Tag Archives: Sewing

Hull Sewing Bee contestant Andrew says 'sewing can unite communities'

Hull maths teacher Andrew Aspland, whose miscalculations on detachable bows and darts saw him eliminated from The Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) this week, has said he now wants to promote sewing for men.

Andrew, 54, has been reflecting on the events surrounding the BBC One craft show, after making it all the way through to week seven – winter week – before being cast out of the sewing room.

“I want to promote sewing for men – both men sewing and making things for men. It can be really difficult sourcing suitable patterns and materials,” said Andrew, explaining what was next for him in the wider world of sewing.

“My own style would be a ‘Gentleman’s Wardrobe’, classic clothes made to fit me. I love making shirts – easy fabrics to work with, opportunities to add features and create interest and, with a bit of precision sewing, a garment which is better than bought.

“At the moment about a quarter of my clothes are home-made but this is set to increase as I sew more in the future.

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Andrew said filming of The Great British Sewing Bee was "intense"
Andrew said filming of The Great British Sewing Bee was “intense”

“I like a bit of sparkle and it is great to be able to add something special to your wardrobe.”

Describing his relationship with this year’s Bees, the seventh group of competitors to bid for the title of top amateur stitcher in the UK since GBSB’s inception, Andrew said: “We were thrown in together for both filming and living. You get to know so much about people and yet realise there is so much yet to know.

“We got on well despite our different backgrounds – sewing can unite communities.”

He said filming the series was “intense” and he did not have any particular strategy for keeping calm, only pushing himself to finish.

“It was great to be sewing as part of a team – it can be a very solitary experience otherwise,” said Andrew, who lives with his partner, Paul, a priest, and pet rabbit Aiden.

Outlining why he applied for the show, Andrew said: “I have been inspired by watching the GBSB, and having made outfits for my parents’ diamond wedding celebration, there were several friends who said I ought to go on the show – I resisted!

“However, the lockdown and watching GBSB series six, nudged me in the right direction and I applied.

The reversible coat for a child that Andrew created was his favourite garment from the whole Sewing Bee experience
The reversible coat for a child that Andrew created was his favourite garment from the whole Sewing Bee experience

“I wanted to impress Patrick (Grant) while not getting slaughtered by Esme (Young). Joe (Lycett, the show host) is such a kind person – his good humour and encouragement certainly helped when the going got tough.”

Deliberating on his best and worst moments of the series, Andrew said: “The worst was watching the bow fall off my winter festive dress in Episode 7 and realising that I wasn’t going to make it to the quarter finals; the best was smashing the transformation challenge on more than one occasion.

“I think my favourite challenge overall has to be the transformation challenge, in children’s week, and making the crab.”

And the outfit he loved the most?

Andrew smashed the transformation challenge more than once, including with his crab costume made from second-hand swimwear and flotation aids
Andrew smashed the transformation challenge more than once, including with his crab costume made from second-hand swimwear and flotation aids

“I think the reversible coat for my child model was my favourite – I loved the finished look.”

Largely self-taught, Andrew started out started making clothes for his teddy bears at a young age, having a go on his mum’s sewing machine while still at primary school.

“I love being able to sew things which I wouldn’t be able to buy – bespoke curtains and clothes which are unique are my loves.

“I don’t routinely make clothes for others but it’s great to be able to make something for a special occasion when I am more than happy to pull all the stops out.

“I have made a couple of stage costumes for friends and hope to make more of these.”

Author: [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Great British Sewing Bee's Andrew from Hull sews last stitch in show

Hull’s Andrew Aspland sewed his last stitch in The Great British Bee last night after his festive party frock failed to find favour with the judges.

Bumpy seams and detachable bows, one of which fell off a sleeve while the dress was being modelled in the finale of the BBC One show, were the undoing of the popular maths teacher.

With judge Esme Young known as a fan of large, statement bows and fellow judge Patrick Grant declaring himself “less fond” of the colour purple, Andrew said while creating his made-to-measure velvet dress: “Small bows and purple, I am going for a real judges’ winner, aren’t I?”

Earlier in the show, Andrew, 54, had been placed third out of the remaining six stitchers in the challenging pattern round to create a flannel shirt in the style of the traditional North American lumberjack, even though his collar was “very untidy” and he had had problems matching the fabric at the front.

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Show host Joe Lycett reads Andrew's palm during the transformation challenge
Show host Joe Lycett reads Andrew’s palm during the transformation challenge

And he did even better in the transformation round, when the stitchers were tasked with creating any garment from up to five scarves.

