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6 Jun
2024
The Great British Sewing Bee: Episode 3

We’re all sewing on a summer holiday! Yes, it was holiday week on The Great British Sewing Bee (Missed it? Watch on iplayer) and we were treated to some incredible sewing skills as the sewists tackled blouses, bags and a brilliant French-inspired Made to Measure.

First up was the Pattern Challenge and the contestants were tasked with making a women’s blouse, but this time, there was a bit of a twist. Instead of the usual rush for fabric rolls, the sewers had to use vintage embroidered tablecloths.

Georgia and Suzy love to repurpose tablecloths from charity shops, so were delighted by this challenge, although colour matching two completely different designs did later prove tricky.

Aside from Esme, who announced that still uses her tablecloths, Patrick argued that many of us have tablecloths stashed away in cupboards that are never used (guilty!). And, with linen being a great summer fabric - and a pricy one at that - this was the perfect opportunity to give old embroidered piece a new lease of life.

With a time limit of just two and a half hours, this was the shortest pattern challenge of the series so far. The pattern pieces had to be cut out to include the original embroidery from the tablecloth.

For Don it was a balance of reading the instructions and “just getting it done”, while Janet set herself extra work by opting for a holey fabric.

Suzy revealed what might just be the BEST engagement story we’ve ever heard with her fiancé’s custom-printed ‘Will You Marry Me’ fabric when he proposed in a New York fabric store, awww!

If you’re on the hunt for a blouse with gathered sleeves, Amanda Walker’s Peplum Puff-Sleeve Blouse Sewing Pattern is available to buy today.

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Next up was the Transformation and the sewers had the interesting task of making a holiday bag from nautical paraphernalia in just 90 minutes. Their project had to make use of rope and other pieces of Chandlery.

Georgie described herself as the ultimate bag lady but we just call that being practical! Ailsa was looking for closure (ba-dum, tssh!) and Suzy was in the mood for tassels.

There was a lot of interesting fabric from thick plasticky waterproof material to openwork net and mesh.

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Finally, it was time for the Made to Measure challenge - to make a garment fit for the French Riveria!

Kiell mentioned Bridget Bardot in his intro, who was the inspiration behind Amanda Walker’s Off-Shoulder Summer Dress Sewing Pattern, available to buy in our pattern store.

It was fascinating to hear the history of riviera style with Coco Chanel breaking ground with her Beach Pyjamas. You can see the evolution into popular garments such as Palazzo Pants, and Amanda Walker’s Elasticated Culotte Trousers. Click to buy this easy-to-follow sewing pattern.

The Sewing Bee contestants really took up the challenge with eye-catching co-ords and two-piece ensembles. There were some impressive skills shown from pleats to darts and fancy French seams.

The final decision was up to, to quote Kiell, “Ant and deckchair”. Did they make the right choice?
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Images: BBC/Love Productions

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