great british sewing bee tunic

A few months ago, when I was just starting out with the whole sewing malarkey, I bought the Great British Sewing Bee book in the hope it would help me learn.

I read it, looked at the patterns and made a to do list, but then promptly forgot about it. Mostly because getting the patterns is such a bloody faff. (Apparently this is rectified in the second GBSB book, but don’t quote me on that).

Anyhoo, I had a random 2 yards of fabric (yards, not metres because I failed to read the measurement details on the online shop).

(Note to self: always read the small print.)

I decided to have a pop at the Tunic from the GBSB book, mostly because a) this is the one pattern included in the book b) it requires 2 yards of fabric and c) it has a zip. I’m totally cool with zips.

My measurements were in between sizes, so I chose to go for the larger (12). It was all very straight forward, until I hit the zip. Now, I have totally cracked invisible zips, but this tunic requires an exposed zip. Cue a frantic search of youtube videos.

(side note: can we all just call zips “zips”? Zippers isn’t a real word)

It also didn’t help that the 50cm zip I thought I had bought earlier this week for the mortmain dress I have planned turned out to be 55cm. DAGNAMMIT.

But then I realised all I had to do is cut an extra 5cm off the back pieces. It felt really naughty, but I have always been a bit of a rebel.

The tunic took me about 4 hours to complete, from cutting the pattern to finishing. This includes a 30 minute youtube trawl. And a glass of wine. Obvs.


The instructions say to hand stitch the shoulder seams, but as it was approaching 11pm I decided to bugger that and use the machine. I also decided to topstitch the armhole facings as for some reason they weren’t sitting right. (see: aforementioned glass of wine.)

Apart from the top of the zip (it doesn’t quite work with the facing) I am quite pleased with this tunic. I think I could have gone with a size 10, but the 12 is very forgiving 😉 I am also loving the fact that I am starting to be confident enough to go off piste and alter the pattern, albeit slightly.


Despite deciding I would always add at least 5cm to every top I made, I decided not to with this one as it is designed to be long. I’m glad I didn’t as that would have made it into a minidress rather than a tunic. Still, I think it works well with skinny jeans.


In hindsight I should probably have given more thought to pattern matching. If this was actually on the Great British Sewing Bee then I am pretty sure Patrick would have commented on my lack of thought matching the flowers. But, do you know what? The back facings line up PERFECTLY. Go me.


To be fair though, the fabric is pretty busy and I don’t really think anyone will be looking that closely.

There are other patterns I would like to try from this book, and now I’ve made one, maybe I’ll be bothered to download some of the other patterns.