Secrets of Great British Sewing Bee with Dr Dawn - plus that GIVEAWAY!

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 06:34

Do you harbour a secret dream of competing in the BBC's Great British Sewing Bee? Or does the idea of cutting up a man's shirt to create a little girls dress in less than an hour fill you with horror?
I'd love to be a competitor - mostly to get my hands on all that lovely fabric. 
So when I heard that TV presenter and real life doctor, Dr Dawn Harper was a 'celebrity competitor', I couldn't wait to talk to her.
Dr Dawn Harper, picture from BBC Children in Need
Dr Dawn presents TV's Embarrassing Bodies, but she's also a working doctor in a health centre near my home town. This week she's swapping the surgery for the Sewing Room for a special 'Celebrity' version of The Great British Sewing Bee, in aid of BBC's charity Children in Need.
She'll  be on TV screens in the UK on Tuesday evening, competing against Hairy Biker Dave Myers, DJ and presenter Edith Bowman, Coronation Street actress Wendi Peters. And she kindly gave me five minutes to share the secrets of the Sewing Room.
“My sewing experience was almost zero,” said Dawn.
“When I was at school it was domestic science was taught at the same time as Latin, and I learnt Latin.
“My mother is an amazing seamstress and cook, but those genes didn’t pass to me!”
Dawn admits she was a last minute addition to the series.
“I had a call on a Friday saying, can you come in tomorrow? So I had no chance to cram in any sewing lessons.
“When my children were little I went through a ‘nesting’ period and tried to sew for them. But they’re 20, 19 and 17 now. It was a long time ago.”
“It was a very, very steep learning curve. I had to be shown how to thread a bobbin.”
Dawn sewed all day from 10am to 4pm for three days, with three challenges.
“The first challenge was to make an A-line skirt from a pattern, then in the afternoon, change a Hawaiian shirt into a child’s garment.”
Sunday’s day-long challenge was to make a dress from our favourite era.
“I made a Charleston dress,” said Dawn.
“I don’t think I’d feel confident enough to make proper clothing, but to know I could make a fancy dress in one day is quite a nice feeling. It wouldn’t stand up to close scrutiny, but I was quite pleased.”
Dawn won’t reveal the result, but said; “I didn’t disgrace myself”
But she says, the refashioning challenge was the hardest.
“I’m not a great TV watcher, so wasn’t familiar with the format of the show.
“Trying to think how to convert the shirt into a child’s outfit was the hardest challenge. I sewed a little dress, but I think I could have been more imaginative.
“But I’m quite good at following instructions, so making the skirt from a pattern went quite well.
“I love clothes and fashion. I’ve got a few dresses that I now look at with awe.”
“We had a really lovely time, it was great fun - If I had the time I could see myself getting into it.”
Dr Dawn will appear in the episodes on BBC Two, 8pm on Tuesday 21 October. Two further episodes will be shown on Thursday 23 October and Friday 24 October.


Speaking of lovely fabric - that 1.5 metres of this gorgeous double gauze by Nani Iro is still up for grabs, plus three copies of Straight Grain's Hanami pattern. The giveaway is open until October 31. Simply click over here for full details and to enter; Nani iro giveaway

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  1. ah ah!! that's fun! I followed the 2 previous seasons via you tube and can't wait for this one!! did you apply for the next season?? The fench version is just over here ! I would love to apply but I know I would not be skilled enough! I mean the way you to customize is scary!!:) It would be fun to see you there though!!

    1. I didn't apply - way too scared. I can sew a girl's dress pretty quickly, but not a pair of men's trousers or a ball gown or the other stuff they do! Maybe next year - will be interested to see how Dawn gets on - she's so lovely


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