Sewing Bee 2022, Episode 2: A Pair of Mutually Dying Swans

I see Brogan and I have the same approach to PE.

If anything this episode proved that, much like puff pastry, it is a waste of your time and energy to make your own shoes.

The Shoe Must Go On!

The theme of the week is Sports, and the only person even vaguely excited about is Steve who has abandoned football chatter in favour of making sure everyone knows he’s the Sonic the Hedgehog of the group and he can go very fast

his excitement was however short-lived given that the first challenge was for the sewers to make a pair of high-top trainers and Steve began to realise he had committed the cardinal TV sin of expressing excitement at the front of the episode

and Esme handing out the pattern for the shoes is the closest the Sewing Bee has ever come to a full scale revolution as everyone was just askance at the audacity to use them as guinea pigs for Britain’s Next Top Cobbler

and given that Annie was absolutely ready to lead everyone in The Great Haberdashery Uprising, she was very quickly gagged by having an orange sliced shoved into her mouth

I sincerely apologise to Annie for this screenshot, the camera operator made me do it.

And while she would have been fully justified in Occupying Sunny Banks Mill, she did fully embrace the challenge, imaginably because if she succeeded and managed to wrangle a half decent pair of trainers, it would mean that she could potentially graduate to making bespoke rollerskates for *all* of her very enviable homemade outfits

and she did really well, her shoes were distinctly her and in a state that would actually allow someone to wear them for more than 3 minutes before they completely fell apart

and so I think it was all worth the fact she had completely lost her mind by the end of the challenge

Annie will absolutely be the most screencapped sewer by the end of the series.

The pattern for the shoes was a prime opportunity to explore pattern mixing, and Cristian had a little bit to prove after last week’s German Expressionist Peasant Clown skirt and he used this opporunity to… basically make the same skirt in shoe form

granted, I think this works significantly better and I actually really like the mossy green with the purple and the sewing is mostly good, there was a slight tuck on the toe of one of the shoes but that was a minor issue compared to the complete collapse of Angela’s effort that would struggle to even call itself a flip-flop and sort of just lay on the table looking like someone deboned an orca

she just got really caught up in trying to wrestle with the eyelets – and to be fair, making them clip in 28 eyelets is asking for at least one of your sewers to completely lose their mind – and you can see exactly when Angela just gave up and contemplated tethering the sole pieces to her feet with elastic bands and calling it a day

I was genuinely surprised that only one of the sewers didn’t manage to sew at least one shoe together, but Angela was far from the only one to have an issue as Gill also struggled to put her eyelets in, but at least from certain angles her shoes could have looked like a complete pair

and then you turn the corners and realise that, much like any cocktail bar that’s called “Swanky’s” and very obviously a front for the mafia, it was all a facade

whether her hand strength or the budding relationship between her and Sara Pascoe was more detrimental to her efforts could be debated

*cracks open the old WattPad account*

Despite placing a curse upon himself at the beginning of the episode by expressing any amount of enthusiasm for the theme of the week, Steve managed to make a really neat pair of shoes

I can only imagine he was blessed by the Sewing Gods for not, at any point, mentioning football. We stan and applaud personal growth.

Brogan is pretty much Steve’s antithesis, and I have decided that in my head they are mortal enemies – her sport of choice being fabric shopping which I imagine she conducts like The Hunger Games

but Brogan just absolutely doesn’t do sports, or at least doesn’t do ball sports

if Brogan doesn’t at any point make a dress that Alicia Silverstone could have feasibly worn in Clueless, I will be *very* upset.

And in order to cope with the challenge, Brogan was going to keep as true to her own aesthetic as she possibly could by going for a floral pattern on the toes and heels

the only issue with them is the fact the toe pieces were slightly misaligned so I think we can chalk it up as a success for her.

Brogan wasn’t the only to go for florals though, as Richy also opted for a similar, slightly more jazzy, floral print and now his and Brogan’s shoes shall be married in Wedded Cottagecore Bliss

the tweed was a slightly unusual choice given that, according to Patrick, it is known to whiff a little bit, so at least Marni now knows what Patrick smells like

and that he might need a good Febrezing every other day, just to keep him fresh.

