Sewing Bee, now with added Omega 3!
It’s Children’s Week and the grand tradition of unhinged fancy dress continues – may it’s torch burn ever bright.
As it is children’s week the Child-sized mannequins are back in all of their slightly unsettling glory and ready to fall a part as the sewers wrestle them into their garments with less grace than Steve Irwin trying to placate a saltwater crocodile
and only Marni was suitable disgusted by their presence
and the mannequins were going to punish her for it.
For their first challenge of Children’s Week the sewers were having to make a children’s sailor suit (they will absolutely be making an adults one by the time we hit series 12 and have to resort to Naval and Navel Week). This was certainly an upscale in the amount of work the sewers were having to do in a pattern challenge with the addition of contrast trims on the additionally contrasting collar, a top and shorts as well as a neck tie all making the 28 eyelets they had to attach to their shoes in Week 2 look like… well, child’s play.
The sewers were allowed to select whatever fabrics they wanted – they just had to make sure they would survive the playground where, inevitably, your child is mercilessly bullied for being dressed as a sailor. This did also thankfully mean that we didn’t have to endure 8 versions of Bart Simpson dressed as Buster Brown
and given free rein most of the sewers immediately gravitated towards vibrant and fun prints, which I personally thought took a lot of the outfits away from looking like sailor suits – which might have been an act of mercy more than anything else.
Annie went for the most classical looking sailor suit with a solid royal blue and red contrast trim – and that was about as classical as she was going as she went completely rogue when it came to the instructions
sadly embracing her inner-Damien did not work out too well as her calculations were slightly off and the shorts promptly fell down
the strength in Annie’s sailor suit did mostly lie within her sartorial fabric choices, but she had chosen a fabric that had too much of a bounce which gave the whole thing a bit of a baggy look, which isn’t untrendy at the moment
it’s the Balenciaga of children’s sailor suits.
Gill also went for solid colours, opting for a distinctly Squid Game shade of green
she didn’t seem to be having a lot of fun with this challenge and at one point did seem to have lobbed her shorts at her mannequin’s head, imaginably out of frustration and to hide the faceless stare
the colours she chose did mean that her contrasting pieces worked very well, unfortunately this did make the fact her trims were a little uneven that much more glaring
but I think the fact she got both of the lines of tape on and didn’t burn the sewing room to the ground makes this a success.
Most of the sewers were pretty unfamiliar with making children’s clothing, although there were a few who do it on the regular – namely Brogan and Angela, the latter of which was playing a dangerous game of tempting fate at the top of the episode
however fate was a merciful mistress this evening, and probably a little bit too busy toppling sugarwork showpieces over on Bake Off: The Professionals, which I will be recapping if Channel 4 decides to actually put the episode online (this blog is just call out posts thinly veiled as TV recaps). So with fate distracted by destroying the hopes and dreams of highly skilled patissiers, Angela came out the other side with a perfectly good sailor suit
Patrick and Esme had issues with it looking too pyjamaish, which it does but I certainly don’t think it was the only one with that issue. The busyness of the print did also work a little against her as it kind of swallowed up the contrast trims on the sleeves but it all seemed pretty neatly sewn together.
Brogan was also familiar with making children’s clothes – and in this instance was not talking about her twinning sausage dog as she quite often makes outfits for her niece so she was quite happy to sew on a small scale – it also helps that she has a pocketful of anthropomorphised mice to help her. Although apparently they weren’t familiar with the concept of poppers (the fasteners not the… VHS tape cleaner)
and Debra was being very magnanimous by seemingly teaching quite a few of the sewers the way of the poppers.
Brogan had gone for two prints, the first was unsurprisingly gingham and the second had crabs on it
and resulted in sadly few chances to make jokes about crabs which was probably for the best during Children’s Week if we’re honest.
But the use of two different ginghams and the jazzy crab print did mean the outfit got a little bit busy
but it was mostly very well sewn, the only real issue being that the cuffs on the shorts weren’t completely straight and Patrick only really noticed it because of the gingham
hoisted by her own gingham petard!
