Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Thursday morning early

 I have been awake for an hour but I slept well so although it is very early I decided to get up - I don't want to go off to sleep again and then sleep too late for my carer's arrival.  I lay awake after a good sleep anyway.

I am an avid watcher of the Sewing Bee programme on television.   For anyone who doesn't know it has been a competition to find the champion needle 'person' in the UK.   This week was the semi-final - three women and one man left in.   One person to go.

There is a theme each week and this week was 'The Forties' - three challenges.   The first one was to make a pair of 'Oxford Bags' in four and a half hours. Then each week there is a challenge to make something from an existing garment in ninety minutes- this week to make an evening dress from a wartime parachute, and finally to make a garment - this is the big challenge -the next day - in almost six hours to make something inspired by Christian Dior's New Look.

When one gets used to watching a programme like this each week one tends to get 'hooked' on one personality and just hope all the time that they are going to succeed.   The bags went well although they looked so complicated - pleats in the front either side of the zip - and that itself looked impossible - it had so many pieces (an extra piece to protect one's 'personal bits as the final male contestant delicately put it) and the parachute challenge was impossible (especially in ninety minutes) - then the Dior challenge the next day.  Now that was really interesting and resulted in four fantastic garments - one not finished, one with a bad mistake on the front.   But it reminded me of the old times.

I remember the old days.   I was fifteen in Dior's time of bringing in 'The New Look'.   My friend and I were in the chapel  choir in our village - I played the organ but for the choir we also had another organist because I sang too.   We gave concerts in the surrounding villages and we always sang a duet (she Soprano and I Contralto).   A really special one was coming up and I vividly remember what we wore (and what we sang - 'Sheep may Safely Graze') - we thought we were the Bees Knees in 'The New Look .   We wore what were called 'Two pieces' - identical in everything but colour - a shin-length frilled skirt and a jacket with a nipped-in waist and a frilled piece below the waist.  Her outfit was green with brown velvet buttons and mine was red with black velvet buttons.  She wore brown shoes and I wore black shoes (identical with a strap over and high heels) - she had red hair hence the green and brown outfit and I being brunette wore the red - conventional to the last.

We thought we were The Bees Knees.

When one watches a programme each week one does tend to become attached to one contestant and hope that they win.   So it was with me and my 'chosen one' was eliminated.   She had tears - everyone loved her and everyone had a tear in their eye as they gave her a hug.   She spoke of her pride at staying in until the semi final and how proud she was of her achievement.  I needed to wipe my eyes and I suspect there wasn't a dry eye in the house in many homes.

18 comments:

Sue in Suffolk said...

I didn't watch Sewing bee until last year when due to covid there's wasn't much else to do but watching again this year and I'm totally amazed at their skills.
Difficult to pick a winner out of the three left

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I've never seen Sewing Bee, though I remember an old man in my village who had been a tailor all his life, not because he wanted to be but because he lost a leg in a childhood accident and was given the choice of being a tailor or a cobbler. To watch him at his sewing machine was quite something. As a young man he told us that he once cycled from Cambridge to Oxford with his one leg bound with wire to the pedal. "Well, I 'ad to keep goin''cos there was no way o' gettin' orff!"

Anonymous said...

I am not a very good at sewing, though my friend and I took dressmaking classes in high school. We were always far behind everyone else (mainly unpicking and talking too much), and none of the students were allowed to take their dressmaking home for their mothers to help them. My friend and I tried to sneak our efforts up our jumpers to do just that one day. At the end of the lesson, the teacher stopped us at the door. "Fess up you two," she said "Your chests are nowhere near that big..lift up your jumpers NOW!" Doubt that a teacher would be allowed to say that these days! We have so many cooking shows and renovation shows here, including from overseas, always done in such a hurry - but no Sewing bee... I know I would be amazed at the skill.- Pam, Aust.






Librarian said...

