Welcome back to our Sewing Bee recap. This week was Episode 2 and the theme was Holiday. With no guarantees of a sunny holiday on the cards for a while, the UK weather has been kind to us recently and has been treating us to some beautiful sunshine. So if you're planning a staycation, or even just flouncing about in your own back garden, there are some wonderful makes and inspiration for you in this episode.
Pattern Challenge: Palazzo Pants
The first challenge of the week was to make a pair of classic palazzo pants. These are wide leg, high waist trousers that skim over the hips for a floaty, chic look. A timeless classic, they were first designed by Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and they've been a classic summer style ever since.
The pattern used in the programme was for flat front trousers with inseam pockets and a waistband facing, closed at the back with an invisible zip. The judges asked for holiday inspired fabric and perfect pattern matching. Most of the trousers made up in this challenge were a vision to behold, and we can see ourselves floating down a sunlit street in many of them.
The judges loved Clare's fabric choice, which included beautiful illustrations. The fabric reminded us of our brand new Lady McElroy From The Veranda, which would also make a great pair of palazzo trousers! Clare's pattern matching was also perfection. This seems to be a real skill of Clare's and it scooped her 2nd place. Ali's summer floral fabric pipped Clare to the post and scooped her a win in this challenge.
Those who fell short on this challenge were the contestants who decided to use a contrast fabric for the pockets and/or waistband. These elements are supposed to be invisible on the garment, if they have not been sewn perfectly then they become an eyesore. Nicole's leopard print waistband facing and Peter's contrast pocket both let down their garments. But it was Fiona's unfinished waistband and sloppy pockets that ensured she came in last in this challenge.
Refashion Challenge: Towels into Beach Cover-ups
For this challenge, the contestants had to select two towels and turn them into a ladies garment that could be worn from beach to bar whilst on holiday. All the contestants went in very different directions and some of the makes were truly fabulous.
Nicole's wrap shorts playsuit won the judges over with her careful use of pom-pom trim and palm print towels, whilst Matt's ill-fitting mini skirt was a let-down. It was Peter's 'Star Wars on the beach' poncho style cover-up that won the task in the end, with his careful use of style lines and neat binding winning the judges over.
Fitting Challenge: Holiday Shirts for MEN!
In our first men's pattern sew of the season, the contestants were asked to make a men's holiday shirt. Most of the contestants flew in this challenge, with some gorgeous garments being produced. Fabric choice was key and saw most of the contestants choosing a lightweight, stable cotton in a tropical print. Fiona's last minute choice to add pockets to her shirt unfortunately let her down, meaning her shirt was unfinished. Alex's curveball choice of a viscose jersey meant that he ran into problems with accuracy. The judges criticised his collar, buttonholes and unfinished sleeves. Perhaps sewing a shirt from jersey was just outside of his capabilities...
We loved Clare's pattern matching on her llama print Peruvian shirt and Nicole's nod to her Dad tugged at our heartstrings with her traditional Trinidadian pin tuck shirt. The overall winner in this challenge was Matt, whose flawless pattern matching (can you spot the pockets in photo 3 below?!) and neat collar stole the show. There were a lot of great men's shirts in this final round, with some great sewing on show. We really think that the contestants did fantastically well on this challenge.
Winners and Losers
Garment of the week this week went to Matt's with his perfect holiday shirt. Between his pattern matching and accurate sewing we think that he was a really deserving winner, we can't wait to see more of what he makes in the coming weeks. We said goodbye to Alex this week, who seemed just a little out of his depth. His passion for sewing is clear, but his accuracy and speed need a little more work.
Our Pattern Picks
The Nina Lee Portobello trousers were an obvious pick for this week's pattern pick. At Sew Creative we've fallen in love with their 'Secret Pyjama' feel and versatility. Why not grab one of the kits that we have on offer this week and give your own pair a go? A new discovery for the Sew Creative team are the Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes. These come in both trouser and short variations and have jumped to the top of all of our to-make lists.
If the big 4 pattern companies are more your style, then the Simplicity 1069 wrap trousers are a great option. They are super easy to fit and come with a lot of variations, which are perfect for beginners. If you prefer more drama in your trousers, then McCalls M7131 offers a pleated front and separate waistband, meaning that you can go from work to weekend effortlessly.
We have some freebies for you in this category. At Sew Creative we love the patterns released by Peppermint Magazine. Both their tie-strap playsuit and their robe would make for lovely summer cover-ups. Why not get prepared now for next summer, or just sew yourself an #isewlation summer wardrobe?
Men's Holiday Shirts
Men's sewing patterns aren't our speciality at Sew Creative, but we still have some great recommendations for shirts, all from Indie pattern companies that have been tried and tested in the sewing community. The Collette Negroni shirt is a classic men's utility shirt with a few variations in sleeve and pocket options, where as the Wardrobe By Me Tropical Shirt is perfect for holidays. It has a more relaxed fit and feel and the revere collar avoids many of the tricky bits in shirt making.
Our Fabric Picks
We've gone all tropical with our Sewing Bee Specials this week. From summery crisp cottons to floaty palm print satin, we've got everything you need to pep up your holiday wardrobe. Remember, you can get 10% off our Sewing Bee fabrics each week, just enter code Bee Happy at checkout.
L-R: Art Gallery Coral Pineapple Cotton; Bright Birds Viscose Challis; Lady McElroy Savannah Crepe Jersey; When Life Gives You Lemons Cotton Poplin; Tropical Toucans Printed Cotton; Brushed Tropical Satin Print
Overall we really enjoyed this week's episode of the Bee. We think that the contestants showed a lot of their personal style and really demonstrated their sewing skills. We also loved some of the designs that they came up with in this episode. When it came to the judging, we appreciated that the wonderful Esme and Patrick have begin to pick up one some of the obvious mistakes that were overlooked in the first week, and we hope that they continue to do this. We can't wait to see some more of the personalities come out over the coming weeks - do you have a favourite so far?
Don't forget you can get 10% off our Sewing Bee Specials this week with code Bee Happy at checkout. Keep Safe and Happy Sewing, the Sew Creative Team x