Singer Sewing Machines and Vintage Vibes - My dream episode.
After saying my goodbye's to The Great British Sewing and my new found and very talented friends, the dream had finally come to an end. With reality setting in I took the morning train back to Birmingham. Feeling a little sorry for myself I must admit, I began to think of the future. 'What can I do now?' a buzz began to rumble in my stomach. Things had gone beyond sewing in my kitchen for me. The thrill of the challenge was something that I did not want to give up!
First thing first, I knew I wanted to mark my achievement and experience forever. ‘I’m getting a Tattoo!’ As soon as I got off the train, I headed to my local Tattoo Parlour, Eerie Ink in Walsall for some new ink!
A needle and thread was the design I wanted to be added to my existing tattoo which is placed on my left wrist. My song bird and cage was a tattoo that I designed myself and had done about three years before. It holds a lot of meaning for me as it marks a particular time in my life. Therefore to add my recent adventure seemed fitting. My Mom and Mother-in-law joke that it's going to turn into a totem pole. However they, along with all my family and friends know how much this experience meant to me, and they couldn’t be more proud.
My documenting of the Great British Sewing Bee didn’t stop there. Throughout my time in the Bee, I had made a point of saving small scraps of the fabric that I had used for each task. At first this was just to add to a scrap book that I was thinking of making at the end, along with any paper clippings to make a little keep sake. However, when I final got all my pieces of cloth together, with all the different textures, colours and memories, it seemed a shame to keep them enclosed in a scrap book. So I decided to make something visual and having been exposed to Ineke Beryln’s ‘collections’ of which my wedding dress is a part of and her ‘journal quilts’. I wanted to draw on her influence and make my own. I proceeded to sew my narrative fabric together in order of episode and task. Creating a landscape that represented my expedition through the Great British Sewing Bee as well as an archive of the fabric that I may have never considered or desired to work with if it wasn’t for this opportunity. This was almost like a course certificate of which I am immensely proud of.
It now has pride of place in our home along with pictures of family and artwork that kirk and I have made over the years. It’s going to be quite something when I’m old and grey and I get to talk to my grandchildren about when I was on the television, sewing in front of three million people on BBC Two!
Watching Episode six on Tuesday I was truly gutted. Vintage Week - I would have loved it!!! Beautiful Singer sewing machines – aka sewing porn. They were GORGEOUS! Vintage patterns, Man's suit alteration and vintage coats. So close and yet so far to my dream episode and the quarter finals. GUTTED!!
Kirk recently purchased a hand operated Singer sewing machine as a Christmas gift, which I'm really looking forward to spending some time on.
I must admit that would have been a shock if I had walked into a room full of old machines. The Bee really are pulling out all the stops this season! On the pattern challenge I think I would have been ok as I have used vintage patterns before. My night gown in episode one, if the pattern had turned up was the Morse code pattern as Tamara referred to them. However, I say I would have been ok but it's quite a different matter when your under time constraints. I thought they all did fantastic. The suit challenge looked immense! I'm not sure where I would have gone with that one. Chinelo's alteration was just stunning! Lynda's however stole my heart! DUNGA'S! Well pinafore but either way I’m a sucker for 'em!
Knowing what was in store for the last challenge of episode six, I wanted to relive my Sewing Bee days and carry out this challenge at home, I know I’m a sucker for punishment. I was going to make a 1970's military style jacket if I got through to the sixth round. Being heavily influence by music, our record collection and our general vibe as a married couple it had to be the 60/70's period. As soon as I got the brief I had images of The Beatles, Sergeant Pepper's album cover and Jimmy Hendrix running through my head. All the mental preparation for a task that I wouldn't get the chance to make on the Bee, I didn't want to waste. As it was something that without a doubt I would wear, I set out to make it, in the time limit given.
I used a very dark green wool with golden mustard lining. Silver buttons with black braiding to embellish. I had never made a coat before but I had made Kirk a suit jacket out of what can only be described as a Mary Poppin's style Multi-coloured striped cotton.
Pretty Far out but a lot of Fun!
I used a fusible interfacing as the research I had done confirmed that this product was available at the time. Collars and hem's are all hand stitched which took most of the time but focused on my task I finished my coat in time. However I didn't get to add the braiding I wanted on the front, so not quite as finished as I would have liked. The beauty of no longer being in the Bee competition is that I now have all the time in the world to complete this part. Problem is I still haven't done it. LOL. I wear this coat quite often it’s lovely and warm and fits like a dream!
I just love the fact that nobody has this coat, especially a coat that has a moustache in it anyway!
I really missed the buzz of the Bee when making this jacket at home. I even missed the interuptions of the Judges and Claudia as your about to enter a tricky part of the make. Kirk had noticed how quick I had become at making and finishing a garment. He has always been part of my sewing education and was genuinely amazing at the level of improvement in my skills from being on the show! It really has been a crash course in sewing for me. Something that I never will forget!
As for now, a lot has happened since episode five and six, I’ve played live on Air for BBC WM Radio with Kirk. Taken part in interviews for newspaper’s (which I have the clippings of- of course). Have been recognised if quite a few times in unusual places, one of which being my local Chip Shop. A little girl was jumping up and down, pulling on her dad’s coat. He interrupted me to ask if I was the girl from the Sewing Bee, to which I replied Yes. The little girl then impatiently said ’I told you so Dad!’ And then proceeded to explain that she had started to sew because she wanted to be like me! I was gobsmacked and completely in ore. I couldn’t believe that I had inspired this little girl to start sewing! After asking what she was making her dad explained that 'the wife' has dragged the sewing machine out the loft to show their daughter how to sew. My #sewingrevolution had begun! This was wonderful to hear and exactly what I hoped would happen! I meant every word when I said anyone can do this and was excited that people were feeling inspired enough to drag out their sewing machine, dust them off and get sewing or just wanted to learn this awesome skill!
My workshops are also going well. I’m currently running them at two venue’s. One in Walsall at DC Nutts Sewing Machines and Guthrie & Ghani Haberdashery in Moseley.
I’m currently in talks with other venue’s in and outside the area so keep your eyes peeled here on the Tailor Taylor Events Page! I may be heading to a venue near you soon!
I currently have spaces on my upcycle sewing clinic which is being held at Lauren's haberdashery (last year’s finalist) - Guthrie & Ghani on the 5th of April! This is a great opportunity to get back into sewing or as it's also a beginners class, I can help guide you if you have never looked at a sewing machine before. Don’t worry they are not going to be vintage machines you saw on the bee!
Whether you are out of practice or new to this, I’m going to help you upcycle / recycle those old clothes into something new and wonderful! What we make together you decide. So let’s get creative and start this #sewingrevolution rolling!
Check it out here!
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