We know that millions of Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) enthusiasts will be buzzing about its return to our screens tonight (14th April, 9pm, BBC1). One of those is CraftCourses crew member, Fran, who took up making her own clothes as a hobby during lockdown and shares her sewing journey with us below. Some of it might even have you in stitches (and yes these puns are a homage to Joe Lycett.)
Read on to learn about what Fran's been 'fabric'ating, learn about her chance meeting with the lovely Sewing Bee judge, Esme Young, and find an outstanding selection of sewing workshops and kits that could help you get started with this addictive craft.
A fab line up for 2021 - Image from Tellymix
I have been a Sewing Bee super-fan for years and confess I am slightly obsessed with judge Patrick Grant, please don't tell my partner. This year's line-up of contestants is very exciting and varied. They are all from different backgrounds, with some picking up their skills from family and some from good old YouTube. For details of the whole cast of Great British Sewing Bee visit Tellymix.
My first sewing creations: confidence building!
I have always enjoyed watching my mother sew and although Mum wouldn't call herself a seamstress, she can handle any pattern and has made me some cracking outfits both as a toddler and even now at 32 years old.
I even had sewing machines passed down to me but never gained the confidence to try them out! I was just scared of them. Then there was a changing point.
Last year I attended the Stitch Festival in London with my best friend Holly. She had won VIP passes to go to the event, which meant we had a fancy lunch, a free embroidery workshop and, more importantly, a private meeting with, GBSB judge Esme Young. What an inspiration! She spoke of her early memories of sewing, her success in the fashion business, her time on the Sewing Bee and her relationship with Patrick Grant (yes, I am jealous!) Esme asked about my sewing experience and I reddened with embarrassment when I told her how afraid I was to ‘take the leap.’
Fran on the right with best friend Holly, left, and GBSB judge Esme Young
After meeting Esme, I started practising more and more, starting small with re-usable cotton pads, then I designed some of my own textile jewellery. Finally I progressed to making my own waistcoat (fully lined!) from a vintage pattern and now I’m totally hooked. I hope one day to meet Esme again to tell her what an incredibly positive influence she had on me. If you are reading this Esme, THANK YOU!
I strongly recommend anyone toying with the idea of making their own clothes, creating their own made-to-measure look and style, to tune in to watch GBSB as it is always incredibly inspiring and uplifting (and just great telly).
Perhaps you would like help learning to sew alongside an expert seamstress on a workshop or class? Do you have a project in mind but scared to start? We have hundreds of sewing workshops and kits available and we have shared a selection with you below.
In-person beginner's sewing workshops
An introduction to patterns
Textile art and fashion design
Sewing kits - learn from home
Our full selection of sewing listings can be found here. So many options to build your confidence, develop your skills and maybe apply for the Sewing Bee next year?
We hope you enjoy watching this seasons Great British Sewing Bee and if you would like to let us know your thoughts, predictions about who is going to win, or share your own personal sewing stories please follow us on Facebook.