Great British Sewing Bee 2023 Round Up

Great British Sewing Bee 2023 Round Up

Wow, what a series of the Great British Sewing Bee it has been! We have really loved Series 9, there has been a bit of everything: beautiful creative clothes as well as a few laughs (Fauve’s doll of Patrick was a personal highlight). 

At Fabrics Galore, we thought we’d just have a recap of all the fabulous-ness of this series with a week by week overview; and everything mentioned will be in our Great British Sewing Bee Collection in case you are feeling inspired.  


GBSB Week One - Classics with a Twist

All the way back in May, episode 1 was based around “Classics with a Twist” starting with a pattern challenge to make a top with a twist in the centre which became a slight brain teaser for the contestants. Then the transformation challenge was to make something far more jazzy from a classic pencil skirt and blouse. And finally, everyone got to show off their skills by making a Made to Measure featuring interesting cut outs. 

We thought that the  Orageuse Helsinki Blouse  was a great version of the first challenge as well as being a brilliant pattern to have in your collection. The Helsinki would be handy as it's perfect for work or for dressing up or down. The ideal fabric for this would be something with a little bit of drape like a viscose. 

Our viscose collection has a little bit of everything: pretty florals, bright prints and subtle patterns so really something for everyone. Although if you were looking for a plain fabric for your twist top, how about one of our crepes, great for slightly cooler weather too. 


Orageuse Helsinki Twist Top pattern


GBSB Week Two - Travel Week

Now Week Two was Travel Week, and the pattern challenge was a sturdy backpack perfect for globe trotting, followed by the tricky task of transforming a windbreak into rainwear.  And finally, the Made to Measure was the interesting challenge of swimwear to pose by the pool in. 

We can’t actually think of a single member of team FG who doesn’t have a backpack so we were all loving this week; and it gave us a chance to show off our range of bag webbing. The Noodlehead Making Backpack would be perfect for both travelling and day to day life; even better, you make it from any of our soft furnishing cotton panamas so you can make this truly personal.

We love the idea of a plain brushed cotton panama in a jazzy colour such as the pale pink teamed with a pop of pattern from the webbing and then you can go wild with a novelty print for the lining. But if you fancy a pattern on the outside, how about a Frida Canvas or even a Sewing Print backpack?

Noodlehead backpack pattern, fabric and webbing


GBSB Week Three - Africa Week

This week was a really fascinating look at African Sewing with a guest judge Nigerian Designer - Banke Kuku. The pattern challenge was nothing like we had ever seen on the Great British Sewing Bee, with contestants making Ghanaian batakari using traditional handwoven deboya fabric, which from the state of their hands had been dyed with indigo.

This time the contestants had to take a hand-dyed adire fabric and create a stunning dress. We are still thinking about Lizzie’s one shoulder polka dot number, which is why we have added all our indigo prints and polka dots to the Sewing Bee Collection. 

Then finally, in the Made to Measure, they made dramatic and stunning boubous which had us reaching for the satins for our next bit of evening wear. 

GBSB Week Four - Reduce, Reuse & Recycle week

Time for the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle week, which featured some of the mind-boggling figures around what the fashion industry has done to our planet. The pattern challenge was a mathematical conundrum pattern for zero waste trousers which meant a bit of adding up was needed to make sure no scrap of fabric was wasted. This first challenge got us thinking about the Birgitta Helmersson pattern company where everything is zero waste; their ZW Block Pant would look great particularly in any of our washed linens - great for the summer. 

The transformation challenge was something we could all do, with the contestants having to create something fun out of as many tote bags as they liked. And finally the all-in important Made to Measure was to create an outfit from crochet blankets, which looked very very tricky indeed. But Mia’s skirt suit was a deserving winner of Garment of the Week - it was just stunning. 

Block Pant zero waste pattern and linen fabrics


GBSB Week Five - Art Week

It all got a bit cultured on Week Five with Art Week starting with the pattern challenge - a skirt featuring some appliqué and a very Esme sash ending in a bow. 

Next, the remaining contestants had to create something spectacular from a canvas painted by art students, not your everyday sewing by a long way!

And finally for the Made to Measure they were all inspired by the Surrealist movement of the 20th Century using their own dreams for added inspiration. 

Talking of amazing prints, we couldn’t have an art week and not slip in our favourite artist Frida Kahlo, this skirt would look beautiful in any of our Frida prints.

