We’re now 2 weeks in to this new program on BBC2, with 2 more weeks to go, and I’m not entirely convinced they’ve hit the mark with it (2.5 million viewers for week one is some going however, especially as that increased a bit in week 2!).
The title of the Great British Sewing Bee says to me that it should be about all kinds of sewing, and yet all we’ve seen are clothes, with previews of week 3 implying that that’s all we’ll be seeing going forward. I feel rather like I’ve been had, kind of like the Great British Bake Off that only did cakes! Clothes sewing takes a great deal of skill, however it’s not the be-all and end-all of sewing, although I suspect the fact that one of the judges is a tailor might have had some influence. Looking at the background of the contestants, I’m not even sure that they’re all clothes sewers normally – a few of them definitely are, but Lauren and Stuart seem to have a much broader range, like home décor and quilts lurking in the background of their ‘at home’ friends and family interviews. I’m enjoying the series, but I think it ought to be renamed, perhaps to the Great British Clothes Off (hmm, maybe not ;o) )
So, here’s my debate for the day, if you had 8 contestants with 4 weeks of competition, 2 being eliminated each week, what would you have them doing each week? Sticking with the same general format you will need each week:
- 1 follow a pattern challenge, to take 2-3 hours (PC)
- 1 enhancing an existing item, to take 1 hour (EI)
- 1 make what you like following a general theme challenge, to take 6 hours (GT)
Personally, I would go for (off the top of my head):
Week 1 – Home Décor & Quilts:
PC – create a pair of lined curtains
EI – decorate a plain cushion cover
GT – create a simple child’s quilt
Week 2 – Toys & Gifts:
PC – make a sewing kit
EI – embellish some plain tea towels for a bridal gift
GT – make a soft toy
Week 3 –Bags & Pouches:
PC – make a boxy zippered pouch
EI – decorate a simple tote bag
GT – make a handbag
Week 4 – Clothes:
PC – make a simple A-line skirt
EI – embellish a child’s t-shirt
GT – make an evening dress
So what would you do? (‘cos, you know, the producers really care what we think ;o) )
Oh my you've clearly been thinking about this a lot!! I have to agree I think the title is misleading and was dissapointed it is only clothes. I'm enjoying it though! I like all your clever options and am way too tired to contribute more, sorry!
I was pretty surprised it's only clothes, having seen the application form (yes, I am that much of a saddo – I actually applied!). They asked for info about all kinds of sewing, including home dec, bags, quilting etc etc. I wish they had gone that route – it would make it so much more interesting (although I do enjoy it)
I agree about the name Katy – when they were recruiting contestants I imagined it would be all sorts of sewing crafts and I love what you have suggested but I do love making clothes and I am finding it really inspiring and because I quilt non stop with the very odd bag, pouch or cushion thrown in I'm relishing the complete clothes thing AND (pause for breath), I'm really hoping it does for clothes sewing what TGBBO did for baking and brings better lines of fabric in to the shops – we can't always use quilters cotton! And that sentence was waaaay too long 🙂
Being a former men's tailor, (actually made a living doing it) and someone who sewed every stitch of clothing that she and her family wore, I would still find it a let down if that was all that was featured on the show. Bags and cushion covers and lined draperies and of course soft toys would be much more interesting to me. I like your suggestions much better. Just saying….
I am really enjoying the program a lot. I also bought the book which has 28 projects in it that includes 9 sewing projects that aren't clothing. There are patterns and instructions for curtains, roman blinds, window sheer panel, three different cushion patterns, a drawstring laundry bag, a handbag with leather straps AND a patchwork throw. So don't give up hope just yet. Perhaps they are going to feature non-clothing related sewing in an upcoming episode!
I saw the app form and applied too although tbh I am so glad I didn't hear anything, sewing against the clock is a nightmare. It feels like bbc are dipping their toe in the water, 6 weeks would have given more time to diversify into a greater range of makes. It t it will come back and will have been developed further on the next outing
I'm enjoying the programmer, accepting that it is all clothes, but assuming there were some sort of heats to get this far, what were the ones like who didn't make it? I know it must be awful getting something finished against the clock, and on tv, so you're never going to do your best, but ……..
