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The delights produced from a sewing machine

In the past the United Kingdom was a hot bed of textile-based activity with mills and factories up and down the country producing everything from clothing to shoes. Over the years this industry has been eroded away and textiles and fashion are now seen as something of an art. However, there has been a resurgence in the number of people taking up the art of home sewing both for business and pleasure. Part of this is due to the popular of The Great British Sewing Bee which emerged on our screens in 2013. This competition-based programme has been on our screens ever since and see amateur sewers meet together and undertake a number of tasks over the series to see who would be crowned the winner.

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Each week the contestants under take challenges that require them to show their skills in following patterns, pattern making, form fitting and of course producing the final garment. Once they have be informed of their challenge they would race into what seems like an Aladdin’s cave of haberdashery. Materials of all types and colours and fixings and fastening and decoration galore. It is definitely my kind of heaven although I’m not lucky enough to have a room dedicated to fabrics, but I do purchase my dressmaking fabrics from

We would then watch them completing their tasks with varying degrees of tension. There is inevitably someone who sews an element on the wrong way around, the one who can not get their garment to fit on the mannequin and the one who ends up in fits of giggles with Claudia Winkleman.

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The first few series were judged by May Martin and Patrick Grant. May left in 2015 and was replaced by Esme Young for the return of the show in 2016. Claudia Winkleman has been the host of the show from the beginning and her wit and personality definitely help to lift the mood during some of the tense judging scenes.

As shows go it is very similar to The Great British Bake Off but with seeing machines rather than mixing bowls. The tension you feel is very much the same though. You become strangely invested in watching the contestants grow each week and sometimes shed a tear when one of them leaves the show. The week that always gets me grabbing for the tissues is when one of their friends of family members appears to model the clothes they have made. I can’t wait for the next series!

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