GBSB Series 3 Episode 3

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

23 February 2015

Oh dear, only three weeks in and I’m already running late with my reviews! (Which I’m sure you wait with baited breath for, just as much as you do for the show…!) Well, many apologies and some grovelling.

This week the contestants were taken back to the 1950’s and each were presented with a beautiful vintage Singer machine (not a sewer myself, I think it would be wonderful to have a go on one of these, but according to the faces of Neela and Paul – I’m very wrong!) And so, to the challenges...

New LookImage: Great British Sewing Bee

Challenge 1: breakfasts, binding and bafflement.

Today’s pattern teaser was a real doozy! Based on Dior’s ’49 New Look this ‘Walk-Away’ Dress has all the classic 50’s elements: nipped in waist, full skirt and fitted bodice. Apparently it was easy enough to start cutting out the pattern just after breakfast, and you’d be able to ‘walk away’ (see what they did there?!) in it for that elegant lunchtime cocktail date. I think today’s team of sewers might disagree as they all came apart at the seams with this little number!

Not only did they have to figure out the workings of the Singer, they were also faced with some brain-teasing pattern instructions: the main ‘back vertical edge’ had everyone scratching their heads for a while. But once they’d got their heads around the pattern pieces, the contestants were faced with a whole lot of binding and the use of a binding foot if they wished – many chose to bind by hand, feeling more confident if slower, Lorna decided to ‘leave it up to the men to play with gadgets’. A mistake perhaps, as it was the men who came out on top! The lovely Ryan managed to pull an early win out of the bag, despite having pulled his neckline a little bit too.

WalkawayImage: Vintage Sewing Patterns

Challenge 2: Von Trapp madness.

Next, the group are presented with a pair of vintage curtains. Super modern Claudia could barely contain her distain when Patrick suggested they were hers – this is clearly not her week (‘I loath it [i.e. big puffy skirts]’. Oh dear!) Clearly, it’s time for a sing-a-long Ms Winkleman…. these are a few of my favourite things:

  • The sound of Deborah’s circus tent skirt – her final piece was slightly less mad, and lovely (if ‘still slightly like a curtain’ according to Patrick)

  • Matt instantly choosing to make a little girls dress – again. Aww. 

  • In the same vein, Neil instinctively designing an evening gown – lucky wife (even if she does ‘throw them in the bin’ after one wear!!)

  • Claudia’s face while Ryan described his collar plan – me too Claudia, me too.

  • Lorna’s golden ‘apron-style’ skirt – a well deserved winner!

  • And, of course, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

Julie _andrewsImage: Unfashionably Lost

Challenge 3: sleeves, seams and sheer panic.

And so we come to ‘the hardest challenge yet’ – which, Claudia, is pointing out the obvious just ever so slightly I have to say! The sewers have been practicing making a sheer vintage blouse for a while now – however according to Matt that means ‘the collar, but I got that wrong and realized I couldn’t unpick it.…’ and Neil used a ‘cheaper fabric’, so fingers crossed it’ll go alright on the night! (FYI - we love the vintage fabrics from 'Til The Sun goes Down - lots of lovely sheers to have a play with!)

Amanda chose a gorgeous chartreus to make her pussy bow blouse in, but unfortunately the little details of the sleeves and buttons let her down. Neil set himself quite the task by drafting his own pattern (no wonder he found it more daunting than his day job – i.e. Lieutenant Colonel!) unfortunately it didn’t win judge(-y) Patrick around who declared it ‘lumpy bumpy’. Oh dear. Deborah’s blouse was accused of going for a walk, while Matt’s seemed to have been wrestled from a dogs jaws – more oh dears here!

This week it was the lovely Lorna who took garment of the week with her pretty peplum top – much to her surprise! Congratulations Lorna!

Lorna (1)Image: Great British Sewing Bee

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Neela, who struggled with timings so was very excited to be able to take as much time as she liked on her next project!!

It just so happens, we’ve done our very own pussycat bow blouse in our March issue – out this Thursday, so why don’t you have a go?!


That’s all for now folks, so tune in next week, same time, same place for corsets, kilts and power suits.

BBC2 @ 8pm, Thursday 26th.




GBSB Series 3 Episode 2

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

13 February 2015

So week 2...lets just take a moment to revel in how great it is to have the lovely May, (fantastically be-shirted) Claudia and the delectable Patrick back on our screens?! 


(Confession time... I like the moustache!) 

Challenge 1: Welt pockets, wonky sewing and worried faces.

Ooooh you're a mean one Mr Grant... Everyone struggled with this (heartmeltingly adorable) childrens' waistcoat pattern. (Apparently any empathy he had for the novices went with the beard!) The intricate pattern called for TOTAL CONCENTRATION - which must be quite tricky when Claudia is dancing about - and a few of the sewers went to pieces. It was the welt pockets that caused the most problems, understandably as it's a Saville Row technique!! (Great tutorial here on Craftsy) Both Lorna and Ryan chose particularly distinct patterned wool, initially causing concern but it seemed to work in their favour as they both came out on top, but it was Ryan who won this first task. 

Challenge 2: Butterflys, bolero's and boxing gloves.

Challenged with using only the over-sized yellow t-shirt and a cotton sundress, the sewers produced some pretty incredible designs! Lorna decided to go with her gut instinct (i.e. no plan - risky business!) and turned out a lovely bow fronted girls dress, while Alex transformed her two garments into a pair of hareem pants. Patrick declared the final array 'the best thing he'd ever seen' (perhaps he doesn't get out too often?) but was tickled by 'insane but brilliant' boxing shorts and gloves from last week's winner Neil. 


Challenge 3: Feathers, flippers and flapper dresses

And so to the Big One. Deputy Head, Amanda went a whiter shade of pale when she realised her 3D element (beads, embroidery and embellishments) was much more modest (read: tasteful) than the rest, but May adored her flappers headdress - phew! There were two peacocks fighting for the limelight, but Deborah's pipped Matt's to the post (who forgot about the know.. movement element to the outfit!) I have to admit, I adored Neela's bookworm - she'd thought about every detail down to the pages of the 'Inch Worm' book and big, bold curly wig. But, it was Paul and his dancing, prancy Nellie the Elephant who took today's (hypothetical) trophy - so congrats to you Paul!!


Sadly, as always, we had to say goodbye to someone, and it was the adorable Alex who's cupcake confection just didn't materialise in time.

Good bye & good luck Alex!!

Don’t miss next week’s GBSB on Thursday 19th Feb, 8pm on BBC2


The Great British Sewing Bee Series 3

Sophie Mould

Sophie Mould

6 February 2015

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