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Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee 2022 – Series 8 Sewing Inspiration

Photo credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

Wow, what a season that was. All good things must come to an end (sob!) but we aren’t ready to let go of the joy that the Great British Sewing Bee series 8 has brought us just yet. We eagerly watched everything the contestants made (while jotting ideas into our sewing inspiration notebooks) and relished the challenges the judges set. If you watched the show and felt the urge to add a shirred midi dress, party jumpsuit and patchwork jacket to your project list, we have some indie sewing pattern inspiration to share with you!

If you are a purist and want to try to recreate the exact looks from series 8 of the Sewing Bee, check out our sewing pattern picks for each episode – with a coordinating chatty video to enjoy!

We know lots of you have also been eyeing up some of the outfits that judge, Esme Young, presenter, Sara Pascoe and the finalists wore on the show, so we’ve found some patterns for recreating the looks if you fancy! You might want to grab a huge cup of tea for this lot… it’s a bumper blog post!


We absolutely adore Esme’s style. It’s cool and understated while making a statement, and is pretty much always finished off with a statement necklace. We suspect that Esme drafts all her own patterns, but we think that the indie pattern company The Assembly Line has some serious Esme vibes. If you want to recreate a silhouette we saw a couple of times on the Sewing Bee, we reckon the Multi-Sleeve Midi Dress is a good place to start. It’s very similar but maybe just needs the skirt side seams straightening up a touch.

Sizing: UK 8 – 18 or UK 18/20 – 28/30

Format: Paper

We were smitten with Sara Pascoe’s outfit this week, were you? A strappy dress layered over a t-shirt is a great summer outfit and one that is easy to recreate. You could recreate this look using the cult classic Odgen Cami sewing pattern and extending the length to create a strappy dress!

Sizing: UK 8 – 20 or UK 16 – 32
Pattern format: Paper and PDF

Hands up if you were inspired by Debra’s me-made outfits on the show? Just like the garments she made on the show, Debra’s clothes were very chic and full of thoughtful details. We spotted that Debra may have been wearing a Friday Pattern Company Wilder Gown on the show made in this really cool print with a contrasting black necktie!

Sizing: UK 6 – 28 (Paper pattern) and UK 6 – 34 PDF

There’s been a lot of love for indie pattern queen, Brogan’s outfits on the show. I’m sure that lots of you spotted that it looked like she was wearing the popular Bakerloo Dress by Nina Lee in one of the episodes. I love how Brogan has shown off the collar frill with a contrasting white fabric.

We loved watching Man Yee for her wonderful sense of humour and the fun she brought to the sewing room. We loved this outfit and if you did too you could recreate the look with the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress – it’s such a versatile garment to have in your wardrobe, especially if sewn in black which goes with everything!

Sizing: UK 6 – 24

Format: Paper and PDF

We lusted after loads of Annie’s outfits that are the perfect blend of colour, print and interesting shapes. We took a particular shine to the stunning shirt she wore on the show. You could recreate this laid-back style with the Helen’s Closet Gilbert Top pattern… and an appropriately striking print!

Sizing: UK 6 – 30

Format: PDF


EPISODE 1 – CAPSULE WARDROBE WEEK

WRAP DRESS PATTERN PICKS

We love a wrap dress so we were thrilled to see what the lovely Sewing Bee contestants whipped up for the first made-to-measure challenge which was all about wrap dresses.

We have picked four different wrap dress patterns that we might have chosen to make if we were in their shoes!

The Roseclair Dress from Cashmerette is a dreamy pattern. This floaty woven wrap dress includes three views with gorgeous details to choose from such as bishop sleeves with large angled cuffs and on-trend puff sleeves.

Sizing: UK 8 – 18 or UK 14 – 34 / Format: Paper

The Elodie Wrap Dress from Closet Core is a popular pattern with our Fold Line reviewers. This modern take on a classic wrap dress is romantic and flowy. It comes with multiple skirt and sleeve options and is equally appropriate for a park picnic or a special wedding.

Sizing: UK 8 – 20 / Format: Paper

If you really like ruffles, the Flor Dress and Top from Bella Loves Patterns is a pleasing choice. Flor is a romantic wrap dress that features statement ruffles inserted into the shoulders, princess seams and wide waist ties. We love it!

