Sewing Bee 2020, Episode 5 Recap: Dog Ate My Basque

1 joe in drag

Get ready to get kinky for Lingerie Week!


The first challenge for skivvies week is for the sewers (that’s SO-ERRS) is to make a sleepy muppet:

sleepy muppet basque

No, it’s basques and here to explain basques to us, in her triumphant return, is Amber Butchart and her headbands:

amber butchart fashion

Basques differ from corsets in that it cannot be adjusted as it’s fastened using a hooks and eyes rather than a ribbon. It’s a rather daunting challenges for the sewers as most of them have no experience in this particular area, except for Liz who apparently has made corsets before and I imagine Matt must have met a corset at some point – unless the British drag scene doesn’t cinch or lipsync? It’s by far the most technical challenge they’ve been set so far with the pattern being made up of 13 individual pieces, most of which look the same making it very easy to put them on back to front, upside down or forget them altogether. There’s also the 6 channels of boning and the Chinese finger puzzle that is sewing in a hook and eye fastening to contend with and in order to achieve a basque with enough structure they must be sure to select a fabric with enough stiffness to hold a shape.

It’s Therese who is most out of her depth and constantly seeming on the verge of a breakdown as she sews on her panels upside down not once but twice, breaking a needle and then cutting herself; forcing her further and further behind and ending up making a basque that looks like a dog chewed off the bottom of it:

therese basque

She was also completely flummoxed by the hooks and eyes and needed help from Matt but seeing as you could see a good amount of flesh through Matt’s fastenings it was very much the blind leading the blind.

Therese is far from the only one with timing issues as Ali is slow to cut out all thirteen of the pieces and then needing to speed read the three pages of instructions to glean what is most important which obviously results in her forgetting to put in the most vital piece of boning along the spine of the basque as well as a multitude of threads hanging from it making it look like a particularly sorry pillowcase

ali pillowcase corset

At least it’s wearer will be the sexiest house elf at Hogwarts. The only thing to save both Ali and Therese from being in the bottom is the fact Peter decided he wanted to go full Mr Pearl and make a basque for an 18 inch waist

peter bad corset

Having a much better time of things is Liz with her experience paying off with a very nice shiny black basque and electric blue contrast trim. But the real top two battle is between Nicole and Clare as Nicole selects a beautiful jacquard fabric and Clare immediately asks if she can use the same material, how’d you feel about that Nicole?

nicole unimpressed

Both of them pretty much knock it out of the park, although I personally think Nicole’s final result was that little bit better and more refined but it was really case of splitting hairs.

The final ranking for the basques:

  1. Clare’s Basque-ing in Glory
  2. Nicole’s Just as Good Basque
  3. Liz’s Blue Banana Knock Off
  4. Whatever Mark Made
  5. Matt’s Socially Distancing Hooks and Eyes
  6. Ali’s Strip Tease House Elf
  7. Therese’s Dog Ate My Basque
  8. Peter’s Violet Chachki Realness

Nicole tries her best to sound very pleased for Clare but it’s through gritted teeth and she might as well have been sharpening a knife.


The transformation challenge for the week is to take a grandmother’s nightie and a grandfather’s pyjamas and make them into a piece of women’s summer daywear with the stipulation that “you have to be comfortable wearing it in public” so no TITS OUT FOR THE LADS! I also resent the implication that matching checker board pyjamas are just for your granddad but that’s far from the biggest issue as the sewers are only allowed 1 nightie and 1 pyjamas set and absolutely none of them even remotely match or go together! It also appears that a few of the sewers aren’t familiar with pyjamas at all as Mark just uses his dogs and warm husband and Ali turns up the thermostat if she feels even the slightest breeze, but if she was a real Yorkshire woman she would just put on as many jumpers as she could – that’ the real Yorkshire way.

Nicole is determined to win this round and goes for a pair of dungarees and a shirt to go underneath – I’m sure it was very technical and hard to do but it did look a bit like she just sewed a bib onto the pyjamas trousers and then trimmed the nightie so that it sat well beneath the dungarees:

dungarees pyjamas

Going for a much more dramatic transformation is Peter who says he wants to make a bolero jacket but ends up creating this for when you have to work on the ward until 4 but be at a Swedish sacrificial ceremony by 5:

midsommar nurse

It’s certainly a look. Matt resorts to his usual draping and creates a a garment that looks like the highstreet ripping off Vivienne Westwood:

matts vivienne westwood knockoff

I really like it and think it was a clever use of his fabrics – and of all of them the one that reads the least pyjama-ish. And then making a knock off of the knock off is Ali who makes this particularly sad outfit:

ali ice skating western

Esme likens it to an ice skating outfit and I would very much like to know what sort of backwater ho-down themed ice skating show she’s watched?

