The Great British Sewing Bee 4 – Episode 2

They’re the kids on the Sewing Bee (ooh woah oh)
Wearing capes on the Sewing Bee (ooh woah oh)
At school they’ll all get beaten up (nah nah nah nah nah nah)

1. The theme this week on the Sewing Bee? Children’s Week. Yes, everyone had to make garments for Jade – The Littlest Sewer to wear to her spring forma…Oh wait, Jade’s a contestant, my mistake. I love that the wikipedia page for the show currently lists the ages of Jade (18) and Joyce (71) and NOTHING INBETWEEN, like we all know why we’re both there, just like the last 7 series of Bake Off have all featured some nice young girl who does Saturdays in M & S and who runs a food vlog. Fill those casting niches! Although I’d quite like someone to run a check and see if Josh isn’t the youngest looking as he does look quite a lot

like the one at the back of a boyband/dance troupe that would finish 3rd in their semi on Britain’s Got Talent then lose the Wildcard vote to an agoraphobic dog trainer from Nuneaton. Tug that facial hair, it’ll come right off. Anywho, outside of the younger contestants, this week’s sprint through juvenalia delivered babies, bridesmaids and CAPES, so let’s get to it. (Can I also take this opportunity to echo Steve’s words of warm reminiscence for last year’s runner-up and flight attendant icon Lorna? She will be missed)

2. Let’s get this out of the way now. Child mannequins?

Hella creepy. Especially when they’re the same size as one of your judging panel.

3. This week’s pattern challenge? As Patrick announced it to the contestants, it was “to make a baby grow”. To this

Angeline looked like she’d probably have to go and ask her husband first, whereas Rumana looked like she would quite frankly mount Patrick there and then on the sewing table, and if it meant getting through to the next week then all the better. Fortunately (or not…) this wasn’t a consequence of the show’s move post-watershed, and Patrick was in fact referring to the item of clothing not the erm…recreational pursuit. This meant three things – firstly the use of stretchy cotton, as Claudia informed us that “active babies need stretchy fabric” ; secondly, wanton use of the word “gusset”, which frankly I find unnecessary at the best of times let alone in the context of toddlers ; and thirdly, because obviously you’re not trusting a baby with anything as dangerous as a zipper or as complicated as a button… POPPERS. LOTS AND LOTS OF POPPERS! Not only was this good for some pretty low tier innuendo,like nice church lady Ghislaine bellowing acros half the room for assistance getting her poppers to work, it also led to some high tightrope tongue twisters such as this from Charlotte :

“I marked the popper positions using the pattern piece and pinned them”.

Good work Charlotte. And not only was Charlotte’s tongue dextrous, so were her fingers, as she took top honours for the round with her, with Jade and Rumana also being praised for keeping their gussets in order and producing quality garments. Less accomplished were Jamie (loose poppers), Josh (misaligned poppers and a bit of tuck in the gusset area (also a problem on RuPaul’s Drag Race)) and Angeline (gathered sleeves thanks to a mishap with the overlocker, a gusset-hole, and missing poppers) although you have to say that Ghislaine’s work in this category was

in a league of its own. The judges, the other contestants, and most importantly all of the creepy child mannequins are judging you Ghislaine. Not even Claudia’s advice to claim the piece’s…asymmetry was for a particularly fashion forward child could save this one. The dingos ate this baby.

4. The Babygrow Challenge also saw this week’s History Bit, which was launched off a particularly unkind cut from Joyce saying that she’d never made a babygrow because they didn’t exist back in her day, straight into Claudia saying

“BEFORE THE DAWN OF THE 19TH CENTURY, BABIES WERE OFTEN WRAPPED IN TIGHT RETRICTIVE BANDAGES”. Spare Joyce some modesty please. Also nobody let Kim Kardashian see that image or we’ll have a whole new trend to worry about (#babybooty #swaddlicious). Apparently in ye olde times before the advent of poppers, babies were swaddled principally because it seems parents thought if kids were allowed to waft their arms and legs around freely they would break or get nipped off by a passing crow. Fortunately, came the Age Of Enlightenment and science proved all that wrong, thanks to Dr William Cadogan (who was also aparently an early advocate of breastfeeding), and parents slowly released their infants from their 12 layers of swaddling cloth and allowed them to run free and play and get cholera and stuff. Hooray for the Age Of Enlightenment!

