Layering, it’s very in right now!
I’m not sure we can call it Summer Week if the presenter hasn’t had to do something awful with a Mr. Whippy.
Shearing The Pot
For their Summer Week Pattern Challenges the sewers were tasked with creating Brogan’s entire spring/summer 2022 wardrobe as 9 and a half midi-length puff sleeved dresses were brought kicking and screaming in the world
it was very much a challenge after her own heart and naturally she zipped through it with the effortless ease of a Disney princess in a house cleaning montage and was very much the tour guide of the episode as she introduced every segment with the cheerful smile of a Blue Peter presenter about to show you how to make a sock puppet, before it inevitable cut to Steve and/or Richy having the worst times of their lives and looking for any available exit
my personal favourite being the fact Brogan was giving her top tips for the perfect elasticated sleeves: “Use a safety pin to thread it through!” before it smash cut to Richy having lost his safety pin inside his sleeve
but while he performed emergency surgery to extract the foreign body from within his sleeve, Steve’s Sleeves™ had gone completely to pot and he was having to jab them on with pins like his mannequin was a Brogan voodoo doll
and yes, Steve was once again fabric mixing, which I will say: I do appreciate because last year everyone kept doing very boring monochrome pieces, so I appreciate Steve’s dress that did look a bit like 2 deranged step-sister had been at it with a pair of scissors
it was not a fine hour for Steve, and Patrick did look as though he thought the whole thing was going to be revealed to be a joke
and then nobody said “JK Kimora” and they did have to critique what essentially amounted to, generously, half a dress – most of which is just Esme counting how many holes she could find in it – they didn’t even get around to pinned on sleeves!
Shearing was the biggest obstacle that most of the sewers faced as they did have to create 15 rows of evenly spaced, evenly taut lines across the bodice and most of the sewers seemed to be completely new to the concept of it – except Brogan who can obviously shear in her sleep and basically ended up with a dress that looks like it could have been shop bought and I’m not entirely convinced she hadn’t just put her dress from Week 1 onto the mannequin while everyone was trapped in Steve’s vortex of chaos
but we’ll let her get away with it because she did have to teach just about everyone else how to shear because, as they say, shearing is caring.
One way of making life easier for yourself in terms of getting the rows straight was to opt for a fabric that had pre-existing lines and both Man Yee and Cristian immediately reached for gingham fabrics. Man Yee’s did come off second best, because there were some holes in the channel for the elastic in the sleeves but I did love her lavender and pale yellow gingham fabric
but Cristian’s more standard pink gingham was the better completed dress, although his shearing was described only as “doing its job” which is the bare minimum we should all strive for
and he very deservedly got third place, only being narrowly pipped to the prize of being Brogan’s runner up by Marni who barely said a word the entire challenge as she stealthily camouflaged herself into the background like Wednesday Addams
and then emerged from the paisley shadows of the sewing room with a very well made dress
there was a slight wobble in her shearing, but it looked positively straight when put next to Richy’s whose entire dress was listing lazily to one side
I do think his dress had the potential to look the most current, or at least it looks very much like a high street shop’s trickle-down offering of the infamous Strawberry Dress that plagued Instagram for the summer of 2020 as every fashion influencer competed in a Twee Olympics
inevitably nobody won and it still baffles me that Zooey Deschanel never wore it.
I did enjoy how proud of his fabric Richy was and he went the full Monique Heart with it
but I think my favourite fabric was Annie’s which looked a bit like someone was recreating Kylie Minogue’s All The Lovers with a warren of rabbits
sorry for that mental image, I’m going to blame the Subwoolfer stans who flood every Eurovision Twitter post with images of absolutely jacked anime wolves – I’ve been exposed to so much furry art against my will this week that I’m almost sure I can classify it as assault.
Back to the Sewing Bee though, Annie’s dress looked really lovely, the pale pinkish, almost grey look gave it a nice romantic antique look
and most of the sewing was in order – Patrick was however critical of the sleeves as she hadn’t put in a channel for her elastic so it gave them a frill
and I’m going to be a rebel and say, I think it actually looks nicer that way and I think she was over-penalised for her rebellious frill.
As well as getting the rows of their shearing straight, they did have to factor in making them evenly spaced enough to fit the whole bodice, something Debra didn’t seem to have much regard for as left a whole 8 centimetres between her last row of shearing and the waistband, 8 centimetres also being how Esme orders her whiskey
but what I did like about Debra’s dress is that while everyone went for very pastel, very Brogan colours, she went with a much darker fabric and I liked the way the floral circular windows gathered on the bodice to almost make skull shapes
all I’m saying is that there’s a goth milkmaid out there that would love this.
