Little T’s Haberdashery | Happy Sewing!

The Great British Sewing Bee – Week 6 – Lively Lycra

Quarter Final week already! The remaining ladies are gearing up to earn themselves a place in the semi final this week. The show is definitely ramping up the challenge to the contestants, this week’s theme was Activewear! Lots of difficult to work with fabrics, new styles and fitting and even new machines to navigate.

First up in the pattern challenge – a mens cycling top. Made from Lycra, it needed to be well made and aerodynamic with no puckered seams. Lycra is a highly mobile fabric, it is used in sports and active wear as it moves with the body. The downside for sewists is that it’s incredibly slippery and can be a nightmare to work with! Even Charlotte and Claudia compared Lycra to ‘weird boyfriends’ in the way it behaves when being handled!

The contestants went with pattern weights and rotary cutters again this week, to help ensure their pattern pieces were cut as accurately as possible. In the pattern given, the contestants needed to ensure that the pattern pieces were cut with the grainline of the fabric. The grainline is the direction of the stretch in the fabric, in close fitting garments like the cycling top it’s important that the stretch goes in the right direction so the garment sits nicely.

In this challenge the contestants were also introduced to a new sewing machine – a coverstitch! Coverstitch machines are unique in that they produce a hem like stitch, with two parallel lines of stitching on one side of the garment and a stretchy overlocking stitch on the reverse. They are used by clothing makers a lot for giving a professional finish on the hems and seams of garments.

With the last ten minutes to go none of the contestants were happy with their garments, it certainly didn’t bode well! The judges found faults with pretty much every single garment produced and the contestants themselves acknowledged it had been a tricky challenge!

This weeks alteration challenge used a 1980’s ski suit! In all it’s synthetic fabric glory! The contestants were asked to produce an item of outerwear suitable for a child. They were also asked to use as much of the original ski suit as possible, including the trimmings such as zips and cuffs. They were not allowed to use any additional fabric from the haberdashery.

The contestants struggled with the thick layers of fabrics, especially the wadding. But they had some fantastic ideas, I was most looking forward to seeing Rumana’s flamingo inspired garment. I did love the striking orange colour of Joyce’s bomber jacket and she did a great job with the embroidery from the original item.

Without giving any spoilers away, I was really pleased for the contestant who came first in this challenge. Their garment really did embrace the challenge given to them!

And finally, the made to measure challenge. The real life models were back and this time they were being fitted for a yoga outfit. The contestants were required to use fabrics with four way stretch, ensuring that the garments would be comfortable and form fitting.

I really liked the look of Charlotte’s outfit, with the looser style leggings and top. It looked like it would be perfect for a yoga class without being too tight.  Joyce was super adventurous with her outfit, three pieces! Her raglan style top was a great idea, definitely a more grown up style outfit.

Jade’s outfit absolutely nailed the brief! I loved her choice of fabrics and the cross over back bra top looked great. If you fancy making something similar you should check out the Peg Leg pattern from Patterns for Pirates and the Brazi pattern for Stitch Upon A Time.

I think the judges made the right call with this weeks #GOTW but I was sad to see who they chose to leave. I’ve really loved watching that contestant and sad to see them go!

Next week – Puzzling Patterns and Pattern Cutting! And it’s the Semi Final!

Until then, Happy Sewing!




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