There are plenty more people who will be talking about the Great British Sewing Bee that ended last night and in a far more entertaining way than this little input of mine. I have been watching every episode and it was no real surprise to me that 81 year old Ann Rowley won, her sewing and attention to detail are exquisite. Both Sandra and Lauren were excellent seamstresses too and it was a pity that they couldn’t all have won, but they were up against stiff competition there and shouldn’t feel too badly. Everyone’s avowed purpose was to get people interested in sewing and dressmaking in particular I suppose, so it was very interesting to me to see that they included hand-sewing as one of the final challenges. Even more interesting was seeing the reactions of the various finalists when they heard the words “hand-sewing”.
Those two words seem to bring a sharp divide into the sewing world. There are some sewers who are happy and comfortable with hand sewing and those who would rather have root canal work done. Patrick stated the obvious about his world in tailoring where the majority of all work is by hand whereas most ‘dressmakers’ will confess to being much more comfortable with a sewing machine. Women’s clothes are designed and put together in a much different way than men’s clothes. Men’s clothes are built from the inside out and molded to the wearer’s shape. Women’s clothes are about style. Construction plays a part obviously, but not in the same way as tailors put together a man’s suit of clothes. Horses for courses I suppose, but good hand sewing builds confidence, you can see the garment taking shape and those awkward bits can be more easily tamed I think. What do you think? In any event, if it brings more people into sewing and into sewing their own clothes in particular – it can only be good for the rest of us. Fabric shops will up their game and perhaps we will see their return to the High St., once more along with haberdashers – and who knows we may get more craft-oriented programmes on TV other than cooking! I can only dream.