I do think my favourite use of a pattern was Debra, whose shoes had a sort of Ukiyo-e style dragon look about them

I think, style wise, they’re absolutely brilliant and if I wasn’t hopelessly insecure about wearing any shoe without at least a 3 inch heel, I’d buy these in a heartbeat! There was a bit of an issue with some of the sewing, mostly just that her eyelets were kissing

What if we kissed like a pair of badly placed eyelets on some homemade high-top trainers? 👉👈😳

Debra’s weren’t the only misaligned eyelets as, despite her great fabric choices, Chichi’s just looked like an office party that drank a whole suitcase of cheap Tesco wine

and you could honestly have convinced me that most of the sewers had been drinking throughout the challenge considering Man Yee at some point just started running around screaming “I’VE LOST MY TONGUE!?”

all I’m saying is I had a flatmate who had a bad trip that did the *exact* same thing on the lawns of York University. Granted moe bodily fluids were involved.

The quest to find her tongue aside, Man Yee did phenomenally, and it didn’t look like it was going to considering she gamely told Esme she had found a quicker way of doing something and Esme looked like an image of Damien had clouded her vision and the Ironside Siren had begun to play

but it all worked out, and I think if anything Man Yee’s looked like the most shop ready pair of shoes

it’s details like the polka dotted back tag and the perfectly coordinated colours that make them seem really stylish and professionally made.

And lastly we have Marni whose greatest obstacle in the whole challenge was tying the laces at the end

because amid the screaming for a lost tongue, Gill cursing her hand strength, Annie slowly but surely losing her mind and Angela pondering whether or not she could get to a Clark’s and back in time, Marni just got on with the whole thing and seemed to have a grand old time

the shoes are *divine* – the fabrics go so well together you’d think they’d have been made with one another in mind – I did however love that Patrick described the tweed and batique patterned shoes as “very skatery” – if maybe for the Tony Hawk of Chelsea.

An Official High-top Trainer Ranking

  1. Man Yee’s Found Tongue
  2. A Glimpse Into Annie’s Homemade Rollerskates Future
  3. Marni’s Tweed Wearing Skater
  4. Richy’s Stinky Feet
  5. Steve Runs Really Fast
  6. Debra’s Dragon Shoes
  7. Brogan’s Ball-free Lifestyle
  8. Cristian’s German Expressionist Peasant Clown’s Shoes
  9. Chichi’s Drunken Eyelets
  10. Gill’s Single Shoe
  11. Angela’s DIY Flip-flops

Nothing But Netball

For their Sports Week transformation challenge the sewers had to make a glamorous daytime garment out of Angela’s shoe scraps netball skirts and sports bibs. And because they were using netball skirts, a pleated element was a mandatory requirement, but I think that was just so that Angela couldn’t contemplate ironing out the pleats and therefore setting the whole mill on fire to destroy any evidence of the shoe challenge

obviously Angela had the most catching up to do, and really just making something even vaguely wearable would’ve been an improvement, and her little capelette top was kind of cute

it does look slightly like it belongs to someone who just arrived on the docks of New York in the early 1900s, which is about as far away from sportswear as you can possibly get, so well done nailing the challenge, I guess!

I would like to know where they got these netball uniforms from because far too many of them had genuinely lovely colours, as opposed to the Dulux Primary Range that they should, by law, have been. I mean, Gill’s fabrics were *genuinely* stunning

and did lend themselves very well to be made into an outfit for the head of HR who has a gig as Henry VIII’s court jester after work every thursday

Dress for the job you want after all – and it was very well made and was certainly one of the better put together outfits, so I think she redeemed herself of her crimes against footwear.

Cristian had similar colours and went for the same blocky style, with his being more of a showcase of disastrous fluting

it’s all just a little lopsided – I don’t know if it was the wisest decision to make both of his sleeves very different statement sleeves, it’s like the armholes are having an argument and neither of them is winning and the hem is mortified by the whole ordeal.

