Another great week on the sewing bee, this one aired on the 6th of May 2020. 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***

The theme was Children’s week & again there were some lovely fabrics & fabulous makes from the 10 remaining Bees.

Round 1- Technical challenge – Smocked dress

The contestants had 3.5 hours to make a smocked dress with short sleeves and a Peter Pan collar.The judges were looking for a perfect crisp & even collar & smocking created by 5 rows of gathering & use of the smocking stitches made on the machine.

Smocking is similar to but not to be confused with shirring which is the use of elastic in the bobbin case. Each technique makes fitting a little easier. Take a look at any technique books that you may have on your shelf, I have one by Lorna Knight – Complete dressmaking skills which goes into smocking techniques, here is a blogpost written by her Sewing Directory if you don’t have the book

Again the new book (Sustainable Style, reviewed here) didn’t have any children’s clothes in it all but the Great British Sewing Bee website have made the dress below available as a free printable download here. Kate at the Foldline has found some cute little dresses that could also be used here & House of Smocking specialises in babies, children’s & adults patterns that use the technique.

Great British Sewing Bee Child’s smocked dress

Fabrics for the Dresses

Once again, I was unable to find all the fabrics used but I did spot a couple that I recognised, namely the beautiful Liberty prints. I had a very happy evening browsing their website looking for the correct names of the prints all for you dear reader. If I win the lottery I’d blow it all in there 🤣

Therese used the Queue for the Zoo print here. I thought that she would smash this round as she seemed quietly confident & had sewn for her 4 children & grandchildren but was criticised for her uneven collar & lack of finesse. I think that she was taking too much time & ran out at the end as she was doing the smocking right at the last minute & don’t think she finished.

Clare used the Liberty Lodden print for her dress & chose a blue crepe for the collar, which the judges suggested wouldn’t give a crisp finish & was ranked 9th for her mistake, although I didn’t think it wasn’t the worst collar.

Nicole also used a pretty Liberty print which reminded me of the Strawberry thief called Kensington Park & Liz used the Edenham Tana Lawn. Her collar was little bit too angular for the judges.

Fiona used this lovely fabric from Minerva & picked out the yellow with her embroidery. Mark went for a ditsy floral pink fabric similar to this from Minerva

I was unable to find Hazel’s fabric which was a dark blue with red & yellow circles on with an orange collar. To say that she had a lot of firsts with this dress including smocking she did a fab job. Also Ali’s red & black print & Peter’s blue floral fabrics eluded me. Matt was the winner of this round with his perfect collar. Again I couldn’t find a perfect match for his yellow flowered dress, I think that they were coneflowers on his but Minerva had an Art Gallery fabric that was similar.

Similar to Matt’s fabric

Round 2 – Transformation Round

Contestants were given 90 minutes to transform a sleeping bag into a children’s food themed fancy dress outfit. The judges were looking for an imaginative wearable piece that was instantly recognisable. I will quickly run through what each contestant made & how they were ranked.

Therese went for a bunch of grapes with her purple sleeping bag with the use of pipe cleaners & balls, topped off with a piece of felt to represent the leaves & a headscarf. To be honest I didn’t see any sewing on this one but the judges loved it, saying that it was stylish & imaginative. 1st

Nicole made a carrot. 8th

Ali made a slice of pepperoni pizza, which hilariously Esme didn’t recognise but I think it was quite obvious to the rest of the world. 3rd

Hazel made a very convincing cheeseburger but only came 6th

Fiona made a watermelon & was criticised for it not being plump enough. 9th

Clare also made a watermelon slice using boning, another that the judges loved for it being clever, elegant & fun. 2nd

Peter made sushi, another that Esme didn’t recognise & Patrick was ready to send her home. 3rd

Marks bag of ‘chips’ or crisps where I come from was 4th.

Liz made pumpkin but could have done with a bit more stuffing. 7th

Matt made a very small apple which was initially mistaken for a pea & a child would have had to remove a vertebra to get it on. 10th

Round 3 Fit Round – Childs Dungarees

The contestants were asked to make a pair of children’s dungarees in 4.5 hours. They were looking for a perfect fit, that were hardwearing & not too tight. Joe’s definition of dungarees made me laugh: ‘Dungarees comes from the Indian word dungarees meaning dungarees’ 🤣 I think the term dungaree derives from a description of the fabric which is traditionally a cotton twill which originates from Mumbai, India & has then gone on to mean the garment, which was used as workwear. They are otherwise known as overalls or bib & braces.

