Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2021 – Sewing Patterns – Series 7 Episode 6


It’s week six of the Sewing Bee!

This week we move on from children’s clothes to recycling garments. For episode six we have put our detective hats on to discover the sewing patterns from independent designers and commercial pattern houses used in The Great British Sewing Bee TV show. The patterns below are all matches or inspired by the designs used in the sixth episode of the Great British Sewing bee series 7. If you haven’t already seen our ultimate guide to the Sewing Bee page do take a look. Unfortunately at the end of episode five we said goodbye to Adam after three children’s wear challenges.

For episode six the theme was Reduce, Reuse and Recycle where all the materials available were sourced from charity shops. The challenges included making a gentleman’s waistcoat, a woman’s garment from Army surplus and a made-to-measure dress from jeans. 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  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.

If you want to chat about the episode and the challenges then do join us each week in our Facebook group event.

Sewing Bee: Pattern Picks

Pattern Challenge 1: Man’s waistcoat

The first challenge of the sixth episode was to sew a man’s waistcoat. A waistcoat (or vest in America and Canada) is a sleeveless garment, usually worn over a suit shirt and under a coat as part of formal wear with a button front. They range from basic in design to the ultimate in luxury as the third piece of a lounge suit. Traditionally they had a pocket to keep a pocket watch in at the front. The contestants had to use second hand fabrics with a pattern to create the waistcoat. A heavier fabric is used for the front, with a lighter weight fabric for the back and lining. The pattern had 14 pattern pieces and five buttons on the front.

For our full range of waistcoat sewing patterns, take a look here.

Belvedere Waistcoat – Thread Theory

A great pattern to use for this challenge is the timeless Belvedere Waistcoat pattern! It’s the perfect minimalist piece to wear to formal events. This design features a curved back seam and long darts to fit the garment close to the body. It includes a back neckline facing for a high-end professional finish.

Sizing: XS – 4XL. Available in the shop: Yes, Paper, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Mr London Waistcoat – Sew La Di Da Vintage

Mr London is a stylish 1930s inspired waistcoat cut to give a slimming silhouette, with faux pockets, button fastenings, tabs and contrasting trim at the back. The faux pockets streamline the front and are easy for novice sewists, but if you are up for the challenge and confident they won’t get stuffed full of used handkerchiefs, why not make them into real pockets? Mr London is a perfect day-to-day waistcoat that’ll smarten up any outfit.

Sizing: XS – XL. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


McCalls Unisex Vests – M6228

The McCalls M6228 sewing pattern has neckline variations and a back buckled belt. Versions A, C and F have welt pockets whereas versions B and G patch pockets.

Sizing: S-M-L-XL-XXL. Available in the shop: Yes, paper.


Transformation Challenge 2: Refashioning Army surplus into a woman’s garment

In the upcycling challenge contestants had to use Army surplus to create a completely new outfit for a woman. 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.


Made-To-Measure Challenge 3: Denim dress

In the final challenge of week six, all the remaining contestants had to make a dress using second hand denim from jeans. Modern jeans were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss & Co in 1871 and casually termed ‘blue jeans’. They were popularised in the 1950s by actors such as James Dean and Marlon Brando and from the 1960s became commonly worn by different youth subculture groups. Using jeans material to recreate a new garment is difficult because the pieces of fabric are narrow. Here we have highlighted patterns used by the contestants in the TV show or made suggestions of similar patterns you could use to recreate these looks.


Damien’s ‘Family Fabric’ denim dress

Features: patch pockets and golden top stitching.

Pattern: Simplicity S2247. This pattern is part of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit range. The dress has individual pattern pieces for B, C, D and DD cup sizes.

Sizing: AA (10-12-14-16-18), BB (20W-28W), approx. UK sizes AA (6/8 – 14), BB (16/18– 26). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.



Adeena’s ‘Paisley Paint’ denim dress

Features: hand painted paisley design motif with patch pockets and five colours of denim.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be Vogue® Patterns V8648This lined, mid-knee length dress is fitted through the bust and has princess seams, bias midriff and back zipper.

Sizing: AA (6-8-10-12), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes AA (4/6 – 8), E5 (10 – 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.



Serena’s ‘Sporty Colour Block’ denim dress

Features: Sleeve cuffs and band across the neck.

Pattern: Vogue® Patterns V9050. This lined dress (close-fitting through the bust) has seam detail and a back zipper. A, B and C: Semi-fitted through the hips and back slit. C and E: Two-piece sleeves.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), E5 (10 – 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Raph’s ‘Tormented Ocean’ denim dress

Features: halter neck shape and whale design.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be Simplicity S8330. Arrive at your next special occasion in a gorgeous open back mermaid style gown or choose a classic little black dress. This pattern is versatile enough to give you both looks. The sleeveless halter dresses can be made short, long with a leg slit or with a mermaid tail of tulle. Dresses features an invisible zipper and a button and loop closure on neck band.

Sizing: D5 (4-6-8-10-12) P5 (12-14-16-18-20) approx. UK sizes D5 (4/6 – 8), P5 (8– 16). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.



Andrew’s ‘Pythagoras Theorem’ denim dress

Features: Herringbone waist and rivets.

Pattern: Send your ideas on a postcard, this one had us stumped!



Rebecca’s ‘Patchwork’ denim dress

Features: herringbone design with straps and side panels.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be the strap version of McCalls M8034. These fitted, lined dresses have boning, front and back seams and a seam below the bust, a back zip fastening, and shoulder straps or full sleeves sleeves in two variations with elasticated gathers at the shoulder.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), E5 (10 – 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Farie’s ‘Monochrome’ denim dress

Features: zip front with black and white panels.

Pattern: Vogue® Patterns V1593This fitted, lined, interfaced dress has two-way separating zipper closure.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), E5 (10 – 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


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