Sewing Bee 2023, Episode 4: Floral Chest Hair Toupee

I didn’t have anywhere else to put this but the subtitle really tickled me.

Trews Your Own Adventure

For this week’s Pattern Challenge the sewers were having to make a pair of baggy trousers, but these weren’t just any baggy trousers, these were zero waste baggy trousers – so long as you had a very specific 150 by 164cm bolt of fabric, and to further the wastelessness the pattern was but a single scrap of paper which Lizzie had to brandish like someone in a local newspaper who absolutely, positively, definitely hadn’t been buying premium porn

also helping the zero waste aspect was the fact a good deal of the fabric was being turned into a pair of patch pockets that weren’t so much pockets as they were a potential marsupium nursery

although they do look significantly less ridiculous in hindsight of Tony R creating a pair of pockets that you could bury bodies in

to be fair, Tony R, who has now rechristened himself as Flappy Tony

making a pair of trousers that look like a delinquent skater from the 90s was forced to join a military bootcamp (but the plucky kid is going to do it HIS way) does kind of check out

Half-pipe Dreams starring Bam Margera coming to cinemas in 1999.

The pockets did cause Tony an absolute nightmare, and unfortunately for him Esme was able to witness the whole ordeal as he’s not the only one proficient in camouflage, she’d perfectly disguised herself as a vase of flowers allowing her to sneak up on the unwary sewers

A master of disguise.

Flappy Tony wasn’t the only with a very skatercore pair of trousers as Non-flappy Tony’s looked like a pair of trousers that could pass as JNCO jeans

while the Two Tonys kitted out the geriatric millennials in the audience, Lauren was apparently making trousers for a shipwrecked sailor

and thus started the great Linen-Cotton War of 2023

clearly the solution here would have been to make them each exchange one trouser leg and learn to get along, which may have benefitted Fauve more than Lauren given that Fauve had accidentally cut her side panels too short and couldn’t really do anything about it lest she be jailed by The Fabric Wasting Police

(I know those are pilot hats, just go with the bit) but who are we kidding, the thought of Patrick with handcuffs and Fauve would have been running her sewing machine on fossil fuels

so it may have been a touch unwise to give her the Mini Patrick Voodoo Doll

the jury’s out, hun.
Patrick may have been under her spell, but nothing was going to stop Esme from finding the hem that looked like Fauve had sewn it with a deathrolling alligator

her trousers were still marginally better than Flappy Tony’s Bottomless Pockets of Despair and Loose Change.

Vicki was also going with a floral and getting along much better with the challenge than most and very swiftly became the cheerleader of the room

IT’S EASY FOR YOU TO SAY VICKI! You haven’t dropped the entire concept of maths into a pocket you’ll never be able to get it out of! Although Asmaa might want to watch out, because if Vicki loses one more pattern challenge to her, she’s going to end up in those pockets

I really liked Vicki’s trousers, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that Asmaa’s trousers came with the extra hurdle of her having to wrestle a 2.46m2 anaconda

she really is the Jennifer Lopez of the Sewing Bee

and not just because she goes pedal to the metal in a pair of Louboutin stilettos

truly levels of glamour I can only aspire to. And not to ruin it by pointing out her trousers looked a bit like Otto Mann being eaten by a snake or anything but….

which was the least cursed of the possible serpentine Simpsons references I could have gone for

Matt Groening really said “Here’s one for the voreists!”

So with Vicki and Asmaa roleplaying as bride and bridesmaid, that third slot on that podium I’m still trying to get them to install was up for grabs – the bronze going to Mia for her pink trousers

she seemed a bit shocked by how well received they were

but the pockets all worked and her hems didn’t look like they’d been a snack for a giant reptile.

Lizzie gave herself a bit of a challenge by flipping the checkered coin

the con of the checkered fabric being that it can highlight any uneven sewing while the pros are that it can help you cut and measure and makes you look like a golfing clown when you wear them

I am unreasonably obsessed with these and I think she deserved better than to finish in the lower half of the lineup although the leg lengths do look a bit uneven, but we’ll blame that on the concussion she got from headbutting her sewing machine

you do have to exert dominance over the machinery sometimes.

Lastly we have Matthew with his quite chintzy pair of trousers

the fabric really suits the summery, almost palazzo cut of them, it was just a shame there were a few minor technical errors here and there, such as the jagged edge of the pockets

quite a few of the sewers struggled with pockets – we’ll blame it on Tony accidentally opening The Pocket Void and unleashing some sort of malevolent spirit on Sunnybank Mills.

An Official Baggy Trousers Ranking
1. Anaconda (1997, Luis LLosa.)
2. Vicki’s Bridesmaid Trousers
3. Mia’s Pretty in Pink Trousers
4. Wony’s Summer-friendly JNCO Jeans
5. Lauren’s Shipwrecked Sailor
6. Lizzie’s Golf Clown!
7. Matthew’s Summery Chintz
8. Fauve’s Hemageddon
9. What’s that Lazzie? Little Timmy’s trapped in a pocket?

