I haven't heard of anyone who didn't enjoy the Sewing Bee* and I wonder if it's because it has the same successful formula as the bake-off: the fascination of reality-style television, but with the welcome twist of it containing genuinely nice, normal people being filmed in a way that isn't concentrated on stripping them of their dignity. Anne was an obvious winner right from the start, but that didn't stop it being hugely enjoyable to watch, perhaps because as with sewing, it's more about the process than the result. I felt slightly pained by some of the time constraints though: four hours to make a man's shirt! Even with the cuffs being omitted this seemed like an incredibly pressured task, so the results were fairly amazing.
I was fascinated by how the programme may be perceived by those who don't sew though. One friend said that it didn't inspire her to sew clothing as it looked so stressful, while others were baffled by the terminology. There are some things that, as a seamstress immersed in an online world where everyone sews, you assume are part of common language.
There has been much hilarity from my children over some of the terms learnt while watching the programme, as well as some teasing over what I only now see is my rather predictable solution for styling any garment when asked 'what would you do?'. One morning I was pinning a collar onto a Laurel blouse that I was making and my eight-year old son came in and asked if it was a 'Peter Pan collar' that I was creating. I was fairly stunned, but apparently he is familiar with this term because, in his words, 'you think it would be best to put a Peter Pan collar on everything, even trousers'. Warming to impressing me with his technical sewing knowledge, he then enquired if the collar would be attached 'above the bust' or 'below the bust', chortling to himself wildly as he asked this non-sensical question. He was an alarmingly good mimic of Patrick Grant (the judge from Savile Row) and swept his hands over the garment while commenting on whether my placement of the darts around 'the bust' was quite correct. Both children were fascinated as to why Patrick would never simply say that the fit wasn't right over a person's breasts and were disbelieving when I told them that 'the bust' was more polite and that in dressmaking you'd never refer to someones breasts. But I can still hear them impersonating Patrick and May while they brush their teeth before bed some evenings asking one other if they put their toothpaste onto the toothbrush while holding it above the bust or below the bust.
What did you think of the Sewing Bee? Did you love it? Could you sew under that kind of pressure? Are you considering entering?
Ps. I've been shortlisted for a BritMums award. If you'd like to vote for me you can go here, where you'll find me in the craft section. x