The first draft of Esme’s autobiography was a little racy.
Have you ever wondered how many coats have to die for a single Spice Girls joke? Well, now we know.
My favourite challenges on Sewing Bee are the ones where the only possible result is a series of really quite ugly outfits, remember when they had to make a man’s bomber jackets out of 4 women’s jackets? BECAUSE I DO
and kicking off Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reanimate-the-dead Week the sewers were once again having to make jackets, except this time they were being made out of patchwork fabric that the sewers had to construct themselves out of 96 individual quilting squares, which had helpfully been organised by colours in fishbowls like it was scarecrows’ swingers party
sadly we were not treated to extensive footage of everyone furiously trying to count out exactly 96 squares of fabric – I would imagine there was 96 in each fishbowl for them to use but that didn’t stop Brogan from rummaging through them for every fruit themed piece she could find
and of course she zipped through the challenge with only a broken needle to mildly inconvenience her and turned out a jacket that looks like a village fete’s jam competition but make it fashion
it is also the most scarecrow of the bunch, I think it’s purely down to the very blocky primary colours. Everything is done very neatly and the only thing stopping me from fully believing that she has an army of singing mice helping her is the fact she had a single, almost invisible error on one of her corners
Brogan proving that she is a mildly fallible person and somehow not a construction of the Disney corporation did leave the win open for anyone that managed to miter all their corners, enter Debra whose jacket I am 90% sure Mary Berry already owns
it’s exceptionally well made with basically not a single fault – the binding is neat, the corners are mitered and she managed to pull off the topstitched quilting effect – and the whole thing is just very aesthetically pleasing, which is quite an achievement in this challenge. I do wish they had been given full unhinged free rein, can you imagine what colour and fabric combinations we’d end up with?
While most of the sewers stayed within the confines of one particular colour story, Annie was at least trying something a little different by interspersing her mostly red fabrics with a bold black geometric fabric
and then rather dangerously she was attempting to do the top-stitched quilting effect by eye, but luckily in order to keep her on track she had a framed picture of a sunflower beside her at all times
and it seemed to help because her topstitching was actually very neat and her jacket probably looked the coolest that a patchwork quilted jacket could hope to look
there was only one issue: she hadn’t mitered her corners and you could pinpoint the exact moment she had realised her mistake
but she wasn’t alone because Angela had only mitered a single random corner, mostly because she had had to apply the binding in a hurry because she got lost in a meditative state while she tessellated her patchwork pieces to decide the best pattern
but to be fair, she perfectly the mirror the pattern she eventually decided on.
Angela wasn’t the only person that fell behind as Man Yee got a little overwhelmed by the endless possibilities available to her and her fabric arrangement like she was Dr. Strange consulting all of the possible Avengers endings
and by the time everyone else was cutting their pattern pieces out, she was still sewing her fabric squares together and that sinking feeling was beginning to set in as she looked directly down the barrel of the camera in a silent scream for help
by the end of the challenge she was in such a rushed state she was crashing about the place like she was trying to sew on the deck of a sinking ship
as a result of her self-imposed Titanic situation, the finishing details of Man Yee’s jacket had suffered, most notably one of her corners which looked like it had been slightly chewed by one of Brogan’s as yet unproven mouse assistants
but there was some good work in Man Yee’s jacket, I really liked her colour combinations, the pairing of the pale pink and the pale mossy green definitely shows a good eye for design
but it did look like it wasn’t going to be enough to save her from the dreaded bottom placement, however Steve was reprising his role from last week as Last Place Goddess and he was more than happy to do so
he valiantly decided he was going to try to do his quilting lines by eye, but without the lovingly framed photo of his favourite flower, it didn’t go quite as smoothly as Annie’s and his rows were nearly an entire Esme’s Whiskey Order apart
and with him repeatedly muttering “I don’t understand a single thing about this binding” while he was trying to apply the binding, it did end up looking a little tortured
but his patchworking was good, unfortunately for him *everyone’s* patchworking was good, the only minor slip up in it was with Marni who had a single piece fitting slightly irregularly
but it hardly impacted the quality of her final jacket which had a distinctly Per Una vibe to it
there’s just something about those specific shades of blue that really reminds me of the clothes everyone’s mum buys from M&S.
