Sewing Bee 2021, Episode 6: All-Consuming Cowboy Kimono

the highlight for the rest of the series will be Rebecca’s octopus costume stealing focus at all times.

It’s Recycling Week which means every challenge this week is actually secretly the Transformation Challenge, but don’t tell anyone!

Waist(coat) Want Not

Kicking off Reuse, Recycle, Rehabilitate Week is the challenge to create a man’s waistcoat and because of the theme of the week the haberdashery has been completely cleared out and replaced with second-hand garments

so if you were wondering how charity shops were coping with lockdown, Love Productions had them spotted.
Due to the fact they’re using pre-existing clothes for the challenge the sewers have to be wary of how they cut the pattern pieces out and whether they want to possibly incorporate elements such as collars, pockets, buttons, frills or seams. Doing so of course makes sewing the actual piece that much harder, as Adeena found out when she decided to feature her jacket’s pockets as a sort of feeble little hip wing

There is something quite cool about the whole thing in that you can tell you’ve made it out of something else – the lines of it are all bonkers though and looks like an inexperienced magician had a few run-ins with his saw trick. The biggest issue though is the fact she misread the instructions of “cut out 2 pairs of your back pieces” and only cut out 1 of each – which is hardly a Sphynx’s riddle but I can see how in the pressurised environment of the Sewing Bee with Esme and her menacing grabby hands wandering around you might suffer a momentary brain fart.

None of the other sewers opted to make features out of the garments’ pockets but there was some delightful patchworking going on, especially from Serena who immediately jumped on the gold brocade and crafted what can only be described as a waistcoat befitting the best stage magician in all of Britain

it’s phenomenally fun and I’m sure The Secret Circle might be in need of a personal tailor if the whole doctoring thing doesn’t work out for Serena.
While she wasn’t getting very excited about the fact she successfully bagged out her waistcoat and subsequently wearing it like a cloak for some reason

she was helping Damien sort out his own bagging-out process, a kindness he repaid by comparing her to his SatNav which earned him quite the look from Serena

(My money is entirely on Serena)

Although I think Serena will have to wait because Damien’s Enemy Numero Uno is Esme after weeks of just skipping a few pages, him creating a mess that could rival even the most disgruntled toddler really pushed her over the edge

He was after all using 2 jackets, a pair of pants and a lady’s dress to make a single waistcoat in a delightful act of completely misreading the ethos of the challenge. But was it worth it, well…

they’re very well chosen fabrics and I really like the slightly askew checks in his tweed but you can’t ignore the fact the hem is uneven and the one side does have a strange little bit poking out of it.

Andrew was very excited to get to the Recycling themed week, mostly because he has experience in the matter as he has created a vest out of socks and it very much looks like a vest made out of socks

I will protect this man and all of his sock-based garments with my life if I have to. I would like to know if he’s ever considered making his husband a cassock out of socks.
Sadly there were no socks featured in his waistcoat, which was rather festive

his sewing is as neat as ever and his buttons were all on correctly, I think if he had just been a little more adventurous with his fabrics he would have been in contention for the crown because a red waistcoat can hardly compete with Raph’s technicoloured Dream Waistcoat

it’s just immaculately sewing from the straightness of the lines to the fact his seams were entirely invisible, even to Esme’s cat-like vision that she’s trained to see a pucker from 70 feet away

It’s like Where’s Wally? but with seams. I’m just a little sad that Joe Lycett didn’t try to put it on, but I think he had learned his lesson after trying to put Rebecca’s mangled trousers

but she managed to turn them into a really smart looking waistcoat – I really love the pink tones in the check

I’d have liked to see the pink carried into the back, just for a flash of fun but with the limited fabrics at their disposal I can’t entirely blame her for settling with a safe black and purple-ish tone. The buttons are a little bit off but it’s still a very handsome garment.

Fresh off completing her hattrick of Garments of the Week, Farie had swung the other way and was back in her bad habits of an unfinished garment as her buckle and strap hung on by the power of a pin

but from the front, the blue silk backing picked up the flecks of blue in her herringbone tweed very nicely

but like a couple of the others sewers, the bottom is slightly uneven and does tend to draw your eye where your eye ought not be drawn.

