Sewing Bee 2023, The Final: Certified Mother Figure

Things you don’t want to hear a surgeon saying No. 42

I couldn’t not write about the final.

First of all, I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone for the incredibly kind messages – I’m terrible at responding to such kindness without getting incredibly overwhelmed but please know they were greatly appreciated and very much needed!

I am sorry I didn’t recap the previous three episodes – both because so much happened, SO MUCH HAPPENED

but also because the sewers have been really kind to me and I would love to go back and recap those episodes but right now, for my own good, I think I’m going to continue with things as they come just to keep my head above the water.


For their last and most glamorous pattern challenge of the series, the sewers were taking on the Victorian world with a demure dress of many ruffles – which imaginably they were having to make on just half a bowl of gruel while battling a bout of tuberculosis.

It was very much a challenge catering to Asmaa’s strengths with there being a lot fine details and a demand for luxurious fabric

so well catered in fact that I’m inclined to believe it was conceptualised while she held a stiletto heel to Patrick’s neck

it’s always the quiet ones.

She immediately leapt upon a silver lamé fabric and Tony wasn’t far behind her like a haberdashery hunting dog with a matching gold

and the two of them rather made a rod for their backs as they were fraying harder than Grey’s Anatomy in 2006

and very quickly the two of them had to start treating their dresses like they were ancient Cyrillic texts or just having a nice time at the public pool

The only thing separating museum curators and lifeguards is a whistle – and the likelihood that you’ll be played by Pamela Anderson, I guess.

In their battle for Lamé Supremacy, Asmaa did end up coming off the better of the two with her Bride of the Tinman outfit

the only real dings against her being a slightly bouncy back seam and the fact she had stitched up a minor hole on her bottom seam that of course Esme leapt upon like Poirot

this did mean that Tony’s shortcomings stood no chance because he hadn’t even bothered to build a patio over the bodies with one of his sleeve ruffles baring the battle scars of the fight against the fray

and a portion of the skirt did look a bit like something had tried to take a bite out of it

but as a whole – the dress certainly had impact and was in fact dress-shaped

which I think is an achievement in and of itself given the time crunch and the fact his fabric was actively Thanos-ing itself as he tried to sew it

I know how you feel lamé, I get it.

With Tony going for Gold and Asmaa for silver, rather appropriately Mia had opted for a bronze fabric that was a sort of an ancient Greek monstrous amalgamation of giraffe, leopard and snake

she was also in her happy place given that she’s more than a little bit familiar with a gather and a frill

and she did have the advantage of using a fabric that wasn’t blowing away in the air conditioned breeze

the only thing that Patrick and Esme could pick her up on was the fact her sleeves could have been given a little more “Foofy Loft” (an excellent drag name)

and with such a minor slip, she managed to grab the last Pattern Challenge win, striking fear into her own bones as she felt the soft prick of a red soled heel against her jugular

sleep with two eyes open, Mia.

An Official Victoriana Dress Ranking
1. Mia’s Bronze Gold
2. The Tinman’s Bride
3. Tony’s Gilded Bronze

It’s All About Men

For their final Transformation Challenge the sewers were dipping back into the world of Men’s wear with a task to create something more flamboyantly absurd than Mia’s nana chic smoking jacket

or Tony literally turning his male model into Gene Wilder – although to be fair they had obviously got him the most Gene Wilder looking model they possibly could on such short notice

and their materials for the task were some average men’s shirts and trousers as well as some glitzy women’s clothing and scraps – or as you may know it, Shein’s Summer Sale.

My favourite part of this challenge was the fact Patrick said “Timothée Chalamet” so many times that I began to think that he was trying to summon him from another dimension Candy Man style – and Harry Styles didn’t get a single mention because they used up all that image licensing during Fashion Icons Week, so it was up to Victorian waif Timothée and Billy Porter to carry the aesthetics of this challenge because sadly there are no available images of Patrick Grant in his gogo boots era

and I think I could certainly see the Billy Porter inspiration in Asmaa’s Future Punk Joan of Arc outfit

that sleeve is EVERYTHING to me and the judges commended her on her fabric combinations and her use of textures. I was also particularly fond of Tony’s purely because it felt like a nod to Ruby Rhod from Fifth Element – who I think the current wave of male fashion icons owe a lot to

the only downside was that Tony only modelled the trousers for us (PUT! ON! THE! CRAVAT!)

you see, the stripe down the leg makes them go faster so he’ll be able to finish his postie rounds in half the time.

Mia defaulted to her usual drape and pin method that has served her well throughout the competition thus far and the pansexual pride top was great

but the outfit kind of struggled to come together as cohesive whole when it came to the bottom half

it’s a bit “Grade school at 8, pride march at 9” – (Matthew will take several) the skirt just needed a little more sparkle or texture but you know, once bitten by a turquoise mop merkin, twice shy

why is it always the turquoise?

An Official Glamorous Menswear Ranking
1. Asmaa’s Future Punk Joan of Arc
2. Tony Rhod
3. Mia’s Private School Pride Parade

Reveal Yourself!

