The Great British Sewing Bee; I Loved It!

It’s been a week since the final of the GBSB aired here in the UK, a whole week! Tuesday nights will be a little duller with out it. I’m not a big TV watcher, there are very few programmes I make the effort to watch; Dr Who, Strictly Come Dancing (recorded so I can edit the bits between the dancing), Torchwood, ummm that’s about it! CSI and NCIS if it happens to be on.

GBSB on the other hand was watched live. Husband wasn’t interested so I took myself upstairs and watched along with Twitter. Tuesday night was date night for me and a TV programme. Yup, I loved it.

I’m not going to say it was perfect because to my mind there was room for improvement, it was imperfectly perfect! The second series (which you can already sign up for!) is longer so we get more episodes (and more participants!) “Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, said: “I’m delighted that BBC Two viewers have taken this series to their hearts. It has proved that an ill-fitting zip or badly placed dart can make for compelling television in much the same way as a soggy bottom on Great British Bake Off and I can’t wait for the next series.””

I’d love it to be a bit more detail focused and that a little more budget is assigned to the trophy! Finally instead of projects from the book, maybe a bit more detail on a technique or the history as I found those segments fascinating!

**Spoiler Alert** I’m going to discuss when people left and the final results so if you’re still to catch up, look away now…

I admit, episode 1 saw me a little apprehensive. Was sewing going to translate to TV, would it appeal to those who don’t already sew, what would the participants be like? Half way through I was happily just enjoying the show, it worked pretty well in my eyes. It was sad to see Jane retire because she was ill and sending Michelle home would not have been the decision I would have made if I was Patrick and May.

Jane's Skirt and Michelle's Dress: Episode 1
Jane’s Skirt and Michelle’s Dress: Episode 1

Doing a quick Internet search the next day was quite stunning! 2.5 million viewers?! Wow, some of them must be people who don’t have a sewing machine, so a little glimmer of hope was born that maybe this appealed outside of the sewing community!

Episode 2 saw the departure of Tilly and Mark. As I said in this post here, I loved that Mark offered Tilly his arm as they left. I think they were the right people to go, much as I love Tilly and would be a senseless star struck fool if I ever met her, the blouse wasn’t finished! Major kudos for the self drafted pattern though, and having made a version of it, it is well drafted.

Mark's Skirt alteration and Tilly's Blouse: Episode 2
Mark’s Skirt alteration and Tilly’s Blouse: Episode 2

Episode 3 meant we said goodbye to Stuart. The biggest personality on the show! Loved him and his sheer bravery to have a go. He was brilliantly creative and quite brave in a lot of ways as garment sewing wasn’t his interest! The shirred dress was really interesting, it isn’t a technique I’ve tried and there was a lot of information that will be useful when i do have a go!

Stuart's Garments: Episode 3
Stuart’s Garments: Episode 3

The dress alteration was great. Stuart’s insane take on making it more fitted, punk style, and Lauren cut it in half! This episode is responsible for my one GBSB inspired purchase: NewLook 6035. The pattern Lauren used in the final Jacket challenge, I loved the one she made.

Episode 4: The Final. Ann, Sandra and Lauren. Honestly, I was team Lauren purely because she was adventurous in her pattern choices and added some lovely details. She chose patterns that I would choose (have chosen!).

The challenges were to make a man’s shirt, alter a bag and then fit an evening dress. Right at the beginning of Episode 1 there had been some glimpses of the dresses and a gold one had caught my eye (I’m a geek and recognised the bodice as Jessica McClintock) as well as some beautiful blue chiffon. I was really excited to finally see them!

But first, the man’s shirt. In 4 hours. Gulp. There is so much precision in a shirt, so much attention to detail. The sort of technical execution that Ann excels at and she did excel.

Ann's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Ann’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

Next up was the bag which was to be altered using hand sewing techniques. To my mind Sandra knocked it out of the park! Ann’s free form design left me cold I’m afraid and Lauren’s had potential but, like Tilly she failed to finish in time.

Sandra's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Sandra’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

Then my favourite bit. For two reasons; the fit models were different and the dresses, we were finally going to see the dresses!

Now I’m a bit of a softy so when Sandra, Ann and Lauren found out they were going to make the final garment to fit a member of their family I welled up. Most stressful part of the competition and one of your family are there with you! Ann and Sandra fitted their daughters and Lauren her sister.

Lauren's Garments: Episode 4, The Final
Lauren’s Garments: Episode 4, The Final

If this single garment had been the decider, Lauren won. The dress was amazing and she was closely followed by Sandra. Both were evening gowns, red carpet style! Ann’s was technically stunning but didn’t have the impact of the others for me, and as it was made in dark colours it was difficult to see the details. I’d love some well lit macro detail shots in the new series!

And so to the winner. They all looked so apprehensive! The judges chose Ann, definitely the most technically skilled participant. I still would have chosen Lauren though!

I’m looking forward to a potential second series, I’m hopeful as the viewing figures increased as the series progressed. If it does get the go ahead filming will be late this year and it’ll be on the TV this time next year. If you fancy throwing your name into the hat, here’s the form!

So, what did you think? Is it a good way of developing interest in sewing (seems to have been so far…) Would you put an application in for series 2?

All images taken from The BBC Sewing Bee Website Gallery where you can see every garment made on the show.

4 thoughts on “The Great British Sewing Bee; I Loved It!

  1. I watched on YouTube from Canada. I loved the show! I loved how it had strongly competitive people who were so supportive of each other. So similar to the online sewing community!
    I hope it is on for many series! I’d love to see a Canadian version but that is highly unlikely.
    I was on team Tilly and then just fell for Stuart. He was so enthusiastic and adorable.
    I hear young people watched the show and want to sew. That’s awesome!

    1. It is awesome isn’t it. I ended up writing participants instead of competitors because competitors just wasn’t quite right. Yes, there was competition between them but it was also so supportive. I think that’s one of the reasons it worked so well, it wasn’t mean and was as encouraging as the online sewing community, as you say.
      I know it’s encouraging a whole new set of people to sew which really is awesome and amazing. It’s great for us as there’ll be more ideas out there and also great for the businesses that teach, offer supplies and machines.

  2. I loved the series,and it wasn’t project runway and that is what I liked about it. A cross section of ages and talents . Hopefully it will inspire the average person that is too afraid to tackle a sewing machine and give them the courage to do so.

  3. I agree with your comment “perfectly imperfect”. I was terribly glad they didn’t go the whole Project Runway/Project Catwalk route with bitchiness and histrionics. The Britishness of this competition gave it its charm. I do think it needs more history/technical details (as the Bake Off does) and why not have a Masterclass at the end (again, like the Bake Off) where the experts show you how to do it properly. That would be brilliant.
    As an aside, I also tape Strictly so that I can fast forward through the wittering and Bruce’s ancient jokes and just watch the dancing! 😉

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