2013 saw the starting of the Great British Sewing Bee. A competition where amateur sewers met together and undertook a number of tasks over several weeks to see who would be crowned the winner. The initial couple of series were judged by May Martin and Patrick Grant before May left at the end of 2015 and was replaced by Esme Young for the 2016.
The show was hosted by the ever-magnificent Claudia Winkleman whose humour and quirky personality brought an extra dimension to the show, with the latest series being presented by the equally humourous Joe Lycett.
The series brought about a revolution in home dressmaking and the industry saw a steep rise in the number of amateur home sewers dusting off their old sewing machines or the new sewer popping out to the nearest supply to get themselves kitted out.
Every week you would see the contestants being set a number of tasks where they would then have to select their fabrics, measure and dress their models before their products are critiqued by May and Patrick. Patrick (coming from Saville Row) is always a harsher critique than his fellow judge.
One of the key points the judges make is that finding quality dressmaking fabric can make the difference between making a good and a beautiful piece of clothing as well as the fit of the garment on their models. Their models vary in age and size with one week being devoted to children and others to plus size models and Plus Size Dresses such as the ones you can find at https://www.tempted.ie/dresses-plus-size-ladies-clothing-from-tempted-raheny-dublin-ireland/day-dress.html It is important that the sewers are able to sew for a number of different body types and age ranges in order for them to display their full sewing talents.
The show was attempting to catch the look and feel of a Bake-off type show. It had, excuse the pun, all the right ingredients. Laos like the Bake off it appears to tap into that slightly nostalgic sense of a lost skill from a bygone age. These were not past times these were skills and a necessity for anyone to know. The notion of someone being skilled in domestic arts is not viewed in such as dismissive manner as it becomes clear on the Bee that the contestants are incredibly talented with great creative abilities. It’s not everyone that can make an entire wardrobe.
The show is strangely compelling, and you find yourself rooting for a favourite without ever meaning to. It’s also nice as the contestants seem to have been chosen for their ability to get on with each other as opposed to it being in a fight to the finish or an opportunity to get one over on a fellow Bee. You will happily see a Bee member helping cut or adjust something if they’ve finished or even offer advice if they haven’t finished and they want to help. It’s a charming very sedate little show.