The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

GBSB – Third Episode

…is now up on YouTube for we colonists (and other places outside the British Realm!)


As usual – if you haven’t seen the show, watch it – it’s really great for any sewists or maker out there.

For me, this was the show that made the most sense, although I think it would have made a lot more sense had the judges had time to talk about their decisions, because they really were on target.

They had three competitions and although I thought the children’s outfits were a little simple-minded, the judges did ask for some techniques that should be in a sewist’s arsenal.  The French seam, shirring (in this case gathering on elastic) finishing details and the straps (bias straps, however they call rouleaux straps – as always the British version is way classier!  Rouleaux is French [duh!] for roll).

Sandra’s dress was like an ole pro who’s done this about a gazillion times before and totally practical, but alas, no points on practicality…there are specifications on this, and I’m sure they were there as part of a whole cadre of skills that the makers are being tested on.  The point that all the stripes are in line is great – this is a nightmare waiting to happen if you haven’t done it before and know what you’re doing. I loved Sandra’s technique of slipping the elastic on the bobbin, although it’s not “by the book” it worked beautifully and it was time-saving (the sign of an ole pro!)

Lauren pulled off a coup by these tiny little rouleaux/bias straps.

Although there’s a much easier way of doing this.

If you don’t have this set – get it.  It’s well worth the $$$.  It may appear a little pricy but you use it year after year, and it’s just well worth the money – it works.  Here‘s a little cheaper price without the handy box, but personally I like the box, cause it helps keep them all where I can find them.  I need all the organizational help I can get!!!








OK next is the dress –


I LOVED this competition, cause it was all about creativity and the execution of the idea.  In art class (and school) one of the things they teach you of course is to be creative, but along with that is the execution.  Jackson Pollock’s paintings, although they looked like a mish-mash of  messy paint splatters, was anything but….it was a careful application of line, point of interest, balance, light-dark, texture, and all the elements that make up a good work of art.  The same is true here – even the most creative idea is lost if the execution is badly done.  I know I always said I give points for creativity, and I do, but to be honest, the execution makes the difference between WalMart & Neiman Marcus.  And if you’re in the biz you want to sell at Neiman’s where you can charge a whole lot more and make a whole lot more (although there is money in selling the WalMart version, it’s just hap-hazard at best).  In the olden days, these mistakes were known as seconds and they could be had for pennies on the dollar, but they were not made well, but at least you knew it, which is not always true today!

Stuart gets A+ for creativity, but unfortunately, it’s lost in the translation from the thought to the garment.  This is so hard to realize in making (as the Brits would say).  You are translating something from an abstract few synapses in the brain to something that you can feel and touch and takes up space…..from a few chemical and electrical processes to something that is mass and takes up space that you can touch.  This is a very abstract concept and although some designers look like it’s a mistake,

…it’s really not.  This whole idea and garment is well thought-out.  On the left is the photo of the whole garment, while on the right is the detail.  That’s right….the whole animal print is all done in bugle beading….the whole dress.Now you get the idea of couture.

Granted, on the GBSB they don’t have time to do anything like this.  But there is the challenge as well.  If you watch someone like Issac Mizrahi do something like this, he would come up with something totally creative, but well within the time allotted to complete the challenge.

Part of that skill comes from doing it over and over, but also part of it comes from the creativity side – more on that later.  But I give Stuart A+ for creativity and F for execution.  Unfortunately they both go together like a cart and horse!

Ann had the right idea, but Sandra did it the right way.  To be honest, I’m not much on pleats or tucks like this, partly because doing all that left over fullness at the top or bottom of the tuck, doesn’t add that much to the dress.  (Also Ann’s waist is placed a little low for the styles right now), but Sandra’s shape and waist placement and dark execution is right on – classic done great.  The trim is meh, but it doesn’t take anything away and she did a great job executing it.  Personally I think Ann & Stuart need a co-transfusion…Ann needs some of Stuart’s creativity and Stuart needs some of Ann’s execution skills.

And to the main  event….the jacket:

This unfortunately isn’t Stuart’s forte – and it never has been, but I applaud him for picking out a jacket that was hopefully within his knowledge.  Ann’s jacket is just like her – this is something I would expect her to make and master.  Lauren’s jacket, to be honest, I was impressed, I didn’t know she had that in her, and Sandra’s jacket has great lines, unfortunately the execution is a mess.  This fabric actually needed to be backed or the lining quilted or otherwise attached to fabric (stitch-witchery or something like that).  It’s a shame, cause this jacket has great bones (Simplicity 1944).Stuart went home, but I don’t think that’s a shock to anyone.  Sandra has a problem with getting things finished, but to be honest, that really isn’t as bad a problem as poor execution.  Sandra needs to learn a little better how to gauge her time, and I’m sure what happens at home when she makes her kid’s outfits is that she may get behind, but she has the time to catch up.  And that’s Sandra’s world and that’s her real world.  In mine, sometimes I do have to figure out how much can I get done in a certain amount of time as I work on deadline scheduling.  Now I’m in business and Sandra isn’t.  This is the dilemma that a show like this has – they have to have parameters or else these folks will be there all night long.

So we have Sandra, Ann and Lauren left, and of Lauren and Ann – who do you think will win?

Recap:  Stuart gets A for creativity, Ann gets A for execution, Sandra gets A for pattern choice and Lauren gets A for holding back on just how well she sews!!!!!  Isn’t this fun!!!





  1. I have just absolutely been enjoying this. Thank you for posting it.

  2. I absolutely love this show. I think Sandra should have gone home. She may have better skills, but Stuart is fearless. I love Ann. I admire her skills and she sews with the idea of making a garment that someone would wear. And Lauren? Who knew she had that jacket in her? Until this show I thought all she had been sewing for years were pillowcases! There is only one more show. I can’t wait to see it and I dread for it to air because it will be the end.

Leave a Reply