Little Bee Time

The Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) started last week, it’s the fourth series so ten new contestants are vying to be crowned Britain’s best home sewer. Each week they have various challenges under timed conditions, I decided to have my own Little Sewing Bee challenge, trying to sew something each week either from the books or linked to the challenges.

Great British Sewing BeeEach year a book is published to go with the series containing quite a few patterns. I’ve just managed to buy this years book as it’s already reduced at The Book People. It’s quite interesting looking through it as it does give you clues to what they will be sewing over the next few weeks, such as a mans Lycra top, something from a sari, a bra…that will be an interesting challenge for the three chaps!

The first challenge this year was a deceptively simple top, it’s only got two fronts, two backs and a bias neckline…only they had to make it bias cut with striped fabric, a chevron style top! And of course those chevrons had to match perfectly! I’m not a chevron person, so I’ll give that challenge a miss!

The recycling challenge was to make something from a plain blue maternity dress, the contestants haven’t really got into the swing of the recycle challenge yet as usually the wackier the better, there were quite a few fairly simple skirts, not much exciting there!

GBSBThe final challenge is to make something they know about in advance, they can choose the pattern (and therefore practice it) and the fabric, but it’s to fit a model, so they need to check sizes etc on the day. They had five hours to make a skirt. There was an amazing one all net with a high boned waistband, she stitched silver ribbon along the edge of the net and it puffed out and bounced along beautifully. The winning one was a very fitted skirt with a fishtail, as Esme (the judge) commented, it fitted the model perfectly!

I decided to make a skirt this week. I saw a pattern on facebook recently for the Anywhere Skirt, I really liked it and ordered it straight away. It’s a very versatile skirt as it is basically what I would call a dirndl skirt with pockets and a button placket and options of sashes. What’s nice is the way the pattern is for all ages, all sizes, any length… you enter in your waist measurements on a chart and it then tells you how to calculate the size of various pieces…


A word or two of advice…

  1. Do  not try and work out the pattern pieces whilst your 18 year old daughter is in chatter mode, just enjoy the moment (or the hour!!) and wait til you have peace and quiet. Otherwise you will make an obvious mistake and miss out one vital calculation…such as doubling the required waistband width by two before adding the seam allowance, this was particularly frustrating as it also affected the sash measurements!
  2. Do not cut out when OH unexpectedly decides to be sociable in the sewing room, again just enjoy the moment and wait for peace and quiet…otherwise you won’t notice the glaring mistakes you made with the measurements, even when there’s a niggle in your head!

Liberty Tana LawnLuckily I had plenty of fabric! The fabric is a lovely Liberty tana lawn. I was given this recently by a friend who was clearing her mother’s sewing room. What makes me smile is that I know exactly where she will have bought it. Many years ago (probably about 25!!) there was a local mill that made fabric for Laura Ashley and Liberty. They had one helluva closing down sale, most fabrics as I recall were about 50p a metre, tana lawn, silks, I’ve still got a length of silk stripe fabric I bought there. It was the sort of sale that went down in sewing folklore!!

I’ve been trying to decide what to make with this tana lawn as it’s quite a busy design and I felt for me a dress in it would be too much, so when I saw  the maxi-skirt pattern, I knew just which length to choose.

The Anywhere SkirtThe pattern is very straight forward (if you’ve got peace and quiet!!) The only change I made was to interface the front button placket, I wanted to give the tana lawn a bit more support rather than risk it tearing. I made it with a deep 3″ waistband, sashes, pockets and maxi length. It was pretty quick to make too. I bought the buttons from Samuel Taylor, they coordinate pretty well and even better they were only 10p each!

I love it, it took a few tries to find a top to go with it. The sash can be tied in a bow or I prefer it wrapped round Japanese style. I think it will be great for the summer as it’s lovely and light to wear. I’ve got a length of grey chiffon in my stash…I might just have found the perfect pattern for it!

Anywhere Skirt

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in Dressmaking, Serendipity, Sewing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Little Bee Time

  1. Sam says:

    That fabric is beautiful, imagine Liberty Tana lawn at 50p a metre, no wonder it’s gone down in sewing folklore! I intend to make the little bias top for my mini bee challenge when I get the time. I must say I’ve been disappointed by the refashions, all the contestants must know that they are part of the show but they seem to lack the experience with upcyclying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • craftycreeky says:

      Thanks Sam, it always amazes me how relatively little sewing experience some of the contestants have, I haven’t seen last night’s yet, but last weeks upcycling were pretty uninspiring! Good luck with the bias top, are you sewing it with stripes?


      • Sam says:

        I think the BBC try to include a variety of contestants, it’s a bit misleading to think that they’re looking for the ‘most’ experienced, otherwise zip insertion wouldn’t be such a mystery!
        Yes definitely with stripes, I quite like the effect. Just been looking at the pattern that you used for the skirt too, it seems really versatile, I think I might give that a go too, but I’ll make sure I don’t get distracted by spouses & offspring!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Love your skirt, Margaret, and your hints! But mostly, just am astounded by that bit of sewing folklore. 50p! Although I wouldn’t normally consider such a design for myself, the softness of the fabric and the length create such good vertical lines that it might be quite slimming even for me. Alas, I don’t have any 50p Liberty cotton lawn!
    Did see the GBSB opening programme via youtube and had similar thoughts about the sewers; however, am not a stripe fan so will forego that challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ccmercer1982 says:

    Love the style of the skirt plus the classic Liberty – gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. corrineappleby says:

    I really like the skirt you have chosen. I think I came across it myself not so long ago and thought it was a great idea. It’s really flattering and a great choice of fabric. Have you seen last night’s GBSB yet? Really intrigued about what you’re going to make from kid’s week!


  5. skirt looks lovely in that fabric

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Little Sewing Bee | thecraftycreek

  7. suth2 says:

    I am so envious of the quantity of “that fabric” that you were given. My daughter’s middle name is Ianthe and that particular liberty fabric is called Ianthe. I was able to find a blouse made in this fabric on ebay and I deconstructed it to use the fabric to make something memorable for my daughter. You can see what I made at
    I love your skirt.

    Liked by 1 person

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