The Sewing Bee: Episode 9 - Utilitarian Week (semi-final!) | William Gee UK
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The Sewing Bee: Episode 9 – Utilitarian Week (semi-final!)

This latest week is the Great British Sewing Bee’s semi-final, and the sewists are making all things workwear.

Quarter-final week saw Lauren leave the show after a mishap sewing the sleeve of her smoking jacket in fashion icons week, while Asmaa won garment of the week again. She’s on fire!

Back to Utilitarian Week! It makes me think of workwear jackets, boiler suits and aprons. Sewing your own practical clothing can be great fun – the fabrics have more structure and if you like topstitching (like me) it can be very satisfying! Read on for some utility-inspired sewing!

© The Great British Sewing Bee – Mia and Sara Pascoe – Love Productions, James Stack.

Pattern challenge

This week the sewists are tackling a double-breasted trench coat. It’ll be quite a challenge in the time given – to start with, there are 32 pieces to cut out. Perhaps forewshadowing what is to come, Patrick tells us it’s essential all the buttons are lined up, and any misalignment will throw the whole coat off.

© The Great British Sewing Bee – Love Productions, James Stack.

Asmaa’s coat was very well sewn, although the statement buttons she chosen highlighted the fact that her buttons weren’t perfectly lined up. Tony did well too, though could have neatened up a few details. Patrick described Mia’s as ‘extremely good’, though it needed a good press! Mia’s buttons were very well placed. Unfortunately for Vicki, her buttons were quite obviously not lined up, and the wrap of the coat was the wrong way around. 

Transformation challenge

Increasingly creative, this week’s transformation is turning cleaning materials (gloves, aprons etc) into a 3D garment. Vicki came in first place for her top woven out of scrubbers and cloth, which was surprisingly effective!

Made to measure

© The Great British Sewing Bee – the semi-finalists – Love Productions, James Stack.

This week’s made to measure is a boiler suit! These have been so popular, both in high-street fashion and in the sewing community. You can make them very functional in a canvas fabric, or smarten them up with a print. Sara Pascoe was wearing an amazing statement suit for the episode.

Tony used orange top-stitch thread. it was a good idea, but should have been a thicker thread. Asmaa used a sparkly, black fabric which really elevated the garment from a standard workwear aesthetic.

© The Great British Sewing Bee – Asmaa’s boiler suit – Love Productions, James Stack.

Vicki struggled with some fit issues, and sadly she went home, just missing out on a place in the final. Asmaa won garment of the week again with her well-fitted, expertly finished boiler suit!

© The Great British Sewing Bee – Vicki – Love Productions, James Stack.

Asmaa and Mia seem to be the frontrunners, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the final on Wednesday! All sorts of unexpected things can crop up in a final, and it never goes exactly how I think it will.

Want to try some utility patterns?

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

How about this boiler suit from Closet Core Patterns? It’s the Blanca Flight Suit pattern and it’s been very popular with sewists over the last few years, with good reason. It seems to look good on a range of shapes and has some lovely styling features such as the waist tie, front zip and bodice pockets.

Blanca Flight Suit – Closet Core Patterns – image from The Fold Line

Second is The Assembly Line’s Apron Dress. I’ve been wanting to make this one for a while – I think it’d look great as an apron, or as a dress over a t-shirt! It’s got a proper skirt at the back, rather than gaping open like a normal apron, so you could get away with it over a t-shirt without flashing anyone..

The Assembly Line’s Apron Dress – image from TAL’s website

Don’t forget us for your utilitarian haberdashery!

It’s important to use proper topstitch thread, rather than regular sewing thread if you’d like your topstitching to look professional, and have that classic workwear look (like you’d see on a trench coat or workwear trousers).

We also have a huge range of zips and other fasteners.

Check back in soon for our recap of The Great British Sewing Bee’s 2023 final!

Lorna x


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