Great British Sewing Bee Series 6 Episode 8 – International week

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It’s quarter finals week already! Here’s  my review of the 8th episode of this season’s Great British Sewing Bee, aired on the 10th of June 2020.

See my YouTube review, below 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***

We’re down to 5 contestants now & this weeks theme is world sewing. The contestants are sewing a traditional Filipino pattern, transforming a Provencal tablecloth & making a Flamenco inspired skirt for the final. I will be looking at fabrics & patterns that the contestants used & challenging myself to make a garment inspired by the Bee with patterns & fabrics that I have in my stash along with any free patterns that I have been able to find.

Round 1: Filipino Terno Blouse

The contestants had just 3.5 hours to make a Terno blouse. Traditionally made from Pina, a fabric made from the pineapple plant which is delicate but strong but can be made from any fabric that has body. The most notable thing about these tops are the exaggerated butterfly sleeves but there are a few other details that make it unique, such as the low, square neckline, which was finished with bias binding. The one featured on the show was quite short, had 5 covered buttons down the back, French darts at the front and tulle was added to the sleeves to give them volume & drama. This traditional silhouette was favoured by the former First Lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos.

Imelda Marcos ex Filipino 1st Lady

I haven’t found a pattern for the blouse but I think that any basic top pattern could by adapted to incorporate these sleeves, here’s a tutorial that demonstrates how it can be done, essentially 6″ is added to the sleeve cap, you could possibly use the free Mood Lyonia as a basis, which I chose because it had the buttons down the back similar to the Terno blouse. Or if it’s just a dramatic sleeve that you’re looking for take a look at the Mood Poppy dress below, be warned though, the dress itself is nothing like the top I’m referring to & has a very deep V to the front.

I’ve got the New Look K6483 that could be used as a starting point, one of the options has a square neckline & sleeves or alternatively, if it’s just a nod to the exaggerated puffed sleeve that you’re after, there is the ever popular Tilly & the Buttons Agnes.

What they Made

Here’s a brief overview of what the contestants made & any of the fabrics that I’ve been able to find, along with how they were ranked.

Matt chose a cream brocade, similar to the one below from Minerva. The judges approved of his choice of fabric as it had good structure & held the height of the sleeves. He had never done covered buttons before & only managed to get 2 of them attached before time was up. The judges felt his was a good overall rendition & placed him 2nd.

Brocade from Minervacrafts,com

Mark chose a silk crepe- saying how it was nice & drapey! It was clearly the wrong fabric choice, as the sleeves just flopped & didn’t add the drama that the judges were looking for. He used this silk crepe de chine from ‘Til the sun goes down called Ammonite, it’s pricey @ £33 per metre but beautiful. He ran out of time to even try covering his buttons, so went for normal ones instead. He was placed 5th in this round.

Ammonite Crepe De Chine from Til the Sun Goes Down

Nicole used an embroidered & beaded fabric, similar to the one below, except that this has sequins rather than beads but the principle is the same. Even though Nicole knew that she was going to have to snip beads from the seams in order to sew this, otherwise risk breaking the needle, I think that she was possibly unaware that she was going to have to bind the neckline & cover the buttons too. She ended up using ready made bias & the machine wouldn’t sew buttonholes through this fabric & she couldn’t cover her buttons either.

I love how she goes all out & takes a risk but maybe if she had read the instructions before she may have considered a more appropriate fabric. As a consequence her top was unfinished, after saying that she was determined to finish this time & surprisingly she was ranked above Mark & came 4th.

Liz used a sheer tulle, similar to the one below from Minerva, hers didn’t have the silver in it & was a different design but you get the idea. She used a solid black for the binding which looked quite effective. The judges felt that she had made a great fabric choice being dramatic & delicate, as the sleeves held their structure despite her not adding the tulle but felt that her bias wasn’t perfect & she had only managed to sew on 3 of her buttons & ranked her 3rd.

Similar to Liz’s embroidered Tulle from

Clare chose an embroidered organza which was sheer. She made French seams so that the insides would look neat which impressed the judges. She was the only one to finish everything & was praised for her smart choice of fabric. I wasn’t able to find any fabric similar to hers with red embroidery, below is a beautiful one from Top Fabric, again pricey at £55 per metre. I did notice that Clare’s, Liz’s & Nicole’s all had a scalloped edge, which they took advantage of by not having to hem the sleeves or hem, giving them a bit of an advantage over Matt & Mark.