An Official Waistcoat Ranking

  1. Raph’s Technicoloured Dream (waist)Coat
  2. Serena’s Patchwork Magician
  3. Andrew’s Sadly Sockless Waistcoat
  4. Farie’s Bad Habits Returneth
  5. Rebecca’s Askew Buttons
  6. Damien is Sixth Entirely Because He Made a Mess
  7. Adeena vs Pockets

Lads At War

In a week where everything is a transformation challenge, calling this the Transformation Challenge seems redundant so we’ll call it The Panicked Speed Sewing Round for one week only. And for this round the sewers will have to transform pieces from a Military Surplus Store into a chic woman’s garment. I really hope they washed all of these pieces of camo gear THOROUGHLY because if you’ve ever been in a military surplus store you know they stink to high heaven.

For their outfits the sewers can use up to three pieces each and any additional embellishments, which sadly doesn’t result in Damien bedecking his in turquoise fringe but did give Raph the opportunity to line his mono-sleeved mini dress with neon orange

it’s an incredibly stylish looking outfit, I could legitimately see it as a Little Mix stage costume and what more could you ask for?

Nobody else went for anything particularly colourful but leather fringing was rather popular as Farie, Adeena and Andrew all leapt on it to varying degrees of success. I was worried about Farie for a while because she said she was making a cape and we all know how this has gone in the past

And at one point her cape did look a bit like someone had somehow got trapped inside a throw pillow

but with the addition of the fringing it gave it real look of power and authority

I do more than a little bit want to put it on and do the Beyoncé shoulder shake she does in the Run The World music video

You would probably poke yourself in the ear umpteen times but it would be worth it.
I may have not got to try it on but Esme did and she had the time of her life

and I think when you manage to make Esme smile with a childlike exuberance, you know you’ve won

Honestly, Esme twirling in that camo cape is probably my favourite Sewing Bee moment of all time, and if you were wondering my previous favourite moment was Juliet’s daughter breaking the fourth wall


Andrew used his fringe to line what was originally just a dress and slowly became a sort of all-consuming cowboy kimono

it’s very The Good, The Bad and The Ugly but make it FASHION! and to be honest, I really rather love it and the fact he’s managed to navigate such an obscene amount of fabric into quite a chic looking outfit.

Adeena’s use of fringe was perplexing as she made the strange choice to sew it down, thereby nulling its fringedness. Not that having leather fringe on the side of her camouflage apron would have really helped much

there are some interesting elements here and there – the zipped collar adds some edge but the reverse high-low hem just frazzles my brain whenever I look at it.

Between the remaining three of Damien, Serena and Rebecca it became a Battle of the Dresses, or in Damien’s words A Battle of the “Dress, thing. Whatever”. Which was a strange way of describing his outfit considering it was literally just a mini dress

from the front it’s fairly ordinary and unassuming but it does at least the crossed straps at the back to add some interest and show a little more skill

or as much skill as sewing two shirt sleeves across the back requires.
He had also left the hems deliberately unhemmed because to him that means chic but to Patrick it just means that you didn’t bother to hem your garment.

The judges very much had it out for Rebecca’s offering of a dress embellished with a bandolier (or bullet sash to Rebecca and Joe) which I thought was a good idea and looked really cute

The way it goes across the chest is maybe a little clunky but it was a fun reference to the military challenge and I simply wont stand for the criticism that it was too shiny – RAPH USED NEON ORANGE RIBBON!

And lastly we have the SatNav Serena who had created her take on the sheer skirted gowns that graced every red carpet in 2018 and allowed The Daily Mail to use far too many instances of “a leggy display”

it’s very cute, maybe not that adventurous or unique but her fitting is incredible and I love that she used the label from the inside of the original garment as a focal feature on the bodice

she has a very good eye for details.

An Official Military Transformation Ranking

  1. Farie’s Potential Ear Hazards
  2. Raph’s Little Mix Number
  3. Serena’s Red Carpet Camo
  4. Andrew’s Kimono Cowboy
  5. Damien’s Unhemmed Glory
  6. The Sudden Disdain For Shiny Leather
  7. Adeena’s Military Grade Apron

Levi Stress

For their made to measure challenge the sewers were given the rather hard job of turning as many pairs of jeans as they could physically get their hands on into a dress. The difficulty lies entirely in the fact they’re going to have to deploy patchworking techniques because, unless you get them from Big Dude Clothing, you’re not going to be able to cut a whole petite model-sized dress out of a single pair. Also we don’t have the time to go into the ethics of scalping up to 5 pairs of affordable second-hand jeans from charity shops to make a single dress right now.

