So, it’s four days since the first episode went live of The Great British Sewing Bee. I know this, because I also know that it is three full days until I can sit down and watch the next one. Obsessed, moi?
Did any of you watch it? Did you manage not to scream, yelp, swoon, cringe or give the side eye to anyone who dared speak in your vicinity? I definitely did all of the above! I loved watching the programme. Not only because of the obvious excitement of seeing Tilly on there, but also because I was really keen to see the other contestants. I was thrilled beyond words that the producers had chosen people from a range of ages, regional locations and social classes. Yes, the more cynical amongst us could call out ‘Tokenism!’. But if tokenism means that I get to watch the MAGNIFICENT 81-year-old Ann sewing calmly in the face of terrifying pressure, then bring it on. (You can see a run down of all the contestants here.) Could you sew anything decent in the face of that pressure? I couldn’t!
I was also really keen to see how sewing translated on the telly, compared to The Great British Bake Off. Now, I’m gonna say – I think baking is more universally transparent. I can’t bake a pavlova, but I’ve seen an egg and I know how to beat it! Sewing vocabulary and experience is something else altogether. Bias binding? What’s that, then? I heard several questions around me during the first episode and it reminded me afresh how alien sewing is when you have no or little knowledge.
Has The Great British Sewing Bee been good for any of us? Will it be kind to the contestants in their futures? Too soon to say. Or is it? Let’s be vulgar for a moment – I’ve seen my blog stats shoot up since that first episode. My Apronalong blog post on making bias binding became suddenly popular. I couldn’t work this out, until I remembered how Lauren had used bias binding in the programme. Hmmm. Someone out there is interested, I thought. And they’re Googling.
Now, on one level who gives a fig about blog statistics or randomly popular posts? But let’s scratch that surface, shall we? The world around us just became incrementally more friendly and open to sewing. Good for them, because they’re about to enter a community that is the benchmark of friendly and open. If I had to choose someone to care for me in my dotage, I’d ask if they’d ever picked up a needle. Tells you a lot about a person.
The one thing that both baking and sewing have in common is heart. You’ve gotta care to sit there, hand sewing some flipping wool bias binding to the edge of a jacket. No one with a dead soul ever made a dress from lobster print cotton. And certainly, no one poured hours and hours of their spare time into an educational and inspirational blog without really wanting to do something for other people.
The Great British Sewing Bee has ticked all the boxes in my book and I couldn’t care less what the ratings are, who wins or if it’s re-commissioned. I care deeply that the rest of the UK and, hopefully the world, receives a glimpse into the world of creativity and caring that we all get to take for granted. Lucky, lucky us.
Oh. And I really want to snog Patrick.
STOP PRESS! For a Great British Sewing Bee giveaway of giveaways, come back here on Friday 12 April…