Sewing Bee 2022, Episode 7: A Caramel Barrel in the Gusset

And now we know where the phrase “as flat as an ironing board” comes from.

Who wants to sign up for Esme’s Knicker Making Masterclass with me?

Lingerie and Sleepwear Week makes was making its return after taking a 1 series hiatus because we all needed at least a year to get over the nightmare that was this scenario

WHY DID THEY MAKE HER HOLD THE STUFFED RABBIT? Luckily for us plush toys were outlawed for the episode – I just wonder how long it is before the sewers are tasked with creating a dress out of discarded teddy bears? It can’t be that far off.
On the plus side, with Lingerie and Sleepwear Week returning so did everyone’s favourite 80s synth revival band Power Mesh and everyone got to say “gusset” a lot, which is always fun.

Knicker? I Hardly Know Her!

For their Lingerie Pattern Challenge the sewers were tasked with their fiddliest bit of sewing so far in the form of a matching Bra and Knickers set that had to be made from lace, almost exclusively so that Amber Butchart could go and haunt a lace mill looking like Helen George’s very own Ghost of Christmas Past

The things I will do to own this blouse. Also she needs to be stopped because she’s making me seriously consider turbans as something I could pull off and I know the result would not so much be Gloria Swanson as it would major head trauma.

Given that the sets were made from several different fabrics, they had very kindly wrangled them all together into colour coordinated piles, which did mean the suspicious fishbowls were back out

sadly none of the colour choices were particularly heinous, they could have chucked in swamp green landmine just to make things spicy, although after last week’s mad dash for suitable parka fabrics, I suppose they didn’t want to risk Gill going The Full Hunger Games

Annie was lucky enough to end up with the very traditional white fabrics which could hide many a sin because it could barely be seen on the mannequin

but everything was lying flat and incredibly neatly sewn together with there not really being anything much to negatively critique and perhaps she would have won the challenge had Man Yee not slipped a bribe into her gusset

Is that a lollipop in your gusset or are you just happy to see me?

Much like Annie, Man Yee’s was all pretty much perfectly put together except for the front that was just a fraction askew

but that’s nothing that a caramel barrel in the gusset can’t fix for you.

The others all struggled a little more than Annie and Man Yee, most noticeably Cristian who made absolutely sure we all knew he was not familiar with bras by mentioning it 6 times, but at least Man Yee was on hand to play lingerie charades with him to help him work out the mechanics of a bra

but he was still very much not having a fun time trying to sew it all together and was looking at a bra like me watching Springwatch coming to terms with the fact Frog Flies are a thing that exist (if you know, YOU KNOW.)

but at least he still managed to complete the challenge and had a fully completed bra and knicker set in a very Ann Summers shade of red

the knickers are great – pretty much everyone nailed them because they were only 3 pieces of fabric and some elastic. But his bra was a little rougher with one of the cups not being particularly symmetrical

which might not be desirable for most people but as someone with the wonkiest of HRT boobs, I appreciate the representation.

Most of the sewers got on just fine with the knickers, the only person to have a slight mistake with them was Debra whose knickers had developed a bit of a suspicious gusset lump

but as someone with a suspi-[ARIADNE NO!]

There were also quite a few little mistakes with her bra top, but she had been lucky enough to get a sparkly fabric which at least glamoured you into overlooking most of the errors like a magpie with a very short attention span

and the fact she had overstretched the bra meant it wasn’t lying flat despite her trying to iron the tits off of her mannequin

given the amount of ironing in this challenge, it was perhaps for the best that Angela wasn’t here for it.

Rather unsurprisingly Brogan went with a very soft baby pink – at this point I’m not sure if she’s choosing the fabrics or if the pink fabrics just sort of naturally gravitate towards her – a phenomenon we shall call The Millennial Pink Polarity

It was dubbed a very wearable set with the only slight issue being that she had sewn the straps onto the outside of the bra.

Ths week’s Struggle Bus was reserved for Gill who seemed to have accidentally made the bra cups too large and the only way to repair them within the time was to pleat them which made them look like they were sinking into her mannequin’s sternum

but the rest of her sewing was incredibly neat, it was just a pity that the mistake she had made was so obvious because I do think Debra had more errors in her set and should probably have been placed last, but I am not sure what weighting of errors Esme and Patrick are using.

An Official Lingerie Set Ranking

  1. Man Yee’s Gusset Bribe
  2. The Emperor’s New Knickers
  3. Brogan’s Baby Pink Magnetic Field
  4. Debra’s Suspicious Gusset Lump
  5. Cristian Has Never Touched A Bra, OK?
  6. Gill’s Quicksand Bra

A Thermal Legging Up

For their Lingerie and Sleepwear Transformation Challenge the sewers were asked to transform thermal sleepwear into an outfit for going out in. Given that the thermal sets were quite plain Esme did make a plea for everyone to use as much trimming as they wanted to, and it seems The Haberdashery Wall has been gagging to give away its wares

although Brogan was quite happy with the fabrics for the glaringly obvious reason

and Brogan was very much in her element as she embraced the, in her own words, “granny chic” of the whole challenge with an outfit that Sara described as looking like a “fancy lady velociraptor”, a description very much over my own heart because I immediately wrote down that it looked like a Dilophosaurus in Cranford was having tea with the vicar

