Sewing Bee 2021, Episode 3: Strange Boardroom Bondage

Get ready for the Great British Optometry Challenge!

It’s Men’s Wear Week which means it’s my favourite week: Awkward Male Model Week!

Hat’s The Ticket!

In a first for the Sewing Bee the sewers will be tackling headwear with the Pattern Challenge being to make a man’s Baker Boy Hat which has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to Peaky Blinders (do not take a shot every time they say “Peaky Blinders” because you will be in the emergency room within the hour). Such is its popularity that it has been worn by, and this is a quote, “the most fashionable men in the world” which you would think might mean Harry Styles, Michael B Jordan or Joel Dommett on The Masked Singer specifically but no, they meant…

Not to rag on David Beckham and Samuel L. Jackson but “most fashionable men on the planet” is a big title.

Also with the supposed historic significance of the woollen hat brings forth the return of Amber Butchart who is dressed as a very niche superhero

Amber Butchart by day, The Pinch by night!

The baker boy hat is one of the smallest items that’s ever had to make on Sewing Bee – I would say it was the smallest but Matt last year made an apple costume that could have been a torture device for even the smallest of toddlers

As well as the hat being very small, there are also a total of 19 pieces to contend with making it a very fiddly item to make.
With the main part of the hat being made up of 8 different segments there was the opportunity to play around with different fabrics and create a bit of a pattern. Raph pushed this the furthest with his orange and brown wool twill, using both the front and reverse side to create an interesting tessellation

It’s a very cool hat and it was nice to see some vibrancy amongst what were mostly quite industrial colour choices.
Rebecca and Adam basically made the same hat with their two different shades of blue

I think I prefer Adam’s in this case, his fabrics have more of a depth and texture to them whereas Rebecca’s are maybe a touch flat, her button is also ever so slightly off centre.
Serena also played with two different fabrics and opted to make a sort of woollen yin and yang hat

Esme unabashedly hates it and while I don’t think the woollen duality serves much of a purpose, I appreciate that she tried something a little different with her colours and given that Serena had just lost a fight against a button Esme could have been a little more tactful.

Andrew claimed a slight advantage over the other sewers in that he had made an unspecified hat before, which I hope was a homemade Mitre for his husband but judging by his proficiency with a peak it was probably a tennis visor

his final hat was a very ordinary brown baker boy hat

the seams are a touch untidy and the button falls victim to Esme’s cat-like exuberance for complete and utter destruction

RIP Andrew’s Button 2021-2021.

Adeena was in a similar predicament to Andrew in that her hat looked perfectly fine at first, the big black button is a really cute detail

but there were unfortunately a couple of gaps in the seam and she had committed the cardinal Sewing Bee sin of sewing a light fabric with black thread

I hear the punishment for such a crime is that you’re not allowed allowed a slice of cake at the cafe. THE HORROR.

Damien was once again (rather ill-advisedly) confident that he could make a very nice baker boy hat with the hopes of being able to keep it afterwards and began freely cutting out his pieces in his trademark accurate-ish fashion. Patrick and Esme both swooped down on him almost immediately to point out the varying quality of his pattern pieces like a pair of cats toying with a mostly dead mouse

Did this worry him? Absolutely not.
One of the most crucial elements of the hat was the aligning of the peak so that the seams of the segments lined up equally, making for a more balanced finish. I think you can guess how this went for Damien

God bless Damien having the same approach to this hat as I did to the beanie I made in DT class in year 7

There are a multitude of issues, one being the overall lumpiness of the hat and the fact you could hide so many secrets in it but he has also failed to fix the peak into the seam giving his hat a pair of retractable fangs

Lawratu had a similar issues with gaps between the peak and the brim and while her hat wasn’t the most a museum quality specimen, I did really like her choice of blush pink wool

Make Cillian Murphy wear this one you cowards!
Esme took issue with the asymmetry of her patterning but I think it’s still more even than Domino’s ever cuts their pizzas

This is now a Domino’s call out post.
I also really loved Cathryn’s colour choices, her yellow silk lining perfectly matched the yellow flecked wool that she had chosen

I’m not sure I love the hat more than I love the slightly M&S does kink outfit she was wearing though

She’s a trendsetter if ever there was one.

Esme and Patrick loved Farie’s choice of fabric, and it was maybe the most Peaky Blinders of the lot

it’s incredibly well made, it’s structured without being too puffy, a thoroughly good job! And thus begins The Farie Redemption Arc.

