Little T’s Haberdashery | Happy Sewing!

The Great British Sewing Bee – Week 7 – Perplexing Patterns

And it’ssss Semi-Final Week on our favourite show! Just four talented lady sewists left, Joyce, Charlotte, Tracey and Jade! Do you have a favourite to win? Mine changes from week to week! I’m currently rooting for Jade, she’s the youngest ever semi-finalist and has won Garment of the Week TWICE, something none of the other contestants have managed. If you’re on Instagram you can follow her @TheGirlWithTheBrightRedHair, she posts some great sewing projects.

First up, the pattern challenge. This week was the most difficult one they’ve been set yet (but only right given it’s semi-final week). The contestants were asked to produce a contemporary flared skirt using Japanese pattern cutting. The pattern given was for a asymmetrical, voluminous, yolked skirt. Lots of curves to match and lots of topstitching. Patrick and Esme were keen to point out that the two different curves making up the skirt would be a challenge and that the exposed raw edges would need to be cut precisely.

Fabric choice, as always, played an important part in this challenge. With all but Joyce selecting a woollen fabric (which wouldn’t fray).

I definitely did not envy the ladies with this challenge, they had a thousand and one notches to mark and match up, basting was used to help with this. Basting is a process by which long stitches made by hand are used to ensure the pattern pieces are lined up correctly before they are machine sewn. They are then removed once it’s completed.

The sewists all seemed to be cursing their top stitching at one point, especially Joyce. Her choice of fabric with a scuba type back was not enjoying going under her the foot on her machine.

I was pleased with the lady that received first place in her challenge, I felt she was particularly suited to such a precise pattern that needed an attention to detail.

Next up, the Alteration Challenge. The contestants were given a child’s duvet cover and asked to create a wearable female garment with a striking silhouette. It was also a zero waste challenge, meaning that no part of the duvet cover could end up in the bin!  In a change to normal, the contestants were also given the opportunity to plan their garment, using a matching pillow case and a half sized mannequin.

I loved seeing the ladies used the teeny mannequins to plan their make, they seemed to enjoy it too. It’s a really clever way of seeing a planned design come to life before committing to it with your main fabric.

There were additions galore to be seen, boning, pleats, tucks, asymmetrical designs. The contestants really went to town this week with their alterations, giving it all for their chance to be in the Final three. They were all really keen to impress Esme with their creations too, I think Esme has done a great job this season in rallying the contestants and inspiring them.

And last came the Made to Measure Challenge. This week the contestants were asked to produce a fitted day dress, sounds simple you’re thinking. Nope. They were asked to create it using their own pattern! The ladies were given a block to start from but otherwise it was left to them.  As always, the sewists had been allowed to practice this pattern at home but on the day they needed to make adjustments to ensure the perfect fit on their model.

Tracey and Jade decided to make a toile for their dresses, this is essentially a practice garment, traditionally made using a cheaper fabric, to ensure the fit of the pattern. In this case, both ladies seemed to benefit greatly from their toile, especially Tracey, who needed to make quite a bit of adjustment to the bodice of her dress around the bust of her model. Jade spent a long time ensuring the back of her dress fitted perfectly too using her toile. It looked fantastic!

Charlotte’s fabric choice and pattern were by far my favourites in this week’s episode. I loved the drapey floral design and the soft cowl neck of the dress. A beautiful summer dress.

The judges really gave the final garments a real going over at the end of the challenge. But this was to be expected! From extra fabric around arm holes, gaping backs of dresses and ill-fitting waists, it was all there. Patrick did say however that they should all be very proud of their creations and by looking at their beaming smiles – they definitely were!

I was pleased with the winner of Garment of the Week and thought it was very well deserved. I especially loved that it was an item from the Alteration Challenge. I always enjoy seeing the contestants imaginations put to use.

It’s always sad to see someone leave at this stage of the competition and this week was no exception. Although I was a bit surprised to see who the judges chose to leave.

And that was that, Semi Final over and done with! Just three talented lady sewists left for Final Week! Who will win!??

‘Till then, Happy Sewing!



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