It’s back, The Great British Sewing Bee Series 7 Episode 1. I made a few notes and here are my thoughts.

Technically challenging but on-trend garments with a fun studio of sewers, the hour flew past!

The wardrobe staple shell top kicked off the series. Deceptively simple, it actually has challenging techniques. With such a plain style there really is New Look Shell Top Sewing patternno where to hide.

The bust dart. So obvious especially on plain fabric. If you have been to class you know the unfinished point with a dimple of fabric is one of my pet hates! But, we have a technique to conquer this for a flawless finish that blends in with the fabric that involves a shorter stitch length.

The neck and armholes were neatened with an all-in-one facing. There here are various methods for doing this. Pulling through the centre back seam before the side seam are completed is most probably the easiest.

Key to getting a professional finish with a facing with any garment is the choice of interfacing. Too heavy and it won’t lie flat, look and feel bulky. Too flimsy it will pucker, be lifeless and unsupporting. Think beyond the Vilene types. Our online shirt making course had the sewers sampling a range of woven fusible options.

One technique we didn’t see The Great British Sewing Bee sewers complete was stay stitching. Stay stitching stabilises the neck edge and prevents stretching.

Done after cutting out and thread marking, I like to stay stitch on the seam line using the stitch length I have tested out on the fabric for sewing the garment together.

The seam allowances within the facing should be graded or layered. Cutting to different widths will reduce bulk and prevent a ridge on the garment edge.

Notching and clipping causes much confusion!  Snip the seam allowance on inward curves with a single snip. Take to a small triangle of fabric (notch) on outward curves.

Be brave and snip right up to the seam line!

Understitch to stop the facing flipping out.

It is the quality of the inside construction that gives the professional finish on the outside.

What’s a ‘buffet dress’ we were all asking

This season’s nod to the 70’s peasant style dress. Lots of pattern companies have picked up on this trend from the Friday Pattern Company’s Wilder gown to the True Bias Roscoe. Great choice for a new sewer or a ‘quick sewing fix’ helped along by raglan sleeves.

Friday Pattern Company Wilder gownI am finding the instructions for the independent patterns are generally more comprehensive often with photographs – take note Vogue/Butterick/McCalls et al!

A relaxed fit with fullness from gathers is the main feature of this style. For those of you with a baby lock machine you can gather particularly well using the differential feed increased to 2 or by using the gathering foot to gather and attach the frill to the flat top layer. Quick and easy.

I stitched my buffet dress using the baby lock Gloria’s 6 thread safety seam for an industry standard finish.

A fabulous start to The Great British Sewing Bee series 7 with the triumphs, disasters and above all a love of sewing. Sorry to see Julie leave. I enjoyed Patrick’s fit of the giggles and love it when Esme say “Oh I say”!

Don’t forget my own Sewing Bee workshops which are being held online at present. Join me and other Sewing Bee Workshops online - Jane White Couture Tuitionsewing enthusiasts from all over the country to start your own sewing journey and learn new skills and techniques in a friendly and fun way.