I do kind of wish the skirt had been floor length but given the lack of materials, I at least appreciate that Brogan certainly put the trans into Transformation Challenge

the bib did prove divisive with Patrick liking it and Esme not being a big fan of it because it looked like something a milkmaid would wear – a fact Patrick disputed on the grounds it had sparkly buttons, if you were wanting to know where the line in the sand lies between farmhand and socialite

I did however love that throughout this conversation EVERY TIME they said “milkmaid” the editor chose to smash-cut to Brogan sitting at her station looking like she was an Edward Jenner short of a Smallpox vaccine

I do wish I could pull off the giant collar trend as well as Brogan but my dysphoria assures me that I would look like a pantomime dame.

Patrick also referred to Brogan’s dress as looking like it belonged on Little House on the Prairie, although I thought that was a much more apt description for Cristian’s dress which was very much giving me homespun bible belt Americana

I think this was actually my favourite – it’s a testament to how fully embracing the haberdashery can really elevate a transformation challenge outfit – a fact I wish everyone had realised before Esme had to actively plead for them to please FOR THE LOVE OF GOD USE THE TRIMS WE BOUGHT.

Cristian using metre upon metre of the daisy trim did also come with some perks

given that Brogan always lands in the top 4 for the Transformation Challenge that’s a pretty sound tactic actually, something Man Yee was also potentially cottoning onto

unfortunately for her, Cristian had already picked the haberdashery clean of most of its daisies, she still managed to scrounge three from somewhere, which she was mostly using as an attempt to hide the fact she had pulled the old drag queen classic and whipped out the glue gun

not that Esme really minded the use of the glue gun – I can’t wait for the shenanigans now that everyone has cottoned onto the fact they don’t actually have to sew anything in a transformation challenge and can settle for haphazardly just gluing things together. LET CHAOS REIGN.

Man Yee wasn’t the only sewer going the Drag Race route as Annie fully pulled a Jinkx Monsoon and spent a good portion of her time braiding a pair of thermal pants

and in order to elevate it a little bit she threaded a gold chain through it and I really do think it looks great!

there’s almost something a little bit vintage resort wear about the whole thing – that neckline feels very 1950s to me, I kind of wish the skirt was a pair of pleated shorts, but I realise they only have 90 minutes to do this in and 70% of your time is spent having numerous brain farts so there’s not much time to whip up a paper bag waistline.

While everyone else had at least partially embraced the haberdasheries wall of glitzy wonders, Debra had opted for a more muted grey felt to match the bits of the grey thermals she had grabbed

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this colour combination, but considering Man Yee had picked that rail clean like a vulture raiding TK Maxx I’m assuming it was all that was left

Patrick and Esme didn’t mind it though and Esme was particularly enthused by the fact Debra had included two bows

although one of those bows looks distinctly more like a pair of socks – and who on earth would endorse such a thing?

Andrew’s sock vest takes up an inordinate amount of space in my brain – not a single day goes by that I don’t think about it.

And lastly we have Gill who also got lumbered with the grey set of thermals and settled for making a two piece with a statement sleeve

I actually quite liked this and thought the boob tube with the single statement sleeve and the silver trim felt kind of 90s/early 2000s to me – and I will always have a soft spot for that era because it was when I first started to become aware of fashion and the overwhelming urge to dress like Baby Spice really began to sink in.

An Official Transformation Challenge Ranking

  1. Debra’s Modesty Sock
  2. Annie’s Well Braided Dress
  3. Cristian’s Midwest Chic
  4. Brogan’s Innate Urge to Look Like a Milkmaid
  5. Man Yee’s Softcore Bondage
  6. Gill’s Early 200s Revivalism

Bedtime Beckons

Not wanting to risk the possibility of another woman being dressed up like a toddler in 1840 needing a glass of milk in the middle of the night, the pyjamas in this year’s Lingerie and Sleepwear Made to Measure were for men, which had Cristian very relieved – although apparently he is not familiar with the concept of pyjamas

NOT IN THIS 2022 ECONOMY YOU DON’T. I hope he has since invested in a good pair of thermals, we’re all going to need them.

The judges were specifically looking for luxury men’s pyjamas, and when I think of that my mind immediately goes towards paisley silks, which Cristian and Annie were both obliging us with. The issue with silk is obviously that it tends to slip and slide a lot and neither of them quite come out of the other side completely safe. Cristian arguably a little worse off because the length of his sleeves were very noticeably too long

but I do kind of love that they look like flared trousers for your arms, although that might make swirling your whiskey a little harder – and what are luxury pyjamas for if not swirling whiskey in a Winchester armchair while waiting for your spouse to come home in the wee hours so you can have an argument by firelight?
I do like his contrast collar, I’m not sure I love the pocket in the same electric blue – it might have actually looked better had he used Annie’s paisley which had similar shades in it

but arguably the bigger error in Cristian’s set was the slightly hairy leg of his pyjamas which made them look like a carnivorous sundew

and it was making me a little worried for Cristian’s place in the competition.

