggers to help you get to grips with the techniques used to make the patterns in the show. Each week there are some tricky skills that the sewing bee contestants have to tackle, so it’s a great opportunity to give these a go for yourself and build on your sewing knowledge.

Adding ribbing

Johanna of The Last Stitch shares a tutorial and top tips for sewing with ribbing.


Sewing with knit fabrics

The team at Tilly and the Buttons share their tips of sewing with knit fabrics on a regular sewing machine.


Related posts

Great British Sewing Bee 2024 – Sewing Patterns S10 Ep5

Read post

Great British Sewing Bee 2024 – Sewing Patterns S10 Ep4

Read post

The Shortlist: Upcycling Garments and Textiles

Read post

Great British Sewing Bee 2024 – Sewing Patterns S10 Ep3

Read post
Leave a Reply