Little T’s Haberdashery | Happy Sewing!

The Great British Sewing Bee – Week 3 – Lovely Lace Lingerie

I may be quite the avid seamstress but traditional lingerie is not something I’ve turned my hand to before so I eagerly awaited this weeks challenges. I wondered if it would inspire me to have a go myself or if it would indeed put me off for life! I was not disappointed with the lingerie episode, as to be expected Esme, Patrick and Claudia were on form! I’ve always had a fondness for Claudia and she’s definitely a big part of what makes the GBSB so great.

First up was the Pattern Challenge, a soft cup lace bra. No underwires and to be made from a beautiful selection of stretch lace fabric. The key to nailing this pattern was symmetry – nobody wants wonky boobs do they?! The pattern was made up for a handful of pieces, three for the cup, one for the underband, two for the sidebands, adjustable shoulder straps and the hook and eye fastening. Nothing too fancy or complicated it seems – oh no no, definitely not to be the case!  Patrick and Esme insisted that the accuracy of the contestants cutting and seaming would be put to the test to ensure the perfect fit on the mannequin.

I love seeing the fabric choices made by the contestants, I particularly liked the black and bright pink combination chosen by Charlotte. It really gives an insight into their personalities, just like your day-to-day sewists – their fabric stashes say more about them than they might like!

I enjoyed seeing some new haberdashery items featuring in this challenge, including the transparent lingerie elastic used to line the bra cups, the hooped picot elastic used for edging the bra, the hook and eye fastenings and a walking foot! I was very surprised to have not seen the walking foot feature more in last weeks stretch fabrics challenges – they really are important to ensuring a professional finish when sewing with stretch fabrics.

Why not check out our new dressmaking products on the website for inspiration?

Next came the alteration challenge, the contestants were issued a selection of beautiful silk scalfs to choose from and were asked to create a lingerie item to fit their mannequin.

A little disappointed, if not surprised, to see the majority of the contestants choose to create the same type of garment – a babydoll/camisole top. A number of them were incredibly beautifully made but I would’ve liked to have seen more variety in the items produced. I had been keen to see what became of Josh’s drop sleeve jumpsuit and Jamie’s lady boxers but unfortunately neither garment lived up to expectations (theirs, the judges or mine it seemed!). If only Jamie’s mannequin had had a smaller bottom, the boxers might have been GOTW!

Last but not least, the Made to Measure challenge! The contestants were asked to create a luxurious robe (no towelling!) that would fit and flatter their model. I was very pleased to see both ladies and gentleman’s robes being attempted.

Patrick revealed that the important points here were the sleeve length, the fit of the shoulder and collar and the choice of fabric – it would need to be something beautifully drapey with movement and shape – such as a crepe-backed silk or a lightweight quality cotton.

My three favourite garments from this round were Josh’s floral-inspired gentleman’s housecoat, Jade’s monochrome and pink robe (with awesome pattern-matched pockets!) and Angeline’s super sultry robe.  I think I’ll be adding a lovely silk robe to my sewing to-do list, it seems like it would be an excellent challenge and an opportunity to work with some beautiful fabrics.

I was disappointed with the judge’s choice of who had to leave, I felt the contestant had proven their self to be a competent and skilled sewist in the preceeding two weeks. But, they are the judges – so on their heads be it!


Next week is – International Week, where the contestants will be challenged with techniques and garments from other cultures and continents.

In the meantime, Happy Sewing!




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