Great British Sewing Bee

I’m really enjoying watching the Great British Sewing Bee, which is shown on Tuesday nights, 8.00pm BBC 2.

It’s great to watch the contestants, who have varying degrees of experience and knowledge and I’ve got to say I’m really rooting for Anne, who to my mind can do no wrong. Everything she makes is so simple but beautifully executed and without trying to sound patronising, her wealth of experience shows. I just love the fact though, that people are sewing again for pleasure. It’s a great skill to have and I first became interested in it when I was a young girl of about 9 years old. My Auntie jessie used to send me parcels of dolls clothes that she had made and very soon, I wanted to sew like her.

My first machine was a manual singer, that I had to turn the handle on to make the needle move up and down and with patience and stubborn determination, I’m a Taurus, do I need to say more than that, I managed to make some basic clothes for my dolls.

Eventually aged 14, I was rewarded with my first electric machine, for my birthday and then I was off. Some of the creations I made and wore publicly, were probably disastrous but to me they were couture and individual and that was all that mattered at the time. My Saturdays were filled with jumble sale rooting and then eagerly back home to customise my finds.

Finally at age 18, I enrolled on a local night school course, which I attended for the next four years, honing my craft, with expert tuition by the lovely Ann, a lady in her 60’s who had worked for a couturier in Manchester and was so talented and patient, that her classes were a high light of my week. I couldn’t wait to get my new pattern and fabric out, sit around the table with the other ladies, who were all much older than me, as sewing wasn’t trendy back in the 1980’s, and chat as we sewed.

Over the years, I have made clothes ranging from suits, coats and trousers, to my brides maids dresses and then when we got our first house, curtains, blinds and pillows. Sewing has served me well and I’m so happy to see it making a come back. It’s a skill I’m now looking forward to passing on to my own daughter so that she can become her own fashion designer, making wonderful clothes for next to nothing and never having to wear just what the high street has to offer. Wonderful!

If you want to be part of the Great British Sewing Bee revolution, check out some of the local sewing classes and courses that I have found in my neck of the woods, Manchester and the North West. There will be many similar courses across the country and your local authority will probably also run night classes similar to the one I attended all those years back.


The lovely sewing room at Made By Me.


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