I’m back for my review of the 2nd episode of this season’s Great British Sewing Bee, aired on the 29th of April 2020, (which also coincided with our 25th Wedding Anniversary!) Here’s my YouTube review, with links below to the patterns & fabric that I found this week.

***Spoiler Alert – I reveal the Garment of the week & the person who was eliminated***

This weeks theme is holidays & we saw some beautiful fabrics, I didn’t have quite the same success this week at finding exact matches for patterns & fabric but here is what I found

Round 1 – Technical Challenge – Palazzo Pants

There are no women’s trousers at all in the new GBSB Book and I couldn’t find an exact match for the pattern that they used, I suspect that it had been drafted especially for the programme. Palazzo pants have been around for a long time & are a full length trousers that flare gently from the hips, not to be confused with culottes, which are generally shorter & made to look like a skirt. The pattern used in the programme had facings, rather than a waistband, a concealed zip at the back & invisible side pockets. The judges were looking for bold prints with perfect pattern matching & the pockets & zip to be invisible.

I have managed to find a near substitute called the Louise Pants from the Fabrics Store which is a free downloadable pattern if you are tempted to have a go at Palazzos & don’t have anything suitable in you pattern collection. These have a back zip & a waistband but no side pockets.

Also, one of the old GBSB Books, ‘ From Stitch to Style’ also has some Palazzo pants too. These do have a waistband though & the zip is at the side & no side pockets. The pattern is available as a free download from Sew Magazine but the instructions will probably be in the magazine from 2017 issue 97. I remember Lisa Comfort doing a review of them too.

The Simple Sew Palazzo Pants are probably the nearest that I could find, in that they have pockets & a back zip. These do have a waistband but If you want to do without, I’m sure that facings could be drafted. This pattern isn’t free & I have never tried it but it’s reasonable at £6 for a downloadable PDF.

After delving through my stash a bit more I found that I had McCalls M7415, which I made the straight legged version of, these have no side seams, so side pockets aren’t an option but have the facing for the waist & back zip. I also have New Look K6459 which could work if lengthened, it has side pockets but not concealed ones & a waistband. Both of these patterns had been free from sewing magazines.

Fabrics For the Palazzo Pants

I couldn’t really find any definite matches for this round. Last week Minerva helpfully posted a lot that they had in stock which made the job a lot easier for me.

Mark used what looked like a Liberty print, something like this but in a pale blue colour way. This is Orkney Lights from Fabworks but there is only 1 metre left, it will definitely be available elsewhere

I think that Alex used a Rifle Paper company fabric, similar to this, Les Fleurs. I would have thought that his was in a viscose fabric. And Matt went for a leopard print similar to the design below. Both of which wouldn’t have really needed pattern matching. A few contestants used the leopard print as a contrast pocket. A nice idea but the judges were looking for them to be invisible, tricky to achieve with such a contrasting fabric! Patrick did actually comment, that he thought that they had all lost their minds using a contrast!

Claire used an Italian Riviera print something like one of these but again, I couldn’t find an exact match, hers had some flowers on it & a pale blue background. The left one is a Lady McElroy fabric from Sherwoods fabrics, the right one is also a Lady McElroy fabric from Sew Creative Studios, called From the Veranda.

Hazel went for an African wax print again, with contrast pockets & Fiona was the only one to go for a crepe, which I think she struggled with. The pattern in the GBSB book gives crepe as an option, along with cotton, linen, satin & velvet, so it probably wasn’t a wrong choice of fabric, just trickier to handle. Although the print looked familiar, I struggled to find it anywhere.

Liz had what looked like a chambray with jungle animals on. Mark, Ali, Therese & Nicole all went for large scale florals. I haven’t really been able to find a match for these but it would be easy to find something similar amongst the John Kaldor & Lady McElroy ranges.

I think it must have been a very tough call for the judges to declare a winner here, there was some really good stitching, it was a close call for me between Ali & Clare but our girl Ali won this round.

Round 2 Transformation Challenge

The contestants were given 90 minutes to transform 2 beach towels or Hammam towels into a womans beach cover up outfit. They could use as many embellishments as they liked but no other fabrics. For those of you who didn’t know what a Hammam was, like me, it’s a thin cotton towel, which are lightweight but super absorbent & quick drying.

I will quickly run through what each contestant made here & how they were ranked:

Fiona made a wrap over top which was knotted & a skirt. 9th

Nicole made a shorts playsuit with pom-poms. 2nd

Hazel made a fringed top which was elasticated at the back & a skirt. 3rd

Peter played with stripes & had a hood & belt. 1st

Alex had a very simple crossover top, which seemed to be pinned rather than sewn. 10th

Liz used the hammams to make a dress with the seams to the outside, which she frayed. 6th

Matt made a really short skirt but it didn’t quite fit the mannequin, so had to put a piece in to make it fit. 11th

Mark & Clare went for a hooded top with zips, Clare’s had short sleeves 7th & 8th

Therese learnt from past challenges & did some draping & knotting & added a bit of bling too. 4th

Ali made a Ra-Ra skirt with pompoms & a boob tube. 5th

Round 3 – Fit Round – Holiday Shirts

Again, the fabrics & patterns were a little bit harder to find, mostly because, a lot of these shirts were very similar. There were only 2 patterns that were shown on the screen, Fiona’s & Peter’s. The contestants had 5 hours to make a holiday shirt & along with fit, the judges were looking for attention to detail, pattern matching & symmetry, along with details such as pockets & pleats.

