Kate Underdown

It’s week two of the Sewing Bee!

We absolutely loved watching the first episode of the Sewing Bee last week and getting to know the new contestants. For episode two 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 second 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 one we said goodbye to Julie after three Wardrobe Staples challenges.

For episode two the theme was Summer Week. The challenges included making paperbag shorts, cocktail outfits and a made-to-measure sun dress for a model. 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: Sew a pair of Paper Bag shorts

The first challenge of the second episode was to sew a pair of paper bag shorts. Paper bag shorts are high waisted and usually have a wide tie that clinches the shorts in at the waist. Typically the fabric is pleated at the waist and this allows you too tuck in a t-shirt or tank top. This is a tricky pattern for week two with pockets, turn-up hems and an elasticated waist. First the centre front seams of the shorts are sewn together before attaching the pocket facing and pocket bag. After sewing the front and back short pieces together, the turn ups are stitched into place before the belt loops are added.

We have a few sewing pattern suggestions for you to make your own paper bag shorts below, shop our full range of paperbag shorts and trousers here.


Opal Pants and Shorts – Megan Nielsen


Opal is a relaxed fit, high waist pants set with mix and match options. The pattern includes a paperbag or standard elastic waistband, inseam or patch pockets, back pockets, belt loops, an optional belt, and multiple lengths. View A is a pair of tapered leg pants with a paperbag waist and belt. View B is a pair of wide leg pants with an elastic waist. View C is a pair of shorts with patch pockets and a paperbag waist. View D is a pair of knee length shorts with an elastic waist and belt.

Sizing: 0 – 20 (approx. UK 6 – 20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


McCalls’ M8118


This pattern from McCall’s M8118 includes an elastic waist mini sarong, paper bag cargo shorts or trousers with belt. Make using crepe, faux leather, poplin or cotton blends.

Sizing: Y (XS-S-M), ZZ (L-XL-XXL), approx. UK sizes Y (4 – 10), ZZ (12 – 22/24). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


TPC25 Paper Bag Trousers – Trend Patterns


Interesting details make these must have TPC25 Paper Bag trousers. There is a faux fly in the front, but the waist is elasticated with a tie to draw it in tighter. The Paper Bag Trousers look great dressed up with heels or worn casually.

Sizing: UK 8 – 22. Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + copy shop.


Viktor Trousers – Lenaline Patterns 


These high-waisted Viktor trousers have pleats at the waist and pockets at the sides. They are tapered at the ankle and close with a front zip and button at the waist. The pattern includes an optional belt, or you can use your own belt with the belt loops. The Viktor Trousers can be worn casually with a t-shirt and sneakers, or with a blouse and heels for an office look.

Sizing: EU 36 – 48 (approx. UK 8 – 16/18). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + copy shop.


Jasmin Trousers – Fibre Mood


These paper bag Jasmin trousers have a relaxed fit without being baggy, and you can roll them up at the ankles for even more trend appeal. And it goes without saying that they have pockets! Stretch cotton, stretch denim, linen, soft leather or gabardine are all fabric winners for this pattern.

Sizing: EU 32 – 58 / US 0 – 26 (approx. UK 6 – 26/28). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + copy shop.


Willow Trousers – Laela Jeyne Patterns


These on-trend Willow Pleated paper bag style pleated trousers have side pockets and can be sewn in three different lengths. Woven bottom weight fabric suitable for pants, such as twill in 7 – 10 oz, suiting, and corduroy would be ideal to make these trousers. Fabric should be medium weight and non-stretch.

Sizing: 00 – 26 (approx. UK 6 – 26). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF.


Transformation Challenge 2: Refashioning men’s swimming gear into a woman’s cocktail outfit

In the upcycling challenge contestants had to use men’s swimming items to create a completely new outfit for a woman to wear for sunset cocktails! 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: Button-down Sun dress

In the final challenge of week two, all the remaining contestants had to make a sun dress to fit a model in just five hours. The sun dress is fitted at the bust and waist, with buttons down the front, making it a really tricky challenge. First coined in the 1940s, sun dresses became popular in the 1950s and 60s by fashion designer and American socialite Lilly Pulitzer. Typically made from lightweight fabric, it is sleeveless with a low neckline and thin spaghetti shoulder straps. For each contestant we have tried to find the pattern they used in the BBC1 TV show and also have some other suggestions of similar patterns you could use to make your own version.

Cathryn’s Key Print Dress

Features: Scoop neck with button down front and fabric covered buttons.

Pattern: Butterick B6674. This dress comes with three variations that are close fitting through bust, with front self facings, a sash and a flared hem. Version A finishes above mid knee length, versions B, C finish below mid knee length and version C has a self ruffle. This dress comes with A/B, C and D Cup Sizes.

Sizing: A5(6-8-10-12-14), E5(14-16-18-20-22). Available in the shop: Not yet, we will be adding Butterick patterns to the shop later this year.


Damien’s Coconut Dress

Features: Handmade buttons with a high low hem, made in a palm leave print fabric.

