Arriving just in time to keep our Me Made May inspiration going ahead full steam, the first episode of the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee hit our screens on Monday night, and we were all agog with excitement. More pattern matching, more tricky construction, a new judge and plenty of sewing dramas ensued and no doubt there will be plenty more to come as the series goes on. Whether you are a seasoned sewer, a complete newbie or somewhere in between this is compulsive viewing for anyone interested in having a nose into how other people sew.
One of the most obvious changes to the programme for series 4 is the removal of WI advocate and sewing expert May Martin, and the arrival of new judge Esme Young, a senior lecturer at London’s Central St Martin’s College and costume designer, just like our Clair! Any doubts that she wouldn’t be up to the mark were dispelled instantly as she thoroughly scrutenised the contestants’ bias cut tops and used the word “arse” to great effect when describing Angeline’s wiggle skirt from the final challenge. Her cutting edge credentials are also backed up by her Hackney studio which has produced garments for films like Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Patrick is back though and in a weird twist, is being much nicer to the sewers than he was last year – maybe series 4 is his turn to play good cop … And of course how could we not mention the ever delightful Claudia Winkleman! Mad as a box of frogs and always ready with a quick one-liner about dungarees or how she wants to force Patrick into a satin ballgown, Claudia is very much the jam in the judge roly poly, and we adore her for it.
The first episode is always a bit of a jumble when it comes to meeting the contestants and learning their names and backgrounds as there are so many of them and it’s more about what they’re making rather than who they are; we’re still very much at the stage of “the one that did the thing with the lace” and “the man with the big quiff,” but as the worst sewers start to drop out, we have no doubt we’ll start to pick our favourites, as well as remember some of their names. People to watch at this stage we think are Angeline
for her fantastic wiggle skirt, Joyce
for being such a speedy sewer, and Rumana
for her simple but unusual obi skirt.
Asides from all the great sewing, there are always a few wince inducing moments, or scenes that make us feel marginally better because we’ve made the same idiotic mistake in a minute of non-concentration, all of which makes for fantastic telly. Stand out moments for us so far include: tut-tutting at so many skirts being made in the refashioning project, having a quiet titter (as well as a sympathetic Aww) when footballer Josh
kept cutting out the same side of his bias top over and over again, and Duncan
taking the shears to his final showcase circle skirt minutes before the end, and just hacking wildly into what we assume was very expensive silk. Anything that makes you shout at the television is good in our opinion, and we can’t wait for next week’s episode on children’s clothes.
Feeling inspired by the Sewing Bee? We’ve got plenty of patterns in stock, including the brand new Doris from Sew Over It, classes aplenty and a whole wall and a half of fabric. Pop in for a chat, see what takes your fancy and you could be sewing up a storm in no time.