This TV show makes me want to sew!

I first attempted sewing at secondary school and made a pair of shorts for my littlest sister, then tried a velvet dress when I was sixteen, not perfect items of clothing but I was proud I had made them.

I have been fascinated by dressmaking since I was small and I made my Barbies outfits from offcuts of fabric any adult kindly donated to me. I had a fashion wheel when I was 8 years old and dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. However, when I talked to my textiles teacher at secondary school she put me off the idea “You’ll never get into art college” she told me. I did… but not on the path I originally wanted to follow.

Years passed and I’ve had this nagging feeling the whole time, to learn to sew and make my own clothes and now I have a weekly dose of dressmaking amateurs showing me their stuff on TV through the Great British Sewing Bee and “poking” me into action again.

Sewing History

In 2014, (literally, weeks before I embarked on one of the biggest adventures of my life) I took an intensive sewing course with my great, very talented friend and neighbour Glenys as my companion.

I have to say until this point I had a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine, sometimes she loves me, other times she hates me, and everything that could go wrong did. But by learning the basics, from the ground up on the course, I realised that the machine didn’t hate me, I just needed to learn how to “drive her”.

Well, the course gave me confidence, and again I was dreaming of making my own outfits, so started collecting fabrics, sewing patterns, threads, needles, etc. I had all the gear and was great at making…….. cushions!

Relighting the fire

During the time I have been living here in France, I’ve made a grand total of 6 cushions for the kids, made some curtains for my dressing table, and re-covered cushions for an armchair. My stash of dress fabric remained safely stowed away (and occasionally added to).

Having two children and multiple other interests and a business, it has been hard to find the time to re-ignite the passion for sewing, but the nagging feeling has never gone away and every week as I watch my favourite TV show, I learn more and more and nagging gets louder and louder.

Especially now my 8 year daughter has the same passion for fashion. She LOVES fashion dolls, and Harumika (where you drape fabric around mini dress forms to design your own outfits) she has a fashion wheel and countless design books with blank models for you to style with templates for clothes you can cut out of fabulous papers and accessorise with trimmings and gems.

She also loves to raid my fabric stash whenever possible. which is where she came across the fabric we bought at the market maybe five years ago. and she asked me “Mum, can you make me a skirt from this?” and “I would love a dress made from this fabric”. Now I had a reason to get my sewing mojo back.

As with any project I undertake, I like to do my research first, so I have been binge-watching the YouTube channel of Evelyne Wood from Vintage Sewing School, I love the way she explains things and I have learned lots and re-affirmed some knowledge I already had too.

Project 1: Skirt

I measured my daughter and took myself to Amazon to find a suitable sewing pattern. (and bought one for a dress too). The skirt can be made in a number of styles and I have promised my daughter that once I have mastered the simple version she can have a more bespoke version to her taste and style.

Having cleared all other projects from my workshop, I set about cutting the pattern, checking the fit, cutting the fabric, checking the fit again, and started sewing.

Once I had got to the stage of adding elastic to the waist it was time for one last fitting and hey presto, it fits perfectly!

Now all I had to was hem the skirt and sew up a little gap where the elastic was inserted and job done. Here I stumbled, the thread ran out halfway around the hem and I had to re-load my bobbin, then I broke a needle, the bobbin ran out again, and I broke another needle! But eventually, I got there it is done.

Finished item

So here is the finished item. It has been a fabulous feeling to be behind the sewing machine again. and I can’t wait to get started on the next project, which will be another skirt, and then a summer dress. Oh and I have a happy daughter who loves her new skirt.

Does GBSB give you the urge to sew?

Are you an avid seamstress? Or a beginner like me? Do you watch Great British Sewing Bee and feel like you could make your creations at home too?

I love that these types of TV shows inspire people to create, it helps to keep traditional skills alive and there are so many positive benefits to being able to craft, whether that’s sewing, knitting, or any other craft. But I’ll talk about that more in another post in the future.

I’d love to hear what you think, so join in the conversation here in the comments below, or on social media.

à bientôt,