The Great British Sewing Bee Tea Dress (Stage 1)

Great British tea dressA couple of weeks ago I bought myself a copy of Sew Home magazine and, with it, came a free sewing pattern to make the tea dress as featured in the Great British Sewing Bee book. Well, I’ve never made a dress before (I tried a skirt or two once) so I thought that this may be the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

Stage one of the project, however, is not to buy the material or locate my scissors. No, stage one is to spend several hours sellotaping the pattern together, for the free pattern comes as a print-your-own download consisting of 35 pages of black lines. This tea dress project is presenting itself as a challenge to both my craft and my geometryย dress patternskills.

So, with an evening and a living-room floor to myself, I set about cutting out all the paper pattern pieces and matching up 1A to 1A and 26B to 26B. A few hours later and I’ve come up with something resembling a dress pattern: result!

Stage Two of my dressmaking project is to choose some fabric. The pattern in the book says that the tea dress should be made using synthetic silk, though I’ve done a lot of searching the internet and I’m yet to find anything vaguely stylish in that material. I might try and make it using a cotton dressmaking fabric instead… how hard can it be?


16 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee Tea Dress (Stage 1)

    • thank you! after spending an hour cutting and sticking I can confirm that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might have been! it’s the actual dress making part I’m most concerned about ๐Ÿ™‚


    • thanks for your comment! I got in touch with my local fabric store and they also recommended a cotton or poplin material, I agree it’ll be much easier than silk! Good luck with yours too ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Hi, thanks for your comment! I’ve taken a look at your blog and will certainly remember what you’ve said when I come to make it ๐Ÿ™‚ hopefully it’ll go to plan! How did you find working with viscose? I’ve been recommended that I use a cotton instead of the silk specified?


      • I love working with Viscose, there are different weights but they generally behave very well, stitching, pressing, re working. It will drape very well which works with this design/pattern. Cotton will be nice and will make up great, depending on weight it might not drape so well. Go for a cotton lawn/ lightish weight and it should be fine. Good Luck


  1. Ooooooh I’ve been eyeing this up in the Sewing Bee book but chickened out and decided to start with something simple and went for the pyjama trousers. I also spent over an hour on the living room floor cutting and sticking 32 printed pattern pages and getting tutted at by the other half for sellotaping too loudly ๐Ÿ™‚ I made him a pair yesterday which he is very happy with. Can’t wait to see your finished dress – I might try it next when I’m feeling brave!


    • Ooh pyjama trousers sound like a good idea! I don’t actually own the Sewing Bee book, just this dress pattern. Is the book worth getting? I’ve heard mixed reviews about it. As of today I STILL haven’t found any fabric I like to make the dress with, but I’ll definitely update my blog as soon as I do ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your comment!


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  4. I just read another blog post this week that talked about how print-your-own PDF patterns work so much better for small projects – pincushions, soft toys, and the like – than for big projects like clothes. Well done to persevere!


    • Yes I think I agree with that! There were an awful lot of pages to cut and stick with this dress pattern – but if you’re sat with the TV on and lots of floor space it’s not so much of a problem ๐Ÿ™‚


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