Sewing Bee 2020, Episode 8 Recap: Paso Doblé to The Fast Food Song

joe lycett mannequin tea party

Lockdown has really got to some of us.

It’s the annual world week and how have the judges dressed to honour the occasion?

judges outfits

A scarab beetle, Your Art Teacher and Patrick as Patrick – I can just feel the culture. Also, if National Rail is wondering where their slats went I think I may know the culprit:

esme young necklace

Terno Blouses

The first challenge for the week is the Terno Blouse – a garment favoured by professional hoarder Imela Marcos, who according to the history bit had so many terno blouses made that her seamstresses started losing their eyesight, very Alexis Michelle.

alexis michelle I nearly went blind

The main feature of the blouse are its very puffed, stiff shoulders meaning the sewers have to choose a fabric that can hold its structure, and if the do try to make a bad choice Clare is around to shoot them down

nicole vs clare 1nicole vs clare 2

As an added bonus complexity they must also make 5 covered buttons for the back of the blouse and make their own bias binding for the neckline of the blouse.

It largely ends up being a battle of two with Clare and Liz competing with sheer, gauzy fabrics – who knew Clare would be all TITS OUT FOR THE LADS? Liz being Liz will not let you forget that she is 100% a 90s goth:

liz 90s goth

Lydia Deetz found re-dead.

Then there’s Nicole and Matt with much more traditional, formal fabrics – Nicole going with a very pretty sequinned bridal fabric and Matt opting for brocade. And then that leaves Mark kind of just muddling about with a silk crepe which while a very beautiful fabric:

marks fabric silk crepe

Even I as a non-sewer (that’s NON-SO-ERR) could see that this would end in very erectiley defunct sleeves:

erectile dusfunction sleeves

You would think the sewers would have learned by now to avoid silk crepe at all costs? He also chooses not to bother with covered buttons because honestly, who has the time? The answer is Clare, Clare has the time…

Nicole’s fabric choice while pretty also comes with the added cost of having to strategically remove the beads so that she can actually sew the fabric together, she thankfully does this by snipping them and not going full passive aggressive Project Runway contestant and smashing them off with a hammer – sadly this pushes her further and further behind meaning not only does she not have time to make her own bias binding, pulling some pre-made from the haberdashery (bias binding sounds a lot like puff pastry – why bother making your own?) but she also has to completely give up on the concept of buttons meaning that while her blouse is maybe the most Imelda Marcos

nicole beaded terno blouse

It’s basically just a very pretty hospital gown.
Her sparring partner Matt fares much better, actually managing to get 3 of the 5 buttons on and himself creating a top that could have been worn by Imelda:

matt terno blouse brocade

The do however completely ignore the fact that the sleeves are lopsided.

Over in the Battle of the Sheers they do pretty well for themselves, there’s a few errors with Liz’s VERY GOTH, TOTALLY 90S GOTH, IMELDA MARCOS WHOMST? Terno Blouse

liz goth terno

It’s the most modern looking of all the tops, River Island is literally selling things identical to this right this second. Apparently the bias binding isn’t flat enough and one of the sleeves has a little tuck which hampers the shape, it’s less hampered than Matt’s though and they completely ignore his Imedla Marcos shoulder injury. Clare meanwhile breezes through the whole round making a very pretty autumnal feeling top:

clare terno blouse

She even has time to do French seams which Esme raves about, Liz does not:

liz reaction french seams

Secret plan, revenge on my mind! Secret PLAAAAAAAAAN!

clare drinking tea


The ranking for the terno blouses is:

  1. Clare’s Autumnal Marcos
  2. Matt’s Imelda Marcos With a Shoulder Strain
  3. Liz’s Imelda Marcos’ 90s Goth Phase
  4. Nicole’s Bedazzled couture Hospital Gown
  5. Mark’s Flaccid Blouse

Provincial Tablecloths

patrick pulling the table cloth

Shout out to the production planner who had to fill out the health and safety form for Patrick’s tablecloth trick fiasco, you’re doing amazing sweetie.

We’re back in Europe for the transformation challenge and the sewers have to turn a Provençal tablecloth into any garment they want, they are allowed to use additional fabrics but the tablecloth must be the star of the show.

Most of the tablecloths are extremely vibrant oranges, yellow and blues and then sitting amongst them is a washed-out lavender one which is so clearly a trap and yet Mark wilfully walks dead into and immediately grabs it

mark purple tablecloth

granted I’m not sure where this Patrick hating purple came from, but you can just tell that nobody was meant to choose the dull purple one! GET IT TOGETHER MARK. (spoiler alert, he does not in fact get it together).

Liz decides to channel her inner Peter and drapes and pleats her tablecloth onto the mannequin and just seeing where the process takes her while bragging

massive wizard sleeve

Which is why we’re now in a post-watershed slot. The end result is a very dramatic mono-sleeved kimono complete with an obi sash

mono sleeved kimono

It’s got an element of 70s glam rock about it, I could see Mick Jagger wearing this in Performance, it’s certainly closer to punk than Matt’s entirely impractical and unwearable bikini:

unwearable bikini

Nobody’s tits are safe in that thing! While I admire and appreciate the dedication to this particular brand of Grand Theft Auto sluttery; if Nicole got called out for the back of her Terno not being able to be done up, I’m not sure why we’re letting Matt get away with the back of his what-we-are-generously-calling-a-bikini looking like a drunkenly wrapped Christmas present:

matt bikini back

Clare meanwhile is sitting pretty in her twee little wheelhouse and turns out a very cute, if a little costumey, little girl’s dress complete with a peasant apron