After last week’s pattern challenge in which Gill barely managed to cobble together a single shoe, she was out to prove something. And also to be as unhelpful to Steve as she could possibly be
Gill being a chaos gremlin in the sewing room is endlessly delightful, her sense of humour is perfect television and an editor’s dream. And I think she pulled off a pattern challenge redemption
or at least there’s a whole dress there and you don’t turn the mannequin around to find out that it’s all pinned in place by upwards of 20 pins and a bit of black magic… There was a slight loss of tension in some of her shearing and the waistband had grown a little sac
but you know what? It’s the perfect place to keep your change.
And lastly we have Angela who was also after a pattern challenge redemption after offering up a pair of abstracted flip flops instead of anything close to an actual show – and much like Gill, she ended up with a lovely dress
those orange shades always read as kind of vintage to me, and I do like her fabric – the only issue was that it was a little loose at the back – but you know, Quasimodo would fill it out nicely!
An Official Summer Dress Ranking
- Brogan, Queen of Shearing and Puff Sleeves
- Marni, Brogan’s Runner Up
- Cristian’s Pretty in Pink Gingham
- Quasimodo’s Summer Wardrobe
- Man Yee’s Holey Sleeves
- Gill’s Pattern Challenge Redemption
- Annie’s Rebellious Frill
- Debra’s Gothic Milkmaid
- Strawberry Cow? Stunning!
- Steve’s Brogan-shaped Voodoo Doll
Are You Hammocking Me?
For this week’s Transformation Challenge the sewers were each given a hammock that they had to turn into a piece of summer clothing and they were under no circumstances allowed to use any extra fabric, but they were given a wealth of macrame and rope fringe, which they worded in such a way that sounded as though the sewers had to use at least one piece of macrame, fringe or rope in their design, but then come the judging Patrick and Esme told numerous sewers that they’re outfits would have looked better without the bits of old rope – which wasn’t untrue, but it was very…
the oddest critique of a use of fringe was for Gill, who had just used it at the bottom of her, to quote Michael Kors, “Mexican serapé gay flag” dress
it’s the most inconsequential use of fringe and they put her in 8th place for it! Granted, the dress isn’t the most wildly inventive use of a hammock – the obvious pitfall being that it can quite easily just look like you wrapped a hammock around yourself and called it a day…
oh Richy… At least he took it from being just a Hammock to being a Deckchair Deathtrap – and the back of the dress was quite cool and had a bit of a kinbaku-bi vibe to it
but it does all still feel distinctly hammocky, and sadly we’ll never know if the handbag-to-be would have saved him or not
I kind of wish he had just stuck it on top his mannequin and tried to claim it was a hat for a poolside renaissance fayre. Wouldst thee liketh a pina colada?
Richy did at least manage to improve on his placing in the pattern challenge, Steve didn’t have quite the same luck as he decided to go big and tried to make a nifty looking beach outfit for Buzz Lightyear
I have to say, I do admire the bravery of a man to try to do in 90 minutes, what he was about to be challenged to do in 5 hours – you know, you might as well get some practice in beforehand! And to his credit, the shorts seemed pretty well made, so I guess we found out what Steve *does* make and he probably would’ve been better off concentrating more on them and jazzing them up a bit more rather than also trying to do the vest – although Patrick liked the back of it
personally, I think it looks like it’s screaming in agony and would have very much prefered to have stayed a hammock. But what I will say for Steve, is that at least he didn’t just drape the hammock over the shoulders of the mannequin and call it a cape like Alex did with tea towels in 2019
an act I still have not forgotten didn’t land him in bottom place for that challenge!
Dramatic backs were certainly the best and probably easiest way of jazzing up some pretty basic dresses – Man Yee spent quite a while agonising how much of a lower back she could get away with baring to the world
and then finally opted for a modest builder’s bum and a macramé bustle for a strangely 4th of July feeling outfit
and even that wasn’t quite as revealing as Angela’s outfit that came with a rapid-release flashing mechanism that really reminded me of Mama Bazoom from Showgirls
and sadly I cannot find any footage of Mama Bazoom that I wouldn’t have to pay £7 for, so just trust me on that one!
The outfit she made was very good though, with the macrame bib almost giving it the look of dungarees
I thought it was really clever and she thoroughly deserved the win.