While she wasn’t on Poppers Duty, Debra was busy making a floral print sailor suit which was a bit of a disparate choice
the issue with the fabrics that the judges had weren’t however because it looks like the uniform designer for the HMS Chrysanthemum took their brief a little too literally, but because her fabric for the shorts was a little too thick meaning the press on them wasn’t pristine enough – and I imagine a pair of white children’s trousers aren’t going to stay pristine for very long anyway
but the colour choices were all very cohesive – my brain just won’t compute a floral sailor suit though.
Man Yee was also feeling confident, although for different reasons as it is only a short walk from Japanese schoolgirl cosplay to children’s sailor suit
and I did love Man Yee explaining Haruhi Suzumiya to Patrick and just absolutely none of it soaking in because Patrick’s only understanding of cartoons are the Peanuts annuals that people keep giving him for Christmas because they think he has distinctly Charlie Brown energy.
I did wish that Man Yee drew a little more from her Haruhi cosplay in terms of the colours, however she instead decided to more strongly embrace the nautical theme of the challenge with an anchor print which certainly paid off in the end
it was exactly what the judges were looking for in terms of style and fabric choices – sure the trims could have been a stronger contrast but they match the paleness of the anchor print so it all felt cohesive.
Marni and Cristian were a little more adrift in terms of their experience in sewing tiny little things, because sadly Marni doesn’t sew each of her non-cockapoo canine patients a neat little scarf and Cristian sadly did not spend lockdown sewing little outfit for his sausage dog Frank
I hope he learns a thing or two from Brogan and Roger
I do hope they’re setting up a playdate as soon as they possibly can because I am very invested in Roger and Frank becoming best friends – and matching outfits are mandatory.
For his outfit Cristian was going with a print themed around air travel because Annie had hogged all of the sea travel print fabric for her collar
so I guess I owe Debra an apology about think her floral sailor was cognitively dissonant.
The colours are very well coordinated but I do think the pastelness of it all did mean that his looked the most like a set of pyjamas, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing a sailor suit as PJs. Wearing one out of the house and having it immortalised as an oil painting? Well, we’ll have to have words
Queen Victoria was a cruel woman.
And lastly we have Marni who didn’t feature in much of the footage during this segment, I imagine because she was busy cursing the child population of the UK under breath through out, but I really loved her choice of print
it was a bit of an oversight to make the necktie in the same fabric because it does completely vanish which does somewhat take away from the sailorishness of the garment, which is both a criticism and a compliment
but it was very well sewn and she had managed the contrast tape very well.
An Official Sailor Suit Ranking
- The WAVEring of Haruhi Suzumiya
- Cristian Puts the Ship in Airship
- Marni’s Chameleon Necktie
- The HMS Chrysanthemum
- Angela’s Sailor Mosaic
- Squid Game Can Be Nautical… I guess?
- Annie’s Balenciaga Sailor
Sadly this year’s Children’s Week Transformation Challenge was not another round of Esme failing miserably to correctly guess what food themed costume the sewers had made out of whatever soft furnishings they could get ahold of
Patrick’s look of utter disbelief when Esme triumphantly says “Oh, it’s a fish!” will never be matched.
Instead this year the sewers were having to take school uniforms and create an outfit that a 6 year old would like to wear outside of school. Of course because they were using school uniforms there was plenty of gingham onhand so Brogan was in heaven – although she was going teetotal on the puffed sleeves this week having come dressed in a very cute little vest that did also look a bit like something Wallace would wear to a Pride event
and she was trying to step more outside of her aesthetic wheelhouse with a look she was dubbing “punk rock” and you know an outfit that looks like it would belong to Avril Lavigne’s 6 year old sister is at least delightfully pop-punk
and who are we kidding, 37 year old Avril Lavigne would absolutely wear this in a heartbeat.