I do think Esme and Patrick had hoped that by specifying there had to be a pleated element that more of the sewers would try to manipulate the pleats, and while Man Yee did try to do something by layering and folding them

it didn’t ultimately work out particularly well because it gave her mannequin one very heavy set boob

Patrick and Esme were quite kind on the outfit – again, they had 90 minutes so the fact anything gets made is kind of a miracle.

The only person to really have a go at changing up the pleats was Debra who gave them this rippling effect that was really pretty

I think she did however get a little side tracked with doing that and forgot about the garment as a whole, because the top did make it look like her mannequin had got trapped in a tea cosy

but at least she tried something and hadn’t just defaulted to doing a two tone dress or top like most everyone else, the highlight of which was probably Chichi knocking out a sexy bootleg Harley Quinn costume as Glamorous Daytime

but she did admit that her impression of glamorous daytime might not be everyone else’s considering she was swanning around the sewing room in a lovely little romantic goth bustier

and as someone that is often told at 8am that I look like I’m ready for a night out, I can relate.

The only person to opt for anything other than a top or dress was Richy who started out by making a pair of two toned culottes and then very quickly they became britches because you can take the man out of the 18th century, but you cannot take the 18th century out of the man

and naturally to be properly authentic britches, they needed a crotch flap and unfortunately Richy took the approach of just whacking a great big white loin cloth on the front of them, which stirred from the depths of my brain a memory of Blayne’s crotch hugging silverfish from Project Runway all those years ago

and I for one didn’t appreciate being made to remember it, but I do still think he didn’t deserve to be marked quite as low as he did, because the judges let Steve off lightly for the flash of side boob that he’d incorporated into his pretty basic camisole top

especially give how much grief they gave Annie for the very obscure cut out she had done on the front of her probably-not-a-dress

which is an absolutely insane outfit, but who could blame her after completely losing her mind during while sewing together a pair of shoes? But I did like that the front of the probably-not-a-dress did look like a particularly perplexed Drakloak

clearly she was just making a Pokemon Gijinka and the reference went over Esme and Patrick’s heads.

I really liked what Marni did with her top, she used the pleats to give her top a real sense of structure and purposeful shape that was missing from a few of the others’ garments

and while the judges loved the architectural side of it, Esme was not convinced by the tiny little bow that Marni had tacked onto the front despite her brain screaming for her not to do it

Brogan was also pinning a lot of hopes on her bow, which was at least more of a statement

she did SO WELL this challenge, this just feels like a fully put together look and I enjoy the sort of Bring It On (2000) vibe that it has

which feels like enough of a subtle nod to sports to not make the whole thing just look like you mangled a netball uniform and some sports bibs into an outfit in only 90 minutes while the person next door to you accidentally makes a pair of britches.

An Official Sports Kit Transformation Challenge Ranking

  1. Brogan Brings It On
  2. Debra’s tea Cosy Trap
  3. Marni’s Unchic Bow
  4. Man Yee’s Ode to My HRT Development
  5. Angela Made Something!
  6. Gill’s Corporate Court Jester
  7. Steve’s Sideboob Bribe
  8. Chichi’s Daytime Harley Quinn
  9. Cristian’s Warring Sleeves
  10. Richy’s Accidental Britches
  11. Annie’s Perplexed Drakloak

Be a Good Sport

For their final lap of Sports Week the sewers all had to make jackets that were inspired by their favourite sporting heroes – which, if based on discussions in the pattern challenge, meant a fair few of the sewers spent an evening googling members of Team GB. It also meant you would be able to safely place a bet on Tom Daley getting a mention – and it was a good week for him having already been rendered in beef form by Ioan on MasterChef

both Richy and Cristian were taking their inspiration from Tom and his recent success at the Tokyo Olympics – and while Richy was going fully high concept, Cristian was pretty happy to just concede that blue = water = diving

but as he pointed out, the fabric does almost perfectly reflect the jacket that the divers wore and it was very well sewn, it does just feel a touch basic and not as bespoke and original as you could push it in this challenge. It also didn’t help that Richy was incorporating knitted cuffs to symbolise his medals and the whole jacket to look like a bird’s eye view of a diving board, which during construction did look a bit like Xanadu religious garb

and obviously was already showing signs of being MUCH to small but Richy persisted on nonetheless and the jacket was still very tight which might explain why his model had the facial expression of a Grand Theft Auto antagonist

it is a really clever design though and the addition of the little diver as the zip pull was a sweet little touch

but they couldn’t really overlook the fact that his model looked like he could hulk out of it with by the slightest flex of a pectoral muscle – and I did love that Richy walked off after the judging muttering conspiratorially and very much sounding like he was passive aggressively accusing his model of growing 2 inches in 2 hours