An Official Baker Boy Hat Ranking

  1. Raph’s Tessellated Cap
  2. Serena’s Partial Dunk Cap
  3. Adam’s Little Boy Blue Cap
  4. Cathryn’s Yellow Contrast Cap
  5. Farie’s Is Weirdly Low Down
  6. Rebecca’s Lesser Adam’s Cap
  7. Andrew’s Buttonless Wonder
  8. Lawratu’s Campy Blinders
  9. Adeena’s Ill-advised Contrast Seams
  10. Damien’s Fanged Cap o’Secrets

Play Your Strong Suit

For this week’s Transformation Challenge the sewers had to turn a pair of suit jackets that Patrick has deemed worthy of total destruction into any fashionable women’s garment they chose – with an emphasis on FASHIONABLE. You would think after several series of this show that people would have finally caught on to the fact that just reversing the garment and making it into a top or a dress doesn’t really constitute a transformation

sadly Farie didn’t even get as far as turning it into a complete dress as it went from suit jacket to sleeveless suit jacket

a couple of the other sewers had all done similar things but had at least managed to turn the front of their outfits into something new. Lawratu’s was very Dystopian army general

I really love the shape of her sleeves and the way she’s created a silhouette within the garment is very flattering.
Adam’s was a softer approach with it looking like something from the 60s idea of the future

there’s a strange Jetsons-esque quality to it that I can’t really put my finger on. I really love his neckline, I’m not overly keen on the chevron, I don’t think it’s really adding anything but Esme was very taken by it – each to their own.

Raph had also created a dress and I would say this might be the most complete and wearable looking garment that has ever been made during the Transformation Challenge

It’s really cute and flirty – the pleats on the front are very well spaced and give the skirt that beautiful slightly fluted effect. I really don’t understand why this didn’t score higher than it did.

Most of the suits were in the usual brown and blue shades so I was excited when Adeena grabbed the one interesting red and blue suit. Sadly the other colour she grabbed was a very muddy khaki colour and so her colour blocking efforts didn’t work wonderfully

I admire the effort to try and glam it up with the brocade trim, someone had to try it seeing as Damien was going cold turkey on the turquoise beaded fringe front with his slightly villainous CEO skirt

This is actually genuinely a very a cool skirt – the flashes of red give it a very sexy allure which I didn’t know I would ever get to say about something Damien made.
Andrew also made a skirt although his wasn’t as sexy and kind of looked like a partially deflated hot air balloon

such is the risk of doing alternated panels. It is very well made, if maybe a touch simple and safe – the judges definitely gravitate more towards the outright bonkers in this challenge which is why Rebecca’s strange boardroom bondage getup did so well

Honestly? I wish she had just left it as the harness – if you can go full on niche kink, you might as well go full on niche kink. But if in doubt you could always just stash a packet of Haribo in the pocket, it certainly payed off for Serena

at first I thought this just looked like a few strips of fabric sewn together in a vaguely top-like shape (which it kind of just is) but the shoulders have a lot of interesting details because of the fact she made them from the suit lapels that gives them a vaguely Star Wars-ian feel

I wish the actual bottom of the top had enough structure to match it, almost like Lawratu’s did, I find the handkerchief style trim to be at odds with the rest of it.

Cathryn’s outfit was certainly a tale of two halves, I loved the top part

It looks like the sort of thing worn by somebody who had never even contemplated going into the countryside but had inadvertently found themselves invited to go clay pigeon shooting. We then find out what it looks like as a whole

Can everyone cool it on the blue trims?

An Official Suit Transformation Ranking

  1. Serena’s Star Wars Sleeves
  2. Adam’s Jetsons Cocktail Dress
  3. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION STARTS NOW
  4. Lawratu’s Dystopian Infantry Leader
  5. Damien’s Saucy Skirt
  6. Rebecca’s Modest Harness
  7. Adeena’s Wonky Colour Blocking
  8. Andrew’s Hot Hair Balloon
  9. Cathryn’s Half’n’Half
  10. Farie’s Celine Dion Cosplay

Utility is Mandatory

Coming in to the final challenge of Men’s Wear Week everyone except for Serena, Adam and Raph were looking a little precarious and the final push for safety was how well they could put together a men’s utility jacket with a minimum of 3 pockets. A lot of the sewers took the minimum of three and ran with it while a fair few upped it to four and then you had Andrew barrelling in like a Las Vegas high roller staking a claim to a jacket boasting 8 pockets. His octo-pocketed jacket was based on a metalworker’s jacket but he was jazzing it up just a little bit with a little bit of RNLI orange to accent his navy blue

He accidentally made it a little too small and in a bid to save it and create something that didn’t make his model look like he was posing in a charity magazine, he added in some more of the orange to the front to create a statement zip and it actually looks better than the intended design

it’s a genuinely very cool design and a very well recovered.
Adeena also ran aground when she accidentally put her zip in back to front and instead of wasting time by unpicking and starting again she made into a feature of the jacket which would have been a pretty bog standard blue camo jacket without it, but with it it has that unique bespoke quality

I’m not sure if the mammoth size of it is because of the zip error or if she had intended it to double as a 1 man festival tent but either way, it looks very comfortable.
Also, you might remember her model from such hits as That time he was a villain of the day on Death In Paradise

I’ll never forget him.