There was a lot of really neat work in Brogan’s dress – the frills she had put in and the elasticated straps gave the outfit a sense of depth and interest and what 6 year old’s magpie brain could resist the sparkles?
everyone seems to have been a little hesitant on using embellishments this year, I know Damien constantly got in trouble for it last year but I am beginning to miss the recurring turquoise blue beaded fringe
which I think Debra could’ve done with several metres of to make it look slightly less like she had taken a school uniform and turned it into an NHS nurse uniform
she was pretty heavily penalised for a lack of creativity with the finishing of it at least saving her being bottom of the table, that space being reserved for Gill’s…. sweatpant jodhpurs?
I am a little bit obsessed with Gill’s steadfast refusal to make friends with the Transformation Challenge as she and it seem hellbent on ruining one another’s days. It’s just not a very aesthetically pleasing outfit and it does look a little bit like a wrestling singlet worn by the Qatari Olympic wrestling team.
Brogan wasn’t the only one going punk, although she was the only one going *intentionally* punk and somehow Man Yee found herself creating an ironic uniform for the Anarchist Federation
Patrick made fun of Esme for thinking the floral-A could have meant “Anarchy” but how dare he forget what acclaimed philosopher of the early 2010s Sandi Thom once said
apologies to everyone who now has that song stuck in their head, I’ve been humming it all day.
Sadly Man Yee’s intention was not to start a pastel revolution on the eve of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (I guess I’ll have to do it myself) and instead it was just truly inspirational laziness
her beaming smile as she said it too – truly a woman of the people.
Man Yee wasn’t the only one doing dungarees, although Angela’s were more of a palazzo pant jumpsuit – I am however open to the idea of a pair of dungarees featuring palazzo pants
as Esme said, they are strangely chic looking – I would very much like to walk around a quaint French village wearing them. I was a little surprised that Esme didn’t bring up the fact the bow looks a bit like it was tied by someone who only understands the loose concept of a bow, which I suppose adds to the authenticity that a 6 year old would own this. Look at me, outing myself as someone who only learned to tie their shoe laces properly when I was like 7 years old.
As well as the Clash of the Soft-Punk Bands and The Dungaree Contretemps, Marnie and Cristian were facing off in a Hoodie Hostility. Cristian chose to stop short at just a hooded vest
which was very cute and well made and could potentially be very easily scaled down to being worn by a sausage dog (just saying), while Marnie pushed it a little further with a hoodie and a pair of shorts
getting the extra work done in the 90 minutes may have pushed her a little too hard though as she put her zip in wrong and had to unpick it and didn’t have time to put a stopper in
big fan of the comedically oversized child’s zipper though.
And lastly we have Annie who was initially going to throw her hat into the one-piece ring with a playsuit but ultimately forewent the idea in favour of a dress made from yellow and purple gingham
it’s very cute in a sort of Easter Church dress kind of way, and she had used elements of the pre-existing uniforms in interesting ways with the collars being turned into the peplum, which always goes down well with Patrick and Esme so I thought this would have placed a little higher.
An Official Uniform Transformation Ranking
- Angela’s French Resort Going 6 Year Old
- Cristian’s Sleeveless Time Saver
- Man Yee’s Sandi Thom Dungarees
- 6 Year Old Avril Lavigne
- Marnie’s Hooded Workload
- The Playsuit To Dress Pipeline
- Debra’s 6 Year Old NHS Nurse
- Gill’s Qatari Olympic Wrestler
Luckily they hadn’t completely driven the fancy dress out of Children’s Week with flaming pitchforks as their Made-to-Measure Challenge had the sewers creating Halloween costumes for their child models – with a mandatory 3D element to help elevate those famously 2D children: think wings, extra appendages, the metaphorical gnarled hand of your insanity threatening to tear your life asunder, all the Halloween classics that kids love!
