Turn-ups, pocket inserts and buttonholes brought The Great British Sewing Bee competitors out in a sweat as they tackled three challenges for “summer week”.
In the opening frames of last night’s BBC One show, Hull’s Andrew Aspland, 54, said he was all ready for the summer theme, sporting a summery shirt and straw hat, but said: “My legs are past shorts, they don’t come out for anybody.”
As it was, the 11 remaining stitchers needed to create a pair of “paper bag” shorts, complete with elasticated waist, a waist-tie, turn-ups and pockets, using ten pattern pieces for the first challenge of week two.
Andrew, a maths teacher, said the mathematician in him liked to be as accurate as possible, and he could be seen ironing his finished shorts on a mannequin, saying: “I wouldn’t do this if it was on a human being.”
After the three-and-a-half hours given for the project, the stitching around the channel for Andrew’s elastic waist wasn’t straight, according to judge Esme Young.
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She did comment that his turn-ups had been sewn correctly – this part of the garment foxed many of the other sewers – and fellow judge Patrick Grant said the waist gathers on Andrew’s shorts were “lovely”. He ended up being placed third.
East Yorkshire’s Cathryn Tosler-Waudby, 57, who admitted she had never made a pair of shorts before, came fourth in the round, with Patrick commenting: “There’s a lot that’s good in these.”
The transformation challenge called on the sewers to make a woman’s garment for a summer’s evening from up to four pairs of men’s board shorts, and a variety of other men’s swimwear, with Esme saying she was looking for the competitors to “make a statement” with their creations.
Cathryn, a semi-retired former dinner lady, was shown away from the GBSB sewing room enjoying her allotment and when asked by host Joe Lycett what she also enjoyed when she wasn’t sewing, the grime music fan said: “I dance like nobody’s watching.”
Her summer top earned her another fourth place, the judges admiring her colour co-ordination, while Andrew fell away to tenth place for his dress, the judges agreeing the effect of the orange stripes was “a little bit busy”.
The final task was to sew a made-to-measure button-down summer dress to fit a live model, something Patrick said was a classic summer item but a “deceptively difficult” challenge.
Cathryn had chosen a cotton fabric with a pattern of small keys – “the colour reminds me of the sea” – and raised eyebrows when she said she had never done pattern matching before, Patrick saying: “I admire your bravery.”
She struggled to finish her buttonholes and buttons – one was falling off when Esme appraised the dress – and Patrick said she would have had plenty time to finish if she had not been busy trying to match the pattern.
Andrew had chosen to make a 40s-style dress, saying: “It harks back to an era when dressing up was the done thing.
“My mother and grandmother would not go into town without lipstick or a dress on.”
Esme said he had obviously thought about the design with its contrasting collar, belt and buttons but Patrick said the waistline fell a little below where it ought to be.
After Julie’s departure in week one, Jean had to leave the sewing room last night, leaving the ten remaining stitchers to tackle gent’s classic week next Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm.