The Great Pattern Review Sewing Bee, Round 1

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There is a show on British TV called The Great British Sewing Bee.  I have never seen the show but from what I gather, it’s similar to The Runway Project, except the contestants are not necessarily fashion designer wannabes.  The show is hugely popular and Pattern Review announced a surprise contest in the spirit of the show. The way it works, according to Pattern Review, is through different rounds of elimination.  There are four rounds to be exact.  In the first round all the participants submit their entries to be judged.  There is one winner for the round, and a percentage of participants get eliminated. The winner, along with those NOT eliminated, move on the second round, and so on until there is a winner in the 4th round, who wins the Bee.  There are prizes for the winners of the first three rounds and a big prize for the final winner.

Here is the challenge schedule:

Saturday, November 1 – First Challenge opens
Friday, November 7 – First Challenge closes- reviews due
Saturday-Sunday, November 8-9 – Voting / Judging
Sunday, November 9 – Winner(s) / Eliminations announced

Monday, November 10 – Second challenge opens
Sunday, November 16 – Second challenge closes -reviews due
Monday-Tuesday, November 17-18 – Voting / Judging
Tuesday – November 18 – Winner(s) / Eliminations announced

Wednesday, November 19 – Third Challenge opens
Tuesday, November 25 – Third Challenge closes – reviews due
Wednesday-Thursday, November 26-27 US Thanksgiving
Friday – Saturday, November 28-29 – Voting / Judging
Saturday, November 29 – Winner(s) / Eliminations announced

Sunday, November 30 – Fourth / Final Challenge opens

Saturday, December 6 – Fourth / Final Challenge closes- reviews due
Sunday-Monday, December 7-8 – Voting Judging
Tuesday, December 9 – Grand Prize Winner Announced

The challenge for round one, which ends tonight, was an A-line skirt that must incorporate a zipper, a closure such as a button or hook and eye, a hem, and a lining.  I looked at a few patterns in my stash and settled on view 1 of Colette 1016: Ginger.  I chose this pattern mostly because it was relatively straightforward in construction and it was one of two patterns that I felt met the criteria best.  The other was a Burda pattern and I couldn’t be bothered to add seam allowances.




Creativity is one of the criteria based on which the entries will be judged and I struggled to come up with a way to make my skirt stand out from the rest.  I remembered a bag I really love and decided to go off that color scheme and cut some of the skirt pieces on the bias for a diagonal stripe effect.  This worked well because the skirt pattern already had center front and center back seams.  The pattern did not have a lining but I added one cut from the same pattern pieces as the skirt, and shortened a bit more.  The only alteration I made to the pattern for the skirt was shortening it approximately 2 inches.



The real issue with the skirt was, is, with the invisible zipper.  On Tuesday, I got as far as having only the hem to go before the skirt was done, but the zipper broke in my hand when I tried the skirt on.  it got stuck on the fabric of the waistband and wouldn’t budge so I had to break it.  It looks like I sewed too close to the zipper teeth.  The next day, and with a clear head, I ripped back as much as I needed to replace the zipper, which was quite a bit. I diligently sewed the new zipper in, making sure I didn’t sew too close this time.  The zipper worked fine and it seemed not to have issues this time. I went ahead and and hand-sewed the waistband facing to the skirt, and pinned the hem in place.  The next morning, Thursday morning, I tried the skirt on for fit and to see if I had pinned the hem at the right length.  The zipper went up fine, but when I turned around, I noticed that the zipper was separating below the waistband.  Again, the zipper broke.



At that point, I was ready to throw in the towel.  There was no way I was going to rip back and sew again.  Nope.  I was done.  I spent all day thinking about what to do.  In the end, I decided to go ahead and enter the skirt even with the broken zipper.  After all, no one said it had to be a working zipper! Plus, if I didn’t enter I’d have no change to make it in this round, and if I did I’d at least have a shot.  I had nothing to lose.  I actually like the skirt and maybe I will make another one when I figure out what’s going on with the zippers.  Here is my review/entry into the contest.

I can’t wait to see what happens in this round and if I move on.  I am pretty sure I will not win but it’s educational.



The color scheme of the skirt is inspired by this bag.

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