Nobody was as eager to start the challenge as Damien who launched himself out of his chair like he had just sat on a thumb tack

I’m not saying Esme did it, but she was rather peeved about the mess he made.
His design involved patchworking together several pairs of jeans from his friends and family, as well as his own pair of engine oil splattered denims

Again, I hope they were rigorously washed!
I almost wish he had made more of a focus of his stained jeans instead of relegating them to the back of the dress

from the front it’s a perfectly cute outfit, and his gold top stitching really was immaculately done. I also would have preferred it if the pockets were also blue or a bolder colour, in that grey tone they’re not bold enough to be a successful contrast and he needed to do something a little more along the lines of Adeena

I think with some more judicious colour blocking this would be a lot more successful, she was very much doing it on the fly which for having done so it’s a remarkably good outfit. The real statement is at the back with her two paisley shaped decals she made out of her own hand-painted denim

It’s like the back of a jacket worn by a member of a biker gang made up of abstract artists.
There are a few sewing issues here and there including an unsuccessfully hidden zip and some tightness born from not giving herself enough allowance during the fitting stages, and it might read a little junior but it’s cute nonetheless.

The patchworking very much turned into a Top Trumps of who had the most separate pieces with Serena proudly declaring she had a total of 16 different panels to create her two toned dress. A total that Raph then obliterated as he swung in like a wrecking ball with a total of 32 pieces for the dress and then however many it takes to make 2 patch pockets and a patchwork whale. Patchwork Whale is the name of my new indie folk band.
My mind boggles at how Raph even managed to navigate his pattern, even with the numbered pieces I’d have lost it by Wavy Denim Piece No. 4

and my model would have been lucky to get a boob tube, let alone a really stunning halter-neck dress

I would very much like a turn to spin in the whale dress whenever I can.
And why a sea themed dress I here you ask, well, other than the fact it’s blue, because it takes 20,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans and to make more of a point he was leaving the edges raw to make it look like a tormented sea, which fits in nicely with the ethos of the episode.

Raph’s rival in pattern piece mayhem, Serena, was making a two toned dress with one side featuring blue denim and the other featuring suspiciously clean white and cream denims

I love that they even styled the model so that her hair was half and half which just adds to the general Two-Face from Batman’s peppy niece vibe. I think I prefer the blue side, the white side is a little bit nurse-like to me but it’s a very cute idea and executed phenomenally well, and the waistband sleeves were a nice added detail

I’d have maybe made the sort of buckle / straps on the chest a touch smaller, I think they’re a little distracting but it’s a very minor detail.

Farie rejected blue jeans entirely and stuck to just pure black and white to create a chic little number that could certainly grace the wardrobe of Moira Rose

there’s just an attitude and allure that Farie’s garments always have and I can’t get over it. I’m normally not a fan of an exposed zip, especially on something formal like this, but it just works so well here.

Rebecca and Andrew found themselves in a geometric skirmish and with Andrew being a maths teacher and having a geometry set at the ready I didn’t fancy Rebecca’s chances

That is the face of a man that has at least 10 rulers at home.
Both of them were implemented a herringbone style pattern, with Andrew making it the very structure of his dress and Rebecca making a panel down the centre of it as an ode to the bags her mother and grandmother make

and she did very well to replicate it both so neatly and within the 5 hours time limit

I’m not a massive fan of the beige coloured pieces and would have liked something with a little more oomph, but the whole thing is incredibly neat and her model looks delightfully like a naval signal flag. If Adam isn’t here to rep the boating world, someone else had to!
Andrew’s herringbone offering went down just as well except for some minor fitting issues on the back

You know, for a man wearing a vest made out of socks he makes some remarkably lovely looking clothes. The way the panels fit together to create the waist is so clever and I love the embellishments on them that mimic the buttons on jeans

it’s the sort of little detail that makes an outfit that touch more exciting and special.

An Unofficial Denim Dress Ranking

  1. Raph’s Ocean of TORMENTED EMOTION
  2. Farie’s Graphic Power Dress
  3. Andrew’s Herringbone Wonder
  4. Serena’s Peppy Two Face
  5. Rebecca’s Parquet Landing Strip
  6. Damien’s Messy Back
  7. Adeena’s Little Tight Dress

I was a little hopeful that the judges would give Farie her fourth win for her outstanding cape but there was no denying the power of the ocean and Raph gets the win

I love that there’s been 6 episode and only 3 people have won Garment of the Week – Farie with 3, Raph now on 2 and Adeena with 1.

Speaking of Adeena, I think she knew where this was heading before they told her as she sat drinking a cup of tea with a distanced look in her eye that I thought only a whaler’s widow could manage

and sure enough Adeena was sadly given the cut

it really just wasn’t her week and unfortunately that’s all it takes for a very talented sewer to be sent home when there’s so few of them left but we’ll always have The Murder Dress

and you cannot take that away from her.

And so only 6 sewers remain…

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