Sizing: UK 6 – 18 / Format: PDF

We thought we’d throw a wild card option into the mix… do you think Sewing Bee judge Esme would allow it?! If traditional wrap styles aren’t really your thing you could go for a wrap detail. Named’s Kielo Wrap Dress is a hit with the sewing community and you can make it as a dress or jumpsuit, with or without sleeves. If we wanted to totally break the rules, we’d make the wrap jumpsuit!

Sizing: UK 4/6 – 28 / Format: Paper and PDF

BROWSE ALL WRAP DRESS SEWING PATTERNS


EPISODE 2 – SPORTS WEEK

SPORT JACKET PATTERN PICKS

Sports Week on the Sewing Bee saw the contestants whipping up a made-to-measure jacket inspired by their sporting hero. If we accepted this challenge (with more sewing time included, of course), we have a selection of indie sewing patterns that we might have chosen…

The Named Sirkka Hooded Jacket is packed with clever details that we think would impress the Sewing Bee judges! It has a detachable hood, side pocket and another pocket underneath the flap – who wouldn’t be impressed by that?

The overlapping pocket flaps with snaps are such a fun detail. All the seams are sewn using flat-felled seams for a neat and durable finish which should get top marks from the judges!

Sizing: UK 6 – 28 / Format: Paper and PDF

If we wanted to have a “WOW” moment on the catwalk, we would go for the Itch to Stitch Causeway Bomber Jacket because it can be made to be reversible. Surely that wouldn’t fail to get a gasp!

The Causeway adds a touch of femininity with front princess seams that also give you a great fit in the bust. The optional invisibly zipped pockets are embedded in the princess seams for a streamlined look.

Sizing: UK 6/8 – 34/36 / Format: PDF

The In the Folds Hove Jacket is one of our favourite sporty jacket patterns in the shop. It’s a piece I could actually see Esme Young rocking when off-duty!

It has a real sportswear vibe and features two different styles so you’re not short of options. All seams are finished with bias binding or Hong Kong binding for a beautiful and high-end finish – Esme would approve!

Sizing: UK 6 – 28 / Format: PDF

Not a huge fan of sports jackets? What about the Friday Pattern Company Unisex Arlo Track Jacket? It is the perfect lightweight layer.

It features a sports collar, interesting seamlines, and comfortable front pockets. I have made this and had fun colour blocking my Arlo – you really can inject your own personality into this make!

Sizing: UK 6 – 34 / Format: Paper and PDF

BROWSE CASUAL JACKET SEWING PATTERNS


EPISODE 3 – SUMMER WEEK

Did you enjoy watching the Sewing Bee gang whipping up a selection of dreamy shirred midi dresses for the pattern challenge? While we would not like to try this technique under pressure, it is much easier than it looks and is a wonderful technique to add to your sewing skills.

SHIRRED MIDI DRESS PATTERN PICK

If you want to add a shirred garment to your summer wardrobe, we highly recommend the Victory Patterns Sofia Top and Dress. As you can see from the pictures, this pattern is packed with variations to sew. From puff shoulders to peplums… there are lots of lovely details to choose from.

Sofia features an elasticised, shirred bodice that allows for an easy fit and will be comfortable to wear. You will find full instructions on how to sew shirring with the pattern.

Sizing: UK 6 – 18 or UK 16 – 32
Pattern format: PDF

Love Productions

 

TWO-PIECE CO-ORD PATTERN PICKS

Summer Week on the Sewing Bee saw the contestants whipping up summer-ready two-piece coordinated trousered outfits for having fun in the sun! If we accepted this challenge (with more sewing time included, of course), we have a selection of indie sewing patterns that we might have chosen…

The Friday Pattern Company Saguaro Set would be my first choice as it’s easy to sew, fun to wear and has endless options for customisation. The pants feature roomy pockets and a waistband with a drawstring.

The top has a plunging V neckline that includes an optional tie closure. You can wear the top forwards or backwards which would hopefully impress the judges!

Sizing: UK 6 – 34 / Format: PDF

The nice thing about two-piece sets is that they look fab worn together, but can be paired with plenty of other things in your wardrobe so they are sure to get lots of wear.

Maven Patterns Simone Set would have been a clever pick to present to the judges because it’s a relatively simple pattern but has lovely details that make you look closer. It also shows off large scale prints beautifully which is sure to take their breath away!

Sizing: UK 8 – 20 / Format: Paper

The Marilla Walker Mercury Collection is just what I’d want to be wearing for having fun in the sun. The fit is easy (big tick for fitting to a model during the challenge) with a focus on ease of movement and a shape that skims over the body.

