Tag Archives: Great British Sewing Bee series 3

#SewDots Dress

In my October plans post I mentioned I was going to try to join in with Rosie Martin’s #SewDots movement for the RNIB. She raised £791.29 so far (with a target of £500 being smashed) and you can still donate to the JustGiving page if you’d like. I finished my dress in the nick of time – literally! I posted it on Instagram at about 5pm on the last day.

sew-dots-dress-2This is the Drapey Knit dress from the 3rd Great British Sewing Bee book.


This is the fabric, which I’ve had in my stash for ages. You may recognise it from my running armband tutorial.


I did make a couple of changes to the pattern. The main one was when I traced the pattern, I widened the hem line as I didn’t like the 80s style narrowing. I think I could maybe have widened it a bit more, but I think it looks quite balanced.

sew-dots-dress-5I reduced the sleeve seam allowance to 0.5cm instead of 1.5cm because the fabric isn’t probably as stretchy as it should be for this pattern. Also I think I cut them in the wrong direction – the fabric has more stretch one way than the other and I think this stretchy direction runs up and down the sleeve instead of around! It’s not normally my style, but I like the batwing-style of the upper sleeves.

sew-dots-dress-6The other change I made was to the neckline. The head hole was so small I couldn’t get it over my head (same non-stretch issue I think!) so I sewed it with a 3cm seam allowance instead of the 1.5cm allowance suggested. This did unfortunately mean I slightly messed with the crossover pleat-y-thing at the neckline. I think other people have mentioned this doesn’t sit perfectly and mine definitely doesn’t when I resewed the neckline.

sew-dots-dress-8I can sort of fudge it a little if I arrange it and stand still! Eagle-eyed viewers may spot that my pleat-y-thing is the opposite way around than it should be. For some reason – and without noticing at all – I had the fabric with the wrong side up when I cut out all the pieces for the front (they’re cut in a single layer because it’s obviously not symmetrical) so they ended up a mirror image. Luckily I cut all the pieces wrong so it was sort of fine in the end.

I do like the pockets and the way the pleats flow straight into them. 🙂

sew-dots-dress-3For once I like the fit on the back of this dress! It’s meant to look a bit wider at the top, so it doesn’t look too big I don’t think. I also like how in this photo it looks like I have a real shelf of an arse!


I’m sure I say this every time, but I really think I’ll make this pattern again. I’ve worn it quite a few times already, with a top underneath for warmth. When the weather gets a  bit warmer I think it will still be a comfy dress to wear – but it’s smart enough for work. And I got quite a few compliments on it, which is always pleasing 🙂



Book: Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric

I know I’m a bit late to jump on the bandwagon of the third book to be released in conjunction with The Great British Sewing Bee, but I bought a copy last week – no more sneaky free books for me now I no longer sell books 😦

Fashion-With-Fabric-1As everyone else has said, this is the best of the 3 Great British Sewing Bee books – I have all 3 (reviews of book 1 and book 2). This one was written by Claire-Louise Hardie, who is the sewing consultant on the show, runs a sewing studio in Stoke Newington and has a blog and website called The Thrifty Stitcher.

This book could easily be picked up by a beginner and has lots of useful tips, such as what equipment you need:

Fashion-With-Fabric-2.jpgAnd tips on tracing patterns (as you have to do for the patterns included in the book):

Fashion-With-Fabric-3The book is arranged in chapters by fabric, starting with cottons – each fabric type gets a glossary of fabrics within the type and also tips on how to sew the fabrics.

Fashion-With-Fabric-4The patterns included in the book also include variations, giving you many more patterns and also allowing you to develop extra skills in designing your own wardrobe.

The sleeveless shell top has a button backed variation.

There are a few patterns for children, including the shirred dress the contestants made on I think series 1 of the Sewing Bee.

Fashion-With-Fabric-7And it has a variation for adults – yay!

The jumpsuit is kind of okay, if it didn’t have the frill on, though I have the By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit to make, so I’m not sure I’ll make this one. I do like the casual trousers variation, though (as made by Rachel at House of Pinheiro)

Fashion-With-Fabric-9Fashion-With-Fabric-10The kilt pattern is included – I’m not sure my fella would wear a kilt (and he would even less wear cargo shorts or a plain t-shirt, which are the other men’s patterns in the book), but it would be cool to have a go at one!

Fashion-With-Fabric-13There is also a leather jacket pattern, which I found a bit disappointing – I felt like some of the ones the contestants made were better patterns, and in previous books they have included actual patterns made. Oh well, I’ll  have to look for a different leather jacket pattern for that time, probably like 8 years in the future, when I finally get around to making a leather jacket (which I’m not even sure would be my style!).

Fashion-With-Fabric-12There is also the lace skirt pattern in the book. I’d be interested to sew with lace one day, but I don’t really like the idea of a lace pencil skirt for some reason. Not sure why.

In the stretch fabric chapter are a couple of my favourite patterns from the book.

The knit dress with the fold details:

Fashion-With-Fabric-15I think I’ll try to make it more of a straight shaped skirt to make it a bit less 80s, which isn’t really my style.

I also really like the slouchy knit cardigan, and I particularly like the woven fabric kimono cardigan version – the fabric they’ve used is really pretty.

Fashion-With-Fabric-16I’ve got a week off work in a couple of weeks and am planning to MAKE ALL THE THINGS and try sewing with knits for the first time. I’ve been collecting jersey fabric for a while and plan to try a few different patterns to see which I like the most. If course, I’ll probably get about a fifth of what I hope actually made. Does anyone else massively underestimate how long it takes to make things and then get disappointed with your progress in a weekend/ day off? Or is it just me? Maybe once I’ve got more me-mades in my wardrobe, I won’t feel so compelled to make about 100 things at once!? Maybe I need to recreate Sewing Bee conditions to try to make things quicker!?