For the final big challenge of the series the finalists were given the rather unhinged challenge of making not one but two dresses with the first revealing into the second – a challenge so tricksy that Patrick had to appear on The One Show the night before to do damage control and has sworn off ever making them do this again. It also wasn’t helping matters that they were namedropping the likes of Lady Gaga’s and Blake Lively’s Met Gala transformations when the much more achievable Drag Race reveals are RIGHT THERE – sometimes an impactful reveal can be a tartan base-jumping suit

or you know, the BBC has easy access to the Strictly archive

Tony was tempted.

As ever, the on-call Sewing Bee models had been replaced with family and friends of the sewers – Tony was sewing for his daughter

Asmaa was sewing for the William Hare to her William Burke

and Mia was sewing for her very good friend, Millie


One of the big things about a reveal is that the two dresses have to have a clear contrast – with Mia and Tony both opting to start with a pair of little black dresses to reveal into something a little lighter – Mia opting for sparkly pink and Tony opting for a fabric that I think only Tony would manage to find in a fabric shop

it’s like Narnia – you can only find it if you’re not truly looking for it and it’s also an incredibly on the nose allegory for Heaven – all hail the butt-baring butterfly of the sky.

Tony was making life slightly easier for himself by only opting to have a skirt transformation, meaning the bodice would stay the same thus giving him plenty of time to fork around

not that his LBD was overly simple – there was a lot of really nice and well executed details in it with the ruffle around the waist and pleats in the skirt that perfectly masked the reveal

said reveal wasn’t the smoothest operation with his daughter having to wiggle her hips like she was on one of those novelty 80s exercise Chairs

but it’s a really fun, delightfully absurd outfit – I do wish the bodice had transformed, even if it was to a solid colour because truly an outfit made entirely out of that fabric would have been a contact high in and of itself

The Inews wrote a scathing review of Sewing Bee, calling it “ferociously dull”, I think Tony proves perfectly otherwise.

Mia’s Little Black Dress didn’t go quite as smoothly, which isn’t *that* surprising given that I don’t think there’s many readily available patterns for metamorphosing dresses out there so she was having to engineer the whole thing herself – her solution involving a sort of “internal hammock pocket” which sounds like something you get after using the monkey’s paw to wish for more pockets in women’s clothing

You can either have two pretend pockets that wont hold a mobile phone, or one internal sling that could hold your carry-on luggage – your choice.

Something towards the end did go a bit wrong for Mia with the placement of her velcro meaning that the second dress wasn’t completely hidden

again – someone called this show ferociously dull and here I am having a very emotional reaction to modicum of visible sparkle, as was Mia but luckily we had a certified mother figure on-hand

and I have to say, Mia’s starting dress was my favourite of the bunch

I love the shape of it – the sweetheart neckline and the flouncy skirt is a dream combination. The reveal wasn’t quite so dreamlike with the LBD standing for Little Bolas Dress and ending up as a trip hazard around Millie’s ankles

BUT! The pink dress was still very pretty (just ignore the slowly pooling black dress beneath)

it’s rough that Mia’s Sewing Bee journey ended on this note, but there’s positives in the two outfits to be proud of and with a little tweaking and a degree in costume engineering, this would have been stellar.

Asmaa was the only sewer not opting for a black dress, instead starting off with a slightly casual blue dress – the only things giving away that beneath the office chic lay a glamorous behemoth being the very much not office-friendly jewellery

and truly, the transformation between the two dresses was like something out of a heist movie it worked so smoothly

it’s a beautiful dress – the colour absolutely sings on Priti too – but the best part was the back with the dramatic bow

truly an absolutely dream dress and impeccably sewn throughout.

A Revealing Dress Ranking
1. Asmaa’s Ocean’s 15 Dress
2. Tony’s LBD to CBD
3. Mia’s Little Black Bolas

It’s been a VERY good series – and to be personal, it’s given me a lot of joy and comfort in a time when that’s been little and far between – so a huge congratulations and thank you to everyone that’s been a part of it – long may you be ferocious in your supposed dullness.

There can however only be one winner and while Tony and Mia put up a great fight, I don’t think anyone was particularly surprised that Asmaa took the win – especially after storming the last three episodes

an extremely deserving winner both in her talent and unflappable kindness – she’s an absolute superstar.

And a big well done to two extremely entertaining and fun runners up

I was always excited to see what the brought to the Made to Measure challenges – they both had such distinct points of view and styles.

And now for my favourite part of the series – the Final Montage!

And that’s it for another year!

I know I dropped off at the end for a bit and I know this final recap took a little longer to get out but I am really proud of myself for managing it and I’m very happy to back in recapping action again!

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

4 thoughts on “Sewing Bee 2023, The Final: Certified Mother Figure

  1. Buttons

    Ah I’m so happy you wrote this recap! It was a joy to read and for me sewing bee just wouldn’t be the same without you.
    Wishing you all the best

  2. Meerium

    So happy to see you back and cropping up a little on Twitter also. Keep looking after yourself and lots of love.

    Back on topic and I loved this year of Sewing Bee; whoever said it was dull just wasn’t paying attention. And I am an especial fan of Tony calling everyone from his child model to the delightful Gillie ‘mate’. The ultimate in inclusive!

    Take care of yourself m’love. Continuing to keep you in my thoughts xx

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