The judges were impressed by her tiny French seams & felt that she had made a good choice of fabric being both delicate & dramatic & not unsurprisingly she came 1st.

Embroidered organza from Top Fabric UK

The final Terno blouses image courtesy of the BBC

Round 2 Transformation Challenge

The contestants were given 90 minutes to transform a Provencal tablecloth into a garment for a man, woman or child. They were able to use other fabrics this time & any embellishments that they wanted from the haberdashery. The judges were looking for something that was well sewn with good use of the pattern placement.

A typical Provencal style tablecloth

I think this was possibly a bit easier than some of the other transformations, as the tablecloths were quite big & a bit easier to just use as fabric & disregard it’s previous life. However, I think that a couple of them floundered a little bit but I think that I saw some more practical garments this time.  There is a table cloth dress transformation in the new GBSB book using a vintage tablecloth for the bodice of the dress & then a plain cotton for the skirt part. It looks very pretty but you would have to be lucky to find an exact match, it’s surprising how many shades of white there are!

Tablecloth transformation from GBSB Sustainable Style Book

Clare made a girls dress, which had elasticated sleeves & a gathered skirt, with a bias bound V neck & loop fastening at the back. She even had time to make an apron at the end. The judges thought that it was beautifully thought through & awarded her 1st place.

Liz  floundered a bit to start & then decided that she always did better if she started with a bit of draping on to the mannequin. She made an asymmetric dress with 1 large sleeve & an obi belt. The judges felt that it was dramatic with a good use of the fabric & came 2nd.

Matt made what was described as a beach set with a choker neck & nothing more than a strip of fabric for a top & a skirt with D rings down the side & came 3rd

Mark described his as ‘not a cape’ & actually put in a lot of work to make a boxy jacket complete with purple collar, pockets & a section up the back. He probably used too much extra fabric & was criticised for not using enough of the existing pattern & came 4th.

Nicole worked with the circular shape of the tablecloth & made wide legged trousers with frills at bottom. She did accidentally make it into a skirt & had to resew them! I didn’t see a zip go into these, so not sure how they were fastened. I thought the result was quite effective but the judges thought that they looked most like a table cloth & didn’t like that they hadn’t been pattern matched & came 5th.

The Transformation round line-up. Picture courtesy of the BBC

Round 3: Made to Measure

The contestants had 5.5 hours to make a Flamenco inspired skirt, which should be fitted at the waist & hips & colourful. The judges were looking for perfect fit & drama, something that was well made, wearable & fabulous & a reflection of the contestants personalities. We saw miles & miles of hemming & 5 quite different interpretations, it was Interesting to see the different lengths of skirts & I think it’s the first time I’ve seen them use interfacing!

Folkwear Flamenco Dress Cover Art

When looking at your own patterns try & see beyond the pictures on the packet, for example could you use a dress pattern for the skirt like Liz seemed to do. It’s also possible to use something like a pencil skirt as a starting point & add flounces.

I think that the Vogue 9349 below would be a good contender to make a rendition at home, should you have the urge but be warned, it’s not cheap & you’re going to need a lot of fabric – between 4 & 6 metres for the long version!

Matt Once again, Matt drafted his own pattern & went for a long skirt in red & yellow scuba. It seemed like a good idea & he was determined to make sure it fit this week after the trouble he had the previous week but I think that he possibly underestimated how heavy all that scuba would be! It had a deep waistband (under the bust) & he inserted a really long zip but didn’t interface waistband. I think he may have had some extra time at the end as he decided to do a rolled hem on a fabric that doesn’t fray! The skirt was too heavy & was falling down on the catwalk. The judges remarked that the skirt had drama but that it was a relatively simple make & questioned why his zip was so long & wasn’t quite invisible.

Mark was aiming to keep it simple & do well, after not doing well in the previous rounds but it was probably a bit late in the game for that! He made the Simplicity 8606, which was a wrap skirt with huge flounces. It was fitted to the waist with a tie but not at the hips so not as much fitting to do. I was reminded of the Vanessa Pouzet La Boheme skirt that I fell in love with last year, below. I’ve found a couple of free patterns, the Iris Ruffle Skirt, is very similar to the Simplicity one & Mood have the Cress skirt, which I think I will have a go at at some point this summer.