The sewers were encouraged that the spookier their outfits the better, which I don’t think is true – my dream Halloween costume is this outfit illustrated in the Schembard Buch, a documentation of a Schembart Carnival in 16th century Germany
but I never get invited to a Halloween party. Probably because that would be my costume… really shot myself in the foot about being so public about this one, huh? So I was delighted when Cristian said he was doing a clown, and not Pennywise or either of the Edgelord Jokers – although when they first showed just the hat, I was worried we were getting an all too 3D Mr. Blobby
luckily we just got a very cute clown costume and in order to fulfil the 3D effect he had sewn in a hula hoop to give it more of a shape
and of course because there was a hula hoop in the room, Patrick did have a truly miserable attempt at doing it
Cristian certainly put the hula hoop to better use as it gave his costume a lot of character – and truly nothing brought me more joy than watching the little boy wearing it waddle out onto the catwalk having to contend with both the ungainliness of the hula hoop and the clown shoes they had stuck him in
I hope production gave him a lot of sweets for his hard work.
Everyone else had gone more expectedly Halloween, except for maybe Annie who was doing a dragon because she and her little sister had watched A Nondescript Dragon Film™ together and was thus making a dragon costume – and I don’t feel like we see enough dragons at Halloween, which I do blame entirely on How To Train Your Dragon for making them seem too cute – it’s like whatever the reverse of Jaws and Sharks is, we have made dragons far too relatable.
Annie was going for a more fearsome dragon – there were no big, watery Pixar eyes, hers was much more akin to the pinnacle of cinematic dragons, Draco from Dragonheart (sadly sans a mouthful of Dennis Quaid)
this was really cool – the construction of the dragon head is honestly one of the best thing I’ve ever seen on Sewing Bee, it looks like one of those shiny snakes that you can only buy in a zoo giftshop and they’re always hung from a Jenny Nicholson Approved Snake Rack™
the rest of it is a little simple, it in no way detracts from the costume but perhaps more of a batwing shape to the cape would’ve elevated it just that little bit more.
Speaking of batwing shapes, Brogan had consulted with her niece about a possible costume and imaginably after hours of trying to explain that she cannot infringe on Disney’s copyrights, they landed on the idea to make a cute little bat – and rather cleverly in order to make the wings she was using an umbrella, so it also passes as a goth dilophosaurus
this is really nifty and just extremely clever – I do agree with Esme and Patrick that the outfit could have maybe used a few more tonally different blacks – maybe a dark purple to make the torso more discernible and bat-like because this did look a bit like Batgirl was going to a masquerade ball and not being particularly subtle about her identity
They’ll never guess who it is!
Esme thought the ears needed to be bigger, which in order to be more batlike they probably did, but I personally loved them because they were giving me “I’m a mouse, duh!” energy
and I always appreciate that at Halloween.
While Brogan may have come up against some Disney copyright issues, Gill didn’t have any issue as she stayed safely within the confines of the BBC, creating a Dalek costume. And if The Doctor is in need of a new companion any time soon, I might suggest Gill purely for her ability to wrestle a Dalek into submission
given that the usual process of making a Dalek costume is to put a cardboard box over yourself and shove a plunger through it, it was quite novel to see someone sewing one. I did however immediately fear that the cone-shaped piece of cream coloured fabric was going to look *slightly* like a condom, which you know… it didn’t not
but it’s so charming and the details are so good – I think it’s pretty ruddy wonderful, I did also love that Gill got the one child in the country that has absolutely no concept of the Doctor Who Universe though
big fan of her commitment to saying “Exterminate! Exterminate!” just because an adult told her to.
We did have a bit of a Costume Competition going on as both Angela and Man Yee found themselves making spider costumes, although Man Yee’s was almost a crab as she had accidentally drawn a prototype with 10 pairs of legs in her sketch and hastily scribbled out the extraneous pair
a spider costume is a bit of a Halloween staple, and Angela had in fact done it before for one of her grandkids so she was at least well practiced in the art of arachnid craftmanship. Although she had potentially played it a little safe as her spider lacked a few details
it’s perfectly cute and I’m sure most kids would be pretty thrilled to wear it, but it does look a bit like they’re wearing their dad’s old black tracksuit, which was at least going to keep them warm in the middle of winter. Of course Esme had an issue with the flies in the web being too small
so we can add Flies to Bows and Bat Ears as the list of things Esme craves to be bigger grows… ever bigger.