Did I measure incorrectly? No it’s the model’s trapezius muscle that is wrong.
On the positive side, it fit Sara Pascoe perfectly

silver linings and all that.

Tom Daley wasn’t the only double jacketed athelete, because after all there is only a very small pool of sporting people to choose from… I would simply have said I was doing Secretariat and hoped they could find me both a horse-shaped mannequin and a horse with a modeling portfolio. Or an ironing board

or just put two models in Sally Phillips’s pantomime horse costume, I would be fine with that as long as I got to make my bomb ass horse jacket

You’d be the most fashionable pony in the stable!

If you had asked me to guess which other athlete would have two people making a jacket inspired by them, I would probably have said either Dina Asher-Smith, Sky Brown (why did NOBODY go with Sky Brown?) or one of the two Kennys. I’m not sure I would have said Florence Griffith Joyner, although it should’ve been obvious considering it gives you a perfectly valid reason to do one sleeve less sewing

and Chichi was very much leaning into the monosleeve, but because Chichi is too powerful to be contained by the challenge brief, she actually had two inspirations, her second being Surya Bonaly, famed for being the only woman to land a single-bladed blackflip at The Olympics that for some reason that I can’t qwhite figure out why, doesn’t get mentioned every time The Winter Olympics comes around

WHY WAS THIS THE FIRST TIME I HEARD ABOUT THIS? Why is Torvill and Dean flopping about like a pair of mutually dying swans the biggest talking point of ice skating when Surya Bonaly was out there flipping about ON ONE LEG like a flamingo ninja?
In order to incorporate Surya into the design, Chichi was going to be sewing in 4 patches to represent the four seasons because that was the music that Surya skated to when she proved to be the most talented human being on earth as far as I’m concerned

I appreciate that it’s at least interesting and has a distinct point of view – I love it when a sewer really swings for the fences and a mono-lacy-sleeved sports jacket is exactly that! Esme had a real issue with the sewing of the patches, which were a little lumpy around the seams and the whole thing did feel a little bit like it was waging a tormented battle against its own existence like Chichi had unfortunately played Frankenstein and brought a monster kicking and screaming into the world against its own will – get the pitchforks everyone!

Steve was the other person riffing off Florence Foster Jenkins Griffith Joyner mostly because I imagine he couldn’t convince them that Sonic The Hedgehog is a legitimate sporting hero – HE WEARS TRAINERS AND GOES FAST, THOSE ARE THE ONLY REQUIREMENTS! He, sadly, wasn’t going with a single sleeve and was instead just honouring the fact Florence’s hayday was in the 80s with a jazzy print that was worthy of any floor in a Hollywood Bowl’s arcade

I love this, his model looks SO GOOD in it too, the black bottom gives it a really interesting shape and I do love the touch of Power Rangers about the pink and white top, and if you’re wondering what kind of a woman would wear this jacket, it’s the same woman that would wear his transformation challenge

I like to think Florence Griffith Joyner honestly probably would’ve loved that top and run a 100 metre relay in it.

It was just so unfortunate that the overlocker had taken a bite out of Steve’s jacket

I meant to make the ABBA costume into a flashing risk hazard, honest!

I had thought we would get a lot more Red, White and Blue jackets, and there were thankfully mercifully few of them, with the only one to really go fully explicitly Union Jack being Brogan and her ode to Jessica Ennis-Hill – but she had also added in some pink so as to reduce its power on the patriotic scale of weirdness

some of the symmetry is marginally off but it’s so early in the competition and the sewers are still having to get used to sewing in a crowded room with cameras being shoved in your face and a woman assaulting you with orange segments

so they can forgive a couple of millimetres here and there.