His “medieval” dress created in 90 minutes, which the judges agreed would be “a good disguise in Sherwood Forest”, earned him second place, being all the more impressive, they said, because of the lace-up back he had created with yarn unravelled from one of the scarves.

Andrew’s festive winter party dress, which he thought had an ecclesiastical vibe – “we live in a vicarage, so everything has an ecclesiastical look to it” – also gave him problems with darts at the back, which he struggled to make symmetrical.

After the bow fiasco mid-walk, Patrick also noted puckering around the dress zip but added that even though he didn’t love purple, Andrew’s creation had a regal feel to it.

“It wasn’t very good, was it?” said Andrew on hearing he was following another East Yorkshire contestant, Catherine Tosler-Waudby, in leaving the sewing room.

“I am a bit gutted, but it was my time this time,” he said. “It has been great getting to know these guys, they have got so much talent and knowledge between them.

“It is going to be a bit of a wrench to leave everyone, but I am proud of myself and it has been a really terrific experience, a chance of a lifetime.”

Patrick said: “We will miss your terrible dad jokes. I’m really sad to see Andrew leave, he has been such a joyous personality in the sewing room but today his usually impeccable sewing skills just deserted him.”

Andrew at work on his made to measure creation, a festive winter party dress in purple velvet
Andrew at work on his made to measure creation, a festive winter party dress in purple velvet

Another Humber region competitor, Rebecca, 23, a supermarket worker from Scunthorpe, goes through to the quarter final of the show next week.

The Great British Sewing Bee continues on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One.

Author: [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Great British Sewing Bee recycle week sees Andrew impress with sock tank top

Wearing a tank top made out of old socks, Hull’s Andrew Aspland was primed for the challenges posed by reduce, reuse, recycle week, on The Great British Sewing Bee.

Last night’s BBC One craft show saw the seven remaining stitchers tasked with making a man’s waistcoat, any garment for a woman and a dress made from scrap denim, with all the items having to be created from second-hand clothing.

Judge Patrick Grant introduced the programme with the “shocking” fact that millions of tonnes of clothing were being thrown away in the UK every year, explaining why the sewing room’s haberdashery – normally full of new rolls of fabric – had been replaced with pre-owned clothing for the contestants to use.

The tricky pattern round to make a five-buttoned man’s waistcoat, which Patrick said was a great tailoring challenge and ideally suited to recycled fabric, was made all the more complicated by most of the construction taking place inside out.

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The sewing room contestants learn about the transformation round using military surplus garments
The sewing room contestants learn about the transformation round using military surplus garments

But maths teacher Andrew calculated his time well, even being able to lend a hand in the final seconds of the four hours to fellow competitor Farie who was struggling with the buckle on the back of her waistcoat.

Savile Row’s Patrick said of Andrew’s creation: “I very much like the choice of colour, it has a very traditional English waistcoat feel.”

Fellow judge, fashion designer Esme Young, declared Andrew’s waistcoat “overall, pretty good” and he was placed third.

The transformation challenge gave the stitchers 90 minutes to turn up to three military-surplus garments into a piece of woman’s clothing, with Esme saying she wanted “impact and drama”.

Andrew said of his make: “It’s starting off as a top but then it’s going to transform into a dress, I’ve pleated it on the shoulders and what I have done here is cunningly use the pockets to be like a little fluff of sleeve, but since they want a bit of wow factor I am thinking of doing a bit of boning and making this stand out.”

Appraising the garments without knowing their makers, Esme said of Andrew’s creation: “This person has gone to town”, while Patrick said he thought the outfit, which he could not make out whether it was a sort-of poncho, was “rather potty”, with its sleeves stuffed with bits of camouflage netting.

Andrew's made to measure round pattern for a Pythagoras' Theorem geometric dress made from recycled denim
Andrew’s made to measure round pattern for a Pythagoras’ Theorem geometric dress made from recycled denim

It earned Andrew fourth place as the stitchers went into the final made-to-measure round, for which he patched together 16 different pieces of recycled denim for his geometric Pythagoras’ Theorem dress – he had brought along his “trusty” set square to ensure a crisp finish with his right-angles.

Andrew now goes through to winter week in the bid to reach the quarter finals of the show.

The Great British Sewing Bee is on BBC One on Wednesdays at 9pm.

Author: [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Great British Sewing Bee's Andrew wows judges with crab costume

A crab costume and a child’s reversible jacket helped Hull’s Andrew Aspland through to the next round of BBC One’s The Great British Sewing Bee.

Andrew earned high praise in last night’s show from the judges, Savile Row’s Patrick Grant and fashion designer Esme Young, as he set to work on his creations for Children’s Week.

