The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric review

Ever watch the Great British Sewing Bee and think: I could TOTALLY do this. I definitely could speed sew as though my life depended on it on national television.


Well, you know what, I never have. Even my mum agreed I’d be pretty bad at sewing quickly. Yet what did I do in the course of preparing my review of the Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric? I challenged myself to the GBSB experience at home. And it was messy.

Long story short, my room now looks like a thread-filled hurricane hit it. It’s made me wonder just how many helpers the GBSB crew have to help keep the sewing room clean and if I can possibly borrow some to clean this mess up.

Before I get to the project which unleashed such chaos on my room, let’s have a little nose at the book, shall we?


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The Great British Sewing Bee and fast fashion

great british sewing bee

Unless you’ve been living under a sewing-free rock for the past four weeks, you’ll probably have heard all about the Great British Sewing Bee – the show which gave sewing the Bake Off treatment.

Funnily enough, I haven’t had a chance to write about it here on the blog, but I did get a chance to write about sewing for the Western Mail. An odd but thoroughly enjoyable occasion where work and my personal hobbies collided.

I was sceptical about whether the BBC would succeed in making stitching as sexy as baking. As much as I adore sewing and as much as the sewing community clearly enjoyed the Sewing Bee (as evidenced by my Twitter feed every Tuesday evening) I just wasn’t sure if it would translate to those who had never picked up a needle in their life in the same way as the Bake Off had people running out to buy cake tins on the double.

The Sewing Bee waves have certainly been felt in our little pocket of the blogosphere. Views of my interview with contestant Tilly have rocketed since the programme began and a number of other bloggers have reported spikes in traffic on tutorials and other handy posts, usually in the days after the latest episode has aired.

Whether or not the series will have people sprinting to their nearest haberdashery, I don’t know. But perhaps, for some people, the cogs will have begun turning as they watch Ann’s meticulous preparing of her pattern pieces or the way Tilly drafted her own patterns as she went and hopefully they slowly realised just how much work goes into the kind of garments seen on a shop’s clothing rail.

Much like with our food, many of us don’t care to take a peek behind the curtain to see just how the clothes we put on our backs are made. While factory sewing is a different world to home sewing, I hope many non-sewers watching perhaps took a look at their own clothes to see where seams had been overlocked or examine exactly how their bargain garment was put together.

And maybe next time they head to Primark or New Look, they might think just how all that effort can go into one garment but the costs remain so low.