GBSB Week Six - Children’s Week

One of our favourite weeks on the Great British Sewing Bee - Children’s Week and it did not disappoint. For the pattern challenge, the sewers had the tricky task of making a Dinosaur Dressing gown complete with teeth and googly eyes from towelling.

The Transformation challenge was something we could definitely get on board with creating a personalised denim jacket using hand me downs, (we have popped the Pom Pom Trim into our Sewing Bee Collection too, by the way).

And finally for the Made to Measure it was the perfect party outfit, and Tony’s Garment of the Week was so perfect and even better that it was inspired by his own daughter. 

Now if you are looking for a great party dress for any small person we can’t think of a better one than Kate’s Sewing Pattern Little Naya Dress, it would look so pretty in any of our Swiss Knots or ditsy cotton florals. However it’s such a nice shape it could also be great in a stripe or a plain, if pretty isn’t quite what you were looking for. 

Children's dress pattern and floral fabric - GBSB week 6


GBSB Week Seven - 90s week

Something a bit different from previous series, 90s week, which gave everyone a chance for a good reminisce. It all started with a Cargo Pant in the pattern challenge which look really quite complicated, especially with the tricky pockets and fly. But they had to recover quickly to create an outfit based on celebrity of the 90s, for fancy dress. 

However, the real standout moment was given to the Made to Measure - when the sewers created a dress fit for a supermodel, and Assma’s dress was just so beautiful (and she does it all in 4 inch heels). 

The 90s theme of this week got us wanting to create a slip dress, and there were A LOT of leopard print references too in this episode, which we have popped into our Great British Sewing Bee Collection.

But we thought that actually a slip dress could be a summer staple, and having found the Friday Pattern Company’s - Saltwater Slip Dress it would be rude not to. Again, this would look lovely in any of our viscose, crepes or even a cotton lawn in whatever pattern, print or colour you were thinking of. But better be quick, we only have a few summer months to go. 


slip dress pattern


GBSB Week Eight - Icons Week

This week's theme was Icons which could have gone anywhere but they focused on Audrey Hepburn’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress for the pattern challenge creating the very chic column dress.

Taking inspiration from Esme herself when she created outfits from Shower Curtains for a photoshoot by Helmet Newton for Nova Magazine, the remaining sewers had to whip up anything from a selection of shower curtains (as you do!). But if you were inspired, maybe have a look at our filament nylon for a sheer cloth.

Then finally the Made to Measure was creating a smoking jacket which saw the sewers using velvets and corduroys for this tailored garment; although not so seasonal, we have added all our corduroy and velvets to our Sewing Bee Collection in case you were inspired. 

GBSB Week Nine - Utilitarian Week

Another new theme for the Semi Final - Utilitarian Week, which threw up quite a few tricky sewing tasks for the remaining 4 contestants. First up the Trench Coat, complete with all the military aspects too. Although we loved the fun facts about Thomas Burberry and John Emary of Aquascutum.

The transformation was the toughest yet as the sewers were given household cleaning products to transform, which needed a huge amount of imagination. 

Finally for the Made to Measure - it was boiler suit time which we must say is another Team FG favourite with many of us sporting them from time to time. The Homer and Howells Lennox Boiler Suit has it all, and would look so good in any of our washed linens, denims or even wools and corduroys when the weather turns. 

Boiler suit pattern and washed linen fabrics

GBSB Week Ten - The Final

First up was the Pattern Challenge featuring a flattering party dress - The Victoriana dress, with ruffles on the three quarter length puff sleeves. This has featured a lot recently in fashion and has become popular with celebrities, royalty and the even the public. We have had a good look and the Sew La Di Da Muse dress has all the features to make this super flattering dress. As this pattern says, you can use cotton, so we thought it would look really interesting in one of our Dashwood patterns or if you fancied something more traditional, a floral cotton lawn. 

In the transformation challenge it was all about adding some flamboyance to menswear - creating party looks from more traditional ladies wear. 

And then it all got serious as their last task was to create a “Two in One” dress, which could transform in a swish. And we won’t say too much, but the winner - wow, just wow. They all deserved to win in some ways, but these three dresses were absolutely exceptional, it doesn’t happen often, but we were speechless. 

Victoriana dress pattern and floral fabrics

GBSB 2023 - it's a wrap!

We hope you have enjoyed this year's Great British Sewing Bee as much as we have, it’s been an interesting series with lots of great challenges and tasks. Now all we have to do is find something else to watch on Wednesday Night…

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