Death By Velvet, so 'Good Bye Snazzy Girl'.
Its taken a few attempts to start this blog this evening, knowing what's coming. It was very hard watching The Great British Sewing Bee on Tuesday with my mom, dad and husband, as I just didnt want the experience to end. Obviously, the programme is pre recorded and I knew what was coming but it did not make it any easier. But before we get into the details I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has commented, tweeted, liked, watched, emailed, called and any other method possible to contact me over the last five weeks. Your support and love has been so wonderful and completely overwhelming. So overwhelming in fact that you have killed my phone with the amount of traffic running through it! A fantastic response that I could never have imagined.
This week was Tricky fabric and to kick it all off with challenge one we have a Nylon Raincoat.
Not a fabric I have used before and by the sounds coming from the room I was not alone. A three hour challenge with a difficult fabric but the Bee didn't stop there! oh no not this week. We have new sewing machines with a walking foot. I was a 'virgin' to the walking foot but it seemed simple enough. However as any sewer will tell you. You do get quite attached to your sewing machine, and this was a complete curve ball. With my head down and fueled by Top three last week in challenges one and two. I'm aiming for first! I found the fabric quite nice to work with. It wasn't as tricky as I thought however I then came across the waterproof tape! WHAT WAS THAT! Patrick not giving anything away with the temperature, I decided to have a little practice run. Only having three hours to do the challenge this was risky however I just had a gut feeling that the judges would have a right good pick over this part of the challenge so I'm glad I spent the time doing it. With my time mangement going really well, I had attached my ribbed cuffs and waist band without an issue. Giving me plenty of time to focus on my top stitching! I've had enough pratice on this over the last four weeks so I wanted and knew I could do this perfect! AAAHHHHH where is my FOOT! I had completely lost it in changing from the standard foot to the zipper it had vanished! Rushing to finish now, I had completed my jacket but didn't quite deliver the acuracy I wanted and knew I could deliever. Great feedback from Patrick and May as my tape was 'very well bonded' which was a 'credit to' me as I was combining two 'very difficult' and different textured Nylon fabric's. 'No puckers or pleats' on my cuffs and waistband, they awarded a marginal decision. Frustratingly I got second place. SO CLOSE.
Challenge two - Leather!
Loved it, never worked with it but half way there with my leather shorts this week, I sneaked towards the purple leather. It was so lovely to work with, tough but gorgeous. Straight away I was thinking 60's Mod. I wanted backless WOW in the back and something strikingly different in the front.
Sticking with the mantra 'BOLD' Claudia was on the same wavelength, knew that the judges would be looking at my ability to handle my needle work. Leather is a skin but its not something that is going to heal. once pearced there is no going back! I used this to my advantage by scooping out the back and leaving the raw edge. True to form Patrick picked this up in judging. I also used this attribute to create the necklace, well, neckleather if you will. Creating a design to give the front a little detail. I had also added a Rouleau loop out of leather to secure the collar with a button. I wanted to show that I could do quite intricate details with this material. Up against Lynda and Chinelo's fabulous creations I came a respectable third.
Not quite where I wanted to be but nothing to turn your nose up at!
The end of day one, the judges confessed that they were finding it difficult and that everything hinges on the next challenge, the Velvet Trousers.
Challenge three this week was a little different. We had fitting buddies. Mine was the lovely Heather and we had to model the trousers. It really was a made to measure!
I was excited about this challenge, as I frequently pinch Kirk's red velvet jacket. I would kill for a velvet suit! So when i got the brief through this was my oportunity. Never having the pleasure of working with velvet before I was in for a SHOCK! It was a beast. Claudia described it as 'Floopy' and it really was. But I'm a girl that likes a challenge, green velvet trousers are a must have, in my wardrobe anyway.
Nervously, i cracked on with it, trying to manage my time better as I had not finished my practice one's ( I still haven't finished them- can't bring myself to).
I was progressing well. Happy with my snazzy lined pockets and zip. I began to work on my waist band. With the lining and the velvet being so slippery in practice, I was focusing so hard I had put it on the wrong way round. With only thirty minutes left in the challenge, time was not on my side . My 'V' in the front was off centre because of it.
I could either continue to make the trousers, knowing I had made a huge mistake or push my luck, unpick, start again and hope I have a pair of trousers in time. What would you do?
Normally at home, you just unpick and start again, have a cup of tea or leave it for another day but in the sewing bee you dont have that choice.
I broke down. I had been doing so well, becoming more confident in my ablity, but now it was all down to time. Mine was running out.
My Darling Lynda, came to visit me. She shouldn't have done that. She should have focused on her own task and used her time wisely. That however is not Lynda. Im so glad that she did! I needed that big hug and advice. We decided that I needed a pair of green velvet trousers.
There really is nothing worse than putting all your effort into a waist band that is wrong. but I was determined to do it.
With five minutes left I had to hem my trousers. RUSHED WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.
Time being called I hid behind the screen, cried and then changed into my trousers. 'at least I'm not walking around in my pants', an attempt to put on a brave face, I was not looking forward to this catwalk at all!
May, noted that I had used the most difficult velvet in the room as well as the very obvious waist band issue, Patrick commented on the Fly.
With the waist band on the wrong way round the whole area was not sitting right. With rushed hems as well and pockets not even getting a look in. My time was up. Heather was convinced that she was in for the chop that day, she was wrong.
Walking back into that room, there was a stange feeling between us all. We needed to be close to each other. All holding hands, I remember standing tall in the line, trying to brace myself for what was coming. The blow came and I felt Lynda and Chinelo squeeze my hands so tight. Not letting go they all came flooding towards me with hugs. I was really going to miss my all sewing buddies.
May came straight towards me 'our most inexperienced sewer but you have done some brilliant sewing' she reasured me. You must keep sewing! Hearing Patrick say 'given the limited time Jenni has been sewing she really has impressed' I was in floods of tears AGAIN on Tuesday watching it back with the 2.8 million others in the country. With hugs from Patrick, May and Claudia it was now all over.
I'm so proud of myself for getting this far in the competition. Looking back now and how it all started with a wedding dress and a husband that had more faith in me than I did and entered me into The Great British Sewing Bee. The long audition process and getting into the final cut out of thousands who had applied and had not been successful. To have stayed in every week for 5 weeks of filming which was more than half way through the competition.
Having the oportunity to handle and work with so many different fabrics and be surrounded by so many talented sewers, both judges and contestants, was just mind blowing.
I really did mean everything I said at the end of the show on Tuesday! 'sewing for me gives you everything you can imagine. You can think of something in your head and you're able to recreate it - in a garment you can wear. Anybody can pick up a needle and thread and make something and thats just phenomenal!'
If I achieve anything after the Bee, I do hope I have helped to inspire people to sew! Whether that is to start sewing or to pick it back up again, so much so I'm currently running workshops and will be continuing to blog D.I.Y projects.
I want to start a #sewingrevolution so if you start a project please take a picture hashtag it #sewingrevolution and let me know by either twitter, facebook or Instagram.
Together we can do this!!!
Whatever I'm doing