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Lace and Leather: The Great British Sewing Bee Semi-Final

A few weeks ago, we debated on Twitter and Facebook whether the challenges on this series of The Great British Sewing Bee had been harder than ever before. I think that this week’s episode answered the question for us. Yes, the challenges are definitely harder.

For the first challenge of the Sewing Bee, the remaining contestants had to make a pencil skirt – easy enough. However it was then revealed that the skirt would have to be made out of lace, and be lined. Lace is a notoriously hard fabric to work with – the very nature of the cloth means that it does not have much structure, making it liable to move whilst you are trying to cut or sew. If the lace you choose does not have a dense pattern it is also important to take extra care when you are doing the seams, to avoid any unsightly stitching being on show.

We will be posting a blog in the near future full of tips for sewing with lace, if The Great British Sewing Bee has not put you off in the meantime, you can view all of our lace fabric here.

Lace Fabric Croft Mill Great British Sewing Bee

The challenge so Neil slip from top position as his pattern matching left a lot to be desired. Lorna made a good effort but was let done by a wobbly waistline. Matt on the other hand, excelled in this challenge with a stunning blue creation.

Great British Sewing Bee Lace


The alterations challenge was of the like we had never seen before. The contestants were given a wet suit and told to do with it what they would. Lorna set about almost straight away by cutting two holes into the chest area… she was apparently attempting to channel Madonna. The less said about that idea the better.

Lorna Gbsb wetsuit

Matt and Neil opted for pink lace, Matt creating a strapless number whilst Neil decided to go for a halter neck. Although in theory the garments had a good idea behind them the paring of the delicate lace and scuba jersey didn’t quite look right once made up.  This challenge proved to be a highlight for Deborah however; her fabric choices were complementary whilst her box pleats and overall sewing were superb.

The final challenge of last night’s Sewing Bee saw the contestants getting to grip with another tricky fabric. Within a matter of hours, they were expected to make a leather jacket that was fitted to their model. One of the hardest parts of working with leather is that it does not forgive mistakes easily; once you sew a line of stitches the leather is pierced, leaving visible holes. Lorna however had a great idea for counteracting this. Before she started on the jacket she made the lining, knowing that she could alter the lining with more ease and if the lining fit, the jacket would too.

One of the heart-wrenching moments of this challenge was when Deborah decided to alter her zip. After trimming the top off she forget to add in some stitches meaning that the toggle flew off the top when she tried to zip the jacket shut.

Deborah GBSB leather zip

Two contestants left in this round, and we can hardly believe it is the final next week. Who do you think will be crowned Britain’s best amateur sewer? Tweet us and let us know!


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  • Reply
    angela foster
    06/03/2015 at 6:48 PM

    I agree that the challenges were hard. We saw too how the pressure gets to contestants, working under those conditions must be terribly hard. Well done to all of them

    • Reply
      09/03/2015 at 10:48 AM

      I thought that a lot of the challenges seemed to be harder this year, but that episode was especially so! I cannot even imagine making a leather jacket in them time restraints.

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