The Great British Sewing Bee

I hope you’ve been enjoying BBC2’s newest programme from ‘The Great British…’ stable – The Great British Sewing Bee has been compulsive viewing at KSS HQ. I’ve long admired people who are able to whip up a quick outfit on the sewing machine and it’s been an ambition of mine to be able to make my own clothes.

Congratulations to Ann, a worthy winner, and, in my book, the person who was always going to win. How could any of the other competitors compete with 75 years of sewing experience? Ann’s creations were always exquisite, her final evening dress was particularly amazing. A classic design, beautifully executed.

My favourite parts of the show were the high street makes – where each contestant had to makeover an item of clothes from the high street. Really inspiring and a great idea to get people introduced to crafting. I was constantly in awe of the pattern making challenge, the trouser challenge in particular was spectacular. I found it fasinating watching a flat piece of fabric turn into some 3D. What a great skill to learn.  Such a shame this isn’t taught in schools anymore. I remember learning embroidery at junior school but never touched a sewing machine. How will we find the next Vivienne Westwood or TopShop Design Director??


Anyway, as well as machine sewing, it was great to see the gentle art of hand sewing make its way into the programme last night, by way of a handbag makeover. This is the kind of sewing I love; applique, embroidery, using sequins. I guess I doesn’t make quite as exciting TV!

So apart from a resolution to use my sewing machine more regularly AND to have a go at making myself something to wear (I feel another post brewing…) what did GBSB teach us?

1. The key to sewing an invisible zip is to get the zipper foot as close to the zip as possible

2. An overlooker cuts and sews seams as it goes

3. Fabric can stretch as you work with it, it’s not always your suspect cutting skills!

4.  Shearing elastic should be wound by hand not on a bobbin

5.  Put a piece of  sticky tape onto your machine bed to help you stitch in a straight line.

6.  French seams are folder over twice and stitched twice to leave a lovely neat, comfortable edge

7.  Rouleau loops are very tricky and I’m not the only one who hates making them!

8.  Give it a go (Stuart), talk to your fabric very firmly (Ann) and follow your instincts (Sandra)

If you can’t wait for the next series, which I’m reliably informed via Twitter will be happening next year, I’ve discovered some great sewing blogs to feed my need for all things sew-y… (The lovely Tilly from GBSB)


4 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee

  1. Ann’s evening dress was spectacular. Elegant & timeless. Since I talk not only to my fabric but also my sewing machine, overlocker, iron & dressmaking dummy there might be hope for my sewing future yet!

  2. Pingback: The Quilting Story

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