I managed to find a couple of the patterns & fabrics for these, it looks as though the choices were limited, so quite a few of the contestants used the same patterns.

The Freddie dungarees by 2 stitches was a popular pattern & looked to have been used by 4 of the contestants; Ali, Fiona, Clare & Peter. It had quite distinctive side pockets which made it recognisable and a pocket on the bib which the contestants put their unique twist on.

Two Stitches Freddie Dungarees used by several of the contestants

Ali went for an unusual tie dye effect corduroy, which I’ve never seen before & I think it was this one from Minerva but it seems to be out of stock now. There is a similar one here at Textile Express. She stitched a paint splodge on the bib to give it a decorators overall effect & was in contention for garment of the week. Clare decided to make a feature of the pockets by using a giraffe print by Makower & embroidered an outline of Africa on the bib pocket, (I couldn’t find a UK stockist for this fabric but this is a US one). She used what looked like a plain denim for the outside.

Fiona used a geometric print for the contrast cuffs, (which I couldn’t find) with a plain green denim, sadly she didn’t quite finish hers. Peter went for utility style dungarees using a brown denim on the outside & daschunds on the lining, which I found at WeaverDee fabrics. His was criticised for being a bit too big.Minerva have a wide selection of coloured denims & cotton twills available, including brown.

I think that the other pattern that was used by a couple of the contestants was Burda 9464. Therese chose a lemon shirting weight cotton with lovely striped lining which she very skilfully had on the edge of her pockets. Her grandchildren live in a hot country so she defended her decision with the judges & won garment of the week, saying that it looked Springlike & fresh. I would say that the fabric wasn’t completely opaque & the lining could be seen through.

Mark used quite different fabrics choosing a green denim. He edged his pockets with pink flamingos, using the same fabric for the lining. He actually made them a bit too short & ended up cutting off the legs to knee length but didn’t do a great job at making them even. The judges also picked up that they were a little snug all over. I didn’t find the fabrics for either of these I’m afraid, flamingo fabric is everywhere though, so a substitute would be easy to find.

Therese, Hazel’s , Matt’s & Mark’s pattern

Matt’s looked very similar to this pattern too, he used a mustard yellow denim contrasted with blue pockets & straps. He got his model to draw a bee for the bib pocket & incorporated that into the design.

I think that Hazel used this pattern too, using a red denim & a Spaceman fabric as a contrast for the pockets. Minerva had this on their website but it’s now out of stock but if you search Rose & Hubble Spacemen fabric you will find it. She put one of her pockets on upside down & really should have either left it or made another. Instead she chose to try & stitch some fabric coming off the pocket to make it look as though they were falling through space & didn’t execute it very well. You could see she was really upset about it & under normal circumstances could have remedied it but not in 4.5 hours.

Hazel’s Spaceman Fabric

It looked as though Liz used the shorts version of the Made by Jacks Mum I Dig Dungarees. She used the star print fabric below with a red contrast at the pockets & used the selvedge as the hem, which was a clever move as that is one job less to do! It looks like a good value pattern this, as it ranges from 0-12 years & has a skirt option too. I loved her model, she was little star & wanted to take these home with her.

Nicole used a corduroy with anchors with a red & white striped contrast lining. I was only able to find this similar one from Vogue Fabrics, which is in the US. I think that her hems were unfinished. I’m not sure which pattern she used, they could have been the Okey Dokey Overalls by Peek a Boo patterns below, they were similar to the Burda pattern but didn’t have the waistband on it.

Overall, I was a bit surprised at the garment of the week, I thought that there were some far better sewing skills shown in Ali’s, Liz’s & Clare’s dungarees & Therese’s too but I still question the choice of fabric but obviously I don’t get to see these close up. I’m still not convinced that there was a lot of sewing involved with the bunch of grapes & I thought that was what the competition was about!

So finally what will I make for my challenge this week? Well initially I thought that I would skip it this week, as I don’t have any children to sew for but have just found out that I am going to be a grandma, which I’m delighted about. I’ve had a quick browse through my pattern stash & unsurprisingly I don’t have any children’s patterns but one of the early GBSB ‘ Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ has a few in. There are a couple of little girls dresses & of course I could always try my hand at the free pattern that includes the smockingThere are some really cute baby dungarees in there too which may be the sensible option as I don’t know what the sex of the baby is yet.

Dungarees from Sew Your Own Wardrobe

Let me know if you have done any smocking or made children’s clothes. Can you recommend any patterns or give me any hints or tips. I imagine they are very fiddly!

I was making palazzo pants for my personal challenge last week & will do a seperate blog post about them but I had issues!

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