It’s In The Bag

For their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Week transformation challenge the sewers were having to make an item of clothing out of tote bags, using as much of the bag as possible

and no, you were not allowed to just use the tote bag as a pocket, Tony.
Over on Drag Race, many a drag queen has used the humble bag to make their design challenge outfits – some good

and some so cataclysmically bad that they started a new minor religion

nobody joined Lala Ri in Bagging Check Infamy, although I was worried for Non-flappy Tony the moment it cut from Sara doing this

to him doing exactly the same thing

however, instead of his garment looking like someone had come off second best to their free fresher’s week university branded tote bag, he’d created a sort of sexy farmer / French maid hybrid which is some strong Paris and Nicole’s The Simple Life energy

it’s cute, I love that black and white fabric – YEARS ago, Versace did a collection with H&M which had skinny jeans in that print and I was so mad I did not get a pair – they are my White Whale.

A big part of the challenge was trying to find a set of bags that somehow went together – I think the most successful in that regard was Lizzie who claimed she was making a utility jacket for her allotment but was actually creating the perfect outfit for your Barbie/Oppenheier double bill this summer

this was personally my favourite garment from the challenge, I have been well and truly Barbie pilled but I also appreciate that Asmaa somehow made Cottagecore Jojo Siwa a thing

there will be someone at a pride event wearing this exact outfit, which probably goes for Mia’s avant garde bikini too

it might just be a personal affliction but you can’t pair pale pinks and yellows together and it not look a little bit like Mr. Blobby

but I am so happy that a Mr. Blobby Bikini (Mr. Blobkini?) now exists in the world.

Falling foul of the judges’ personal taste in colour combos was Vicki

I don’t really see why they didn’t like the Clueless Grunge of it all? I love the blue and murky yellow combination – I think she just could have pushed the style of the garment a little more into that distressed punk aesthetic and Esme would have been all over it, like Tony’s was unarguably a truly hideous pair of fabrics but you can’t deny that rollerblading waitress at a Flintstones themed diner isn’t kind of a cool outfit

I did have a cursory google search to see if there was any image I could use to back up that insane word salad and was fascinated to discover the evolution of the wheel in the Flintstones Cinematic Universe went from vaguely round rocks

to strapping a pair of tortoises to your feet

it’s devolution in action. But also this:

SEE!
Flappy Bird Tony wasn’t the only one going for animal print and neons, with Matthew cinching Pat Butcher for the Gods

it’s a really cute little corset top – however a part of me will be sad forever that we didn’t end up with a harness with “WOOOOF WOOF” written across it

Miss Topportunity.

Fauve’s top was a tale of two halves, with both Patrick and Esme really liking the combination of fabrics on the front

however the back was a bit of a conundrum because she’d grabbed the one bag that Patrick had touched (imaginably to scrape it for skin fibres to create her own Patrick Clone)

and then whacked it on the back

the bright greeny yellow kind of throwing off the gentler colour palette but hey, she’s got Patrick 2.0 at home and he’s more gallant and tweedier than the original.

Lauren had tried to be inventive with the way she was using the straps of the bags – many of the other sewers opting to use them as literal straps or more of a statement, thick trimming – she however was attempting to use them as binding for her wrap top

it was a nice idea but the final result was just a bit lumpy – also I love how Lizzie was insisting the B on her jacket stood for “Bees” (because Love Productions cannot afford a lawsuit right now – photos of Eric Clapton and John Lennon are not cheap) and somehow both Asmaa and Lauren had scored the actual bee fabric.

An Official Tote Bag Outfit Ranking
1. Cottagecore Jojo Siwa
2. The B Stands for Bar-Bees
3. The Blobkini
4. Flintstones Diner Waitress
5. Matthew’s Eastenders Drag
6. Fauve’s Patrick Grant Cloning Studies
7. The Simple Life Goes To The French Countryside
8. JUSTICE FOR VICKI
9. Welcome to the stage, Miss Lumpy Binding!

When The Crochet Hits The Fan

For their Made to Measure Challenge, the sewers were having to make outfits out of crochet blankets and here to teach us all about the history of crochet clothing (but mostly to show off her 1950s vintage tie collection) is the 2023 return of Amber Butchart

and if anyone saw me refer to anything other than Amber Butchart last week, NO YOU DIDN’T.