We had a similar program on a few years ago, hosted by one of my favourite TV personalities - a fashion designer himself, who is always kind, even when delivering critique. I know what you mean about becoming attached to a particular contestant, and how disappoointing to see them go! I do not envy the judges their job, it must be really hard to decide sometimes.

I love your description of how you and your friend were dressed! I wish you had a photo to show us, although I must say after your description, I can picture the two of you rather vividly.

Susan said...

I would love Sewing Bee. Unfortunately it does not air here. Ability to sew and make something perfectly designed, detailed and beautifully stitched is very appealing to me. Your choir outfits seem to fit this criteria. Happy choir memories are great recollections.

JayCee said...

I have watched Sewing Bee with subtitles and loved it. Unfortunately I missed the end last night so shall have to wait until next week to see who is left.

Heather said...

I loved watching The Great Pottery Throwdown, a similar type of programme but based on pottery. I know what you mean about getting attached to a certain contestant, and wishing them well. I hope they make another series.
I remember The New Look and how elegant it was. 'Scruff Order' seems to be the theme for today's fashions.

the veg artist said...

I love Sewing Bee and the Great Pottery Throwdown, but also the jewellery making programme that was on BBC2 recently. Making wonderful things by hand is, to me, far more interesing than making fancy cakes, but perhaps that's because I don't really like cake!

Margie from Toronto said...

I love the Sewing Bee - even though I still have traumatic memories of Home Ec class and having to rip out a zipper yet again because I'd got it all wrong. :-)

The show is a lot of un and the people all seem to be lovely.

One of the last show's I saw at the museum here before it shut down was an exhibit of Christian Dior clothes. There was a video and a lot of explanations as to his style, methods and creativity. I loved it so much I went 3 times - just gorgeous clothes - so simple yet elegant. What really astonished me was the fact that I would have happily worn many of them even today!

Ellen D. said...

I wish I could watch it because it sounds like a show I would enjoy. I can't find it available here in Illinois, USA. Maybe Netflix will pick it up some day like they did with the British BakeOff show. I hope so.

Rachel Phillips said...

I have tried with this programme on more than one occasion but just cannot get into it. I dislike the attempts at humour that I have seen. I was a dressmaker in my teenage years having to make whatever I needed in order to have something to go out in. The contestants are way beyond my league which I find slightly difficult to get my head around because we all thought we were pretty good in our day. My two SILs made their own wedding dresses and all bridesmaids dresses, quite normal at the time, but this programme does not have the feel of the amateur as we knew it in the 1950s and 1960s. I leave it to you.

Rachel Phillips said...

I realise this is my problem, not Sewing Bee. After all, we wouldn't still like to be stuck in a Fanny Craddock cooking time warp would we?

CharlotteP said...

Like Rachel, I made almost all my own clothes in my teenage years - it was quite normal, then. The fabric of most clothes you can buy these days is so thin and cheap feeling (are you listening, Marks and Spencer, etc?!), that I'm quite tempted to start again. I've never seen the Sewing Bee, not having a television, and unlike Escape to the Country, there don't seem to be any episodes on Youtube.

Joanne Noragon said...

How wonderful our clothes were, "back then".

Bonnie said...

I enjoyed hearing about the special duet you and your friend had along with the carefully arranged clothing for the big event! We can get some of the British TV programming here but I have not yet seen The Sewing Bee. I would enjoy that show even though I do more quilt type sewing rather than clothing.

thelma said...

When people made their own clothes it was a cheap way of adding to your wardrobe. I made my daughter's little dresses and my own. There was plenty of material around but today, material is expensive and cheap clothes fill in the space. Sewing Bee is a fun programme but the standard of the contestants is way beyond most people's skills. Not a bad format for entertainment though.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Agree Thelma

Debby said...

Here their are people who but fabric at a thrift store. They buy shirts or skirts in large sizes and repurpose the material. I am not a sewer. I always admire clever thrift though.