Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Sewing Bee

I don't watch reality television because seeing people being made unhappy makes me anxious. Similarly, I can't listen to the Today programme because an argument first thing in the morning puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day, even if it's not an argument I'm involved in. And I don't watch horror or violent films because they frighten me, and I don't like being scared (even some bits of Buffy were too much). But for a sewing show I was prepared to risk misery.

It was tense! And I found myself making snitty comments about contestants' fabric/haberdashery choices and their cutting technique: not very nice of me – talk about fast descent to beast. A friend who works in the biz said that Love, the production company, always 'cast well', and that certainly shone through: some contestants seemed to have surprisingly poor technical skills/fabric savvy to be sewing on prime-time, but lots of tv-friendly 'character'. I realise that that is the point of choosing them, but my simple little mind would have liked more sewing expertise to relish.

The jump from A-line skirt and neckline alteration to fitted-dress-on-someone-you've-never-met-before seemed huge. I did feel for Tilly, faced with an FBA on such a fitted bodice. Do you think the models were chosen to influence the dress outcomes? Or is that overly cynical of me?

What was all that about the laundry bag? The worst set of fantastically brief instructions ever! What were the 'side pieces' for? Okay, I've just looked at the book on Amazon and there's a laundry bag in the contents list, so I guess it was a tie-in to that. A really rubbish tie-in. (I haven't seen the book yet: bad of me. The bidding war for the rights was so contested and protracted that I was offered editing work on it by three different publishers at various points, but was already committed to other books.)

The presenters were a bit humourless, but at least they weren't nasty to the sewers. Even though Michelle had cocked up her dress completely, she wasn't my choice for ejection as her other pieces didn't seem badly made: her neckline alteration wasn't perfect but it was ambitious and not at all dreadful considering the time allowed, and compared to some others. Was the ejection based on tv-character rather than sewing ability? Or is that overly cynical of me, again? Or am I just missing the point of the programme?

So, to Bee or not to Bee? (A dreadful pun that's going to be used everywhere, but curiously irresistible.) I think yes; I've set it to record. Will have to watch while knitting though, so I can concentrate on the needles if it gets nasty.


  1. I was underwhelmed. I thought the programme might offer more useful tips and how-tos rather than encouraging contestants to simply crash out badly made projects. It also doesn't have the family appeal for getting involved that The Great British Bake Off has, so it's a 'no' from me.

  2. I thought that Sewing Bee was supposed to be for amateurs. I know that sewing isn't Tilly's main job, but she earns money from it (classes and patterns) and isn't that the definition of being professional?


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