Sewers and crafters around the UK have been cosying up every Tuesday evening to watch The Great British Sewing Bee where contestants follow a pattern, use their ingenuity, and tailor make a bespoke item each week. Reviews of the show among the sewing community are a little mixed, but mostly favourable. We (the discerning, sewing, viewing public) mostly agree that it's not quite clear who the target audience are; that the 'how to' making guides are ridiculous in many ways; and that we still love the Great British Bake Off, the big sister to this show, a little more unreservedly. We're also mostly agreed that the dashing and oh-so-pernickity judge - Savile Row Tailor Patrick Grant - is the real star of the show. Partly for his charming good looks, partly for his wit, and most importantly really, for his insistence on attention to detail. A man who likes his corners pointed and his seams pressed. Rightly so. We're especially agreed that thank god it's nothing like Kirsty's Handmade Home (the less said about that the better).
In anticipation of next week's final, where my money's on Lauren by the way; matching Anne inch for inch on perfectionism but striding way ahead of her in the ability to take a risk, I wanted to flag up where to keep an eye out next for my two favourite contestants.
Lauren: has a stunning and very well planned sewing business in Birmingham just ready to launch. With a bricks and mortar and online shop, and a beautifully programmed workshop programme about to commence, Lauren's already absolutely maximising on the exposure and popularity at her fingertips. It looks like a lovely place and she's stocked it with very well chosen supplies. http://www.guthrie-ghani.co.uk/
Tilly: many sewing bloggers, makers and general DIYers already had Tilly on their radar before the show, as popular craft blogger Tilly and the Buttons. She's stepped that up a gear and based on some of her work in the programme, and a top up professional clothes making course, is now making and selling sewing patterns and running workshops around the country. http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/
I also had a soft spot for mechanic Mark, the gentle giant with a way for debonair historic costumery. I'm not sure what his plans are but I imagine they include the odd ruffle here, a dandy swagger there...
ps It won't surprise you to hear The Great British Sewing Bee book is already out. Containing essential haberdashery advice, how to use patterns, types of fabrics, items to make, and boosted with some fashion history and tempting photography, at £10 (half price) I'd say it's definitely worth a shot.
Image: Lauren's version of Tilly's Mathilde blouse from the Mathilde Maker Gallery