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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 😉

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 🙂

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 –  Fingers crossed 🙂 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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If the shoe fits…. put it on the Bucket List!

Things to do before I die. In some ways that’s not a very cheering topic I know and yet having just watched the Bucket List (with my beloved Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson 🙂 ) I am reminded of the need to make each moment count – and that means making the most of achieving my dreams.

It’s probably an understatement to say shoes are my weakness – I stopped counting last year after a cull left me with 70 pairs and I know I’ve added significantly to the stash since then ;-).  As a child I was only allowed shoes in black or brown and if a party then wonderful patent. I do recall the one and only time I was given a pair of blue T-bar shoes – I loved them so much my mother had to wait till I was asleep before she could prise them off my feet. Nowadays my collection comes in all colours, shapes and sizes and I consider the choosing of them as important as picking the right brooch or neck scarf to complete an outfit.

Having read an interview a few years ago about Amanda Holton in a London show and having her toes measured for shoes I have always thought it would be grand to have shoes made to measure. For reasons unknown I assumed it would cost a fortune and put it to the back of my mind until out of the blue yesterday I did a Google search and was astounded at what I discovered.

custom made moulds

Using custom made moulds of your feet will cost a pretty penny!

Yes you can definitely break the bank with a visit to London’s Anthony Andrews.  £1400 plus Vat (or more!) for a custom made pair – but since this actually involves making a mould of your foot you can be sure it’s certain to fit. There are many companies to choose from including Taylor Made shoes who combines 150 years of history with a modern twist by using a 3D scanning system to create a full digital cast.

Well all that is still certainly past my budget but how about this – a two day course with Marsha Hall resulting in your own shoes for under £300! For an experience like that that’s certainly within my budget if I cut back on a few non essential frivolous buys! I know it’s not quite made to measure, but if you’ll pardon the pun it’s a step in the right direction 😛

Make your own shoes on a two day course!

Make your own shoes on a two day course!

Best of all Marsha offers gift vouchers so I know what I’ll be asking family and friends for my next birthday.

Of course if you fancy having a shoe designed to your specification then why not let the computer do it for you – Shoes of Prey runs a programme which lets you pick the size, shape and then fill in the rest of the details yourself!

Let your fingers do the walking.

Let your fingers do the walking.

Anyone ever had a pair of shoes made for them or created a 3D version online? If so I’d love to hear what you thought of the end result. In the meantime I’m looking forward to some birthday gift vouchers 😉

Viva!

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2013 in Clothing

 

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