The competition is really hotting up now we are down to the final seven contestants! The theme this week was “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. This mean that all the lovely fabrics in the haberdashery were replaced with second-hand garments that the contestants had to utilise instead.

For the Pattern Challenge the contestants were asked to make a man’s bomber jacket, using just four second-hand items from the haberdashery. The judges pointed out that it was important to choose fabrics which are relatively easy to sew together. Peter, however, chose to combine a crepe fabric with a jersey one, which resulted in a very messy collar on his jacket. Not surprisingly, he came last. Mark won this challenge – the judges thought his jacket was very well made and the fabric well-chosen.

The jacket incorporated an open-ended zip which some of the contestants struggled with – there is a good guide to sewing these on THIS LINK.

Patrick took a moment to talk about the importance of recycling fabric. We were shocked to hear that there is now enough clothing on the planet to clothe the next six generations of the human race!

There is a great guide on THIS LINK to refashioning and up-cycling your unwanted clothes.

If you want to reduce waste in your sewing, then try to make good use of your fabric scraps, rather than throwing them away. There are some great ideas on THIS LINK.  

In cases where only new fabric will do, you can reduce the environmental impact of your sewing by buying eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics where possible. Dragonfly Fabrics have a good range of eco-friendly fabrics on THIS LINK.

A selection of eco-friendly fabrics from Dragonfly Fabrics

Next up was the Transformation Challenge – this week with a twist! The contestants had to transform laundry bags into a garment for a man or a woman. The judges explained that the bags were made of woven recycled plastic that keeps its shape. They were looking for the contestants to use that shape to make something with impact and drama and with an interesting silhouette.

Peter’s winning laundry bag dress

Peter won this challenge with his eye-catching dress. Esme thought it was really imaginative and Patrick loved the dramatic shape. Both felt it encapsulated everything the judges wanted from the challenge – being both fun and sculptural.

Finally it was time for the Made to Measure Challenge. This week the contestants were instructed to make a winter dress from recycled knitwear. The judges stressed that the final garment needed to look chic and elegant.

There were some amazing creations this week. Clare made a dress with a panelled skirt inspired by the colours of a puffin’s beak. Mark made an asymmetric dress whose cowl neck incorporated the piano keyboard details from an old jumper. Liz made a dress made from a series of interlocking chevron panels whilst Peter made a ‘Wicked Witch’ style dress with a cape-like body and bouffant sleeves.

However the judges were torn on which dress should win the coveted ‘Garment of the Week’ award. Esme favoured Matt’s earthy toned dress with an asymmetric hem and a multi panelled skirt, which she felt was exciting and imaginative. Patrick, however, loved Nicole’s geometric dress incorporating contrasting panels of bright yellow, stripey and bird design knitwear. In fact, Patrick went as far to say it was one of the best things he had ever seen on the Sewing Bee!

In the end they actually awarded two ‘Garment of the Week’ accolades – one to Nicole and one to Matt.

Sadly, Peter was chosen to go home. The judges felt he had shown brilliant imagination and flair, but didn’t always fulfil the prescribed brief and sometimes failed to produce the high quality of finish required at this stage.

Next week we are promised a 1980s theme!  Dig out your shoulder pads!