Pinks and blues were very much the go to, but Cristian broke the mould by opting for bright yellows and the way he arranged the panels for some reason makes it look slightly like a cowboy’s jacket to me
and you know, John Wayne needed to wear something to church on Easter Sunday.
Like a couple of the sewers though, Cristian’s binding was just ever so slightly suspicious in a couple of place, but hardly an eyesore.
Lastly we have Gill who owned up to once taking a year to make a quilt so the expectations were low and anxious for her getting this done in a mere 4 hours – and the other sewers were getting revenge on her for her smartarse answers to their woes in previous challenges
but she struggled through and did manage to make a complete patchwork quilted jacket in 0.045662100456621% of the time of her previous attempt at quilting (please appreciate my maths)
and I really liked the jazziness of her prints and the way she arranged them, so I think we can chalk this up to a success despite the slight mess she made of the bottom corners.
An Official Quilted Patchwork Jacket Ranking
- The Coat Debra Stole Off Mary Berry’s Back
- Brogan’s Village Fete Jam Judge
- Gill’s Rapid Acceleration
- Marni For Per Una
- The Coolest Patchwork Jacket in the Room
- John Wayne’s Easter Best
- Angela’s Patchwork Meditation
- Man Yee’s Patchwork Hurricane
- Steve, Honour Bound by Duty
A Fresh Coat
For their Transformation Challenge the sewers were tasked with recycling 2 old coats into 1 completely unwearable coat, a challenge designed solely so that Sara Pascoe could make this one joke
18 coats sacrificed themselves for that and the BBC couldn’t even shill out for the actual music, instead we got Yakety Yak by The Coasters only because it mentions the word “coat”.
As usual the Transformation Challenge is 90 minutes of pure chaos and resulted in a complete reversal of fortunes as Man Yee rose to the top with what I think was the only coat that looked like an actual real life coat and not something The Sims thinks are clothes
it helped that she actually managed to find a pair of coats with very similar colour stories and didn’t try to do anything weird with a peplum, but the addition of the ribbon trim was a nice touch.
As Man Yee rose, Debra fell and we knew exactly where this was going the moment she uttered these fateful words
although I’m not sure what we got could actually be classified as a cape because it looks more like a sort of Teletubby cocoon in which Dipsy’s larval stage is slowly metamorphosing
Patrick and Esme were however more critical of the fact she hadn’t really incorporated any of the unique features of her coats into the design rather than the fact it’s a pretty good Jelly Tots costume.
Steve didn’t have quite the phoenix-from-the-ashes moment that Man Yee had, and he didn’t deserve one either purely for the fact he called Elle Woods “that lady in Legally Blonde”
He was trying to fuse together a military style jacket and a Barbie pink coat which to be fair he did look quite fetching in
and I think for the most part it was actually quite cute, or cuter than it deserved to be, I think he did a good job of picking which parts to use from each jacket
the hemline however is pretty much a disaster zone and I have been staring at it for several minutes and still can’t quite fathom what’s going on with it
it looks like a great place to hide any contraband though.
Marni was also going for pink with a touch of military and whacking a great big camoflauge S on the back of the coat, much to Esme’s slight confusion
and Sara had to stand on the side wondering if she was chopped liver while Patrick gamely shouted “SUPER ESME!” and then made her wear the coat like a cape, just further rubbing salt into Debra’s wound
which is pretty much the only way you could possibly wear the coat because as it turns out, the S stands for Small
she’s just a corset away from success!
Cristian was carrying on with his seeming fondness for pattern mixing by grabbing both a tartan print coat and something a little more Aztec inspired to make a tartan coat that looked like it was slowly being consumed by a sort of Aztec print Symbiote
I did actually really like Cristian’s coat, mostly because it reminded me of a coat I actually used to own, although I was perhaps a little disappointed that what I initially thought were a pair of saddlebags were actually just some panels
I just think we should explore clothing I can put an entire grocery haul inside of.
Gill’s also reminded of a shirt I used to own and I was going to be offended that Patrick called her yellow plaid “ugly” but then I did remember I used to call the shirt “my dog blanket shirt” so I’m willing to the L on that one
I think I would have preferred it as a cropped length without the yellow peplum, but if she had eliminated it I think Patrick and Esme might have been a little iffy on the length.