I'm a bit scared to admit that I haven't seen it. I almost never watch TV – I have been feeling that I should watch it but now I'm not so worried….thanks! Juliex
I think they should have asked you to plan the whole thing, it would have been way more interesting. And why does everything have to be a competition ???? Why can't we just see someone actually make something 'cos that's what they like to do.I'll probably keep watching, but it is just a dressmaking show and could be so much better.
I quite like the clothing focus but feel the tasks lack progression so far, the tasks should be getting harder each week. We had a dress week one then a blouse week 2, I would have thought a dress was more difficult? I would also like to see bag making, maybe some soft furnishing, and a 1 metre challenge – all contestants given 1 metre of the same fabric to do something with. And I wish we only lost one contestant a week, you hardly get to know them. Hoping for a longer and more varied series 2.
I hadn't heard of this show but will definitely be checking it out. I really like your category ideas, I'd watch a show with those for sure! (To be fair, I'm not sure I could complete a quilt I wouldn't be ashamed of within six hours – placemats or a table runner perhaps?)
I really like it, and maybe the next series won't be clothing, but I'll watch anyway. Afraid I can't see much of an audience watching people making curtains! At that pace, anything else would look a bit 'Changing Rooms'!
I have been enjoying it (and so has hubby!) and actually I am pleased it is about clothes as I am not much of a dressmaker. When Kirsty was doing programmes about stuff like quiltmaking I found it hard to watch as it is a total busman's holiday for me! I can relax we this programme and admire Ann, Sandra and Lauren's amazing skills (my money's on Ann).
I've got it recorded but not had a chance to see it yet so opinion free here.
Change the programme title to 'The Great British Dress Off!' Jxo
I do sort of agree. I was under the impression that it would be lots of different types of sewing, so was initially disappointed. I've watched both weeks now though and am actually finding it really interesting and enjoyable! I've never really made clothes before, now I feel like I could! I can see why they stuck to one thing though, I think it would have jumped around and been less cohesive with lots of different types of sewing. I think it seems like they were just dipping their toes in the water with this series, as it is so short and focused on one area. It seems to have been well-received, so I'm really hoping for another, longer series, hopefully including a few other areas of sewing 🙂
I agree – there should have been more than just clothing. If I was a person who had never sewn before, this program would scare me off sewing forever because they make sewing look hard – and it isn't just clothing that can be made on a sewing machine! Also, a 'bee' implies to me working together to make something as a group. I know it means different things to different people and situations but I was thinking there would be an element of the show that would show a quilting bee in action…
Um..seems a tad odd at initial glance! The shot you show looks like it could be from a 1970's show 🙂 bet it is entertaining tho?
Reading all you've said about it but having never seen it, I think I'd like it more if they implemented your suggestions. Work on that will you? 😉 Maybe someday it will hit the U.S. Work on that too, okay? 😉 For now, I'll have to be happy with Project Runway, which I'm actually a fan of.. seeing what they make with so little time and supplies is amazing. Have a great weekend, Katy! xo
I think you should forward your post o someone at the tv company as you've to much better ideas than they have!
I too thought it should cover more but I really am enjoying it still. Did you know Stuart is a prolific quilter? He has a pattern in almost every issue of Popular Patchwork.
I thought it was going to be sewing of all things not just clothes seems like you have given it great thought and hit the nail on the head with your list of how it should have been ……..like it .
i also thought it was going to be longer than 4 in the same way as the baking !! as Benta said they need to know send it off to someone at the Beeb
Like you, bit peeved that its a "sewing bee" competition that only does dressmaking. Change the title!!!! Love your format. Much better. However. Feel that its probably better that its dressmaking only as when Kirsty did quilting stuff I wanted to chuck things at the telly it was bloody awful.
I am a bit of a cow though, I just see it as something else that will make my precious, precious passtime something that 'everyone' thinks they can do right cos they've seen it on telly, and also, the likelihood of sewing supply prices soaring. 🙁 See, cow. I admit it!
So, I am curious…why don't you have an online competition?
Umm I keep trying to leave a comment and half way through typing it's disappearing. I can't face starting over again and you may get a load of half done comments somewhere?
Yes, I agree that it should be more than just dressmaking. Especially as the call for participants asked for home sewers, not home dressmakers (no, I didn't apply – not good enough and have no interest to be on tv). As for what to make – I like your list