The Great British Sewing Bee is back!

The crafter’s answer to Masterchef is back! (I’ve never seen Masterchef, but I assume this is accurate) New contestants, a new building, and the same fabulous Claudia Winkleman’s hair. She’s probably fab too, but her hair is extra fab.

After a brief panic that the Sewing Bee wasn’t going to be added to iPlayer, and some frantic refreshing of its search function, there it was, back on the TV where I firmly believe it always should be. Given that I watch probably about 5% of the amount of TV most people do (consisting entirely of the GBSB and House of Cards), I think I can vouch that this should happen.

Just with any show featuring contestants after a winning spot, the second season’s characters always seem a little shaky at first. There’s no Sandra! Where will I get my dose of that wonderful Wolverhampton bubbly laughter from this time? And no Ann either, not to mention Stuart and Lauren, all who made the show what it was. What do we have this time around? Jenni. I love her already. Anyone who gets a double high five from Claudia in the first show is bound to be fun. I think she’s the only one that could probably pull off a certain edginess in her designs that will truly make her a Great British sewer. And Chinelo too – cutting without a pattern in the first week, what a dare devil! It’s a shame Cliff felt he wanted to leave though. Yes, he might have come last and not lasted all that long, but I think he could have brought a smile to many faces too. And I can’t do a rundown of the newbees without mentioning Heather. Heather, Heather, Heather. What have we here? “I didn’t want anyone knowing I was making my own clothes.” Whyever not? Is there something wrong with a bit of DIY craftiness? I do hope that voicing this fact while ON the Sewing Bee of all places comes back to haunt her. I don’t see why sewing and high society can’t mix. Who wouldn’t want a personalised dress for bridge, or perhaps a lovely and unique motif design on your coat for croquet?

sewing-beeAhem, anyway. I was really excited to see the first task was to make a sleeveless top. It was the same tunic that I have been trying to get around to since Christmas, when I half-made one as a gift, messily claiming to finish it later (yes, that elusive version of later that usually doesn’t turn up). The two ½ hour time limit seemed a little harsh, especially for the first task, and this showed in the results. Not that many were completely finished (I liked Cliff’s choice of material the best, just for the record. #bringbackCliff) and I wouldn’t have a clue how I’d like to modify a skirt there and then. I loved Patrick’s comment to Simon though about his skirt being a history of Bradford in the fabric choices. I thought Jenni deserved a bit more recognition for her dungaree effort. She was the only one who took a skirt and made it into a different piece of clothing! If that’s not great modification, I don’t know what is.

Another effort that demanded more attention was Chinelo’s nightdress. I guess the technique probably is fairly easy in a relative sense to its impressive appearance, but a mention for more than half a second would have been nice. I think Jenni attempted something brave in the nightdress challenge too, and for the 5 hour time limit, she did really well and I’d have loved to have seen the result if she’d have had more time. Come on, a nightdress is a dress for nighttime, I’d have worn that thing to a Gatsby party!

The best thing about the Sewing Bee this year though, for me, has got to be this: The tunic top I’ve been sort-of-making for two months got finished in 10 minutes after watching the first episode, and the three days that followed saw me make another three! Personal sewing productivity is at an all-time high. It’s probably due to the mirrored project in my own sewing room, but I’m more excited than ever about making my own clothes now, and I can’t wait to see what next week’s challenges are to see if I can keep up!

Here’s my own sleeveless top. I call it ‘the ice cream top’:

Tunic top 2Tunic top

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