After the first round of the show, a four-hour pattern challenge to sew a toddler’s romper suit, things were not looking good for the Hull maths teacher and stained-glass window maker.

The white background of his chosen fabric was “not the most practical for a toddler”, said Patrick, and the poppers all pulled free when Esme tested them during their appraisal, placing him seventh out of the eight remaining stitchers.

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Judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant appraise Andrew's crab fancy dress costume
Judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant appraise Andrew’s crab fancy dress costume

This was after Andrew admitted he had never sewn clothing for a child before, that there was not enough fabric to make himself “a decent pair of shorts” and that he was not good at fiddly sewing.

But Andrew came into his own in the transformation round, when the contestants were given old neoprene wetsuits, and an assortment of swimming and flotation aids, to create a fancy dress outfit on the theme of under the sea.

Show host Joe Lycett said: “I think this is my favourite thing I have ever seen in the sewing room.”

Placing the crab first, over a close-second jellyfish, Patrick said: “It’s fantastic, it is such a good idea and really well executed.”

Esme said: “It’s a fantastic fancy dress outfit, you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.”

Andrew was delighted to have retrieved himself, saying: “I am very happy, my inner child came flooding out for me today.”

With the sewing room now down to eight competitors from the original 12, the judges said standards were now pretty high – “we’re looking at fine margins between top and bottom” – and there was all on in the final challenge to make a waterproof raincoat for a child.

Andrew wanted to ensure the coat was roomy. “I spent my childhood in clothes that there two sizes too big because we were told we would grow into them,” he said.

Opting for a tricky reversible design in red and blue, he said: “I do quite like this red, it has a slightly more adult look to it, you don’t want rainbows and unicorns when you get to a certain age.”

Hull's Andrew Aspland now goes through to week six of The Great British Sewing Bee
Hull’s Andrew Aspland now goes through to week six of The Great British Sewing Bee

Patrick said: “The level of difficulty in making a reversible coat is very high, but Andrew has handled it so well.”

And he said to Finlay, who was modelling the jacket for Andrew: “How cool, two jackets in one, like magic.”

Andrew now goes through to week six, which is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Week.

The Great British Sewing Bee is on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One.

Author: [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Great British Sewing Bee journey over for East Yorkshire’s Cathryn

A cloud fell over The Great British Sewing Bee last night as East Yorkshire’s former dinner lady and amateur stitcher Cathryn Tosler-Waudby, described by the BBC One show’s crew as a ray of sunshine, left the sewing room for good.

After being placed sixth out of the nine remaining contestants in the first pattern challenge of international week, to create a traditional French Breton top, and then eighth in the transformation round, Cathryn had all on to impress judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant with her made-to-measure garment.

But the fun-loving competitor’s “From Russia With Love” shift dress failed to make the grade, even though Esme was pleased with the French seams Cathryn had carefully sewn.

Both judges could not overlook the fact that Cathryn had tried to disguise a seam sewn the wrong way out on one of the sleeves with a strip of fabric, or that the overlay of lace fabric obscured the Russian doll fabric of the dress underneath.

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East Yorkshire contestants Andrew Aspland and Cathryn Tosler-Waudby battle it out for the pick of fabrics in the haberdashery
East Yorkshire contestants Andrew Aspland and Cathryn Tosler-Waudby battle it out for the pick of fabrics in the haberdashery

Patrick said: “I am very, very sad to be sending Cathryn home, but I think between some silly mistakes and just a little lack of ambition, sadly, it is her time to leave.”

Cathryn said she totally agreed with the judges, her concluding remarks on the show being: “Sewing is a very solitary hobby, we have all been locked down for so long haven’t we, so it was like being let out and then being able to share and amongst such talented people, it was amazing.”

Earlier in the show, Cathryn had trouble matching the stripes on her Breton top and also accidentally snagged the fabric with the overlocker machine, making holes in the garment, telling show host Joe Lycett she had made “a bit of a boo-boo”.

The transformation challenge, to turn two sarongs into a garment for any age or gender, saw Cathryn initially aim for some trousers, with Joe enquiring if they were for Peter Crouch as they were so long.

But Cathryn reworked her idea into a dress instead, which led the judges to comment that it was still too much like a sarong, during their appraisal.

Earlier in the series, viewers learned that Cathryn enjoyed a bit of grime music and her allotment, when she was not sewing.

Still flying the flag for the East Riding in the show is Hull maths teacher, Andrew Aspland, who has survived for week five, which will be children’s week.