I think what set Man Yee and Angela a part was that Man Yee had more of a concept, choosing a specific species of spider to draw more inspiration from and give her costume some smaller details to make it more unique. She was using the Banana Spider as her inspiration – and I was hoping that we were going to get a delightfully punny costume and a child wearing a banana costume with 8 legs. Sadly no such thing happened.
Also going for Man Yee was the fact she was using fun fur, and spent a lot of her time on the floor looking like she was skinning a bear to make a bearskin rug
and the fur certainly helped elevate her costume
it was a pity that she hadn’t had the time to connect all of the legs together via strings, but she had made the important decision to add a candy storage pouch to her spider’s belly and the eyes she had made looked really cool, especially under the studio lighting
not entirely sure the furry facemask was the most humane decision, but it completes the look.
Marni had a very similar issue with Gill in that she didn’t have much of a concept behind her Dark Fairy because as soon as Sara asked her about its back story and inspiration Marni did seem to be mentally formulating a getaway plan
and it did begin to seem like she had used the random aesthetics generator to decide what she was doing and got “Dark Fairy” – and if I did the same thing I would be making a Gordon Ramsay Badger costume
so it could have been worse Marni.
Her plan was to make a sort of hoop skirt that would give the effect that the child wearing the costume would look like there were floating as they walked down the runway. Unfortunately the piping that Marni had chosen to use just wasn’t stable enough and couldn’t give the skirt the structure that it needed
and sadly there wasn’t much else to save the outfit because, in her own words, she had just made a simple t-shirt top with no embellishments. It’s a real shame because Marni’s outfits so far have been really good, she just seemed to have a real mental block when it came to designing for children and over thought it all a little too much, which I think is quite understandable, I would absolutely have done the same thing.
And lastly we have Debra and oh what a journey this was – her saying she was dressing up a child as Miss Havisham is everything I hope for from Children’s Week on Sewing Bee – it’s a little chaotic, slightly unhinged and an utterly inspired choice. And in order to give it a 3D element she was going to be crowning the jilted bride with a crown shaped like a clawed hand, something Patrick could not even begin to fathom
to be fair, I think I would have also struggled and been a little bit worried that it was going to look like Debra had put a toilet seat on the child’s head
it might be a little hard to get that one around The Children (Performances) Regulations.
But after 4 weeks, we know we can put our faith in Debra and she really delivered with this Halloween costume
I did however absolutely lose my mind over them using Hozier’s “Take Me To Church”, a famously damning song about anti-homosexuality in The Church, just because it has the lyrics “take me to church” and Miss Havisham was a jilted bride who wanted to go to church
a truly galaxy brained music cue, I am obsessed and I hope the sound editor got a very strong pat on the back.
The costume is truly outstanding – the dress is well made and the work she put into distressing it and making it feel more aged worked really well – but truly the gnarled hand crown stole the show
I was sceptical at first but I’m so impressed by how much like a skeletal hand it looks! But my favourite thing about it might be the fact that it also doubles up as a really good Cursola from Pokemon costume
it’s quite uncanny.
An Unofficial Halloween Costume Ranking
- Miss Havisham Really Wants To Go To Church
- Cristian’s Classic Circus Clown
- Gill’s Doctor Who Audition Reel
- Annie’s Appropriately Fearsome Dragon
- She’s a Bat, Duh!
- Man Yee’s Kangaroo Spider
- Angela’s Heat Preserving Spider
- Snail Jock? Church Mermaid? Tacky Squid? Dark Fairy!
Rather unsurprisingly Debra managed to rack up her 3rd win of the series for her sure-to-be iconic Miss Havisham costume
but there did also have to be an elimination and despite doing pretty well in the Pattern and Transformation Challenges, sadly Marni’s Dark Fairy proved to be her undoing
I’m really sad to see her go, I found her to be a wonderfully interesting individual and thought she brought a lot of fun to the series so her presence will certainly be missed by the viewers as much as the other sewers.
An so, 7 sewers move on to Music Week where I imagine they’ll make choir robes and turn tubas into tea dresses
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