A good vintage!...It's week 3 on GBSB

A good vintage!…It’s week 3 on GBSB

Matt’s story of week 3 on GBSB

I’ve survived another week in the Great British Sewing Bee. I’m amazed we’re already half way through the series. It’s just whizzing by. But hey, what a week this one was. I’ve had my first live radio interview with Tony Blackburn on BBC Radio Berkshire. Such a lovely chap and who have guessed his on air admission to being better than Mrs B at sewing buttons on. Listen again on the BBC site.

Imagine our surprise when we walked in to the room and realised we were using the 1950’s motorised Singer machines. They’re stunning and such a work of art…threading them is a challenge in it’s self. You may have seen me confused to begin with, but after some good old fashioned military engineering teamwork with Neil, we were quickly up and running.

What goes well with a 1950s machine?….a 1950s pattern! This came in the form of the Christian Dior inspired “Walkaway dress”. Named as such because you’re meant to be able to cut it out after breakfast and make it ready to wear for that ever important luncheon.

The pattern itself takes a bit of understanding, but it really is a clever one. Theres no side seams, but instead theres a front part and two large pieces that wrap around from back to front and fasten with 3 buttons….ok and a whole lot of binding.

I really kicked myself for not reading one line of the instructions, it was a simple one that said “fold up and stitch lower hem” . To think I could have done it is still bugging me, I had about a minute to spare at the end. Never mind, you live and learn.

Would you believe though that I got a 2nd place for this one?

I for one was gobsmacked. It gave me such a great feeling to be ranked that highly, and what a worthy winner Ryan was. His speed sewing is a sight to behold.

Next up the alteration challenge, when we saw how excited Claudia was we should’ve realised something amazing was hidden behind that curtain….who would’ve thought it was another set of curtains! Make something out of that why don’t you.

If you stand back and think, curtains are just a big flat piece of fabric, so that’s precisely how we treated them. “Snip, tear, slice”.

I opted for a little girls dress, which had Claudia re-enacting holidays in southern France. Tres bien.

Whilst the design was a hit with May and Patrick, the fitting was a bit loose on the mannequin. I really wish I’d measured it a little more. Even still, it’s better than being told it’s hungry right?!

So with my petit mademoiselle, I managed to bag a respectable 5th spot. Ok so not quite as good as the walkaway dress but I’m feeling pretty happy so far.

Lessons learnt (continued from last week):

1. Be radical with your design

2. Make sure it is wearable (and fits the mannequin)


Which brings us ever so neatly on to the sheer blouse. Wow, this stuff is crazy, if anyone is walking past even remotely quickly this stuff just floats away. For once my stones and rotary cutter were a hit, and this time no-one questioned my sanity!

When it comes to stitching an even line on this type of fabric, the trick is to pin, pin and then pin some more.

I opted to use a fusible interfacing for the collar, which as May pointed out wasn’t the best of options, as it made the whiteness stand out a little more.

For the rolled edges I decided to use the overlocker with just 3 needles. This means you can create a super fine row of stitching….it did however leave me with a scruffy “dog chewed” bit on the hem line where it got stuck in the machine. That’s a moment that will haunt me for quite some time.

So the lesson here is, don’t do this with a garment that you’re putting forward for two people, who’re at the top of their professions, to judge on national prime time television!!

A huge well done to Lorna who grabbed garment of the week with a fantastically elegant blouse.

My final words have to go out to my dear friend Neela, she is such a genuine, lovely, kind, talented and inspirational lady. I’m so very privileged to know her. Keep sewing Nee, and do enjoy going a little slower. You can follow her blog SewFusion here.

I really hope you’ve found some inspiration to try something new.

See you all next week.

Matt x

P.S Just to show that I won’t be beaten by sheer fabric, I made Gem’s a spring top using Deb’s beautiful fabric.

The stitcher. A magnet for foolery & prankster at heart. Loves being creative, whether with some wood and a saw or with a needle and thread. Attempts to disguise his past time activities as manly pursuits, but is actually pretty handy at sewing!


  1. Nikki 4 years ago


    Congratulations on getting through another week!

    I have one question.. Where did that amazing sheer fabric for the blouse come from?! I think I need it!

    • Author
      Matt 4 years ago

      Thanks Nikki, I’m now through to the semi’s!! I still have to pinch myself.
      I would love to share with you where you can get the sheer fabric but sadly under BBC rule’s I’m not allowed…

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