5. This being Children’s Week also really made it an Unofficial Families Week, as it allowed us to go deeper into the personal lives of the sewers, that we’d only skimmed last week during the Getting To Know You portion of the series premiere. In this section we learnt a number of valuable tidbits : Stay-At-Home-Dad Sewer Jamie met his wife when they were both teachers, whilst Joyce met her husband whilst they were both learning to fly gliders (may this show never become less middle-class). Ghislaine learnt to sew whilst helping her mother run craft activities at the local orphanage in Martinique, whilst Josh’s mum got him into sewing to give him something to do in his University holidays other than boozing and chatting up birds. Last week’s near-eliminee Tracey enjoys a good singalong with her daughter Laura whilst sewing to Steve Winwood’s seminal 80s classic “Higher Love” and Sewing blog recapper Chris enjoys the thought of Tracey’s daughter Laura competing next year, singing other 80s classics (Addicted To Love, Saving All My Love For You, Total Eclipse Of The Heart) and bugging the crap out of all the other contestants, whilst Claudia dances giddily in the background, fringe akimbo and kohl’ed up eyes a-fire. But enough of that nonsense, we all know why we watch these family sections.

Let’s have a poll.

6. On to the Alteration Challenge now, as the contestants were tasked with making a child-friendly outfit out of a standard issue Bridesmaids Dress, with last week’s battering from Esme over how lame and unimaginative they all were still presumably ringing in their ears. Still, if there’s any challenge where you can allow your brain to ski totally off-piste it’s making clothes for kids, as thankfully the notion of good taste and decorum are alien to the pre-pubescent, something I can attest to using the fact that my clear favourite musical artist of all time until at least the age of 11 was The Wombles. In this case, the real challenge came not from the inspiration but the materials, as the bridesmaids dresses were made from chiffon and satin, fabrics which are, per Patrick, “slippery”.

A word Patrick rolled his tongue around with great grand guignol relish, like he was auditioning for a feature role on Penny Dreadful. Esme for her part clucked over how the sewers would need a light and delicate touch, before the camera cut to Tracey, who wouldn’t recognise subtlety if you could buy it out of the Littlewoods Catelogue. Still, creativity abounded, with Tracey aiming to produce from her original bridesmaid outfit a whimsical woodland fairy, Rumana a delicate butterly, Angeline a beautiful mermaid, Ghislaine a sporty boxer, Charlotte a many layered meringue princess fantasia, and Jamie…a girl going to a wedding. Jamie definitely has a certain…practicality of vision that will probably see him far into the competition, but I’m not entirely sure he quite gets the show’s ethos yet. You literally cannot go too far Jamie, Heather won this entire competition with Jilly Cooper inspired fetish riding gear. Go for it. Overall the results of this challenge were

much more varied than last week’s attempts (reading left to right that goes Jade-Angeline-Jamie-Ghislaine-Tracey-Joyce-Josh-Charlotte-Rumana). Top marks here went to Rumana’s bright pink butterly gown (because of the draping and the sheer amount of sequins she hot-glued to the damn thing), Ghislaine’s rought tough boxingwear (with Ghislaine awkwardly trying to hide her face at the comeback kid praise being the cutest thing all episode in an episode that featured actual pre-teens in capes) and Tracey’s woodland nymph explosion (…like I said, just ignre taste levels here, ignore them utterly), with demerits going to Angeline’s mermaid (overworked, haphazard, and theoretically a mermaid shouldn’t look quite so much like a drowning victim), Jade’s netted teaparty dress (raggedy hems) and Josh’s gilet (because it was a bloody gilet and nothing else). Incidentally, Tracey’s dress landed in the top despite it being all but impossible to force your head inside it. If only there had been some poppers left over from round 1…

All this revelry meant that, if you added up the scores, Angeline and Josh were the only ones to mess up both rounds, and therefore the two you’d have your eye on to be leaving, unless some poor sewer produced a third round disaster of the order of Ghislaine’s baby-grow again. So about that…

7. First though

Tracey’s canary/pincushion/mascot. Creepier than the child mannequins or less creepy? It’s a close call isn’t it?

