So, the Great British Sewing Bee…
I have all my posts all scheduled up until the 26th so I can focus on my promotion board, but then I read Ms Yes I Like That’s thoughts and I felt like doing a bit of telly based bitching myself.
So… I enjoyed it. I’m not a sewist, I’ve only ever made a handful of things, but I am interested in sewing and have vague ambitions of properly teaching myself at some point, and I basically like reality tv stuff with clothes in. I read sewing blogs. So I am the target audience and it works for me.
But bake off it wasn’t, because trousers are not cakes and sewing is not baking. Everyone’s baked something at some point in their lives, and even those who haven’t still know what a good cake is. Cakes are fun and plentiful and everyone can have an opinion. Cakes can have a million different characteristics and there’s plenty of scope for dodgy innuendos. Whereas patterns, no one knows about except people who sew and maybe the small section of the population that is being sewn for regularly. And even they probably don’t care so much about the type of stitching on their hem. Because that’s what this is basically about: the straightness of hems and the non-bunching of fabrics and the positioning of darts. It’s not a design competition, it’s a dressmaking competition.
The other thing is Claudia Winkleman. I quite liked her on Strictly (though standing next to Brucie and Tess Daly will make pretty much anyone look good), and she does seem nice enough, but I’m not quite clear what she is doing on this programme. It’s fine to have someone that doesn’t know about sewing, I get that they’re there to ask the stupid questions, but she could at least pretend to be interested in the answers, you know? And she just doesn’t have that just-being-really-nice-and-good-with-people thing that Mel and Sue do. I’ve also become quite obsessed with imagining what she looks like without the orange glow and panda eyes and frosted lipstick*.
And what’s with the Midlands-centricness of the casting? It makes a change from everyone being from London, but really, even the Scottish one is from Birmingham***. If you’re going to have your programme name start with Great British for no reason whatsoever, it might be a good idea to maybe include some people from outside England! Or just dispense with that ludicrous naming convention. Why is everything Great British these days? It makes it take forever to find anything on the iplayer on the tv for starters!
I’m also quite surprised how little I like the clothes they’re all making. The blouse challenge last week was a particular low point. The only one I would have even remotely considered wearing was the unfinished thing Tilly went out on. Supposedly this is leading to a surge in people wanting to learn to sew, but on that evidence, I’d rather just go and buy a blouse in a shop.
And those weird bits where they show you how to make something for the home? What is the point of that? It goes far too fast for anyone new to sewing, and is far too pointless for anyone that does know what they’re doing. And it doesn’t even fit with the rest of the programme, which is clothes not home stuff.
On the plus side, I’m glad they’re retained the gentleness of the format, it doesn’t feel too much like a competition, just some nice people being nice about each other. And nice people they are! I liked Mark best, I just loved the image of him and his wife taking over the whole living room with their sewing tables making steampunk stuff, and that his daughter is into it too. A steampunk family! Now he’s gone I think I like Sandra best, though on the basis of what clothes they’ve made I would go for Lauren.
I told Dave about this post and he also added his own complaint which is that he thinks the competition is unfairly skewed towards the women contestants cos they’re mainly sewing ladies clothes. He think they should do bags and curtains and stuff to even it out a bit, given that there are fewer men’s clothes available and proper men’s tailoring is probably too time consuming to do on tv. Which I disagree with, I like that it’s about dressmaking and not Martha Stewart tweeness, but I just thought I’d put it out there.
The footnotes, cos I’m not so into the linearness today:
* I actually just googled it and she does look quite different. But I was more interested to discover that for some reason the fourth predictive search term google comes up with is Claudia Winkleman sneeze. Eh? (Apparently she had a sneezing fit on the radio once. She sounds like a person sneezing. Most exciting.)
** And yeah, Lauren. Her husband is hot! They’re going to have beautiful kids.