Meet the second contestant to leave The Great British Sewing Bee!
Week two kicked off with on-trend paper-bag shorts. These featured a gathered waist, perfectly pointed tie and those deceptively tricky turn-ups! The turn-ups caused confusion for some of the sewists, but it was all about hiding that topstitching and bagging out.
In the transformation challenge, the sewers were given men’s board shorts and needed to turn them into something summery. We had everything from dresses to playsuits, and the clash of prints was rather mesmerising to behold!
And for the made-to-measure challenge, the pressure was on to sew a button-up summer dress. This involved evenly spaced buttons, pattern matching and dresses that fitted the models perfectly. The selection was incredible but when working to the clock it was a race to the finish for some!
This week Jean sadly had to leave the show after her transformation dress didn’t win over the judges and her button-up summer dress sadly didn’t quite hit the mark. We caught up with Jean to find out all about her time on the Bee.
GBSB7 – Exclusive interview with week 2’s eliminated Bee!
Was it liberating to be filming this series?
It was fun to be part of something like the Sewing Bee and the filming was quite mind boggling with all the cameras etc.
When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?
From childhood really. I began sewing when I was a young child simple things such as a pumpbag, for my gym shoes. Sewing enables me to make unique clothes for myself and it also allows me to be creative. I love bold colours and different fabrics and experimenting with new ideas is a good way to relax and enjoy creating.
In your sewing life: What has been your worst sewing disaster – and your biggest triumph?
My worst disaster was making a pair of trousers which I had cut out identical sides so one side was the right side of the fabric and the other the wrong side of the fabric. However I loved the fabric so much and I did wear them because i just loved them. My biggest triumph was creating costumes for a local amateur panto Cinderella. It was fun with lots of colour and structure in the costumes to make them really stand out especially the ones for the ugly sisters.
Who was your mentor?
My mum was my inspiration and my first teacher in secondary school.
What is your favourite garment to sew/or your speciality?
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?
I guess in truth I never thought about being on the GBSB, I simply saw the call for applications from Northern Ireland and thought ‘ha that’s me’ and it snowballed from there… Not sure I wanted to impress anyone really I just wanted to enjoy the experience and be on a sewing adventure. Joe was wonderful – he was just lovely as was Patrick and Esme. Esme was great and I enjoyed my chats with her.
Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee, and which challenge were you fearing the most the first week – Pattern challenge; transformation challenge, or Made to Measure challenge?
Walking into the studio on the first day was amazing and all a bit surreal to be honest… my biggest worry was the Made to Measure challenge.
What was your best and worst moment that first week?
Best moment was walking onto the set and meeting everyone who was behind the scenes… and then seeing Joe. Worst moment was having to wait in between times of not filming, and not knowing what was coming up next !
How did you try and stay calm when things were going badly wrong or you ran out of time in the first week?
I tried to stay focused and kept telling myself it’s not the end of the world if I don’t get finished – the ‘time’ issue was always going to be an ‘issue’ so I went into the competition with my eyes wide open.
Do you have an attachment to a sewing tool, and why is it special to you?
Yes my picker I have had it for years. So when it got cleared away in the tidy up, I really did go and search it out.
Do you make for family and friends as presents? And most asked for garment?
I make for my partner and I get most asked for ‘blouses’
Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?
Colour, flowing and I make most of my own clothes.
Can you give a sewing tip for amateur sewers who have been enjoying the show?
Don’t rush what you are making just enjoy and reap the rewards of your creativity.
Was it hard to keep a secret that you were going to be on the show?
Not really – the folk who I told were my inner circle so it was fine.
What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?
Well I would just say in one word: friendly
What will you take away from your experience of being on The Great British Sewing Bee?
The adventure of something so different and so unexpected. The journey of getting on was wonderful and it triggered the deeper passion in me which was amazing.
Next for you in the sewing world?
Who knows… just doing what I love… watch this space!
Best moment for you during the whole series?
Best moment was being selected and walking into the sewing room for the first time and meeting the judges and Joe.
Favourite challenge overall and why?
I loved the first transformation challenge in Episode 1 changing T-shirts into a garment, and incorporating the cat t-shirt into my design.
Outfit you loved the most….
The buffet dress in Episode 1 which I designed myself and featured pleats in the front and back upper bodice… I went on to make this dress for myself and my sister.
Jean is an Art Psychotherapist from County Antrim. Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, Jean lived with her parents and seven siblings, one of whom is her identical twin. Her parents were unaware that they were expecting two babies, so when Jean and her sister Jeanette were born, their dad raced home to whip up another set of baby clothes on the family’s treadle sewing machine. Jean’s mother taught her how to sew as a child and today she creates clothes for herself and her partner Jo.
Jean works as an Art Psychotherapist, using the medium of art to help children, teenagers, and adults through difficult life experiences.
In addition to sewing, Jean loves walking and in 2018 she spent seven weeks on the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage between France and Northern Spain.
Follow Jean on Instagram jeanandyoda