8. And so we closed with the inevitable, as soon as Esme Young was cast and everyone backstage whispered how much she looked like Edna Mode (ie she wears glasses and has a bob cut and is short) – CAPES. FOR CHILDREN! Fortunately the child mannequins at this point were returned to the cupboard (/hell dimension) in which they’d been found, and were replaced by actual living breathing child models. Even if the last (/only) time I’ve ever seen a cape on a child in this century was on a Junior Apprentice finalist (Lucy Beauvallet <3), I'm sure they were all glad of the opportunity, particularly Joyce's little girl, who got a free modelling lesson.

It’s like a deleted scene from Zoolander 2 isn’t it? (I’m not sure of the wisdom of doing a heart shaped pink cape with heart shaped pockets and the word LOVE appliqued on it personally, we’re not Care Bears). Less excited was Charlotte’s model, who had to suffer through one of Claudia’s patented “oh YOU look like something insanely unflattering……………..IN A GOOD WAY OBVIOUSLY HA HA” comments, as she was told she looked like she should be herding goats.

IN A GOOD WAY OBVIOUSLY, FABULOUS GOATS, FABULOUS. (To be fair, Claudia had a point). Elsewhere, mercifully, it looked like Jamie’s slightly staid exterior was cracking as he, and the only male model in the tent, combined their efforts to produce the effect of a Downton Abbey style Country Gentleman. Apparently it wasn’t finished, but it was at least interesting. Elsewhere in the round, Rumana got dinged for her

dinky bow, spoiling an otherwise perfect episode, Tracey won rave reviews for her applique butterflies (again, taste levels on this show? Forget ’em), and Jade’s cape, whilst undeniably cute

altogether brought to mind testicular torsion far too much for me to be able to fully endorse it.

9. Garment Of The Week came down to two choices, although as the discussion went thusly :

“Jamie made a great garment, but didn’t finish it. Angeline made a great garment, and finished it”

there wasn’t really any suspense as to who was going to come out on top. Yes, Angeline was Top Dog for the second week in a row, saving her from elimination (I can’t imagine they’d give someone Garment Of The Week AND send them home in the same episode, not until we reach at least Series 7 and they start running out of gimmicks anyway) after an otherwise pretty duff week. Her cape was a gorgeous piece of Red Riding Hood wear though, and

comprehensively out-bowed Rumana, which is the main thing. But if she wants to convert the frontrunner status that these first two weeks have given her into an overall win, she might want to be a little more consist…oh wait Beta Matt won, never mind.

10. Whilst a process of elimination at this point may lead the casual observer to think that nobody but Josh could have been cut at this point, having had a rotten first week and first two challenges this week, and Angeline having saved herself with her cape…that casual observer would be underestimating Ghislaine’s ability to sabotage her own mini Redemption arc by producing

this. Apparently it was supposed to be a cape that you’d wear to Sunday Service, although by the looks of it, possibly for a Sunday Service that involved locking a policeman inside a wicker man and setting it on fire. Don’t get me wrong, her model looked adorable, but chiefly because it looked like she’d made her cape herself and was showing it off for her friends. Whilst Josh’s cape was really more of a glorified hood, Ghislaine this week managed to produce the two worst garments of the entire series, and thus deserved her elimination. She left with a whole passel of new friends, with Esme saying that she hoped that despite everything, Ghislaine would carry on sewing. Yes alright Esme, I don’t think you’ve quite destroyed her to that degree, keep on trying though.


10 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee 4 – Episode 2

  1. Huriye


    Stunningly classy Little Red Riding Hood Cape, and the proper length as well! So many were far too short. Well done Angeline, but you’ll have to tell your hubby to work on his mock posh accent. :-;

    I thought Jamie’s check Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes style Cape was a great idea, but again looked awkwardly short in the length, admittedly his child model was the tallest, but a cape of that style is a substitute coat, and that barely covered the child’s arse. (9pm watershed).

    Poor Ghislaine! Her cape looked like a bed jacket for a poorly Auntie, in style and fabric and colour, with the scallops. But she was a lovely contestant and had a go! I’m amazed they can produce so much in such a limited amount of time.

    There’s rather alot of doughnut and biscuit eating in the breaks.

    1. nigelszczepaniak

      I wanted Jamie’s cape when I saw the design. When I saw it on the model I realised the error of my ways.

    2. tabithakitten

      I rather liked Angeline’s husband’s posh accent but then I also rather liked Angeline’s husband…

  2. Astrid

    Patrick must Botox – unless he has an aging picture in his attic, it seems rather incredible that a man in his 40’s can have such an unwrinkled brow while the rest of his face is contorted.


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