Each piece of this mini summer collection is inspired by the relaxed and unapologetically roomy shapes of Scandinavian and Japanese fashion.

Sizing: UK 6 – 22/24 / Format: PDF

If I was wanting to catch Esme’s eye, I would send something with a little edge down the catwalk. The Liberty Florence Palazzo Suit gives me Villanelle vibes (one for the Killing Eve fans!).

The top ties at the front – which seems to be a detail a few Sewing Bee contestants went for – and the trousers are just so dramatic. I would, of course, have to splash out on a Liberty fabric to go with my look – that must get me top marks from the judges!

Sizing: UK 4/6 – 18/20 / Format: Paper


EPISODE 4 – REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE WEEK

QUILTED PATCHWORK JACKET PATTERN PICKS

Did you enjoy watching the Sewing Bee gang sewing patchwork jackets for the pattern challenge? It was so interesting to see how all the contestants planned out their patterns and colour combos… like a pleasing fabric puzzle. If you’d like to have a go and add a quilted jacket to your handmade wardrobe and use up some of your pesky scraps, we have some pattern picks for you!

The most popular quilted jacket style in the shop would have to be the Megan Nielsen Hovea Jacket. It’s the perfect base for a pretty patchwork jacket as you can see from the pictures and includes lots of variations so it’s a great design to have in your pattern collection!

Sizing: UK 6 – 20
Pattern format: Paper

The Tamarack Jacket from Grainline Studio is an icon in the sewing world. This much-loved design is just perfect for recreating the jacket the Sewing Bees stitched. You can spend as long as you like planning your layout and colour combination!

Follow one of the two quilting designs included, or design your own to make your Tamarack totally original to you!

Sizing: UK 8 – 18 or UK 16 – 30
Pattern format: Paper

MAXI DRESS PATTERN PICKS

Fancy making a statement with a handmade maxi dress? The contestants produced some rather lovely maxi dresses in the made-to-measure challenge and we have narrowed our range of indie maxi dress sewing patterns to a few we might have sent down the runway…

The Named Kerttu Knot Dress would be one of my first picks for the challenge because the tie front would make fitting around the bust much easier! It also has another clever feature for flexible fitting – you adjust the length of the straps through the opening in the back lining… smart!

You can make this pattern as a maxi skirt so it will be a great addition to your summer sewing pattern collection.

Sizing: UK 6 – 28 / Format: PDF

Calling all sleeve lovers… I have the maxi dress for you! The Pattern Fantastique Mersis Dress draws on 80s glam and features Dynasty balloon sleeves – I think they would get top marks from Esme!

The design has clever features like the ‘V’ necklines that are purposefully cut to be above most bra straps and to minimise shoulder drop. You have three dress hemline lengths to choose from (including that stunning maxi length) and you can also make Mersis as a top.

Sizing: 6 – 26 / Format: Paper and PDF

The Fibre Mood Pola Dress Pola is a lovely design to take you through the seasons. Pola is a long, loose, empire-waist dress with Little House on the Prairie vibes. The ruffles that fall just above the ankle give the dress a light and airy quality which can be worn cinched in or loose.

It can be dressed down with boots or sandals for daytime or paired with heels and a clutch bag for a special occasion.

Sizing: UK 6 – 28/30 / Format: PDF

The Waves and Wild Kinjarling Dress screams summer adventures to me! If you want to wear a maxi dress that feels effortless and floaty, this would be my pick. There are three lengths, two necklines, two neck finishes, two pocket choices and optional waist ties.

There is also a sweet matching children’s Kinjarling Dress to go with this pattern.

Sizing: UK 6 – 36/38 / Format: PDF

What about a Wilder? That swish would catch the judge’s eye! Friday Pattern Company’s Wilder Gown is as comfortable as it is cute and its modular design lends itself well to customisation. This raglan sleeve dress/top is pulled in and tied at the neckline – it’s such a unique detail!

UK 6 – 28 (paper) or UK 6 – 34 (PDF)

BROWSE ALL MAXI DRESS SEWING PATTERNS


EPISODE 6 – KIDS WEEK

See our pattern picks for our highlights


EPISODE 6 – MUSIC WEEK

Did you enjoy watching the Sewing Bee gang sewing parkas for the pattern challenge? This garment was much-loved by the Mods and if you’d like to add this item rooted in music history to your handmade wardrobe, we have some pattern picks for you!