clare peasant girl costume

And if you’re wondering how long it took them to whack out “Non, je ne regrette rien” by Edith Piaf in a French based challenge, it took all of 9 minutes. Speaking of regrets, Mark is still floundering with his lavender fabric and threatening to make a cape before having a Vietnam style flashback to Alex draping a towel over his mannequin, calling it a cape and being eliminated immediately

alexs folded towel

When Mark eventually cottons on to this he starts adding a collar and some pockets, turning his cape into a sort of house coat for the specific purpose of taking the bins out, although if you ask me the outfit would be much better put to use as an Elvis Halloween costume:

mark bad coat

Somehow Esme and Patrick look over the fact his collar looks like its having an allergic reaction and choose to focus on the fact he has made a buttonhole but not attached a button, I mean it’s a fair question but those lapels… Jeeze. Nicole also has issues with the judges who don’t realise for quite awhile that her clown trousers are not in fact a skirt:

nicole frilled trews

To be fair, while sewing them she did accidentally make them into a skirt so we can’t really blame them. Her pattern matching is also a little off.

The transformation ranking is:

  1. Clare’s Child Servant
  2. Liz’s Mick Jagger Kimono
  3. Matt’s GTA NPC
  4. Nicole’s Clown Pants
  5. Mark’s Party City Elvis Costume

Going in to the final round the writing is pretty much on the wall for Mark, Nicole always turns it out in the made-to-measure challenge and nobody else is circling the drain so its Fs in chat for Mark please.

Don’t worry though, it’s not all bad for him, he has a gig solving crimes in a very sedate BBC 3pm drama

mark in the rain

Flamenco Skirts

For the final round of World Week we’re merely skipping over a boarder and into Spain for flamenco skirts!

Esme and Patrick and looking for high drama, big impact, a metric fuck-tonne of ruffles and a figure hugging fit along the hips, waist and seat (/arse).

Clare is feeling a bit apprehensive because she has, unsurprisingly, never danced a flamenco before – I imagine the jitterbug is much more her speed. She also doesn’t have to worry because she’s won both of the other rounds and as Joe said she could just bugger off to the pub and still be safe, which she might have been better off doing because her Gone With The Wind curtain skirt (a not at all badly timed reference) wasn’t exactly a stellar turn out from her:

clare flamenco skirt

The brocade fabric was too heavy and because she spent so much time finnicking over the pencil skirt portion (Clare loves a Pencil skirt) she didn’t have the time to get miles of tulle ruffles made, although I’m not sure adding an abundance of red and orange tulle to this dead fish of a skirt was ever going to help, Liz meanwhile delighted in Clare’s misery:

liz vs clare 1liz vs clare 2

It’s just that dark 90s goth humour. And just in case you had forgotten that Liz was a 90s goth she is making a skirt inspired by the pinnacle of 90s goth cinema: The Addams Family Values The Craft The Crow, oh 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula because of course she is

liz vampire flamenco skirt

It’s mostly very successful, the fit on the hips is great but the waist is a good inch too big and her model clearly has to hold it up while she walks, but goddamn does she WALK! She stomps, she spins, sh struts, someone was feeling all of their oats. I think there could have been more ruffles, and certainly more volume, especially when you know her reference:

red dress dracula

She isn’t the only one with Fit issues as for some unknown reason Matt has decide he is going to create a flamenco skirt out of scuba fabric, you know just in case you wanna dance with a porpoise. I’m just having flashbacks to that time on Junior Apprentice when they had to repurpose clothes to sell in Shoreditch and one of them made a kimono out of a wetsuit and even the hipsters were horrified. He is also once again working from his own pattern design, because that went swimmingly last… luckily we don’t have another wailing-widow moment, instead we end up with a skirt someone on Strictly would dance a Paso Doble to The Fast Food song in

mcdonalds flamenco skirt

Make it happen Louise Rainbow. I beg of you! Because the scuba fabric is so heavy and he decided to not interface it he and his model have to keep hoiking it up which doesn’t exactly garner much praise from Esme and Patrick, nor does his excessively long zip which seems to run down the whole length of the skirt and couldn’t have helped with the fit issues. All in all it is deemed “insufficient enough to put him in danger of being eliminated” which is one of the sickest burns Esme has ever turned out.

All Mark had to do was knock it out of the park and he could maybe have been safe given Matt’s clunker. His plan was pinned entirely on this migraine of a fabric:

mark fabric

I need an ibuprofen. I roasted Ali for her choice in fabrics but even she is at home wondering what on earth that is! It doesn’t exactly work to make a very perceptible skirt, it’s all just one bit lump of garish waft

mark garish flamenco skirt

Maybe a contrast tier of ruffles, much like Liz’s black ruffles, would have broken it up and given your eyes somewhere to rest once their too tired to try and work out what the pattern is. Even he got tired of it and proceeded to call his skirt “the retched thing” for the remainder of the round.

He wasn’t the only managing a lively and potentially eye-boggling material as Nicole chose to make a skirt out of two different Africa waxprint fabrics, granted hers was much significantly more successful

waxprint flamencp

Mostly because the pattern she used actually gave her RUFFLES and not a few limp extra tiers of fabric, she had to hem 15 metres of the ruddy things too (Derrick Barry could NEVER) so much in fact that she ran out of her gold hemming ribbon and had to finish it off using a glittery gold ribbon that the producers had to just about visibly poke Esme to notice.

Nicole’s is such a celebration of World Week, combining different aesthetics and fabrics from around the world that it was only right that her Africana-Flamenco dress was deemed Garment of the Week and despite Matt’s McDonald’s billboard of a skirt, it was Mark’s last dance, but don’ worry we’ll always remember Mark for his neckwear

mark necktie

And that time he tried to flirt with Patrick but basically just told him to get naked.


joe lycett upskirt

The Sun is upskirting again.

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