Your inner Gollum and ‘Great British Sewing Bee’

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You’ve been sewing for a few hours straight. Your hands are a little clammy, you maybe have a cramp in your foot from hovering over the machine pedal. You haven’t eaten/drunk/slept/urinated as your body is demanding but you’re on a roll! In the zone! Nothing can interrupt you.

And then someone pops their head round the door and the innocent question comes: “Weren’t you supposed to go to work five hours ago?”

After a bit of hissing and foam-flecked muttering about dirty hobbitses, you realise you’re coming off a little too into it. With a reluctant heart you re-enter society.

This is my fear about talking to people about sewing: if you’re passionate about something, you want to communicate that passion. But how to do that to an outsider without scaring them off with your intense Gollum-level attachment? Or maybe worse, leave them underwhelmed. What if they don’t dig your precious?

The Great British Sewing Bee, which started on BBC2 this week, feels like it communicates some of what the world of sewing can be about, without the mouth-frothing I can be am never guilty of.

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Peering over my sewing machine to marvel at Claudia’s power-fringe and other Great British Sewing Bee wonders

Before I watched the first episode I was excited but nervous. What if it sucked? What if people felt it was just a pointless spin-off? While I’m sure it won’t have won everyone round, I watched it feeling very positive. It didn’t overdo it but it showed some of the potential in how creative and reaching this skill can be, from altering existing clothing up to elegant dresses.

Plus, it was even more exciting to see a great blogger on the show as well, and survive to next week, phew. Woo hoo Tilly, pockets and collars for the win! Check out her thoughts on the first episode here, including a great run-down on what sewing means to her.

I don’t envy any of these very skilful contestants, the show is intense. The amount of work compressed into the challenges is intimidating and perhaps doesn’t show their talents off to their best advantage. Would you ever try to fit and sew a dress for a stranger in under a day? Probably not but you need these slightly artificial strictures are all part of this kind of tv.

If you caught the program, how did you find it? Is a reality contest the best platform to explore sewing? Do you feel nervous/excited/nonplussed about the idea of television execs thrusting your largely niche hobby onto primetime?

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4 Responses to Your inner Gollum and ‘Great British Sewing Bee’

  1. Saskia says:

    I was beyond excited about this! I forced my poor husband to watch it with me and wittered on at him the whole time along the lines of “Oooh, yes, that’s quite tricky to do … Oh my god, is she seriously making bias binding?! She’ll never get it done” etc, etc. I do think the time constraints were a bit hectic and the judges quite harsh – pretty much none of my makes would pass their standards. And I am a bit nervous about sewing being a thing now, I feel a bit possessive about it. On the other hand, it does mean there might be fewer cases of people falling asleep when you tell them what you did at the weekend! Really looking forward to the rest of the series.

    • I feel just the same! And that was the word I was reaching for, possessive. I do feel a little possessive about sewing but also I want people to get involved. Ugh, torn.
      And making their own bias binding! I was also like ‘Waaahhhhhhht! You only have an hour! It takes me an hour to remember how to sew the pieces together at right angles!’
      Trousers next week. Sewing crotches under a time pressure should be quite full on!

  2. geebeew says:

    I really enjoyed the first episode! It was so much fun to pause it an explain the sewing details to my husband! He always shows me comic books reviews and video game reviews online… it was nice to be able to share my hobby through fun tv! 🙂

  3. elaineoc says:

    I liked watching it, but I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the challenges are. As I never watched the baking one, not sure how much more complex it’s going to get.
    Haha, was also surprised by the bias binding decision! Surely there was some available in that huge haberdashery?

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