On the other end of the spectrum, after admitting that he had already made the jacket once before and he and his model had the exact same measurements Raph was feeling quite confident. However it turned out that he and Raph did not have the same measurements, unless Raph likes his utility jackets to feel like a very firm hug

I wouldn’t blame him, also let’s not deny that snugness here is appreciated because Raph had the hottest model. You did us all a solid one Raph.

While most people stuck to a pretty obviously military or workman like aesthetic, Damien was of course being otherwise and was opting for more of a Western feel which he was going to achieve with corduroy and steel buttons. I don’t instantly associate corduroy with the wild west, largely because I was at college in 2011 when every boy wore it and looked slightly like a lost physics teacher. It also slightly put the fear of God in me when Damien said his utility jacket was based on a shirt pattern that he had modified – and I realise I should have just trusted him and I’m working on the trust issues I have with Damien because his jacket was very handsome and his model was feeling all of his oats

Those dusky browny-greys are perfect together. I may have slightly wanted more a rhinestone cowboy – if ever there was a time to use the turquoise beaded fringe IT WAS NOW DAMIEN.

While Damien went for the supposed ruggedness of a corduroy wearing cowboy, Adam was staying in his nautically camp wheelhouse with a lovely little blue jacket that featured anchor buttons, pockets lined with an anchor print and my favourite feature: a very nipped in waist

I love this, I think it’s so cute and looks delightfully like something you could buy in the Build-a-Bear Workshop. I now really just want a teddy bear with a nice little utility jacket.

While most people opted for prints to line their pockets, Serena was going all out with a fabric that basically looked like the title card of a Rugrats episode

It’s deliciously 90s and her final outfit with its kind of slouchy look and feel fitted it perfectly

I love that she took the time to pattern match the pockets, Esme isn’t such a fan because she flipped a coin and suddenly decided that she likes very jarring pockets. At least Patrick was there to defend her and point oit that if the pattern hadn’t been matched it would have looked like a very aggressive magic eye puzzle.

Farie wins the Fabric of the Day with her Zimbabwean ankara fabric which she was using to line the pockets and facing of the jacket

MAKE THE WHOLE COAT OUT OF IT YOU COWARD! She was instead opting to make the main jacket out of a very lovely teal fabric and after 2 previous weeks of not finishing her garments, Farie finally finished a Made to Measure Challenge with a really stunning jacket

He looks GREAT in it, it’s perfectly fitting and the contrast when the jacket is unzipped and the ankara peeps out works phenomenally

I think it’s fair to say that Farie was pretty ecstatic with the turn of events

All aboard the Farie Hype Train! I’ll be your conductor for this potentially chaotic journey.

With Farie swerving the jinks, someone had to fall foul and unfortunately it was Lawratu who had one hell of a time trying to put together her raspberry coloured safari jacket. She was mostly delayed by the fact her snaps wouldn’t take to the fabric she was using for some reason – I won’t even begin to ponder it and am just going to put it down to a curse – so with the cursed snaps eating up her time she had to ditch the lining of the coat which was unfortunately everyone’s favourite part of the design

and her design had to walk down the what-we-are-generously-calling-a-catwalk with Lawratu averting her eyes at all costs

While it absolutely wasn’t finished, at least it wasn’t being held together by safety pins and prayers

You can see elements of very good sewing and design, it’s just a real shame that it didn’t manage to make it to full fruition and become the overly bright, least safari-friendly safari jacker you have ever seen.

Statement pockets were all the rage but Cathryn was going a step further and adding a statement collar to the proceedings, inspired by her son’s air cadet uniform

it’s a really fun detail and really stands out against what is mostly just a very ordinary, grey jacket

it’s well sewn, I might have liked to see the military aspects of it taken to the cuffs but I wont hold a grudge over it.

Lastly we have Rebecca who used the raglan sleeve hack in order to create a much easier to fit jacket in a very ordinary looking camo print

It’s not reinventing the wheel but it’s Week 3 and I think it’s alright to skate by on ordinary for maybe one more episode before you have to start really going all out.

An Unofficial Utility Jacket Ranking

  1. Farie’s Zimbabwean Pockets
  2. Serena’s Sitcom Credits Jacket
  3. Andrew’s RNLI Sponsorship
  4. Adam’s Nautical Teddy Bear
  5. Adeena’s Saved Zip
  6. Damien’s Rhinestoneless Cowboy
  7. Cathryn’s Crouching Model, Hidden Statement Collar
  8. Rebecca’s Safe Camo
  9. Raph’s Hugging Jacket
  10. Lawratu’s Anti-safari Jacket

For both manging to finish a garment and making it so excellently Farie is awarded the Garment of the Week

We love to see it.
What we don’t love to see is that it was pretty obvious that with her unfinished jacket that it would be Lawratu who was going home and sadly, this was very much the case

I’ll be sad to see anyone go because they’re all lovely but I was really enjoying the energy that Lawratu brought to the show – she’ll always be an All Star to me, unfinished jackets and all!

And so, 9 sewers remain

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