The real struggle-buses of the challenge though at Therese and Liz who are both stumped by the lack of matching fabrics and how to merge them together and Therese basically spends most of the challenge pretending to sew something when in actual fact all she did was put the pyjama shirt on backwards and sew a flaccid ruffle down the front and back and it’s less Celine Dion at the 1999 Academy awards and more concerning first signs of dementia.

therese reverse outfittherese reverse outfit back

Liz also just opts for attaching a limp frill in a desperate attempt to incorporate some element of the nightie into her formal clown gown:

formal clown gown

This, nor the weirdly proportioned sleeves (or lack thereof) go down the judges. Both Mark and Clare make very serviceable garments, Mark’s a flared skirt with contrasting fabric panels and Clare’s looks like a very impractical nurse’s uniform

clare nurse outfit

The final ranking for the transformation challenge is:

  1. Nicole’s Comfy Dungarees
  2. Peter’s Midsommar Nurse
  3. Matt’s Vienna Westworld
  4. Clare’s Rejected Nurse Uniform
  5. Mark’s Skirt
  6. Ali’s Paint Your Wagon: ON ICE!
  7. Therese’s Straightjacket
  8. Liz’s Formal Clown Gown

Going in to the final round it’s really just a battle between Ali and Therese as to who is going home, although Peter is still not quite forgiven for foretting to sew in two whole panels of his basque so they pretend to think he is in danger.


2 Piece Sleep Set:

The final challenge of Lingerie Week is to make a 2 piece sleep set that must incorporate a lace detail. The sewers can be separated into 3 distinct camps – those opting for cotton, those going for silks or satins and then Mark living in 1850 and using winceyette to make this horror show of a garment:

winceyette pjs horror

As if the fact it’s the exact same shade of pink at Billy Bear Ham isn’t bad enough, the model also just looks like an adult sized child which is enough to fuel my nightmares for the next week. Patrick on the other hand loves it because it reminds him of the winceyette PJs he wore at boarding school, apparently the class divide is based purely on your pyjamas of choice.

The most surprising turn of events is that Clare of all people comes the closes to UNLEASHING THE NIPPLE with a peekaboo lace detail on the bust to hearken back to the pin-up models you used to see on aeroplane nose cones. It doesn’t really go to plan as she botches her French seams on her top throwing off the proportions and ends up with this rather sad outfit:

ill proportioned pyjamas

She’s isn’t the only one with proportion issues as Matt uses two different types of lace, one of which just makes his model look like she’s wearing the top of a gorilla costume:

gorilla chest pyjamas

He was also using a very tricky charmeuse fabric that very easily stretches and shifts while cutting and sewing it and I fully believe he just whacked on that grate big lump of lace in order to hide some nasty fit issues on the boobs. Nicole uses a very similar fabric to make her babydoll fit and also ends up making a very ill-proportioned outfit with some diabolical knickers that her model should sue her over, it’s so bad the judges even toss her name around for elimination, although there is no way she’s going because we’ll get to Ali in a moment.

Liz is by far the most successful of the silk or satin sewers making a “goth” sleep set and I feel like just because it’s black doesn’t mean it’s goth – I was about as Goth as the uniforms at B&Q. It fit immaculately and was by far the most successful of the silken outfits, which wasn’t hard when she was competing with the likes of Ali who sliced a hole in her camisole like she was Regina George-ing herself. She tried her best to cover it up with a leopard print bow, it’s Ali of course she incorporated animal print, it didn’t help that the bow looked very forlorn

ali carole baskins pyjamas

but I’m sure Ali has a very strong future as the personal seamstress to Carole Baskin.

The only two sewers to opt for cotton are Peter and Therese, who even end up using very similar looking patterns. Therese attempts bias binding to somewhat redeem the errors she made in the basque challenge and ends up coming out very successfully, even pulling off the tricky French seams that Clare bodged and ends up creating exactly the type of sleeping garment you would expect from a grandmother

therese pyjamas

It’s extremely well sewn and has a lot of wonderful details which the judges always go gaga for and if there’s one thing Therese certainly knows how to do it’s angle herself a Garment of the Week. As for Peter, he’s a lot less successful – his outfit lacks a lot of the joy his garments usually have, it just felt very heavy and utilitarian, funnily enough it was more of a tennis outfit than the tennis dress he created last week.

peter pyjama tennis wear

In the it’s Therese who wins garment of the week, although I think it should have either been Peter’s bizarre bolero or Liz’s perfectly fitting silk jimjams.

And then it’s sadly time up for Ali – WHO’S GOING TO USE ALL THE UGLIEST FABRIC NOW? How’s Ali taking the news:

ali happy

UTTER DELIGHT apparently.

Next Week:

laundry day

University Campus Laundry Day Week

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