The Great British Sewing Bee - BBC2 2nd April 2013

Despite the wintry conditions the "Sewing for Pleasure Show" at the NEC the past four days has been busy with quilters, crafters. embroiderers, scrapbookers and sewers stocking up on supplies, learning new techniques and sharing their creative ideas. 

Sewing for Pleasure at the NEC March 2013

Longarm Sit Down Quilting using the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen 

It was buzzing...which I guess is what people might think a Sewing Bee would be doing. Buzzing that is.  In fact a "Bee" is a gathering according to the Wiki resource. OK, so it might be a North American derivation but if language is about communicating something then let's go with the Great British Sewing Bee as being a gathering of people who are sewing.

Sizizx Big Shot for Fabric Cutting in action

Whilst some blog posts that I've just been reading might think that sewing is on the decline, fabric shops are closing and the thought of watching people sewing is plain boring, then can we please just think again? 
Rotary Cutting Demonstrations

Demonstrations of fabric distressing using the Fabric Master
We blogged back in 2011 on a University study (also reported in several popular papers) which examined why quilting is good for you. This increasingly popular hobby just goes from strength to strength. Each year we see more and more shops opening. The trade show Stitches at the NEC in February 2013 was the busiest we've ever seen it. 

We were delighted to discover that two of our Cotton Patch customers are on the Great British Sewing Bee programme and whilst the initial brief seems to have been to cover a number of different sewing disciplines it appears that dress-making may feature highly. Possibly it's because patchwork projects take a little longer than the 4-week programme would allow! We can't deny that there are probably more quilters with UFOs (Unfinished Objects for the initiated) out there than not...

So, let's see how the Great British Sewing Bee pans out - it would be great to find sewing acknowledged as being a little more mainstream. In the meantime, the people in the know can find their hobby alive and kicking at the many quilt shows (for example we'll be at the Exeter Spring Quilt Festival just after Easter), shops and sewing machine dealers who are helping people get into sewing, patchwork, quilting, or whatever textile or fibre art pursuit appeals.

As part of this the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey Street London, which currently has what looks to be a stunning exhibition of Kaffe Fassett's work until June, is running workshops on sewing - check out this link.

So good luck to Stuart Hillard and Anne Rowley who will be on BBC2 starting 2nd April at 8pm as the Great British Sewing Bee hits our screens - let's see if it doesn't surprise a few people...


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