Final stitch to find the ‘Great Sewing Bee’!
Wednesday: The Great British Sewing Bee; (BBC1, 9pm)
Just when we thought we couldn’t handle any more hobbyist emotional rollercoasters following The Great British Pottery Throwdown, the curtain went up on a new run of this series 10 weeks ago.
Presenter Joe Lycett bounded into our living rooms of an evening, bringing with him some much-needed colour, as well as a lively group of amateur sewers.
It has flown by in a blur, but the latest run has had a bit of everything, with each weekly Pattern, Transformation and Made to Measure challenge throwing up drama, comedy and, when it comes to judge Esme Young’s bonkers hand sanitiser necklace, the downright bizarre, in almost equal measure.
The early episodes served up some truly tricky challenges. Who can forget the agony of those paper shorts and Adeena’s pockets? Then there was Damien’s “accuratelyish” cutting for the baker boy cap, and that simple-looking but actually very fiendish Breton top?
We loved the fact Esme couldn’t resist trying on Farie’s stylish cape in the Made to Measure Challenge during reduce, reuse and recycle week, while most recently, the sewers faced the challenge of turning old wartime parachutes into glamorous dresses, as everyone took a trip back to the 1940s. The results were simply jaw dropping.
The contestants have also tackled themes including children, Frida Kahlo, music, movies and Dior. They have pinned and tucked, nipped and hemmed, all while their numbers have slowly been whittled down, and now we’re at the grand final.
Bringing together a range of advanced sewing skills, from couture techniques to the handling of delicate luxury fabrics, perfecting occasion wear is the pinnacle for any home sewer.
Judges Patrick Grant and Esme start by challenging the finalists to make a little girl’s bridesmaid dress, featuring complex elements including puff sleeves, a lined bodice and a bound buttonhole. Let’s hope they remember the lessons learned from week two and make sure their buttons line up. After all, we now know once a button hole has been put in it can’t be undone.
The series’ last Transformation challenge is the sewers’ final chance to show off their instinct for design by turning homeware items such as cushions, bead curtains and tablecloths into dramatic and fun outfits fit to wear at a summer festival. We reckon Esme will want at least one of them for an accessory, but will any of them go for a hugely practical wipe clean option?
Lastly, for the most important Made to Measure challenge of the competition, the sewers attempt to construct and fit glamorous off-the-shoulder evening gowns for their models. Creating a unique, red-carpet-worthy gown using yards of luxury fabric is a feat of daring construction and requires their most precise sewing yet.
The big question is, will anyone risk incurring the wrath of Patrick and choose to craft their creation in his hated purple material?
Only when the final stitch is in place and the catwalk is over, will the judges make their decision and crown this year’s winner.
Champers at the ready people…
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