Given that she only missed the win in the previous challenge by a mere mitred corner, Brogan was putting a lot of work into her coat, while most of the other sewers kind of sort of lopped theirs to pieces and Frankenstein’d them together again, she was altering up the sleeves, mostly just to make them as Brogan as possible by adding her calling card
adding further fuel the Broganification of the transformation challenge she was of course working with pink and gingham
and it’s a perfectly cute coat! My only minor criticism would be that I wish the frills on the cuff met up to match where the combined sleeves do.
Annie got a pretty good selection of fabrics with her leopard print and very bright red coat that came together to create the sort of coat that a campy 1950s villainess would wear as she emotionally destroys the protagonist in the streets of Paris while smoking an abnormally long cigarette
I’m kind of obsessed with this and I think making the duffle coat toggle look like a brooch is mostly what’s making this feel a little bit vintage – it’s a pretty neat design!
And lastly we have Angela whose coat really reminded of the cat in The Simpsons Halloween episode
Patrick was not a fan of the frilly collar however something about it really reminds me of clowns in Italian operas, but I’m not sure if Pagliacci winterwear is a compliment or not.
An Official Frankenstein’s Coats Ranking
- Man Yee’s Real Coat
- Annie’s Coat deVil
- Brogan’s Obligatory Puffed Sleeves
- Gill’s Dog Blanket Conjunction
- Cristian’s Aztec Venom
- Angela’s Italian Opera Smock
- Steve’s Frontline Elle Woods
- The S is for Second Last
- Debra’s Teletubby Hatchling
For their Recycling Made to Measure Challenge the sewers were asked to make a maxi dress out of an old duvet, and I did love that Patrick specified that they had chosen duvets because “every family has a few unwanted duvet covers sitting in their linen cupboard” and then many of the sewers, with varying degrees of exasperation, talked about how they had to buy their duvets from charity shops. Annie had even risked Ebay and it’s my head-canon that she was trapped in a bidding war over her floral print duvet and the other bidder was Cristian, who eventually lost and that’s why he was having to chop into what was quite a nice duvet to be honest
look what you made him do Annie, LOOK WHAT YOU MADE HIM DO!
Although luckily for Cristian it all turned out ok as he sewed a very good maxi dress that doubles up as excellent Mirabel Madrigal cosplay
and I appreciate the sort of Latin American vibe it has because I really enjoyed the Frida Kahlo challenge last year and this very much feels like an honorary entrant into that.
Cristian’s nemesis in my Ebay fanfiction, Annie, also had a very good result with her kind of 70s maxi dress that looks like everything everyone wears whenever they go to see Florence and the Machine playing a gig, her music is basically the audio version of a maxi dress
and there’s some lovely pieces of design work with her black lace inserts on the sleeves and back which are the details that really begin to matter at this stage of the competition
and I think that’s where Steve became a little bit stuck this episode because he promised his inspiration as “Scorpions (not the band, not the arachnid) going for an afternoon tea at The Langham but they decided to wear maxi dresses” – which is my favourite sentence anyone on Sewing Bee has ever said, it’s truly a description after my own heart, and he very proudly showed off his acid trip of a leopard print duvet
and the resulting dress didn’t quite reach the level of camp extravagance that I wanted it to, or that this truly horrendous duvet deserved
I think it just needed some sort of embellishment to make it that much more of a cheeky nod to the extravagance of the 80s hair metal scene because this, and I can’t believe I’m about to say this about the hypnoleopard dress, seems a touch plain.
But kudos to him for not completely choosing the path of violence over the mistake with his zip
Esme would’ve vaporised him on the spot.