Andrew said he had been looking forward to international week because there would be so much colour.

Cathryn Tosler-Waudby, centre, learns she is to depart The Great British Sewing Bee after week four
Cathryn Tosler-Waudby, centre, learns she is to depart The Great British Sewing Bee after week four

“I’ve never made anything international, really, it will be a bit of an adventure,” he said.

He was pleased with the fabric he chose for the three-hour pattern challenge – “it is screaming French at me” – and came second in the transformation round with only 90 minutes to complete his ambitious collared shirt.

“This is a sprint, but a shirt without a collar isn’t a shirt, is it?” he said. “I hope Patrick doesn’t look at the collar points too closely.”

But Andrew need not have worried because Savile Row’s Patrick thought it was “a terrific, completely radical transformation” that earned Andrew third place.

In the made-to-measure round, with the stitchers inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, Andrew rushed to complete his skirt and top leaving Patrick to judge the overall effect “really untidy”.

Author: [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Great British Sewing Bee ‘summer week’ turns up heat for Hull contestants

Author [email protected] (Deborah Hall)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

Turn-ups, pocket inserts and buttonholes brought The Great British Sewing Bee competitors out in a sweat as they tackled three challenges for “summer week”.

In the opening frames of last night’s BBC One show, Hull’s Andrew Aspland, 54, said he was all ready for the summer theme, sporting a summery shirt and straw hat, but said: “My legs are past shorts, they don’t come out for anybody.”

As it was, the 11 remaining stitchers needed to create a pair of “paper bag” shorts, complete with elasticated waist, a waist-tie, turn-ups and pockets, using ten pattern pieces for the first challenge of week two.

Andrew, a maths teacher, said the mathematician in him liked to be as accurate as possible, and he could be seen ironing his finished shorts on a mannequin, saying: “I wouldn’t do this if it was on a human being.”

After the three-and-a-half hours given for the project, the stitching around the channel for Andrew’s elastic waist wasn’t straight, according to judge Esme Young.

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Andrew Aspland's made-to-measure creation is appraised by judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant
Andrew Aspland’s made-to-measure creation is appraised by judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant

She did comment that his turn-ups had been sewn correctly – this part of the garment foxed many of the other sewers – and fellow judge Patrick Grant said the waist gathers on Andrew’s shorts were “lovely”. He ended up being placed third.

East Yorkshire’s Cathryn Tosler-Waudby, 57, who admitted she had never made a pair of shorts before, came fourth in the round, with Patrick commenting: “There’s a lot that’s good in these.”

The transformation challenge called on the sewers to make a woman’s garment for a summer’s evening from up to four pairs of men’s board shorts, and a variety of other men’s swimwear, with Esme saying she was looking for the competitors to “make a statement” with their creations.

Cathryn, a semi-retired former dinner lady, was shown away from the GBSB sewing room enjoying her allotment and when asked by host Joe Lycett what she also enjoyed when she wasn’t sewing, the grime music fan said: “I dance like nobody’s watching.”

Her summer top earned her another fourth place, the judges admiring her colour co-ordination, while Andrew fell away to tenth place for his dress, the judges agreeing the effect of the orange stripes was “a little bit busy”.

The final task was to sew a made-to-measure button-down summer dress to fit a live model, something Patrick said was a classic summer item but a “deceptively difficult” challenge.

Cathryn had chosen a cotton fabric with a pattern of small keys – “the colour reminds me of the sea” – and raised eyebrows when she said she had never done pattern matching before, Patrick saying: “I admire your bravery.”

Patrick Grant and Esme Young explain the "paper bag" shorts pattern challenge to host Joe Lycett, left
Patrick Grant and Esme Young explain the “paper bag” shorts pattern challenge to host Joe Lycett, left

She struggled to finish her buttonholes and buttons – one was falling off when Esme appraised the dress – and Patrick said she would have had plenty time to finish if she had not been busy trying to match the pattern.

Andrew had chosen to make a 40s-style dress, saying: “It harks back to an era when dressing up was the done thing.

“My mother and grandmother would not go into town without lipstick or a dress on.”

Hull's Andrew Aspland is also revealed as a bellringer during The Great British Sewing Bee
Hull’s Andrew Aspland is also revealed as a bellringer during The Great British Sewing Bee

Esme said he had obviously thought about the design with its contrasting collar, belt and buttons but Patrick said the waistline fell a little below where it ought to be.

After Julie’s departure in week one, Jean had to leave the sewing room last night, leaving the ten remaining stitchers to tackle gent’s classic week next Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm.