GBSB6 – Meet the first Sewing Bee to be eliminated
Last night Angillia, 62, a retired primary school teacher from Watford, was the first Sewing Bee to leave the Sewing Room. Here she reveals more about her own sewing style and her experience on the show.
When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?
I started sewing as a young girl using the scraps from my mother’s sewing to make clothes for my doll. While I’m sewing I have time to think and plan. It’s an extremely peaceful time and I can relax and unwind.
Who was your mentor?
I learned to sew by watching my mother sew. One of my teachers in secondary school taught me how to use patterns and that improved my repertoire.
What is your favourite garment to sew?
I like to make dresses that are for special occasions. It helps me to learn how garments are constructed in the fashion world.
Why did you want to be a Great British Sewing Bee and who did you want to most impress of the Judges, or both? And when the sewing got tough, was Joe a welcome ally?
It was just another challenge in the game of life. I was confident about my skills as a sewer and thought why not. There was no desire to impress any of the judges. I was challenging myself and Joe was really supportive.
Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee.
I was fascinated by the fabrics that were available and wanted to go and touch them all. It felt a bit like the first day of school or your first day on a new job. A mixture of some level of excitement and some level of concern.
What was your best and worst moment that first week?
Realising that the time constraints were not a plus for me, however I enjoyed the experience. I think I’m definitely better suited to being the other side of the sewing machine or working at my own pace in front of the sewing machine.
How did you try and stay calm when things were going badly wrong or you ran out of time?
I’m generally a calm person and I generally didn’t find it difficult to remain calm. I accepted where I was in relation to the time as a fate accompli.
Do you have a special attachment to a sewing tool?
I have no particular attachments to sewing tools. However, I would not like to be without an overlocker.
In your sewing life: What has been your worst sewing disaster – and your biggest triumph?
Actually, I don’t consider any of my sewing as disasters because each one of them has taught me something either about skills or fabric manipulation.
Do you make for family and friends as presents?
I make for family and friends when they request it or if they need help for an occasion.
Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?
I like garments that are suitable for ‘dressed up’ occasions, ie evening gowns. I like to have garments that fit well. I also prefer not to wear the same thing that everybody else has bought from the shops.
Can you give a sewing tip for any budding sewists enjoying the show?
Get to know the uses of the feet that come with your sewing machine. They can make life a lot easier.
Was it hard to keep a secret that you were going to be on the show?
It wasn’t difficult keeping the secret, the difficulty has been waiting for the show to air.
What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?
The group has maintained a really good friendship throughout.
What will you take away from your experience of being on The Great British Sewing Bee?
That I like to work to my own pace. I like a good finish on all my garments. I have no intention now of ever trying to complete a garment in a specific amount of time! That just does not fit the way that I like to work, and it was great to learn that.
What’s next for you in the sewing world?
I would really like to work with a garment designer, especially one who makes for ‘real’ women. (Plus sizes included).
Teaching is Angillia’s vocation, she taught primary school children for thirty years before retiring in 2016. Today she loves to make clothes for formal events and parties, in her own bold and colourful fashion. When she’s not sewing she still likes to work with young people, she also practices mindfulness and can be found attending meditation meetings.
We were sorry to see such a talented sewist go home, but it’s a testament to how strong the competition is this year that someone as fantastic as Angillia was the first to go home.