Steve wasn’t the only one going with leopard print as in homage to her feisty cat, Debra was using it too as well as an overlay in a jungle print that further featured leopards
this had a real nice holiday feel to it and I liked that the neckline and the orange chord she had running down the front kind of reminded me of the traditional South Asian kameez, and I do agree with Patrick that it would have been better tied at the back so as to give the full effect of the orange chord
and there was a third player in The Great Leopard Wars of 2022, although Marni did repeatedly call it “leopard skin” which made it sound 300 times more threatening
and given that this was “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Week” it do make me remember Kathleen from America’s Next Top Model having to do an anti-fur photoshoot and then reasoning that “using fur is fine as long as the animal was already dead. Like animals die like people die, just take the skin off and reuse that for a coat.” Sweet baby angel… Fortunately Marni was not going to go wander around Yorkshire hoping to stumble upon a dead leopard and had actually forgone the leopard of the original Elie Saab dress she was cribbing from, because Yes! Marni was also this week’s Obligatory Counterfeit
my personal Elie Saab recreation of choice would be this dress that I would wear once I conquer the entire universe and marry the blackhole at the center of it all
so there’s a challenge to the 2023 sewing cohort.
My plans for Supreme Ruler of the Universe aside, Marni’s dress was pretty good, much like Debra’s though Patrick was not a fan of the belt because it did kind of take away from the impact that her self-made trim had but I think the bigger concern for Marni is the Elie Saab court documents heading her way. Welcome to the current circus that is high-profile court cases!
Angela had a little bit of experience in the way of recycling home furnishings
isn’t it incredible what plastic surgery can do nowadays?
The only real issue facing Angela was the fact that her pattern called for 11 buttons but she only had 10, only 9 of which actually managed to make it onto the final dress – it’s all a bit KeyStage 2 maths problem
but it’s a perfectly fine looking dress, it is a touch too long even for a maxi though but she had gathered YARDS of that fabric into the skirt and her paneling on the bodice was very well done and saved the whole thing from looking just a little bit too plain.
I was going to say that Angela had the most duvet looking duvet of the lot but I do have to give that award to Brogan who had brought an original 70s duvet kicking and screaming out of retirement
I can practically smell the mothballs and pouch of lavender through the screen. And with her grannyish florals she was really leaning into the whole old fashioned feel with an accentuated, lacy collar – and clearly someone in the editing department felt a certain way about it considering the smash cut between these two shots
there is a drag queen in that editing suite, I am sure of it because this could have quite easily have had the Drag Race Rattlesnake noise put over it, in fact…
but even with the old-fashionedness of it, it’s still quite fashionable especially as pretty everyone has reached a point where they’re one bad day off from running away to start their new cottagecore life in the woods
it’s quite charming on the right person, I fear I would look like Grayson Perry if I wore it but that’s my shame to live with.
The best dress of the night though was reserved for Gill who had just created an outfit for the leader of the cult in Midsommar to wear to a high society function when they need to reimburse their flower budget every May
and personally I fully respect her for doing so, and the whole thing moved BEAUTIFULLY
those sleeves are calling my name, and I’ll even forgive the minor mismatch on the pattern matching on the front of the dress for them, I simply do not see it.
Man Yee was on pretty precarious ground going into this challenge and even more so because we saw Steve manage to wriggle out of a tricky situation just last week so the pressure was on with her peacock print duvet dress featuring an unspecified amount of ruffles because she didn’t want to give Patrick and Esme too much ground to criticise her on but even then there were still too few for Esme and Patrick
although they did love the work on the bodice which was impeccably tailored and well planned out, but the skirt did just need one extra row of ruffles to make it look more complete and intentional.
An Unofficial Maxi Dress Ranking
- Gill’s Scandi Cultist
- Annie’s Florence Welch Uniform
- Cristian’s Encanto Cosplay
- Brogan’s Cottagecore Twee
- Debra’s Ode to a Cat
- Marni’s Elie Saab Court Case
- Angela’s Maxed Out Maxi Dress
- A Ruffle Short of a Picnic (that ones for the Americans that don’t read this blog)
- Steve’s Reserved Hair Metal Tea Party
There were quite a few very good dresses in the last round that all could have feasibly been given Garment of the Week but I do think Gill’s thoroughly deserved it for being the most original and striking of the lot
and then because after only just squeaking through last week, Steve was a little bit on borrowed time and he just hadn’t made the scales tip into his favour so it was goodbye to him
I will miss the most chaotic sewer of the bunch but if it was between losing him and Man Yee, I was prepared to commune with the demonic realm to save Man Yee, no hard feelings Steve, but she dressed up as Haruhi Suzumiya one time and for that I do have to unrelentingly stan. Unless there’s a costumed past you want to come clean about?
And so, we’re down to 8 sewers!