Sewing Bee 2020, Episode 9 Recap: Widowed Flappers

titanic painting

They really put the Tit in Titanic.

In true “Oh God! We need more theme weeks!” fashion we’ve been saddled with a movie week, although unlike Strictly Come Dancing at least Trollz doesn’t feature too heavily, instead we’re focusing on prestige movies such The 7 Year Itch, Chicago, The Great Gatsby, Barbarella and… Red Dwarf?

So how have the judges dressed or Movie week?

judges movie week outfits

Peewee Herman, Esme’s Underground Twin from The Movie Us and Every Man From The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film.

Pleated Halter Neck Dress

The first challenge of the week is to recreate Marilyn Monroe’s ironic dress from The Seven Year Itch and in a plot twist that M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could pull: Clare has not seen the film. WHAT A 1950S APPRECIATION POSER.

This is apparently the most difficult challenge yet, as it should be it is the semi finals, the bagged out bust is the particular area of difficulty with 8 pleats to give it shape and support to the breasts which also need to be interfaced for added structure. Then there is also the foe of many: The Invisible Zip (starring Elisabeth Moss.) To help the sewers That’s SO-ERRs) they have been given them pre-pleated fabrics to make the skirt – or else the challenge would have taken 9 hours and Esme can’t be dealing with that – she has haunted necklaces to bid for on Ebay after all.
The pleated fabric apparently also creates “an even playing field” as though there have been distinct advantages in every other challenge? The fabrics they offer are also all very boring single colours

pleated fabrics

and no black option which upsets VERY 90S GOTH LIZ hugely, “red is the next best thing” she sighs. Liz, there is a very dark navy blue one RIGHT THERE. Clare goes for the palest option for historical accuracy, Nicole opts yellow and Matt chooses a distinctly Tory shade of blue – name dropping Margaret Thatcher AND HOW MANY TIMES DOES THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN BEFORE WE CAN BE DONE WITH HER?

As it turns out the reduction in workload that the pre-pleated fabrics offered didn’t go too far as we ended up with only 1 fully complete dress and the rest in various states of desperately being pinned to the mannequin.

Liz is obviously in the most rickety position of all the sewers, she’s been sliding under the radar for most weeks and hasn’t had a truly stand out moment so she’s putting a lot of her energy into being as neat as possible which, as we all know by now, means putting yourself far too far behind and then having a manic sewing session in the last 30 minutes and chopping off the top of your invisible zip leaving the back of your dress agape:

liz zip topliz zip dress

Womp womp. Her zip wasn’t the only thing fighting her as she spent a good while trying to wrestle the cord of her sewing machine into submission:

liz vs sewing machine

She was far from the only one having issues, Nicole pleats her bust fabric and then Patrick swoops in like a Whitby seagull and squawks that her pleats are starting in two very different places so she has to redo them, while blaming it on “the fabric moving around” which I would believe if it weren’t for the fact she just reads the pattern instructions like your gran speed reading a crime novel – missing out the very important element of bagging out the bust and skipping straight from “pleat the fabric” to “attack the waistband and skirt” – which great, you know who the murderer was but you kind of missed all the clues and now you have visible seams on your bust, what would Miss Marple say?

Nicole, like everyone except Matt, doesn’t even manage to get her halter fasteners on but at least her pleats were great, so it was… all worth it?

nicole dress

Matt is the golden boy of the challenge, using it mainly to brag about the Marilyn cosplay he has previously made. He steams along without any problems, sure his waistband was a scooch too baggy but his hemline was by far the most even

matt dress

especially when compared to Clare’s which had just fully prolapsed:

clare marilyn dress

She has some stretching issues on the bust and some SCANDALOUS visible side boob but it’s over all a good attempt considering the difficulty of it all.

The final ranking is:

  1. Matt’s Tory Pinup
  2. Clare’s Some Like it Tepid
  3. Nicole’s Booboo in the Boobs
  4. Liz’s Zip Massacre

Sci-Fi Eleganza Extravaganza!

From the 1950s to the 80s sci-fi boom – the haberdashery has been turned into a cross between an Oxfam and Watto’s junk dealership

junk sewing room

The sewers are allowed to use up to three of the pre-existing garments and an unlimited amount of junk (which is the prize for winning Drag Race UK) and they have to create a look that could fit into any cinematic sci-fi universe (or an Amsterdam sex club.)

The garments on offer are all of varying shades of silver and gold with enough black leather and red PVC so cover every diner booth in America. Nicole having lived through the cautionary tale of PVC and leather opts for a wetsuit, triggering the memory of that time on The Junior Apprentice where they had to buy old clothes and refashion them to sell in Shoreditch and one of them made a kimono out of a wetsuit and everyone laughed at the poor boy. Luckily Nicole has a slightly better plan to create a…

nicole space outfit

Grumpy Space Baked Potato? I get that sci-fi clothes aren’t always flattering, sometimes it’s meant to look utilitarian, but I’ll be damned if I know why it’s is looking at me like that.

Going for a similar colour palette is Liz, are you surprised? She’s trying to goth it up, her preferred sci-fi films are the gory ones and her favourite being “the one with the head that falls off and runs away on legs” which I think is The Thing? But it sounded like she wasn’t saying the name for copyright reasons (it is owned by Universal Pictures so I wouldn’t be surprised). Liz is hoping to evoke this aesthetic with a goth gift bag:

liz space dress

The random zip on the boob for no reason (UNZIP THE NIP) and circuit board snapped and haphazardly attached in the desperation to give it at least 1 obvious sci-fi element are just the icing on the cake, I delight in a last minute brain fart! The judges praise it as being very Mad Max, which is not a sci-fi film but maybe I’m just a pedant.

