Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2021 – Sewing Patterns – Series 7 Episode 8


It’s week eight of the Sewing Bee!

This week we move on from Winter week to Music and the Movies Week. For episode eight 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 eight 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 seven we said goodbye to Andrew after three Winter challenges.

For episode eight the theme was Music and Movies week, making garments inspired by the silver screen. The challenges included making a dress inspired by Baby from Dirty Dancing,  adapting old curtains into play clothes for children, just like Julie Andrews’s Maria in The Sound of Music, and a made-to-measure disco era outfit inspired by the movie Dreamgirls. 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: A dress inspired by Baby from Dirty Dancing

The first challenge of the eighth episode was to sew a dress inspired by Baby from Dirty Dancing. The techniques involved creating a tightly fitted bodice and perfect full circle skirt. Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987, this American romantic drama starred Jennifer Great and Patrick Swayze. It was hugely successful, despite receiving mixed critical reviews. The contestants were challenged further by making the dress in satin with a floral appliqué around the waist. Below we have shared two patterns with some similar design features, that you could hack to match the dress featured in the show.

For our full range of waisted dresses with flared skirts like the one featured in the TV show, take a look here.


Raine Dress – Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Raine’s gently curved waistband creates an hourglass silhouette, with darts shaping the upper bodice. Personalise your dress with your choice of a 40s-inspired sweetheart or classic scoop neckline. Choose a simple gathered skirt for a fun everyday look, or step up the glam factor with a pleated skirt, providing a sleeker option for more dressy occasions. Slanted pockets in both views make Raine a cool and practical dress, come rain, hail or shine.

The Raine Dress includes pattern pieces for A, B, C and D cups for the perfect fit!

Sizing: UK 6 – 24 with A, B, C and D cups. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Betty Dress – Sew Over It

Inspired by the iconic Betty Draper from Mad Men. The dress features a fitted bodice, a full circle skirt and closes with an invisible zip at the centre back. One thing to note this that this won’t work well with directional prints. Make in medium weight cottons, cotton lawns, rayon and crepes.

Sizing: UK 8 – 20. Format: paper.

Transformation Challenge 2: Refashioning curtains into play clothes for children

In the upcycling challenge contestants had to use curtains to create play clothes for children, just like Julie Andrews’s Maria in The Sound of Music. 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: Disco era outfit inspired by the movie Dreamgirls

In the final challenge of week eight, all the remaining contestants had to make a disco era outfit inspired by the move Dreamgirls. Tasked with creating an outfit for dancing the night away, the 1970s inspired dress had to dazzle the judges while fitting the model’s body closely using challenging fabrics such as sequins. Dreamgirls was a 1981 Broadway musical, which in 2006 was made into an American musical drama film. It took its inspiration from the history of the Motown record label and The Supremes.


Farie’s ‘elegant’ Dreamgirls disco dress

Features: asymmetric bodice, thigh slit and sequinned lace sleeve.

Pattern: Simplicity S8870. This stunning floor length gown has a one shoulder sash.

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.


Rebecca’s ‘Glamourous’ Dreamgirls disco dress

Features: sequinned bodice and waistband with organza fishtail.

Pattern: McCalls 7540. Dress with princess seamed fitted bodice, waist band and fishtail skirt.

Available in the shop: Out of print, try reselling sites such as Ebay and Etsy.


Serena’s Dreamgirls disco dress

Features: thigh slit and shoulder straps.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be the Summer Dress from Fibre Mood, which you could hack to introduce a sequinned sash. Slip dresses are having a moment in the spotlight and it’s not hard to see why. The Summer Dress is an absolute must-sew that will become one of your wardrobe essentials this season. Versatile and easy to wear, you can style it for daywear with sneakers or heels for after 5 pm. Make it midi or maxi length to suit you!

Sizing: EU 32 – 58 / US 0 – 26 / UK 4 – 30 (approx. UK 6 – 26/28, based on our standardised size chart). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Raph’s Dreamgirls ‘disco jumpsuit’ 

Features: hold foiled chevrons and ostrich feather trim.

Pattern: McCalls 7910These close-fitting pull-on knit jumpsuits have a lined bodice with bodice and leg variations. The pattern includes options for a pleated surplice, halter or one-shoulder bodice and tapered or straight leg trousers with or without side slits. Create your own design with mix-and-match pattern pieces.

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.


Damien’s ‘Foxy Cleopatra’ Dreamgirls disco dress

Features: Orange upholstery fabric, gold rickrack detailing and flared sleeves.

Pattern: Vogue Patterns V1673. This lined dress has a fitted bodice, back zipper, and sleeve and contrast variations.

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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