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 🙄) 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 😁
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.
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.
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