Great British Sewing Bee 2020 Sew-along Lock-down Style! Week 1 – Tea Dress(ish)

Last week the Great British Sewing Bee made a very welcome return to my TV. I have been doing some repair sewing and pyjama adjusting (my middle daughter is very particular about the fit of everything she wears πŸ™„) but hadn’t really done much creative stuff despite being on furlough right now. In fairness I do have 3 kids and a husband underfoot, so it’s not like it’s completely free time…

When the bee came back, I thought it would be really good fun to do a sew-along, each week sewing a project featured on the show and updating my long neglected blog in the process. Having said that, I am supposed to be moving house way up to the beautiful land of Yorkshire, so things may get a little disrupted once restrictions are lifted and we can get moving….but we’ll see how it goes.

In the first week of the show, the 3 challenges were a wrap around skirt, a transformation challenge using men’s shirts and the made-to-measure challenge was a tea dress. I made the decision that whilst I wanted to sew-along, that in the midst of everything that is going on I would to the best of my capacity not make any purchases to complete my projects and use up some of my vast stock of fabric in the process.

When I came to sew one of the projects from the first week, I had a hunt round to see what I had to hand. Firstly drawn to the transformation challenge, I couldn’t really do that without a not-possible-at-the-minute charity shop visit. However I came across a pattern for a dress in a Sewing Bee book I had from several years ago. It’s called the walkaway dress, and it’s a style that I hoped would suit me. It’s maybe not technically a tea dress….but it was close enough for this so I went fabric hunting 😁

This is the Walkaway dress as featured in my Great British Sewing Bee pattern book

The pattern required a whopping 5 metres of fabric and 6 of bias binding. Needless to say, I couldn’t quite find that much fabric or binding. So I decided to use some absolutely delicious fabric that I received when my lovely boss, Isabel, cleared out the house of a relative who had passed away. I think it’s probably Ghanaian in origin and it’s probably not a fabric I would have immediately picked to use for something for me to wear, but the more I sewed with it, the more I fell in love with the colours! It’s woven and quite loose, not as compact or sturdy as the cotton I would normally have used, but it worked. The fabric was kind of double bordered and really wide…which was how I managed to squeeze the pattern out of it, especially the full circle skirt.

There wasn’t quite enough to do all of the pattern pieces however, so I decided to make the front panel using a section of black fabric I had. However, once I had started sewing the dress up, the black did not look right. So, I used a panel of the striped fabric for the top half and just used the black fabric where it’s not easily seen.

Here you can see the black fabric that I used because there wasn’t quite enough of the striped fabric. It’s pretty hard to see when the dress is done up

I also had to make the bias binding as I didn’t have enough of any one colour, so I used scraps and off-cuts which thankfully I had plenty of. I am really glad I did this as I actually think it’s a really successful finish for the completed garment.

Button detail
Because the skirt is made from a full circle of fabric it’s moves beautifully when you twirl 😍

I’m not sure what I want to make from this week’s episode, though I am itching to do a transformation challenge and time myself to see what I can do in the same span of time the contestants have.

Hope you like my take on a challenge from week 1. I may end up with a joyfully revitalised wardrobe from this, happy days. I would love to hear from you if you are enjoying the Bee this year too. And definitely let me know if you’ve had a go at sewing anything you’ve seen (essentially because I’m pretty nosey).

May you find flour in the supermarket and know peace in these extraordinary days,

Bec x x

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hello again! I’m loving the TV sewing bee and I shall love yours too! What beautiful, unusual fabric and the colours really suit you. Well done! (You won’t see any sewing efforts from me. I’ve even had to YouTube a no-sew mask for these weird times in case they become compulsory.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Love that you are enjoying the sewing bee even if you’re not into sewing yourself. The fabric is really lovely isn’t it?! Looking forward to sunny days when I can wear it out and about. It’s amazing what you can learn from YouTube…glad to hear you’re ready for whatever lays ahead x x


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