On the other end of the sci-fi spectrum we have Clare threatens a Blade Runner inspired garment (anything for some semblance of a 50s aesthetic I guess) and then Red Dwarf and ultimately decide to plunge wholeheartedly into 70s sci-fi service maid

clare space dress

It’s by far and away the most technical and impressive garment, the fit and shape are really interesting, I honestly think it would have been better without the underskirt and just go all out into the Space Bimbo territory and have your ass hang out, nobody cares about modesty in space! She spent so long shaping, cutting and working those copper coloured vacuum cleaner pipes that I’m glad it worked out for her.

While Clare was architectural and flashy, Matt opted for a simple and chic Barbarella get-up:

matt space dress

If you’ve always wanted to be a slutty ketchup satchet for Hallowen, I think we’ve finally got you covered! It does still surprises me every time Matt mentions that he makes drag outfits because so much of what he makes is kind of pedestrian! Not that you cold wear this outside without getting a misdemeanor and being put on The List, but it is literally, to quote Michelle Visage, “a piece of fabric” – and then much in the same vein as Liz he slapped on a few curtain rings to make sure he used some junk. It’s simplicity is certainly effective, and granted it was 90 minutes but I still really want him to pull out something BIG and avant-garde in one of these challenges.

The final ranking for this week is:

  1. Clare‘s Sexy3PO
  2. Nicole’s Grumpy Space Potato
  3. Matt’s Indecent Exposure (IN SPACE!)
  4. Liz’s Hot Topic Gift Bag.

So that’s Liz pretty much in the bin unless she can come through on her EVIL PLAAAAAAAAAAN

Liz evil plan

Nobody drink the tea.

Flapper Dresses

Drawing inspiration from Chicago and The Great Gatsby the final challenge is to make a flapper dress fit for any sordid 1920s cocktail party – we want glitz, glam, a straight up and down silhouette with nary a whisper of boobs or waist – you’ve got to look like you’re holding up the Acropolis

20s flapper dress

But fabulously! So how are the sewers feeling about this challenge?

clare game face

Of course Clare is ready for war. Matt is less thrilled:

matt terrified

Although at least this week Matt is using an actual pattern from a book (personal growth, we love to see it) and has ordered some fancy sequinned fabric all the way from New York – he bought it on Ali Express didn’t he? It’s lovely fabric:

matt new york fabric

It does however come with the disadvantage of being heavily sequinned and thus more difficult because he doesn’t have time to remove the sequins in his seam allowance meaning he has baggy sleeves that make his very slight model look a bit like she’s smuggling a sewing machine out the room between her legs:

matt flapper dress

He manages to keep himself together despite a few wobbles and his model was at least on hand to offer some emotional support:

sashay you stay

God bless the straight Drag Race fandom.

The embellished fabrics the sewers are using quickly become their enemies (unless you’re Nicole in which case you entire garment hates you and your entire family) as they have to remove them to sew the fabric luckily Liz has a cheatcode (and a weapon capable of blunt force trauma):

Liz hammering

It’s Hammer Time baby! Sadly for Nicole and Clare their beads are too small and wont succumb to any sort of bashing, in which case, fuck it BAGGY HEMS ALL ROUND! If you were wondering how Liz would make this challenge TOTALLY 90S GOTH, wonder no further:

liz cobweb fabric

God bless this fabric that every emo girl in 2011 wore to their prom. The slightly macabre fabric does a lot to set Liz out from the crowd,

it’s understated and the lack of colour draws it away from being too costume-y, although I suppose “haunted widow flapper dancer” is peak Halloween. Speaking of Widowed Flappers:

amber butchart

It was Amber Butchart in the billiards room with a candlestick.

Clare and Nicole are once again vying for the crown of Doing The Absolute Most. Clare with both her Charleston demonstration (are you surprised she dances the Charleston?) and her green three layer hankerchief hem dress and Nicole using every possible embellished fabric and 100% silk. Both end up in pretty much on the same level. Clare has a bit of a fit issue and her dress as she forgets to take removed sequins int account for her seam allowance and so her dress end up looking a bit tight:

clare flapper dress green

It’s also a particularly ugly shade of green and looks like the Turnip Dress that my Animal Crossing villagers keep gifting me for no reason – I DON’T WANT IT TIFFANY, GIVE IT BONBON. Meanwhile Nicole ends up with some very lopsided boobs and an overall outfit that looks like the feather duster  costume from the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast:

nicole flapper dress

At least it has a practical use?

It’s a tight run race in the end for elimination with just about everyone’s names being thrown around. Liz royally botched the first two challenges but her flapper dress is in contention for Garment of the Week, Matt who won the first challenge, middled in Round 2 and 3 and Nicole plateaued throughout (and was give far too much praise for that Lumpy Space Potato, I MEAN LOOK AT IT:

nicole space outfit


In the end Clare’s Space Bimbo Waitress gets garment of the week and then we all knew the writing was on the wall for our 90s Goth Queen Liz and she’s given the (Doc Martin) boot. I think there was a genuine argument for keeping them all and having a four way finale, I’d be interested to see what Liz would make in what I assume will be another Formal Wear Week?


clare ironing

Clare finally reaches the 1950s!

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