GBSB and what Mr Doughty said


The Great British Sewing Bee ended this week (sniff) and Heather won (yay!). I had a feeling she might hold her nerve and sneak past the other two to a victory. She was certainly a worthy winner on the night as her last dress was absolutely fantastic. If you missed any of GBSB all the episodes are up on BBC's iPlayer until Tuesday.

I love GBSB but I sew so I guess that's not really surprising. However, I do sometimes wonder if the show appeals to people who don't sew? Also, I get inspired by the show to try new techniques and different project, so does the programme inspire people to take up sewing?

I started my not entirely representative survey with L at work. L watches GBSB and doesn't sew, so is she just watching for Patrick Grant? I asked her last week if the programme inspired her to take up sewing, and her reply was she would but she doesn't have any talent for that sort of thing. Well, that was like a red rag to a bull to me; I told her not only did she have the talent but I would personally teach her to sew. She is creative and has a great sense of personal style - so I think I have a good chance to create a new sewing enthusiast. (Hopefully this is not famous last words!).

When I was home a few weeks ago I went to visit my favourite local fabric shops, Doughty's Fabrics in Hereford. Doughty's have been providing dressmaking fabrics to three generations of my family, and while my mum and I were there we met the third generation Mr Doughty. I asked Mr Doughty if he had noticed any results from GBSB. He said yes, sewing classes had been filling up and lots of people had taken their sewing machine outs for the first time in year. 

He also told us that one of his suppliers also supplied GBSB, and as a result he has some of the same fabric. Including the pink and yellow elephant fabric used by Julie in week 2 in her box pleat skirt. Since that episode Doughty's had sold hundreds of meters of the fabric!

This really surprised me as I had never thought that people would want to make exactly the same project as they saw on the show. I take inspiration from the show, and might use the same pattern or fabric, but I don't think it would have occurred to me to use exactly the same fabric and pattern. Of course, for all I know they weren't buying the fabric to make box pleated skirts.

Having said I wouldn't recreate something exactly the same as it was made on the programme, there is one item I spied which I would; Lynda's scarf from episode 4.


Lynda's daughter wanted to see if she could create chatter in the on-line knitting community by slipping a beautiful piece of knitwear into the show, and she certainly succeeded. I am by no means the only person who was struck by the shawl, and in this instance I would consider using both the same pattern and materials, as the colour variation works so well in this example.

So what can I conclude? Not only is GBSB fun to watch, but it also inspires old and new sewers to dust of their sewing machines, support their local fabric shop and enjoy some creative fun by sewing and knitting - brilliant!


  1. I love GBSB too and it was the first series that inspired me to dust off my sewing machine, in fact I bought a new sewing machine- the Janome 525S used on the show!
    I think the amount of time given to produce a garment is a bit unrealistic, for me anyway.
    Yes, Tuesday evenings will be a little duller now.

  2. I'm a 3rd generation Doughty shopper and it's a great shop. Was there on Fri and they said GBSB effect is on going and they are thinking of knocking their two material shops into one.

  3. What's happened to the literary knitters.??


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