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Buzzing with style – The Great British Sewing Bee!

Being poverty-stricken when it comes to time I very rarely get dragged into watching television let alone a series. I made an exception for Mr Selfridge (well it is Jeremy Priven) but after accidentally catching the first few minutes of The Great British Sewing Bee I am totally and utterly hooked – and I assure you it has nothing to do with the oh so dapper judge Mr Patrick Grant πŸ˜‰

the great british sewing bee judges

Judges May Martin and Patrick Grant (Photo by Colin Bell)

As a child I attended an all girls school where sewing and cookery classes were the norm – and hated every moment of it. My mother and sister are prolific sewers – indeed my mother made my wedding dress such is her level of skill and my childhood is filled with memories of pretty dresses and pattern cutting on the living room floor. It was not until I bought my first home and developed a severe case of house pride that I picked up a needle and my love affair with soft furnishings began.

I can create swags and tails, triple pleat headed curtains, duvet covers and piped cushions with ease, yet two or three pieces of fabric to make a simple skirt seem beyond me. Broken needles and bedraggled fabric make it look like I’ve been using it to clean the floor and yet this hasn’t stopped me collecting a veritable mountain of patterns and fabric though! I am comforted by the fact that my mother, whilst a whizz at dresswear is equally hopeless with soft furnishings πŸ™‚

Watching the GBSB last night I was so impressed by the passion and determination of the sewers who are just ordinary people who love to sew. I found myself rooting for our dignified Ann who keeps it simple yet refined, and the underdog Martin who prefers to make costumes yet pulls it out of the hat with his contrast ladies dress. I love the fact that he’s this bloke working with trucks etc whose passion is sewing.

the sewers

Then there’s Sandra – reminds me of my mum when she describes how she continually alters clothing for her daughters. Tilly stands out because she has this passion to add her own style and is overly keen to show the judges what she can do. You get the impression that if she just got her head down and stuck to the exact task then she’d be streets ahead – But where’s the fun in that? Tilly’s style is what gives her her enthusiasm and passion and makes her one to watch. She certainly interests me enough to read her blog now although a bit worried looking at tutorials when she couldn’t spot where some extra darts were needed in that dress!

The show has your stomach in knots as you share the tension of the contestants – the rush to beat the clock puts a terrible pressure on people – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done a Sandra and sewed something on back to front! It was hard to watch them pick one to exit but I agreed with the choice of Michelle. If only because they had each been given the opportunity to try out their patterns (and supposedly their fabrics) at home and she hadn’t cottoned on to the issues with silk – why give yourself that handicap!! (although it’s not for everyone personally I use soft fusible on all silk edges to give them something to stick to).

The judges, May Martin and Patrick Grant, give you something to think about too regarding attention to detail. May is the epitome of that stern school teacher judging your work – and she has indeed spent years teaching at adult education courses. Patrick is an inhabitant of Savile Row – and it shows. He epitomises old-fashioned style for the modern-day man.

IMG_1331As for me I’m going to take a break from my latest haberdashery project and see if I can get this little project off the ground – the short version of the cape. If that goes well then it’s the long version to go over my circle dresses –Β  Fingers crossed πŸ™‚Β IMG_1140

And of course I’ll be tuned into next week’s GBSB – and keeping up with Twitter throughout the show – Hi to my 12 new followers who joined throughout the debate.

Viva!

 
 

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The Lamours – Lola’s little (big) band kicks off.

Forget everything you know about Lola Lamour – when she performs with The Lamours it’s a whole new experience – and a great one at that πŸ™‚

I’ve been a fan of Lola’s since I first saw her at Twinwood several years ago – it’s like she stepped out of the 1940s, with perfect vintage hairdos and outfits, and a wonderful singing style. This being my only experience of her when I heard she’d formed a 13-piece band last year I thought it would be a night out in her usual style.

lamours

Well that will teach me to actually read the blurb πŸ˜‰ – the website is quite clear that her “youthful and energetic young band has an eclectic mix of music genres spanning seven decades done in their own unique style.Β  Contrasting styles and tempos combining fabulous melodies with hypnotic rhythms. Swing, Soul, Tango, Blues, Samba, and Rockabilly all amazingly but effortlessly follow each other and are connected beautifully.”

And they don’t disappoint – kicking off with Soft Cells Tainted Love, it’s an explosion of new and old sounds such as What Lola Wants, Love Potion No 9 and Chilli Dippin Baby interspersed with the Black Eyed Peas I got a Feeling, and Mick Jagger’s Satisfaction. There’s even a knock out version of Britney SpearsΒ  Oops I did it again. I never in a thousand years would have thought I would be mesmerized by hearing that tune but The Lamours fire it up in great style πŸ˜›

Seeing them begin their new season at The Stables, Milton Keynes on Saturday (23 March) was a thoroughly enjoyable night. The mix of rockabilly, swing, samba and twist on modern tunes is seamless and the skills of the individual band members are excellent. Spotlights for piano, electric guitar and trumpet highlight how talented these players are – and as for the scatting, well that certainly earned some well deserved applause.

I’ve never seen such a youthful group playing with the ease of old hands! They know their stuff, clearly enjoy it and you are getting a professional worth-paying-for night out – and of course lets not forget the lovely Lola. Her great comic patter certainly brings a smile to our faces and her voice and delivery are on fine form as she knocks out those tunes with showman style.

I would definitely go to see them again and highly recommend them – take a look at their website for just a taste of what they have to offer. And I’m delighted to find that they’ll be at Twinwood on the Sunday which is the day I’ll be going. Regardless of what they’ll be singing I know we’ll be in for a treat.

lamours night outSo what does one wear to an evening to listen to The Lamours? Well you can certainly go along in jeans and trainers if you like but I love any opportunity to dress up. I defied snow and ice (and nearly fell over twice – eek!) to wear my satin Vivien of Holloway Grace circle dress and was lucky enough to be complimented by not one but three ladies πŸ™‚
Viva!

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in Clothing, Events, People to follow, Reviews

 

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