Debra was also going for national pride, with hers being inspired by Welsh rugby captain Alun Wyn Jones and so the jacket was going to be in the colour of the Welsh flag – going for white as the main body which I thought was a little risky given that it would make the green piping and the red zip that much more noticeable if anything was slightly off about them

but it worked out with the only real complaint being that the zip was a little uneven around the bottom, but I loved the little Welsh flag tab that she had sew on the bottom of it.

I think my personal favourite colour choices were probably Annie’s pink and green inspired by Serena Williams, with the swooping curves of the pink meant to somewhat evoke the lines on a tennis ball – which does feel a little bit like she just made that up in the middle of her conversation with Esme and Patrick but I admire the grift

the colours just go together perfectly and I mostly just enjoy that none of it is red, white, blue, starred or spangled. Much like Brogan the lining up is a touch off in places, mostly under the armpit

but who’s staring at armpits anyway? Don’t answer that.

Gill also had a very good showing this round with her golden jacket that she spent quite a while making sure to pattern match the lion print that she was using for the lining, so her model had to walk down the runway awkwardly holding it open so that everyone could tell

but thankfully the time taken with the lining didn’t come to the detriment of the rest of the garment because it was finished to a very high standard and comes with the bonus of reminding me of my other sporting hero, Bumblebee from Transformers

saving the world from the Decepticons is a sport and he drives fast, he’s practically Lewis Hamilton.

I think the people who brought in much lesser known sporting heroes tended to have the more fun designs because there’s less obvious iconography associated with them so you have to think a little more outside of the box and Man Yee was a prime example of this: basing her design off of indoor rock climber Kim Ja-In who won the Asian Climbing Championships 14 times in 15 years which is just an insane flex – can the others not have a little bit of victory as a treat?
Her main approach to the jacket was to do a paneled mosaic in the front as a nod to the handholds on an indoor rock climbing wall, which turned out REALLY cute

I love this so much and will definitely be going on my list of most coveted Sewing Bee pieces, I am obsessed with it and the amount of work she put in – I can’t quite believe she didn’t win garment of the week but Patrick and Esme were just very taken by Marni’s military-esque jacket inspired by the rower Heather Stanning who also served in the military

and to be fair, I can’t really blame them for loving this jacket because it did have a front gusset that made you look a little bit like a frill-necked lizard

and what more could you want from a jacket?

And lastly we have Angela whose inspiration was Freddie Flintoff and her jacket was probably the most basic looking of the lot – it’s just a very well made blue jacket

but the addition of the roses in the pocket did at least give it a little something to make it feel special

but I think she could have maybe pushed the design a little further out, but I don’t blame her for keeping it somewhat safe with the memories of her non-existent trainers fresh in her mind.

An Unofficial Sports Jacket Ranking

  1. Man Yee Climbs To Jacketed Success
  2. Richy’s Jacket as Worn by Sara Pascoe
  3. Annie’s Serve of a Jacket
  4. Gill’s Well Aligned Lion Lining
  5. Brogan’s Pastel Patriotism
  6. Marni’s Military Lizard
  7. Steve vs The Overlocker
  8. Debra’s Siaced
  9. Cristian’s Diving Equation
  10. Angela’s Secret Roses
  11. Richy’s Jacket as Worn by His Model
  12. Chichi’s Mono-sleeve

As I said, I would have given the Garment of the Week to Man Yee’s jacket, however Marni’s jacket was impeccably made, which arguably matters more than the fact I think I would look super cute in a pastel mosaic jacket

and then sadly we did have to lose someone and that person was very unfortunately Chichi

I thoroughly enjoyed her on the show – it’s always fun when a sewer has such a distinct point of view and I’m sad that the show couldn’t reward her more for that – I’ll miss both her high concept designs and the looks she wore – her jewellery was GREAT, that snake ring?

I need it.

And so, we’re down to 10 sewers

If you’ve enjoyed this recap of Sewing Bee 2022’s Sports Week and would like to support the blog you can donate to my Ko-fi account HERE!

Leave a Reply