The crochet did of course all have to be secondhand, or you could risk it all on a family memento

there’s no way that this could possibly go wrong…

Vicki, honey. I am so sorry, but she wasn’t the only one bringing a family heirloom, although Matthew wasn’t turning the vintage clothing pattern his nan had given him into a harness (yet)

unfortunately for Matthew his crochet was incredibly hungry for some needles and promptly devoured three of them before Matthew gave up and turned to hand sewing

naturally the hand sewing was rather slow and time consuming and despite a valiant attempt at sewing a massive crochet bow in the dying minutes of the challenge, his Dior inspired dress had to go down the catwalk utterly bowless

it’s such a shame because the concept of the Dior inspired dress made out of crochet is so fun – especially in these fabrics with the classic black and the red squares looking like roses, but the technical details were not great, especially on the waistline

Mario wouldn’t even be able to double jump that step.

Having topped both of the previous challenges, Asmaa was out to score the rare Hattrick, which has only ever happened in Series 3 when Neil dominated Structure Week (if the Sewing Bee spreadsheet I made this week is accurate)

and I had every faith in Asmaa, however the lovechild of Prince and a loo roll cover had other ideas

I can only assume for one brief moment Asmaa’s Netherworld counterpart Aamsa took over because I cannot believe the Asmaa we’ve developed a keen parasocial relationship with made her model a floral chest hair toupee

and somehow Asmaa of all people is the person that received Patrick’s harshest and yet funniest critique of all time (I’ll make a plaque)

I can only assume Nasty Patrick™ was Fauve’s first backfired cloning attempt, TAKE HIM BACK FAUVE, TAKE HIM BACK!

Given that crochet clothing is having a bit of a resurgence in popularity, or at least was having a resurgence – it’s 26 degrees outside, just watching people wear crochet was making me itchy, there were a few outfits that looked like they truly belonged in the here and now – especially Flappy Tony’s which you could easily convince me was straight off of Cider

it’s cool in that very deliberately not cool kind of way, which is perfect festival gear. I would however love to hear the full tale of Tony learning to crochet at the Glastonbury WI tent

this did put Tony in the Knows How To Crochet branch of the Sewing Bee Phylogenetic Tree – as explained by Professor Fauve

and then in the greatest act of betrayal since The Great Linen-Cotton War of 2023, Lauren revealed she could knit

so Fauve was all alone, a monotypic taxon – the Narwal of the Sewing Bee if you will – the garment she was making to keep the sinking dread of isolation at bay being a Twiggy inspired 60s number that did look a bit like something Mrs. Pennywise The Dancing Clown might wear

I do like the bold graphicness of it, but much like Matthew there were some finishing errors as apparently the deathrolling alligator had got to her collar

but she wasn’t the only sewer going 60s, with The Unflappable Tony going for a slightly more sedate take on the era

there was meant to be a Charlie Brown chevron across the front of the cardigan but unfortunately Tony had had to scrap part of it, but it was a case of Classy at the Front, Peanuts at the back

Patrick was not a fan of the disparity – it’s either full Charlie Brown or no Charlie Brown with him.

Lauren was also going with a zig-zaggy chevron motif, having managed to find the single most neutral looking crochet blanket in all of Christendom

it was also the only blanket she was using so she didn’t really have to worry about cohesion and I think it was my favourite outfit of the night

I only wish the waistline was a little cleaner and not so lumpy, but I adore the vintage quality it has, it reminds me a lot of Clare’s puffin dress

the only person standing between Lauren and Garment of the Week though was Mia who had created a jacket and skirt combo that was more Chanel than current Chanel, which is going through its Binfire Era

it’s so cute and alongside Tony’s Festival set is probably the outfit I can most see people actually wearing, although I do wish more people dressed like Little Red Riding Hood attending her first pride celebration

I am all kinds of obsessed with that red hooded bomber jacket, and the decision to pair it with the rainbow diamond dress was kind of inspired

it’s fun and silly – what’s not to love?

An Unofficial Crochet Dress Ranking
1. Mia’s Bid for Creative Director of Chanel
2. Lauren’s Sepia Puffin
3. Lizzie Red Riding Hood
4. Rony’s Glastonbury Adventures
5. Classy at the front, Peanuts at the back
6. Can Anyone Glue a Baby Blnket Back Together?
7. The Artist Formerly Known as Asmaa
8. Mrs. Pennywise
9. Oh Dior…

it was a good redemption for Lauren after a couple of iffy rounds and I would have been delighted if she’d won Garment of the Week, but Mia thoroughly deserved it for her two piece suit

all hail The Crochet Queen!
As for the elimination, it came down to Fauve and Matthew with both of them having been circling the drain a bit in the last couple of episodes and while Fauve had done worse in the earlier two challenges, Matthew’s Made to Measure just didn’t come together and sadly he was eliminated

I loved him on the show – I love his style, I love his approach to fashion – his entire ethos is very refreshing. I’ll miss the weekly harnesses but there’s always Celebrity MasterChef – I reckon he could make a decent harness out of a cod fillet and and heirloom tomato.

and so, we have 8 sewers left…

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