Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Great British Sewing Bee - Series 3

We admit it, we here at UK Sewing have been slacking in our coverage of the Great British Sewing Bee.  Having two babies and a busy shop to take care of meant that the second series pretty much passed us by (though we could see from twitter that lots of you loved it, so hurrah!)  But all that is about to change.

Series 3 begins tomorrow (Thursday 5th February) at 8pm on BBC 2, and we will be there with bells on watching the show, live tweeting and blogging a round-up of each episode.  We'll point out what kinds of equipment and materials the contestants are using, and recommend resources that might be of use if you get the hankering to make something yourselves, whether you're an old hand or new to the hobby.

In preparation for the big kick-off, you can meet all of the series 3 sewers on the official BBC Great British Sewing Bee website, and the eagle-eyed amongst you might notice that one of them hails from our home town of Darlington.  We are professionals however, and promise to remain impartial throughout the contest.  (GO AMANDA!  WOO!)

What?  The contest didn't start yet...

Hope to hear from you all on Thursday!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Great British Sewing Bee Recap

Well the week seems to have flown by as usual, and Episode 2 of The Great British Sewing Bee airs tonight at 8pm on BBC2.  So in advance of that we thought we'd do a quick recap of some of our favourite moments from the first show:

Ann prepared for the competition by sacrificing a young girl and saying a prayer to the Dark Lord of Stitching:

Which seemed to work pretty well actually because her neckline on this top was one of the judges' favourite things last week, and ours too:

We were taken on a journey through some of Mark's past lives, including his time as a pirate:

King Charles:

And a villain in a Sherlock Holmes story:

All of which gave him the confidence he needed to take on the day's challenges with a positive, can-do attitude:

Stuart gave us a sneaky peek at his best Madonna impression, while swearing blind that he'd never made a skirt before in his life.  Judge for yourselves:

While a contrite Tilly gave Patrick her best I've-been-a-bad-girl-and-I'm-sorry look:

But we think Paddy may have eyes for someone else:

Definite sparks there we reckon.  But just for all the still-hopeful ladies out there, here's another shot of the debonair Mr. Grant delivering the best line of the night.  It's good from afar, but far from good:

Finally, for those of you who may be superstitious, we noticed something interesting last week.  Here's Sandra rocking the tape measure:

And Tilly rocking the tape measure:

And Stuart:


Every contestant rocking the tape measure in fact, but one:

Michelle!  We think we've figured out where you went wrong my love.

Well that's all we've got time for right now, because show two is about to begin!

Same time next week m'dears, happy sewing and viewing!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Make Your Own Skirt - This Saturday

Due to popular demand following the premier of Great British Sewing Bee (hope your enjoyed our tweets during the show), we are holding a class this coming Saturday (6th April) to make your own A-line skirt!

You'll have full use of our sewing machines, and the class is suitable for absolute beginners, so even if you've never sewn so much as a button before in your life, you can learn to make a beautiful skirt for yourself out of a fabric of your choice from our wide selection.

Here's a picture of some of our previous attendees with their new skirts (these are Dirndl skirts):

And a closer look:

Classes are held at The Old Tailor B&B right above our shop, and we're offering a special deal right now for out-of-towners: make your own skirt and stay the night for just £65!

More classes will be coming up, so keep an eye on for details.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Here we go!

The Great British Sewing Bee, Episode One airs tonight at 8pm on BBC2.  We're actually at a wedding today, believe it or not, but we'll be scrambling to find a television later on and tweeting our thoughts on the first show.  Then later in the week we'll do a more in-depth blog.

Meanwhile, Claire finally got the baby to sleep long enough to write a quick article about some of the essentials you'll need to start sewing, so if you're a newbie or an old hand looking to stock up on a few supplies, you can check that out over on our main site.

Happy sewing!  (And viewing!)

Sunday, 31 March 2013

A good point

We're big fans of balance here at UK Sewing, not least because if you lose yours and topple over in our little shop, you'll bring half the merchandise down with you.

While lots of sewers are very much looking forward to the BBC's new sewing show (from the makers of Great British Bake Off), others are understandably wary of introducing our hobby to people who have absolutely no idea where to begin.  This post over at stefpulls for example, paints an unhappy picture of lots of enthusiastic new sewers buying very cheap sewing machines, being disappointed that their newbie efforts aren't anywhere near as nice as those people on tv, and presumably jacking it in for good.

It's a reasonable point.  Over Christmas we found the 'pound shop' down the road selling £20 sewing machines that looked like they'd break in half the moment you actually tried to stitch something.  But if you do your homework you can find a great machine, with a strong metal body and good, powerful motor, without breaking the bank.  Like the Which? Best Buy Janome 525s, which we've actually spotted being used on the show already.

Then once you've got your shiny new machine, what do you do with it?  There are some excellent 'beginners' sewing books out there (more on those in a future blog), and of course taking a class or two is a great way to get started.  Unfortunately we've heard quite a few stories of people signing up for sewing classes at colleges and suchlike, and never getting to touch a sewing machine at all.

All of our sewing classes at Darlington's favourite B&B are hands-on from the get-go, and usually you'll leave having made something - a quilt, cusion, bag etc. - even if you've never used a sewing machine before in your life.

So I suppose while we understand the apprehensive view, we still think it's a great thing that sewing is going to be getting national attention for a few weeks.  Making your own clothes and other things is such a joy, and if the Great British Sewing Bee makes that possible for even a handful of new people, then we'll call that a good start.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee is coming up!

So The Great British Sewing Bee begins this coming Tuesday April 2nd on BBC 2 at 8pm, and we at UKSewing can't wait to see what Claudia Winkleman and co. have in store for us sewing fans!

Find out more at the BBC Two 'Great British Sewing Bee' website.

We'll be watching the show every week and posting our thoughts here, as well as livetweeting every episode.  We'll also be following up on projects and techniques featured in the show, and hopefully pointing you in the right direction if you have a hankering to pick up a needle and thread yourself and get to making your own clothes, bags, quilts etc.

For starters, look out for our upcoming feature on what you'll need to put together your own sewing box and start sewing.

See you soon!