Pattern: New Look 6654. This dress comes with two version that are front-fastening in two lengths, both with a front waist tie. View A is knee-length with short sleeves and small stand collar. View B is sleeveless with small collar and dipped back hem. Designed for crisp wovens. Damien combined elements of both version to create his sleeveless dress with small stand collar. 

Sizing: A (10 – 22). Available in the shop: Not yet, we will be adding New Look patterns to the shop later this year.


Farie’s Summer Shirt Sun Dress

Features: African wax print fabric with sparkly buttons  and curved hem.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be the Kalle shirt dress from Closet Core Pattern. With a loose, body-skimming silhouette and a number of interchangeable features, the Kalle Shirt and Shirtdress is the ultimate in chic, easy dressing. View A is cropped with a wide-faced hem, View B is a tunic length shirt inspired by classic men’s oxfords, and View C is a stylish shirtdress with a high-low hem. All versions feature a subtly curved yoke, short dolman sleeves with arm cuffs, and a dramatically shaped hem. Personalise your Kalle with a standard or band collar, an optional breast pocket, an inverted or box pleat, and button, popover or hidden placket. To recreate the look by Farie, you could straighten off the hem and face the armholes, rather than have capped sleeves. 

Sizing: 0 – 20 (approx. UK 6 – 20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Jean’s Elegant Floral Sun Dress

Features: Ten tree buttons and a flowing floor length skirt.

Pattern: Vogue Patterns V9182. This sleeveless dress has a close-fitting, lined bodice, button-down front closure, side-front and side-back seams, side pockets, flared skirt, and narrow hem. The pattern includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C and D cup sizes.

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.


Adeena’s Two-Way Sun Dress

Features: Two-way neckline with pin tucks and off-centre buttons.

Pattern: Self drafted.


Andrew’s 40s contrast Sun Dress

Features: Black contrast collar, belt and fifteen buttons, reflecting 1940s style.

Pattern: Butterick B6363. Dress has loose-fitting bodice extended into short sleeve with shoulder tucks, semi-fitted skirt, and front button closing.

Sizing: (6-8-10-12-14) (14-16-18-20-22). Available in the shop: Not yet, we will be adding Butterick patterns to the shop later this year.

Adam’s 50s fit and flare Sun Dress

Features: 50’s style flared circle skirt with red contrast piping and red buttons.

Pattern: Vogue Patterns V8577This close-fitting, lined, flared dress has darts, front and back gathers, side front pockets with pocket bands, and button front closing.

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


Raph’s Seaside Holiday Dress

Features: Anchor buttons and a dip dye hem with sweetheart neckline.

Pattern: A similar pattern would be the Colette Dress by Fibre Mood. The charming Colette looks like a button front dress, but don’t be deceived! The real closure is the invisible zip hidden in the side seam. The dress features a somewhat higher waist, fitted top, A-line skirt and slit at the front.

Sizing: EU 32 – 58 / US 0 – 26 (approx. UK 6 – 26/28). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop pattern.


Lawratu’s Cross back dress Sun Dress

Features: Fully fitted with front pockets,  button down front and shoulder straps.

Pattern: Fiona Sun Dress – Closet Core Patterns. Fiona is a fitted button-up sundress with shoulder straps, princess seams, a straight cut skirt and fetching topstitched details. Wear it on its own during warm weather months, or layer it over tees and turtlenecks as the weather cools. View A features a bra-friendly bodice and midi length skirt with side slits. View B features crossed straps and a low back, with a mini or below knee length skirt. All skirts and bodices are completely interchangeable so you can mix and match the Fiona of your dreams.

Sizing: 0 – 20 (approx. UK 6 – 20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.


Rebecca’s Summer Swing Sun Dress

Features: V-neckline and button down front with short tie sleeves.

Pattern: Etoile Dress – French Poetry. The Etoile Dress is a flirty little number you can wear every day in the summer. It’s also a great choice for a date: a deep V-neck that shows just the right amount of cleavage and darts in front and back to define your silhouette. Cute details include front buttons and gathered short sleeves adorned with self-fabric ties.

Sizing: US 2 – 16 (approx. UK 6 – 16). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop pattern.


Serena’s Statement Sleeve Sun Dress

Features: Statement puff sleeves with wooden buttons and a midi skirt.

Pattern: We think patterns #2152 from Lekala Sewing Patterns and the Hughes Dress from The Friday Pattern Company, would both be good options to recreate this dress.

#2152 from Lekala Sewing Patterns is a square neckline dress with patch pockets, gathered skirt and button down front with puff sleeves. Unfortunately this pattern is not available in our online shop.

The Hughes Dress is the perfect everyday dress. It features Viennese seams, gathered sleeves, and a gorgeous scoop neckline. The bodice is lined and the skirt has an A-line sweep. It buttons up the front and has an adjustable lace-up tie in the back. The tie can be cinched in or loosened depending on desired fit.

Sizing: XS – 7X (approx. UK 6 – 34) with bust sizes A/B and C/D. Available in the shop: Yes, paper or PDF pattern.

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