Mark went for a tropical Holiday shirt, with this lovely Lady McElroy Coleman Boutique. Simplicity 8180 is very similar to the shirt that he made. A 3 hour make, apparently, with lots of variations, shorts & even a tie! He did a great job at pattern matching his patch pockets, but he didn’t pattern match across the front.

Fiona did a 1950s style shirt, with contrast collar & cuffs. The judges convinced her that she should do pockets too which I think was her downfall. Had she not been making those I think she would definitely have finished, as she only had those to sew on & her buttons. She used a lovely vintage car print, which I haven’t been able to find but her pattern was the Simplicity 8659.

Simplicity 8659

Ali’s Festival shirt looked to have been made with the same pattern as Fiona’s with contrast collar & facings. I’m pretty sure that she decided against the pockets. Her fabric is available from one of my favourite local shops, Lucky Fashions. I know this because I have seen it in the shop & have some on order!

Lovely cotton fabric from Lucky Fashions

Nicole played homage to her dad, with what she called a shirt Jacks, with fabric that she had bought in Trinidad. She sewed pin tucks all down the front of the shirt & across the tops of her pockets, which must have taken her ages & she seemed to have trouble doing them. But what a beautiful homage she made. Someone in a Facebook group suggested that the pattern was Simplicity 4287, obviously I won’t be able to source the fabric!

Simplicity 4287

Clare made a Llama shirt in memory of her trip to Peru, I think that her pattern was McCalls 6613 or very similar using this Michael Miller fabric. She used nasal forceps to turn the point on her collar! She was praised for her miraculously good pattern matching, I think that if she had added pockets, she would have been in contention for winning this week, along with Ali & Matt.

Hazel made her shirt from an African wax print in a bold yellow, black & blue design with blue contrasting pockets & collar. I think both she & Therese used the same pattern, New Look NL6197, which is unisex. Therese’s parrot fashion shirt was made from this fabric from Minerva but she didn’t add pockets.

Matt made an Ode to Frida shirt, using an Alexander Henry print called Frida’s garden, similar to this one found at Fabrics Galore. He did say that he had made this pattern several times before. This had an inverted pleat down the back & a back yoke but no pockets or pattern matching. Again, I can’t be sure, but this looked like the same pattern as Hazel’s & Therese’s or the Kwik Sew 3484 below.

Alex made the bold move of making his Chest Appeal shirt in a viscose jersey, not the easiest of fabrics to control at the best of times & proved to be his downfall, as despite him saying that he’d worked with it in the past, he didn’t quite finish it & had misaligned the front pieces by 6cm. I think that the shirt in the GBSB book, Sew Your Own Wardrobe, bears a resemblance to his shirt and is also the only men’s shirt pattern that I own! He could also have used the same McCalls pattern as Clare.

Shirt from the Great British Sewing Bee Book From Stitch to Style

Liz made a 90’s inspired oversized shirt using the Oriental Fish print, I’ve seen this in one of my local fabric shops too but they don’t have an online shop, here it is at Minerva. She didn’t add pockets either & I couldn’t tell whether she had a pleat down the back or not but her pattern matching across the front was perfect, it was just a shame that she didn’t manage to attach all her buttons. She could have potentially used McCalls 6932 below or the New Look 6197.

Peter used the Colette Negroni, this was the only other pattern that was shown on the show, so I can say with certainty that it was definitely this pattern that he used. He made some amendments to the shaping of the collar & the sleeves looked more oversized than the picture below. Although the fabric that he used looked familiar, I’ve been unable to track down the multi-coloured feather design that he used.

Colette Negroni Shirt

The Result

Mark got garment of the week, with his ‘shirty embodiment of holidays’ – to quote Patrick! Sadly we had to say goodbye to Alex, whose lovely sunny personality I am going to miss. I think had he made it a little easier on himself with his fabric choice he would have done a lot better & for someone who has been sewing for such a short time should be extremely pleased with himself.

So my challenge to myself this week, is unsurprisingly not going to be upcycling towels – all our old towels go towards drying our Springer Spaniel, who loves water & is a muck magnet! There is no way that my husband would ever wear a shirt so loud, although, if we ever get to go on holiday again, he would wear a nice chambray one I suppose. (My friend has commissioned me to make a shirt like Mark’s, the Simplicity 8180 in the Coleman Boutique but that won’t be made this week.) So it will have to be Palazzos for me, not a style that I’ve tried before, using either the pattern in the old GBSB book or the Fabrics Store pattern. I have some fabrics that I think will be suitable.

Last Weeks Challenge

I challenged myself to make a tea dress from patterns & fabric that I owned using Simplicity 1777 & a crepe de chine bought from Fabworks earlier this year. I’ve written a separate blog post about it here, otherwise this one would be way too long!

Simplicity 1777

Let me know if you fancy making Palazzo pants or a holiday shirt, I’ll be back next week with a round up of episode 4 which is children’s week.

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