Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2021 – Sewing Patterns – Series 7 Episode 9


It’s the semi-final of the Sewing Bee!

This week we move on from Music and the Movies Week to the glamour and thriftiness of the 1940s. For episode nine 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 nineth 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 eight we said goodbye to Damian after three Music and Movies challenges.

For episode nine the theme was 1940s, reviving the glamour and thriftiness of that decade. The challenges included making a pair of Oxford Bag trousers, adapting old parachutes into glamorous dresses, and a made-to-measure outfit inspired by Dior’s New Look. 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: Oxford Bag trousers

The first challenge of the ninth episode was to Oxford Bag trousers. These 1940s famous trousers are perfect for dancing the jitterbug and swing. Tricky to sew these trousers perfectly, this pattern challenge involves sewing up oversized pattern pieces, fly zip, a waistband and two pleats. The trousers also turn up at the bottom. This was a big challenge for the contestants with 16 pattern pieces to sew in 4.5 hours. Oxford Bags are a loosely fitting trouser, which were popular with Oxford University undergraduates from the mid-1920s to the 1950s. The style made a come back in the 1970s due to fans of the Northern soul dance scene. Below we have shared patterns with some similar design features, that you could use to recreate this look.

For our full range of wide legged trouser sewing patterns, take a look here.


250 Hollywood Pants and Shorts – Folkwear

The emergence of pants as acceptable public attire for women began in the early 1930s, largely due to the enormous influence of the movies and high-profile movie stars. Folkwear offers three history-makers: Knickers, Trousers and Shorts. The straight silhouette of the Trousers (c. 1940) is created by a high, wide waistband, back darts and front pleats. They have a zipper closure on the left side and an on-seam pocket on the right. The trousers fall gracefully straight from the hip to the ankle. Make with medium weight, soft fabrics with drape such as wool gabardine or challis, cotton or corduroy.

Sizing: XS – 3XL (approx. UK 4/6 – 28/30). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Hollywood Pants – The Sewing Workshop

The Hollywood Pants are a classic fitted, European-style trouser with straight legs and a fly front. The pants have a waistband cut onto the front with a separate two-piece back waistband, front pleats, single welt front pockets and a back welt with a button/loop, and a partial lining. Make with lightweight wool crepe, wool suiting, wool/Lycra blends, rayon crepe, rayon blend, linen, cotton/Lycra, stable medium weight knit.

Sizing: US 6 – 26 (approx. UK 6 – 22/24). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Transformation Challenge 2: Refashioning old parachutes into glamorous dresses

In the upcycling challenge contestants had to old parachutes to create glamorous dresses. 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: Dior’s New Look

In the final challenge of week nine, all the remaining contestants had to make an outfit inspired by Dior’s ‘New Look’. Christian Dior launched his first collection in 1947 and was one of the most famous couturiers of the twentieth century. The garments were styled to cinch in at the waist with a full skirt and rounded shoulders, to extenuate feminine features. In these post war years he was celebrating the ultra feminine look where designers were no longer restricted by material shortages. Here are our pattern picks for the remaining contestants and where sewing patterns have been self drafted we have suggested an alternative.


Raph’s ‘Dior’s New Look’ dress

Features: Scuba full circle skirt and rip-stop nylon button down front blouse with grown on sleeves.

Pattern: Simplicity vintage blouse S8445. The front and collar are cut in one, the back is gathered to a deep yoke and the blouse features cuff sleeves.

Sizing: .H5 (6-8-10-12-14) U5 (16-18-20-22-24), approx. UK sizes H5 (4 – 8), U5 (10– 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Rebecca’s ‘Dior’s New Look’ dress

Features: peplum blouse with fitted lower bodice and gathered skirt.

Top: McCalls M7978

This top has a gathered front and back, self faced yoke, button and loop closures, forward shoulder seams and gathered sleeve variation and band. Version B has a flounce.

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.


Skirt: Simplicity S1369

This skirts can be made in three lengths: below, at or above the knee with optional sheer overlay (view B), front slit pockets (views C, D, E, F) and ribbon trim applied at hem or waistband.

Sizing: H5 (6-8-10-12-14) R5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes H5 (4/6 – 10), R5 (10– 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Farie’s ‘Dior’s New Look’ dress

Features: high mandarin collar with pleated draped sash.

Pattern: Self-drafted. A similar pattern would be Vogue® Pattern V1239. This close-fitting, lined to edge dress has shoulder darts, side front pockets, inside ties, and a hook and eye closure.

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



Serena’s ‘Dior’s New Look’ dress

Features: jacket with flared sleeves and peplum paired with black cropped trousers.

Pattern: We couldn’t find an exact match for Serena’s pattern but here are a few suggestions of similar sewing patterns you could use, which you could hack to add flared sleeves.


Woman wearing the Barberry Jacket sewing pattern by Charlotte Emma Patterns. A jacket pattern made in suitings, wool, tweed, brocade or cotton fabrics, featuring a shaped slim-fit with a cinched waist, three button closure, pockets and exaggerated hemline.

Barberry Jacket – Charlotte Emma Patterns

The Barberry Jacket is a shaped slim-fitting jacket with a cinched waist and exaggerated hemline. Inspired by vintage fashion, Barberry is designed to fit within a modern wardrobe and to be comfortable and easy to wear. Barberry has an eight-panel bodice, notched collar, two-piece sleeves, and a full lining. The instructions will support you to sew all of Barberry’s features, which include welt pockets, pocket flaps, and sleeve vents. Barberry is designed to be worn over a single layer such as a shirt or blouse.

Sizing: UK 4 – 36. This pattern includes two size ranges: UK 4 – 22 based on a B cup block (a 2″ difference between your high bust and full bust measurements) and UK 20 – 36 based on a D cup block (a 4″ difference between your high bust and full bust measurements). There is an overlap at sizes 20 – 22 where you can choose which size range you would like to use. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.


Vogue® Patterns – V8333

This semi-fitted, lined, partially interfaced, below waist jacket has princess seams, slightly extended shoulders, notched collar, shoulder pads, in-seam pockets with pleats, side panels (no side seams), shaped hem, and long two-piece sleeves with buttoned vents. A: Underlined and couture construction techniques.

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


Vogue® Patterns – V1704

Fitted trousers have fly front closure and back welt pocket.

Sizing: B5 (8-10-12-14-16), F5 (16-18-20-22-24), approx. UK sizes B5 (6 – 12), F5 (12 – 20/22). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.



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