Monday 8 April 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee

I was pretty excited when I found out there was going to be a new sewing show, along the lines of The Great British Bake Off. I wasn’t entirely sure how the format would translate, but I think it worked well and I, for one, wasn’t disappointed.

During the first episode, I had this nagging feeling that I knew one of the contestants from somewhere and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Then it came to me. I recognised Tilly from her blog banner. I had read a few posts from her excellent Learn to Sew series and filed them away, under useful, to share at a later date.

I have read a few comments around the internet, saying that the garments made were not impressive enough. I wonder if they have ever tried to make an A line skirt in 3 hours? I don’t think I could work under such pressure. Lauren made her own bias binding in that time and added a pretty contrast facing to her plain skirt and a trim around the hem. Hers was my favourite. Although the prize for coolest fabric has to go to Jane for that retro car design, made by Benartex.

It was interesting to see how differently the contestants approached the alteration challenge. There was a wide variety of finished tops. Again Lauren’s was my favourite, although I liked Tilly’s idea of a Peter Pan collar.

The final challenge was a made to measure day dress and I loved the fabric that Stuart chose for his. A striking Amy Butler print. My Gran would have commented on his pattern matching though!

Lauren made a Macaron dress from a Colette pattern (I have my eye on the Crepe) and Tilly impressively drafted her own. Mark has very little experience of zips, as he makes mostly 18th Century styled Steampunk clothing, yet he produced a wonderful dress that fitted his model well. I held my breath for Michelle. She took a big risk with her wrap dress and sadly it didn’t pay off for her. I loved seeing Ann take all those measurements before she started, just as my Gran would have done, when making clothes for us and her many satisfied customers over the years.

Tilly and Lauren talk about their experiences during the first show, on their blogs. Both posts have photographs of the trial run dresses they made, without the pressures of the competition. Definitely worth a look.

Perhaps some folk were expecting to see ball gowns and bridal wear, but a simple piece well executed can show off a person’s skills (or lack of) just as easily, in my humble opinion. I’m looking forward to the next instalment (here’s a sneak peek), my only criticism would be, there aren’t enough episodes in this series!

I’ll be tuning in tomorrow night at 8pm. Will you?

PS If you want a closer look at the laundry bag, they showed how to make, then the full instructions can be found here.


Jo said...

I think the fact they are making every day clothes is what's so important, they want to get people sewing just like they got them baking and if they were making ball gowns then it wouldn't inspire me. I hope the people were complaining that it was too basic have applied to be on the show next time! :) I have tried to watch it 3 times on iPlayer now but people keep disturbing me so will give it another go x

scrappyjacky said...

I really enjoyed it as well...and don't think that what they were asked to do in the given time was 'basic'....especially not with TV cameras watching!!!
I'll be tuning in again.

KraftyKaren said...

I think they are testing the water to see how many viewers they get - tv companies are very unwilling these days to take risks with programming so this is just a test run to see how it goes down. I enjoyed it and would like to see in future some programmes that actually feature more of the techniques - I would have loved to have seen some of the things in much more detail like how Ann altered that neckline and added the lace and ribbon.

And it took me two years to make an A line skirt at school - mainly because the teacher had her pet pupils and those that she didn't like got totally ignored - most weeks I would achieve nothing as she would not actually teach me anything.

I am looking forward to this week's episode.

Sandra said...

I adored the show, we had my MIL staying with us, and we were both hooked. I'm really hoping they keep the show to every day wear, it will inspire more people to sew. I must admit it got me itching to make an a line skirt x

Annie said...

I loved the first in the series and will def be watching the rest...we have it on record so I don't miss them :-)
All I can say is who would chose to put themselves under all that pressure whilst doing something you love? And I have to agree with you in that those that are complaining should try it for themselves...a simple design done wellin the time is what they will be looking for surely?
Thanks for all the links.
A x

Sian said...

I really enjoyed it and I'm gutted that it has been given such a short run. I'm disappointed in myself though for all the shouting I've been doing at the tv..because there is no way I could work under that kind of pressure. Ann is my favourite - isn't she elegant?

Alison said...

Not being a handy with a needle myself, I gave it a miss but have heard a few good things about it!
Alison xx

My not so simple life said...

not seen it but sounds interesting. I agree that some people seem to excpect a lot, particually those who have never tried it!

Jaki Morris said...

I caught up with it on Saturday as it was impossible to try and watch it with 4 males in the house. I adored that green fabric that he cocked up! Clever you to know where it came from.
My Nan used to make all her own clothes and lots for me even when I was in my twenties.
Haven't tried clothes yet but I do want to make some laundry bags to go with the wash bags I've started to make.
Thanks for the links, I'll check them out later


alexa said...

I have not caught up with it yet but this is the third glowing recommendation this week so I think I will have to go and have a look! It sounds quite a challenge with the world looking on ...