Another exciting instalment of the Great British Sewing Bee!  This time it was 1970s week – complete with vintage 70s sewing machines that the contestants had to sew with.

First up was the pattern challenge and this week the contestants had to make a 70s classic – a pair of flared jeans.  The judges explained that robust fabric was needed for this style to hold the classic bell bottom shape.  Some of the contestants choose denim for this purpose, whilst others choose various types of needlecord.

TOP TIP from Patrick about sewing with fabrics with a nap, like finecord, is that you need to ensure your fabric is cut so that the nap goes in the same direction on the finished garment.

Our GBSB SPECIAL OFFER this week is 10% off our lovely range of our FINECORD with the code SEWINGBEE10 – you can browse the range HERE.  We have some beautiful shades including teal, aubergine and ochre.  There is also FREE POSTAGE on all orders over £30.


If you would like to sew your own pair of jeans then have several suitable patterns:

Firstly there is the Megan Nielsen Ash Jeans pattern: this versatile pattern makes four different versions –  a modern slim leg jean, a skinny jean, a flare jean and a wide leg jean. So it is great value for money, especially as you can make several versions in different colours and materials.

We also stock the Closet Case Ginger Skinny Jeans pattern and the distinctive Papercut Otsu jeans – so pretty much every taste is catered for!

You can learn a couple of things from the problems that the contestants had whilst sewing their jeans.  For several, constructing a zipped fly proved problematical – the judges pointed out that absolute precision was needed during the construction process to ensure the zip was invisible.  Another challenge was fitting the waistband of the jeans.  The body of the trousers has more fabric than the waistband, so the waistband has to be stretched carefully to fit.  If contestants didn’t manage this correctly then their waistbands came out either too long or too short.

Sadly Ben came last in this challenge – his ambitious plan to have red top stitching that contrasted with his fabric backfired as it highlighted the wonkiness of his stitching!  Jen won with her mustard flares that were beautifully sewn.  If you like these shades of mustard and ochre then you will be pleased to hear that our wonderful ochre denim is back in stock and we also have ochre needlecord as shown above.

For the transformation challenge the contestants were tasked to create a punk outfit from tartan garments and this part of the programme prompted an entertaining ‘pogoing’ demonstration from judges Patrick and Esme!  Some of the contestants struggled with abandoning their passion for precision and accuracy in this phase. Unfortunately engineer Alexei couldn’t embrace anarchy and was placed last as his punk ensemble was just too neat and nice to be truly punk!  Riccardo won, having turned a kilt into a dramatic pair of punk trousers.

If punk is not your thing, you can still make some lovely garments from fabrics that feature tartan and checks so why not take advantage of our reduced price on this lovely cotton check dress fabric:

For the made to measure challenge the contestants had to sew a maxi dress.  Some of the contestants drafted their own designs, some choose contemporary patterns and several of the contestants choose original vintage 70s patterns.

TOP TIP from the judges – vintage pattern sizes are often significantly smaller than current dress sizes so check carefully and make sure you take this into account.

Mercedes’ boldly patterned maxi dress  won garment of the week whilst Ben was sent home.  Sadly his adventurous spirit was his downfall as his ambitious plans meant he often ran out of time to create a neat finish on his garments.

If you want to sew your own maxi dress then we have several patterns we can recommend.  Firstly, the flouncy Seren dress pattern from Tilly and The Buttons.


Or the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case patterns which is nice and easy to sew:

Another option is the Stasia dress pattern from Sew Liberated.

All these maxi dresses lend themselves to the use of stunningly patterned fabrics.  Perhaps this lovely Art Gallery Rayon Meadow Dim which is new in.

rayon meadow dim fabric art gallery


Or this striking retro-inspired palm leaf print viscose jersey:

Alternatively, what about these striking baroque prints:



We can’t wait for next week’s Great British Sewing Bee episode which we hear will feature technical fabrics!