Catch up with the Sewing Bees
With a fantastic fifth series starting, we wanted to turn back the clock and visit with some of the lovely former contestants and winners of The Great British Sewing Bee. So what did we ask?
If you could time-travel back to your time on Sewing Bee, what advice would you give yourself?
“Make sure you finish the garment! For example I was really proud of the boy’s waistcoat I made, but I felt I let myself down by not sewing all the buttons on. Just threading that needle a minute or two earlier would have lifted me a couple of places for sure.”
Matt Chapple, winner of Series 3
Follow Matt’s sewing adventures at www.sewwhatsnew.co.uk where you can find out about his dino-themed sewing kits, events, see recent projects and hear Matt’s top tips.
“For the very first task I always told myself that I would pick the most stable fabric, a nice easy cotton. So I’m not sure what possessed me when I picked a slinky slippery crepe for the chevron top (having never sewn with it before!) So I would say- sew with the fabrics you’re confident with. And if you have time try to practice sewing garments in fabrics you’re not confident in! I wish I had practiced more with stretch fabrics and slippery fabrics.”
“I’d tell myself to make sure I read all the instructions carefully and take care to make all the notches. I got the fly-front trousers mixed up because I wasn’t reading the instructions and I ran out of time and messed up the collar on my man’s shirt because I didn’t mark all the notches accurately. I’m quite a different sewist than I was back then and at the time I think I did the best I possibly could have done in the situation with what experience I had and the time that I had – the time pressure is crazy!”
Lauren Guthrie, finalist Series 1
Shop Lauren’s fabulously curated shop in person at Moseley in Birmingham or online at www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk. We also recommend picking up a copy of the book Learn to Sew with Lauren – a collection of simple and sweet projects.
“Don’t be to hard on yourself. Embrace every challenge and always check that your waistband is on the right way before you sew, especially when working with velvet!”
“Mmm if I could time travel back… I’d have unpicked one of Tunde’s [Chinelo’s husband] ties the night before the final (assuming, of course, that I had the luxury of hindsight), failing that I would tell myself to stop for five minutes during the tie task and gather my thoughts. It all clicked at the last minute but was just too late. I still haven’t attempted a tie, they’re officially the stuff of nightmares.”
Chinelo Bally, finalist Series 2
For oodles of inspiration follow Chinello on instagram www.instagram.com/chinelobally. And don’t stop there; Freehand Fashion by Chinelo is a fabulous book about the unique free cutting technique she showed us on the show.
“I enjoyed every last second of the Sewing Bee, even those parts that went horribly wrong. So the only thing that I could possibly say would be to sew bolder, especially in the invention test. Think big! My most successful of these was in my final episode with the wet suit. I had a clear idea of what I wanted from the start, and made something in my own style. I wish this one had been at the beginning so I could have felt more confident in my choices for this test.”
Deborah Simms, contestant Series 3
Enjoy more of Deborah’s stitching success by reading her blog www.dfabricate.blogspot.co.uk and following her on Instagram as @dfabricater
“I’d tell myself not to take on too much in the made to measure challenges. As the weeks went on I realised doing less but doing it well was much more impressive then trying to demonstrate many techniques in one garment. Keep it simple and press the garments well!”
Angeline Murphy, contestant Series 4
Catch up with all Angeline’s projects at www.angelinemurphy.com and we wholeheartedly recommend checking out Angeline’s Instagram account for a healthy dose of sewing joy! www.instagram.com/angelinemurphydesign
“The one thing that I would have liked to have done better was the alteration challenge, but because I’m fairly slow, the things that I initially had in my mind were impossible to do in the 90 minutes that were allocated. Before the Sewing Bee, I hadn’t sewn for about five years, so I was rather rusty, even though once I’d been chosen to be on the show I practically burnt out my machine with practice! If I went back now, I feel that I would really be able to do the challenge justice. As the series went on, I improved, but it would have been nice to show I do have a more creative side that what I produced on the Bee.”
Heather Jacks, winner Series 2
Chat with Heather about sewing, her fabulous dog pincushion or her favourite G&T on Twitter @heatherjacks9