Friday, May 3, 2013

Great British Sewing Bee (SPOILER ALERT)

I wanted to post about this earlier, but I was behind with some other posts, so this had to wait. Many people have already talked about this, but I just have to add my own: Finally a reality tv series I LOVE! Of course it's the Great British Sewing bee, which have been renewed for second series (yey!). Now, if you haven't watched it, go and watch the first episode now: Great British Sewing Bee - Episode 1. I was totally hooked after 2 seconds... If you don't want to be spoiled, I suggest you watch all the episodes - there's only 4 of them.

The contestants, presenter, and judges
I first heard about this, since Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons announced that she will be a contestant. This was enough for me to check it out. I really like her style: both the blog and her clothes. And it didn't take me a long time to get hooked. Now, it's not your every day reality show. It totally didn't have any drama between the contestants, everyone seemed to think everyone else was awesome. Maybe because they seemed like people who love to sew and were there for that and not because they wanted to be on tv. Maybe there are people who think this is boring, but I just totally loved it.

The judges really knew their sewing: May Martin is a trained teacher of needlework and home economics and has been teaching sewing for 40 years. Patrick Grant has no formal training in tailoring, but bought the Savile Row tailors Norton and Sons in 2005 and since then has been surrounded with some of the best hand sewers in the world. I also liked the presenter, Claudia Winkleman, who has her own radio program and has been hosting Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two for 7 years. She had the ungrateful task to harass the contestants while they were working...
From the left: May Martin, Claudia Winkleman, and Patrick Grant 
The contestants were varied in experience and personalities as it tends to be with reality shows, but I think they really came together because of their love of sewing. And here they are:

Ann Rowley, 81, widowed housewife, mother of 5, grandmother of 7
Has sewn all her life since she was 6-years-old and besides sewing enjoys yoga, cooking, knitting, and gardening
Sewing style: elegant, timeless, and chic

Jane Lake, 57, retired school photographer
Has sewn since secondary school and also enjoys knitting, netball, and classic cars.
Sewing style: retro-inspired, love of vintage fabrics, often flamboyant

Lauren Guthrie, 27, renovation project manager (opened her own haberdashery after the show aired)
Has sewn since she was 6, is a trained physiotherapist, and enjoys running, cooking, growing vegetables, and knitting with her knitting group.
Sewing style: feminine and quaint

Mark Sanders, 41, HGV mechanic
Mark's mom taught him to sew, but he really started sewing when he started to attend steampunk events with his wife (and you can check on Tilly's blog, those costumes are amazing!). He had only ever sewed 2 zippers before the show (the historical costumes are from an era before zippers).
Sewing style: historical costumes, pirate outfits, and the use of heavy duty fabrics

Michelle Osbourne Matthiasson, 35, manager at Centrepoint charity
Michelle learned sewing from her grandmother and now in case of confusion she refers to YouTube. She loves to go fabric shopping with her mom and to create fitting, unique clothes.
Sewing style: classic, tailored, and fitted

Sandra Lavender, 48, cleaner
Both Sandra's mom and grandmother used to sew and she has lot of inherited vintage patterns (she's sooo lucky!). She has 3 girls and she has always sewn clothes for them as well as things like curtains for the home.
Sewing style: flouncy, frilly style, and love for flowery fabrics

Stuart Hillard, 41, sales manager
When Stuart moved into his first home, it inspired him to start sewing. He has since then sewed a lot of things for the home and has 'run out of beds to make quilts for' (he could totally do one for me!). Stuart had the least experience with garments, but he's a fast learner and has a sense of fun in his sewing.
Sewing style: quilt-maker, home furnishings

Tilly Walnes, 32, film festival project manager
Tilly started sewing 2 years ago and 'it was love at first stitch'. She writes a blog about her sewing projects and has quite a following (I read her blog regularly). She also meets like-minded crafters in a local pub.
Sewing style: film noir -inspired, 1960s chic

I wish we could've kept everyone for the whole series, which anyway was way too short. I did have a favorite from the beginning: Ann. I just thought she was awesome, and how many reality shows could boast a winner like her? But even this didn't worry me too much: I didn't hate anyone and wouldn't have been disappointed with anyone as the winner. Sandra held a second place for me and of course I was rooting for Tilly, as I've been reading her blog for about a year now. But I really love that there is a show that shows how awesome older women can be, since in tv it sometimes seems that when women hit 35 they pretty much disappear. And this is a part of what I love about this show: it celebrates a traditionally female skill, which has been undervalued for so long. When Ann actually won the title (and Sandra was in the finale!) she said to Patrick:
You know, it's a real boost that for all these years I've been doing something right.
And I love that she's getting the recognition, but I also think it's a bit sad that she hasn't gotten it before. But in any case I love the way she was just ecstatic about winning:
This is absolutely brilliant!
Oh yes, it was :) I so have a new role model (well, in addition to my own grandmother).

Check out Tilly's experiences of the Sewing bee on her blog. She has also interviews and guest posts from the other Sewing Bee members.
Also check out Lauren's post of the opening day of her new haberdashery. Pretty much everyone was there!

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