BBC Strikes Again

I am not a reality TV fan. Before I got rid of my cable I would watch some HGTV, some What Not to Wear, and that was about it. As a lover of fabric I really tried to like Project Runway but ended up as an on again, off again devotee.

At the beginning I liked Project Runaway for its creativity. The challenges were interesting like making a dress out of newspaper. Over time it seemed to get whiny-er and whiny-er. The models were stick thin. It became less about the creativity and more about succeeding in the world of high fashion. I still watch it from time to time though because honestly, some of the things they make are really quite awesome.

I think I heard about the Great British Sewing Bee from someone’s blog, though I have no idea whose it was. I figured I’d give it a try but I wasn’t too enthusiastic about another fashion show.

Let me tell you what the GBSB isn’t. It isn’t spectacular. There are no gorgeous gowns. There is no Runway. There are no stick thin teen-something models. There are no judges who think they’re IT.

GBSB is simple. From the challenges to the people, everything is simple. The challenges range from completing an A-line skirt using a given pattern to making a measure-to-wear dress (not gown!) for a model (one had grey hair!). The contestants include the 81 year old grandmother of seven, a man named Mark who makes steampunk clothes for his family, the token gay guy, and other young to middle aged women. There are two judges, one a tailor from Saville Row who seems to really know his stuff. Instead of dwelling on contestant drama they teach the viewer about fashion history and show them how to make a simple household item (like a laundry bag). They discuss the execution of the garments and the sewers skills at (gasp!) sewing!

So if you haven’t checked it out yet, do yourself a favor and go watch at least the first episode on YouTube. Second episode is here. Whether or not you think you might like it go watch it. It won’t be exciting but it’s the perfect cozy evening with a cup of tea and needlework show.

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