Sunday, July 9, 2017

Inspiration from The Great British Sewing Bee


Today, I'm showcasing two garments I made in May for The Charlottetown Legion Choir spring concerts, which I am pianist for. The ladies' attire consists of white tops and black bottoms (skirt or pants). For the men  - white shirts, black pants, and the Legion striped tie of gold and blue. For this past spring concert series, the choir voted on two choices of attire - black and black - white and black. I voted black and black, as I prefer to wear black on top. I don't particularly care to wear white on top as there's an obvious lack of color, you know, and I think black goes with everyone and is elegant. I just feel washed out. But....the majority overruled and we went with white and black for now.

As we island people have been without a regular fabric store since last November - Fabricville was forced out of their leased space downtown and couldn't find another spot to set up shop yet - I was forced to shop around for a warm-weather white blouse/top to wear for choir. It's not very convenient, to say the least, that we sewers who want to make clothing have no fabric store to shop in locally. All there is left on the island is one home decor fabric shop and the rest are quilt shops. If a person needs fabric for clothing, the options are to go off island and drive two hours to Fabricville in Moncton, or three hours to St. John, and don't forget the bridge toll! Shopping online for fabric is not for me. Seeing and touching fabric is a must.

I did go off-island but AFTER the concerts were over! I had an appointment in St. John, NB and I took advantage of the opportunity to shop at Fabricville for a few pieces of fabric for future garments and carpet bag.

Okay...back to my white outfit. Since I didn't want to spend the gas money and toll to go off island for fabric to make a white blouse, I spent some time perusing the shops downtown for a suitable blouse to wear. Not finding anything that looked good on me, I ended up at Value Village and found - to my surprise - a perfectly fitting white t-shirt for $7! In the back of my mind, I had a plan to embellish it. Plus, make a vest to go along with it. And that's where the Great British Sewing Bee came in to play. It gave me inspiration!
Photos taken from the Great British Sewing Bee Facebook Page

For a great number of weeks, this program has been airing on TV (on the MAKEFUL channel), and I've been loving it! Each Sunday evening at 10 p.m. they air another episode. They start out with 10 contestants and the ages are all different AND a number of men have participated! The contestants come from all walks of life. Even a young man in his teens!

There was a policeman who regularly sewed garments for his wife and daughters. Another man sewed for his family. His wife didn't! Another man was an exercise/fitness instructor. And then there was the stylish 81-year old lady with her white hair all done up nicely who's known to have sewn almost every day of her life for 75 years! The first time I watched the program was the semi-final of the contest she participated in, and she won!

The two judges.

Some of the challenges the contestants were faced with sewing were a boned corset and a Scottish pleated kilt! Another time, the made-to-measure challenge had to be a dress-up three-dimensional outfit, which included two peacock style garments and an elephant!

One of the peacock outfits modeled by a young girl.
And the elephant costume, of course!

I don't know if there will be more new episodes but I don't tire of watching repeats of most any movie or program. That's me. And watching reruns of this sewing bee is still fun for me. I enjoy watching the participants select their fabrics, struggle with sewing procedures they've never dealt with before, and stressing along with them with the time constraints they are given.

The contest runs several weeks. Each week consists of two days of sewing. The first day they make two garments. The first one is a pattern challenge and the second project an alteration challenge where they're given a garment - such as a large oversized t-shirt - and they need to make something totally different with it. The second day consists of  a made-to-measure challenge - such as a long evening gown or leather jacket - and the participants get to choose their own pattern and fabrics. They also get to do a practice garment at home with measurements from an unknown model. On the day of this third challenge, they meet their models at the sewing bee work room. Sometimes the contestants are surprised because family members/friends/spouses have been invited to be their models!

81 year-old winner!

Of course, at the end of two days and three garment challenges, the two judges make their determinations on who will be sent home. And each week, the group of contestants are whittled down to the semi-final and three contestants vie for the grand prize.

And another winner! He made clothes for his wife and daughters.

I've included a clip from one episode here for your viewing pleasure!

Back again to my white top....

For my white choir top to have some pizazz and become dressier, I had some left over lace from when I made my daughter's wedding gown back in 2007. Worked out perfectly! Here is the t-shirt with the lace added to the sleeves. My model here is "Dolly" whom you've met in a previous post. 😊

And here is a side view and close-up of the lace.

To complete the outfit, I added a vest with fabric from my stash. I had some left over white lace that I used to make cafe curtains for my kitchen and front porch several years ago. And a white striped fabric for the lining.  That particular fabric was used to make a deck awning several years ago (I will post about that later). Here are photos of the vest. I also added some lace trim on the shoulder seams.

And here is the inside of the vest showing the white striped fabric.

For this spring concert, we ladies got to wear new scarves. Our choir president, Colleen, ordered yellow and blue fabric and secured some volunteers to sew up these simple scarves - one blue and one yellow - that we could wear around our necks in whatever fashion we wanted.

I did receive several compliments on my outfit. One choir member liked the long lace on the sleeves. She said it was very fitting for the pianist to wear sleeves like that!

For the sewers out there, I hope I've inspired you to keep on stitching or to take it up again if you haven't created anything in a long while. And for those who haven't stitched at all, perhaps you've gotten the itch now to stitch! Even in little ways!

We all need and receive inspiration in our lives - even on a daily basis - from people, things, places - in all sorts of ways - to get us motivated and be more productive in our daily lives. Responsibilities keep us motivated. And wouldn't you include reading and meditating on scripture to be inspirational and the most important way of all to lead a more productive Christian life? Inspiration in the form of exhortation, admonition, and instruction.

For..."who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies....She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple...Strength and honor are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come....Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:10, 22, 25, 30


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! But I don't know what you mean that you are also waiting for the post information. What information are you referring to?