So, after many years of waiting sewing has finally made it onto prime time national TV. The last time I remember this was when I was inspired as a teenager by the Clothes Show with Selina Scott, Jeff Banks and Caryn Franklin! Those of us working in the world of sewing have seen a renewed interest in making gathering pace for a few years now, but finally the nation has caught up and realised that there is an alternative to baking and the cutesy perfect world of Kirsty Allsop.
I have to admit I was anticipating the programme with equal amounts of excitement and dread; while over the moon that sewing has made it onto national TV I was also envisaging myself ranting at the programme for presenting the subject in either a patronising or “oh it’s just so easy anyone can do it” way. Thankfully this didn’t happen and I was very pleasantly surprised!!
The mix of presenters works – Patrick Grant will make sure the twee is rationed and is a fabulous bit of eye candy (!), May Martin has super high standards of which I approve and while I thought that having a sewing novice in Claudia Winkleman as a presenter wouldn’t work, I actually think that her lack of knowledge adds to the show – she asks the questions that any sewing novice would ask, but maybe would feel too afraid to ask. As I always tell my students; there’s no such thing as a stupid question, it usually means that I haven’t explained something thoroughly enough.
As for the contestants, well, they’ve got in all the stereotypes haven’t they?! I think they come across really well and there (so far!) appears to be no ruthlessness and they seem pretty supportive of each other. I did feel for them though, the pressure of some of those tasks was not nice and having to do it all while being filmed and trying to look your best and occasionally being interrupted by the presenters was no mean feat! Impressing me the most last night were:
Ann – an amazingly accomplished sewer, who tackled every task perfectly because she absolutely knows what she’s capable of and knows how long things take (the hardest lesson of all to learn in sewing!).
Sandra – who managed to recover from a silly mistake and didn’t crumple under the pressure of it.
Lauren – impressively aware of her abilities, she managed to show off her skills without trying to do too much. I also loved the fact that she still has the first bit of sewing she ever did!
I did feel very sorry for Michelle. I think she was let down by her fabric choice in that dress and nevertheless managed to overcome it, admittedly with a dress that wasn’t a perfect fit, but it wasn’t the worst gaff made on the show and I don’t think she should have left. Nope, I’m not going to reveal who I think should have gone!!
Judging by the activity on Facebook and Twitter on the subject last night and this morning, I’d say the show is a hit and hopefully they’re already working on series two. I’d encourage any of my students to apply. The book is already out: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Great-British-Sewing-Bee/dp/1849492875/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364978516&sr=1-1 and you can catch up any missed episodes here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0165nj8
Maybe we should have a MIY Workshop Great British Sewing Bee day……now there’s an idea………
Last but not least here’s our very own A-line skirt success from last night’s class!
Naz came to my “How to use your Sewing Machine” workshop as a complete novice at the start of this year and in 6 subsequent classes has made 2 cushion covers and this gorgeous skirt that fits like a glove. Having said that she did make me laugh last night when the skirt was almost finished by asking me if there was much more to do and “is there light at the end of the tunnel Wendy?” !!! She then assured me that she really was enjoying herself!
If you fancy having a go at making your own A-line skirt the next date for my popular Skirt Making Workshop is Sunday 28th April, full details here: https://miyworkshop.co.uk/sunday-workshops-with-wendy/