The Great British Sewing Bee final: How to get into sewing if you’re feeling inspired

Scissors and sewing supplies laid out on a table
12:30pm, Wed 16 Jun 2021
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Putting their pattern making skills to the ultimate test, contestants Raph, Rebecca and Serena will compete in the The Great British Sewing Bee final (BBC One, 9pm, June 16), hoping they’ll come out on top and be named the nation’s best home sewer.

If you’ve enjoyed watching the talented amateurs try to impress judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young each week, you may be tempted to pick up a needle and thread and have a go at sewing yourself.

But where to begin? Here are some ideas if you’re itching to get stitching…

Start small

Handmade cat dorstop

Obviously, attempting a Dior-inspired jacket a la Serena’s semi-final masterpiece as your first project is liable to end in tears rather than triumph, so it’s best to begin with something simple that teaches you the basics.

Department store haberdashery departments or online shops like Etsy are a great place to start. Why not try a DIY Apron or Cat Doorstop, both of which come with pre-cut fabric and detailed instructions.

Ask someone to teach you

Got a friend or family member who’s a dab hand with a sewing machine? Ask them if they’ll guide you through a project you’re keen to try.

Can’t do it in person? Buy a sewing project kit for yourself and send one to them, then you can complete them together over video chat and your crafty pal can help you with any tricky bits.

Take a sewing class

The best way to learn is arguably from a expert, and there are lots of pro sewers offering classes and courses for beginners. Check local listings or visit the Janome website, which has details of classes in more than 20 regions. For a list of online classes, visit The Sewing Directory.

Learn from online videos

YouTube is an amazing resource for sewing wannabes, with hundreds of channels and tutorials run by brilliant ‘sew-lebrities’.

Best for beginners? Laura A Coia aka Sew Very Easy specialises in quilting, while London College of Fashion graduate Aneka Truman’s Made to Sew channel has a five-part Beginners Sewing Course.

Pick up a book

With a sewing book, you can choose from lots of different projects, starting with simpler designs and working your way up to more advanced patterns as your confidence grows.

Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time guides you through 11 projects including a tote bag, pillow and blouse, each one teaching you new skills.

The official TV series companion, The Great British Sewing Bee: Sustainable Style is a great beginners’ guide, covering all the sewing essentials as well as 27 projects.

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