We are hoping you are enjoying the Great British Sewing Bee as much as we are and feeling inspired! This week the theme was ‘Children’s Week’ .

First up was the Pattern Challenge where contestants had to sew a child’s smocked dress with a Peter Pan collar. Smocking is created by gathering a section of the material into tight pleats and holding them together with stitches in an ornamental pattern.  A comprehensive guide to smocking can be found HERE.

This challenge was won by Matt – the judges thought the dress’s collar was absolutely perfect and the rest of the dress, including the smocking, was very nicely done too.

TOP TIP: Choose your fabrics carefully – smocking requires a lightweight fabric with a stable weave that gathers well – woven cotton is usually a good choice, as is woven viscose (rayon) Whilst the contestants made good choices for the body of the smock, medical consultant Clare chose a stretchy crepe for the Peter Pan collar which made it impossible to get the really crisp, neat finish the judges required.

For cotton fabric we would recommend:

Cotton Lawn Dress Fabric – Floral Dusky Pink


Teal Cotton Voile Dobby

Or for Woven Viscose (Rayon) we would suggest:


Art Gallery Rayon – Waltz Moonlit


Blue Petals Print Woven Viscose

For the Transformation Challenge the contestants were asked to transform a sleeping bag into an item of fancy dress for a child, based on the theme of food. There were some very imaginative transformations, with the judges being presented with two watermelons, pizza, sushi, an apple, a bunch of grapes, a burger, a carrot, a bag of crisps and a pumpkin! The judges did struggle at first to identify some of the items but they unanimously agreed that the winner was Therese with her very imaginative bunch of grapes, created by enclosing polystyrene balls in the fabric of the sleeping bag and securing them with pipe cleaners!

Finally on to the Made to Measure Challenge. This week the contestants were asked to make a pair of dungarees for a child model. The judges pointed out that the fit shouldn’t be tight and should allow for freedom of movement. Many of the contestants used patch pockets as part of the design, by using contrast fabric, embroidery or other embellishments. This is an easy way to jazz up a plain garment and there is a good guide to making a variety of patch pockets HERE.

Despite not doing too well in the Pattern Challenge, retired teacher (and Dragonfly Fabrics customer) Therese performed fantastically in the Made to Measure and Transformation Challenges this week. The judges were very impressed with the quality of sewing in her summer-weight dungarees and the inventiveness of her fancy dress costume. They were hard-pressed to choose between the two, but eventually awarded her ‘bunch of grapes’ costume the accolade of  ‘Garment of the Week’.

Sadly,  at the end of the programme Fiona went home. The judges felt that whilst her sewing was  of a high standard, it was her time management that let her down, as she failed to finish many of the challenges.

We are looking forward to the next episode which will be ‘Sportswear Week’.