PARKA PATTERN PICKS

The Assembly Line Hoodie Parka is packed with features that would impress the judges. The hood is high at the front which gives good protection for cold days and there are hidden front pockets with large flaps for carrying all your essentials.

Sizing: UK 8 – 24/26
Format: Paper

If you like the idea of a parka but prefer styles without a hood (you can also buy an add-on pattern to have a hood), the Merchant and Mills TN31 Parka is a good choice. The TN31 is a relaxed and versatile interpretation of the classic fishtail parka. You’ll be pleased to hear it has plenty of pockets – with side pockets and front welt pockets and you can sew it lined or unlined.

Sizing: UK 6 – 18
Format: Paper and PDF

The Schittchen Patterns Amy Parka is a very practical design. The parka is fully lined and features a generous hood to keep you dry. The deep statement pockets are cleverly concealed in a pleat. Something Esme and Patrick would appreciate I am sure!

Sizing: UK 6/8 – 18 or UK 18/20 – 26/28
Format: PDF

DAVID BOWIE-INSPIRED PATTERN PICKS

We loved that the Sewing Be challenged the contestants to create a made-to-measure outfit inspired by Bowie so we got thinking about which ‘Bowie’ we would have drawn our inspiration from. We landed on tailoring as that is quite a transferable look that you can use as your influence without being literal.

So we have rounded up a few tailoring patterns that we think channel Bowie energy!

We thought a great way to channel Bowie’s energy with a twist is to sew a blazer dress. It would be a contemporary piece that could also be styled open, like a duster jacket. We love the Homer and Howells Blair Jacket and the I AM Patterns Full Moon Blazer and Dress – both can be sewn as short jackets.

David Bowie really rocked a relaxed suit in the 80s and 90s and we think it’s a great set to have in your handmade wardrobe if you like suiting that’s not too structured. The Nina Lee Richmond Blazer and Portobello Trousers are a great pairing. They would look great in a solid colour for impact or worn separately to dress items up, or these suit elements down!

Bowie was known for his jazzy jackets and sharp blazers and it is a really nice item to have in your own handmade wardrobe. The Friday Pattern Company Heather Blazer is ideal for anyone trying out tailoring for the first time as the relaxed silhouette is approachable to sew. If you want a project to sink your teeth into and want an introduction to tailoring techniques, the Closet Core Patterns Jasika Blazer is a great skill builder.

If you enjoyed that, you might like to check out this article from the Vogue archives that looks at 50 iconic David Bowie looks in the style files.

Sizing: UK 4/6 – 18/20 / Format: Paper


EPISODE 7 – LINGERIE AND SLEEPWEAR WEEK

LINGERIE SEWING PATTERN PICKS

Phew! The Sewing Bee contestants faced a fiddly pattern challenge this week, didn’t they? The judges tasked them with sewing an underwire bra and matching knicker set. With so many small pieces, they really needed to be accurate!

We’ve picked a few patterns that you could make if you’re feeling inspired to try your hand at sewing a lingerie set…

If you are new to sewing lingerie, the Made My Wardrobe Josie Bra and Pants Set is a great place to start. Designed with complete comfort in mind, the bra is not underwired but does provide a lovely amount of support across sizes.

Sizing: UK 6 – 24
Format: Paper and PDF

Madalynne is a great lingerie designer to discover as she is an absolute expert in sewing your own underwear. The Maris Bralette and Panty set is a great place to start your lingerie sewing journey.

Sizing: XS – 4XL and US cup sizes A/B, C/D and E/F for each alpha size. The panty is available in sizes XS – 4XL (approx. UK 6 – 26).
Format: PDF

If you want to start small, why not begin with sewing knickers? The Tilly and the Buttons Iris Knickers were created in collaboration with lingerie designer Evie La Lùve and provide plenty of helpful tips making this a great project for lingerie novices.

Sizing:  UK 6 – 24 or UK 16 – 34
Format: Paper (UK 6-24) and PDF

The Jennifer Lauren Handmade Nixie Briefs are a step above your standard underwear fare – with a higher rise at the back and full bum coverage, they’re your new everyday knickers with a fun twist. You might be able to use up some of your jersey scraps in the making process too!