For her paisley set Annie was making them with her boyfriend in mind and taking inspiration from A$AP Rocky’s Vogue photoshoot in which he wore pyjamas

so I hope her boyfriend is getting the memo to dress more like A$AP Rocky

the fireplace dog bomber jacket is entirely covetable.

And I think Annie mostly achieved what she set out to do, the black piping was subtle and I think worked very well to ground what was a very busy print

but I did mostly love that she had given him a bulky silk mask which did make him look like he was about to commit a very comfortable heist

cat burglars have to catnap if they want to stay at the top of their game.

While the sewing of the piping was very good and highly praised by the judges, the hems were a little wibbly wobbly all over which was particularly noticeable on the shorts

but I think given the time and the fabric she was using, it’s still very impressively put together.

While I do love a paisley, I think my favourite print was definitely Debra’s graphic sun print

her inspiration was coming from Noel Coward and his iconic dressing gowns, my favourite part of which was the way Esme’s face lit up because she had just had to bluff her way through knowing who A$AP Rocky was

the issue for Debra was the fact that with such a graphic print, in order to achieve the luxury finish, she was going to have to pattern match – a Herculean task given that she was using a satin fabric but the result was pretty admirable

I love the shape of the collar and the fact the two suns are perfectly placed within the curves is a really neat little touch. It’s also a really lovely colour combination – there’s a reason so many flags have the exact same colour story, but as much as I do love it, I do wish the buttons looked a touch more special – either a covered button or something a little more art deco, just to lean into that 1930s theme she was going for.

Man Yee went for the same colour combination – mostly because her dad’s favourite colour is navy, which explains the fabric choice for her bra

but if her dad’s not keen on that, he always has this truly iconic set of pyjamas to fall back on

these are hands down one of my favourite things anyone has made on Sewing Bee, I’m even willing to forgive the flip flops – they just look so GOOD and she definitely achieved the best sense of luxury with the long sleeves and trousers – and the colour choices and placements were very well chosen, I particularly love the two-toned collar

and of course she got brownie points for the applique bee

I would very much like to see more appliques used in the future – apian or otherwise.

While the other sewers went with silks and satins, Brogan was making life slightly easier for herself with a cotton lawn that’s much more manageable when it comes to sewing. However it does come with the slight downside of being a little harder to sell as being luxurious, and it didn’t help matters that she had chosen a distinctly tropical print which did end up reading a little bit like men’s co-ord set you’d buy for some nice summer holiday photos on Instagram

as ever though, it’s very well sewn and there’s not much to technically fault other than a marginally out of place button, but considering she had inserted a fly and French seamed it all, she had at least gone the extra mile given she was using a slightly less traditionally lux fabric.

Lastly we have Gill who was definitely in the most precarious position going into this Made to Measure challenge and was hoping for some good fortune with her goldfish inspired PJ set

I really love the design, the Tang suit inspired top certainly has a ring of luxury to it and orange and blue colour combination is a classic, as the entire cinema industry will tell you

Gill did run into a few problems here and there and did gradually fall a little bit behind time which meant she was having to put her PJs through the overlocker at a pace that should have earned her a speeding ticket

for all the little faults that the final set had, it’s a wonder that “being chewed alive by the overlocker” wasn’t one of them

the biggest issue is the fit of the top, which is a little tight on her model’s neck and shoulders – but the trousers were very well sewn, fit perfectly and had a very nice billow to them.

An Unofficial Men’s Pyjamas Ranking

  1. Man Yee’s Father’s Day Present
  2. Debra’s Cowardly PJs
  3. Annie’s A$AP Rocky Stan Account
  4. Brogan’s PJs on The Beach
  5. Gill’s Goldfish Wishes
  6. Cristian Coming Off Second Best To his PJs

Garment of the Week was pretty much a toss up between Man Yee and Debra and with the latter having garnered herself 3 over the course of the series, the judges had decided to spread the love a bit and gave Man Yee the very deserving win

I keep almost calling them BeeJs as a joke but that seems a disservice to their classiness.

Coming in to the Made to Measure I think Gill knew that she had to really knock it out of the park and execute a pretty flawless set of pyjamas, and while her set wasn’t a complete disaster and were still a lovely pair, it clearly wasn’t the hail Mary she needed, which I think did probably make it easier knowing that it was most likely to be her going home

although Cristian was still blindsided by the news

it was still very sad to see Gill go, I loved her sense of humour on the show and you could tell how much she meant to the other sewers given their very emotional reactions. And I’m glad that she got so much out of the show in return – and you know, if they ever do a Sewing Bee: All Stars, I think she’s a prime candidate.

And so, we’re down to 6 Sewers as we inch closer to the quarterfinal

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

One thought on “Sewing Bee 2022, Episode 7: A Caramel Barrel in the Gusset

  1. Meerium

    I am in for any sort of sewing class with Esme – knickers would only be a bonus! I have a sense that all sorts of chaos would prevail but you’d have the time of your life and end up with her drinking you under the table in a spectacularly unlikely bar somewhere.

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