Ever since I watch the premier episode of “The Great British Sewing Bee,” I have wanted to be a contestant. Granted, I had slim to no experience to put on my application form, but it has been one of the many driving forces behind me developing my sewing skills. Everything I have learned over the past couple of years has been down to the lovely ladies over at The Stitchery Studios. From beginners sewing all the way through to jacket making, both Cassandra and Susie, have been influential and inspirational figures helping me on my sewing journey. When they announced that they were running their own “Stitchery Sewing Bee,” I was lucky to grab one of the last places in the competition.
The competition was based on the sewing bee pattern challenge. We were given a voucher from Mandors to go buy 2 meters of fabric and thread, for an unknown pattern. I had to visit Mandors 3 times before I finally decided on my fabric. I totally underestimated how difficult it would be to choose fabric without knowing what you were making. I finally settled on a floral print (pink ofcourse!) perfect for the Spring/ Summer.
Arriving at The Stitchery, I was a nervous wee thing. The apprehension of not knowing what I would be making, who I was up against and making a pigs ear of what every garment I had to make, were just some of the things running through my mind. But, when I arrived, I recognised the majority of competitors from my jacket making course and I finally got to meet fellow sewing blogger Hazel from Disaster in a dress. So I began to relax and enjoy the day.
The pattern that we had to make was the Scout Tshirt from Grainline studios. Time to get to work. After taking my measurements, I cut a size 4 and basted my shoulder and side seams together to check the fit of the tshirt. I took an inch off each side of my waist, then used my french curve to graduate the seams back to 1/2″. I also had to take an inch from the shoulders, so that my sleeves wouldn’t end up drooping off my shoulders!
All the ladies taking part were so lovely and it was more like an afternoon sewing and chatting. I forgot I was taking part in a competition at some points! Everything was going swimmingly until I realised (after sewing the wrong seam allowance and grading my seams) that I had done my bias facing wrong. I was so angry with myself, but ended up having to make the best out of a bad situation. However, I think my facing ended up being really neat and even.
The last couple of hours went flying in and with only an hour left to go I still had to set in my sleeves. Everything I know about sleeves went out the window and was pleased that I managed to get both set into my bodice without any puckers. With 20minutes to go, all I had left to do was finish my armhole seams. I decided to use an overcast stitch to complete these edges and used french seams to finish all other rough edges. Another disaster struck when I realised I had caught both sleeves in my finishing stitch. I only managed to get one sleeve uncaught when time was up. Ragin!!!!!
I knew that I wouldn’t be one of the winners, and with amazing prizes being donated by Janome, I was pretty disappointed in myself for catching my seams at the last minute. The winners done an amazing job and really deserved their placings. I’m only a little bit jelly!
After getting my feedback, I realise that my sew wasn’t actually that bad. I had a really neat bias facing and after unpicking my caught sleeves, they were left pucker free! I usually not a tshirt wearer, but I would definitely wear this top so I’m really glad I took the extra time to fit my tshirt properly.
I had such an amazing day at the sewing bee and would definitely do it all again. A massive congratulations to the 3 winners: Kirsten, Yvonne and Hazel, very well deserved! I’ll definitely be signing up again next time round. However, I don’t think my nerves are quite ready for the real sewing bee!! Would you sign up for the stitchery sewing bee? Could your nerves handle it?