Sizing: UK 6 – 24
Format: PDF

BROWSE ALL LINGERIE PATTERNS

PYJAMA SEWING PATTERN PICKS

We are big fans of handmade pyjamas! It’s one of the nicest things you can sew for yourself that you will get so much wear out of. We’ve rounded up a few of our most popular pyjama set patterns for your to browse…

If you want to go truly traditional with your sleepwear set, the Merchant and Mills Winnie Pyjamas are just that. The pattern can be made with or without piping and the top and bottoms can be made long or short.

If you want a button-up style that isn’t too buttoned-up, try the Paper Theory Patterns Agnes Pyjama Set! The shirt is very oversized with batwing sleeves and comes with the option of shorts or long trousers.


A firm favourite with the sewing community, the Closet Core Patterns Carolyn Pajamas are thoughtfully tailored and supremely comfortable. Personalise Carolyn by adding contrasting piping details for an elegant finish.

The recently released Sew Liberated Nocturne Pajamas have a really lovely V-notch detail at the neckline. This is a great pattern to pick if you prefer your PJs to pull on with no fastenings. You can also lengthen the top into a darling tunic or nightgown.

The Common Stitch Pipit Loungewear Set is a pretty popular pattern in the sewing community. Its fluted sleeves and button-front make this set almost a stylish choice for lounging around the house.

BROWSE ALL PYJAMA SEWING PATTERNS


EPISODE 8 – 1930s WEEK

SAILOR-INSPIRED TROUSER PATTERN PICKS

Gosh! Wasn’t the pattern challenge tricky this week (and we thought the difficulty level had already hit the top!)?

If you enjoyed watching the Sewing Bees construct a pair of sailor-inspired trousers, we have some patterns that would be perfect for the job!

BIAS CUT DRESS PATTERN PICKS

Did the made-to-measure challenge have you dreaming up a gown fit for a Hollywood starlet? If you love the idea of sewing something on the bias but want something you could get lots of wear out of, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite bias-cut dresses for your to browse…

If details in the back capture your heart, the Papercut Patterns Ravine Dress might find its way onto your sewing table! This dreamy bias cut dress features a plunging deep v back, waist tie, optional strap across the back for extra comfort, sleeveless option and beautiful cross seam detail at the bottom front.

We might be biased, but we love Sewing Patterns by Masin’s Sicily Slip Dress! It’s a romantic bias cut slip dress with the option of thin straps or wider straps and has two neckline levels for the stunning cowl neck.


Easy to make and even easier to wear, Trend Patterns Square Dress is cut on the bias giving a flowing drape in the body and a smooth flattering fit over the bust. Looks great dressed up or down, and it has pockets!

Tessuti Fabrics Sadie Slip Dress is a classic bias cut slip dress that looks great worn with a fitted t-shirt underneath or paired with a jacket or cardigan. You will get lots of daily wear out of this bias-cut piece!


EPISODE 9 – JAPANESE DESIGN WEEK

The pattern challenge was quite complicated, wasn’t it? I suppose it was the semi-finals so they had to put the final four to the test! If you were inspired and want to add a robe style to your project list, we have some pattern suggestions, including dresses and cover-ups/jackets.

ROBE-STYLE PATTERN PICKS

ORIGAMI-INSPIRED PATTERN PICKS

Oh, those complicated folds and pleats for the Sewing Bee made-to-measure challenge were rather pleasing! If you’re inspired to sew something with interesting folds, pleats and tucks, we have a few pattern suggestions up our structural sleeves…

The Trend Patterns TPC7 Pleated Shoulder Dress design was inspired by the big, voluminous sleeves seen on the catwalks and is so striking! You can also make it up as a top.

If you liked what Debra made, you could also check out this pattern which we think is spot on: Trend Patterns Tuck Sleeve Top TPC15.

If you’d like to try some pretty pleating, the You Made My Day Patterns 8th of March Origami Blouse and Dress has beautiful origami detail on the shoulders.

If you were inspired by the more structured garments, we think the Falda Jacket by Pattern Fantastique would be a pleasing project. It was developed using a combination of draping and flat paper pattern making.

A little bit of pleating goes a long way! If you fancy bringing some folding detail into your daily wardrobe, the Iris Tee by Forget-Me-Not Patterns would be a great pick!


EPISODE 10 – PARTY WEEK

What a final made-to-measure challenge that was! If you are keeping your eye out for a jumpsuit pattern that is fit for a party, we have a few you might like…

BROWSE ALL JUMPSUIT SEWING PATTERNS

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