His fabric had a lot more drape than the others, similar to the vibrant linen viscose print from Minerva below but the judges didn’t like that you could see wrong side of the flounce, which was unprinted saying that it looked untidy. He obviously kept it too simple as he had finished before the others & decided to add an extra flounce, the Judges appreciated that he did extra remarking that it would have been be too simple without it.

Nicole called hers a Global celebration & used the skirt version of the Folkwear 140 Flamenco Dress and Practice Skirt but just had 2 tiers of ruffles instead of 3, using 2 clashing African wax prints. The top part of the skirt was essentially a very simple pencil skirt shape which was lower at the back with miles of ruffles, (well 15 metres anyway) & gold trim at the hems. She did actually run out of trim, which Esme spotted & didn’t manage to attach the ribbon around the waistband as she had planned. But the judges loved it & said that they could tell it was hers, saying it was vibrant & modern. Esme loved the fabric stating that it was really fashionable at the moment.

Liz took inspiration from Dracula to recreate the red dress below, declaring it to be the epitome of 90s goth. She used the skirt from the McCalls 6670 below. Again a very simple pencil skirt top with waistband & invisible zip with 3 high low ruffles in what looked like red sandwashed silk & black satin in the middle tier. It looked as though she had finished her hems with the overlocker, in contrast colours, so maybe made it a little bit easy on herself there. The judges felt it was striking, it had the drama that they were looking for while being wearable but said it was a tad big & that her zip wasn’t aligned at the top.

Clare used a blue brocade curtain fabric to make her skirt & I’m pretty sure that she used a pattern from a book as a basis & then applied some mathematical wizardry to calculate the circles for the ruffles, which really appealed to me. The skirt was long with a deep waistband & boning was applied to keep it up, with a deep almost fish tale ruffle at the bottom. I think that timing was an issue here as she had planned to add netting at the bottom but didn’t get it attached. While Esme said that she had initially liked the fabric she said that it still looked like curtains once it was finished & was too big.

The Results

Clare had a great week (until the final round) & Joe suggested she may as well just go to the pub & not bother with this round! I thought that her blouse from the first round would have won ‘Garment of the Week’ but that went to Nicole again for her Flamenco skirt, Patrick said it was very Nicole with all the colours & sparkle & the embodiment of International week. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Mark this week, which goes to show how important matching the correct fabric to pattern matters. His choice for the blouse just didn’t have enough body to keep the sleeves puffed up. I didn’t see anything wrong with his skirt, it just didn’t excite the judges enough, we even saw Esme shed a tear as she said goodbye!

My Challenge

I was really inspired by Nicole’s skirt this week for my challenge & I thought that I would also take Clare’s approach by taking a pencil skirt pattern & making some flounces using Pi !

Coincidentally, it’s been Ankara Appreciation Week this week & I’ve accumulated a few pieces over the last few years, which I had bought for bag making. There’s usually around 6 yards of fabric per piece or set for around £10 or less, so really good value, so I thought I’d sacrifice some of mine for a bit of fun. I started with the Simple Sew pencil Skirt above, which I’d made before, so I knew it fit me & decided where I wanted to place my ruffles & cut a high low hem.

I then measured the circumference of the bottom of the skirt & used calculator soup to work out the radius that I needed, (isn’t technology a wonderful thing, I actually quite liked maths at school, but have forgotten it all!). I then decided that I wanted one ruffle around 6″ deep & cut 2 semi circles, joined them together & attached them to the hem. I thought the next ruffle would look nice about 2″ longer & repeated. It seemed to work just fine.

My ruffles aren’t quite as flouncy as Nicole’s but I suspect hers were shorter & maybe her trim made them more pronounced but these just suit me fine & I had fun experimenting. It will be a nice little holiday skirt & I made some packing cubes last year out of the same fabric, so I will be all matchy matchy 😉 Everyone needs a skirt to match their luggage right? I just need to make a better top to wear with it now! After I’d made this I found a tutorial on Cut Out & Keep of how to make a flamenco dress, which looks useful.

Next week movies/Hollywood

So next week we are down to the last 4 contestants for the semi-finals, which has a Hollywood theme. It looks as though we are going to be seeing a Bombshell 50’s pattern & a Flapper dress for the made to measure round, which should suit Clare & an ‘Out of this world’ transformation, whatever that is! It’s really hard to see who is going to win now, as they’re all good but equally have strong & weak points. That’s it from me this week, let me know below if you’ve been inspired by any of the makes on the Bee this week or if you’ve made anything from Ankara.

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