A little in Angela’s advantage was the fact she got a hammock in one solid colour so she didn’t have to worry about fitting a pattern into her design, which was also the case for Marni who got a rather beautiful raspberry coloured hammock that she turned into a dress that could quite feasibly be worn by someone on The Apprentice
unfortunately for her, Esme and Patrick were both of the opinion that the black sash she added in the last dying minutes of the challenge was a mistake and so she was penalised with 9th place, which is the harshest thing to happen over a belt since the Cerulean Monologue in The Devil Wears Prada!
Debra managed to set herself apart from everyone else by grabbing the only patterned hammock that wasn’t striped, instead getting a really rather beautiful dark blue tie-dye one that got turned into a very cute a-line dress with a sort of half-obi around it
I can’t say I love the demi-belt and given their reaction to Marni tying an inconsequential black string around her dress, I thought Patrick and Esme might actually burn the building down because of it but they really rather liked it! I was personally more impressed by her use of the tie-dye pattern which gave the dress a real sense of purpose and direction that still looked flattering.
Personally, my favourite of the garments was Cristian’s festival jacket – I just think he accomplished so much and definitely had the biggest transformation out of everyone with his 70s-esque biker jacket
and I really do believe he should have been higher than third place, even with the nonsense self-flagellating spaghetti fingers
I went to Coachella and all I got was grievous bodily harm!
Instead Cristian was beaten to the win by both Angela’s dungaree facade and Brogan, who I think mostly ended up so high in the order because she got the most tasteful fabric of the bunch with her navy blue and white striped hammock
and she was very much embracing The Summer of Sauce with a rather daring top and laced up skirt
I personally didn’t like the laced up effect on the skirt, I thought it made it all look a little heavy, but the way the pattern aligns on the top is really rather incredible design work – but I might also only think that because the only thing I can directly compare it to was Steve’s striped top thar looked like a malfunctioning TV screen.
And lastly we have Annie who made a dress that there really isn’t a lot to write up about because it’s kind of just a normal looking dress in nice colours
Patrick was not enthused by the pelmet of fringe on the bust, I don’t quite know why, it was perfectly innocuous but he and Esme were really on one about fringe this challenge.
An Official Hammock Transformation Ranking
- Mama Bazoom’s Garden Overalls
- Brogan’s Summer of Sauce
- Cristian’s Coachella Flogging
- Debra’s Half an Obi
- Man Yee’s Tasteful Lower Back
- Richy’s Shibari Deckchair
- Annie’s Perfectly Normal Dress
- It’s Like a Mexican Serapé Gay Flag!
- Marni’s Apprentice Cosplay
- Buzz Lightyear at the Beach
Now, I’ve Heard There was a Secret Co-ord
For the last and final challenge of Summer Week the sewers had to create a two piece co-ord set, that had to be trousered – and NO BIKINIS, once bitten by the hungry bums of Lingerie Week, twice shy! Although we did get our first hungry bum of the series from Marni, and I shall spare the model the embarrassment of having that immortalised on the internet forever, but aside from that, Marni’s look was cute
I’m not sure it’s the most summer-y feeling outfit and the ribbing at the bottom gives it a sort of gym vibe, which I’m not mad at to be honest. I do agree with the judges that she should have done the binding in red because the green did get slightly lost in the mix – and naturally because Marni had made that mistake, Gill, who had done her binding in red, was the next to showcase her outfit
and the editors made sure to cut to Marni as soon as Esme or Patrick praised her use of red binding.
Gill was worried that her outfit was a little simple, and it was which I think did make it look a bit like a set of pyjamas, but I think you can get away with that in the first 3 or 4 challenges of the competition especially as it was all very well made.
Cristian and Steve, once bonded over the ritualistic pinning of a Brogan-shaped voodoo doll, found themselves in a face off as they were the only two that opted to make clothes for male models – and Steve had made things even harder for himself by choosing Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo+Juliet shirts for inspiration
Steve is a much stronger person than I, because I would have just lain down in the middle of the Sewing Room and declared myself legally dead. Also, rude of them not to credit Esme in the credits of the film – and yes, I did scroll through them!
For multiple good reasons, Patrick and Esme were keeping a close eye on Steve and he was much more comfortable in this challenge – he obviously knows his way around a shirt and a pair of shorts
and with the chains his model does look a bit like one of the Sopranos is about to take care of some business in his jimjams. I’m not sure I love the contrast collar and hems, or at least I think the green is wrong, it’s just a little too heavy, I’d have done it in pink or white personally but they were extremely well constructed! And Esme and Patrick were particularly fond of the fact he took careful consideration as to where to place the buttons on his shirt, making a few of his toucans look like they were having one hell of a trip
now if only there was a way to somehow manage to make shirts and shorts in every single challenge.
Aesthetically I think I did prefer Cristian’s outfit, I just really love the almost vintage travel poster design of the fabric, I’m a little cooler on the oversized fit, which was on purpose and well executed, it’s just not my personal taste but I do like how long it makes his model’s torso look
and I think his contrast collar and cuffs gelled much better with his design.
So with Steve having a very successful challenge, the choice for elimination opened up quite drastically and into that trap stumbled poor Richy who was also using a pop culture reference for his outfit
And because he was taking inspiration from Sex and the City 2, a movie where “Abu Dhabi Doo!” is an actual line of dialogue, he was doing harem pants and in an act of sewicide (I’m throwing stones in glass houses here) was going to be making all of this from a pattern he had drafted himself. And hadn’t practiced
and this went about as well as you’d expect, especially with 15 pleats on either side of the trousers which he at some point realised he’d miscalculated and had to throw the whole thing out of the window and opt for a gathered waist instead – which would pretty much still give the same billowy effect, but the problems were not over as something goes terribly wrong with the zip and he and Sara Pascoe become trapped in a tandem dive into madness
which he at least came out of with a pair of pants that moved well and from several feet away and through a TV screen looked kind of fabulous
there was of course the issue of the zip which he hadn’t managed to remedy and so his model was pinned into the trousers, a fact she was painfully VERY aware of
and because the recalibrating of his harem pants had taken up so much time, he hadn’t really had much left to spare getting the fit of his top which was less an easy relaxed cowl neck, and more of a chest binder
quick, just lie and say that it represents how Kim Cattrall felt while filming the whole trainwreck of a movie!
Richy wasn’t the only one with fit issues as Angela got a little waylaid in trying to figure out how to engineer her linen ruffles only to never work out how to engineer her linen ruffles so they sort of just sat on the shoulders of her model like pappardelle epaulettes
the bigger issue was the fact the top was too small and giving us the merest sliver of underboob but in her favour was the fact her linen culottes were quite cute
if only she’d had a macramé bib to cover her top with.
With big success in both of the previous challenges, Brogan was aiming high with her co-ords inspired by her time living in Spain, and in order to really impress Patrick and Esme she was using satin in a really beautiful pink and green print
which certainly made for a statement outfit
I really love the border on the bottom of the pants – I do agree with Esme that the tie on the front and back of the top was a weird decision and I think it clashed a little to much at the front. There had also been some minor slipping on the satin on her pants so the hem ballooned a little bit – and as it’s very rare to get a Garment of the Week with a Pattern Challenge Brogan could only watch on with the Ironside Siren blaring in her ears as Debra’s outfit was praised to the high heavens
but to be fair, Debra’s outfit was *very* cute
I’m not entirely sure I love the pleats on the one side, they’re interesting but I also find them a little distracting – I’d be curious to see what it would all look like in a solid colour, because it might just be that with the addition of the print it’s muddying it all a bit, but I did still like it and I would like to go and walk around Cannes while wearing it.
Annie had a very similar outfit to Brogan, with the long trousers and the puff-sleeved bralet top – although she had opted for an African wax print cotton over a more treacherous satin
the fit on the boobs is, in the words of Patrick, “on the edge”, as was the fit of the trousers which she had to really help her model wriggle into, but on the plus side the print was lovely.
And lastly we have Man Yee who was making a very cute little bustier top and box-pleat shorts in a white lemon print fabric, the shape of which had a bit of a tennis outfit feel
there are some minor quibbles with some of the pleats on the shorts but the fit of the bustier top, an incredibly tricky thing to make in a short space of time, was pretty damn incredible and they kind of glossed over it a little bit!
An Unofficial Summer Co-ord Ranking
- Man Yee’s Citrus Williams
- Debra’s French Resortwear
- Cristian’s Billowy Shirt
- Steve’s Shakespearean Summer
- Brogan’s Spanish Flex
- Gill’s Statement Binding
- Marni’s Sporty Co-ords
- Annie’s Edge of a Nipslip
- Angela’s Shoulders of Pasta
- Richy’s Abu Dhabi No.
I would personally have plugged for Man Yee’s lemon print tennis gear as the Garment of the Week, however the judges were more taken by Debra’s Air France uniform, which I can’t argue too much with, it was very clean and polished
deep breath Brogan, deep breath.
And then it came time to say goodbye to another sewer and with Steve having a very smooth Made To Measure Challenge and Angela having won the Transformation Challenge, it was unfortunately Richy who we lost this week
I was a little gutted, I think he had a real point of view and sense of style, you never really knew what you’d get from him but it was always interesting, and I’ll certainly miss that energy in the sewing room.
And so, we’re down to 9 sewers!
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