We catch up with self-taught sewer, Matt of sewwhatsnew.co.uk and Great British Sewing Bee 3 contestant. Find out how he started sewing, where he finds inspiration and what his very first project was…
Matt started sewing three years ago, teaching himself by following online tutorials. Now he’s making dresses for his wife and outfits for his daughter. Want to know where it all began? Read on…
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your first sewing experience.
I’m an ex armed forces, mid 30’s, married, father of two (surely there’s a large slice of your readership who fall in to that demographic, right?). I was taught how to sew in the army for the upkeep of our kit in the field, to be honest we were taught lots of things at 16 years old, like how to shave, iron etc. I’ve actually only been sewing seriously for the last few years. Progressing from making a curtain for behind our front door to dresses for Gemma (my wife) and Evie (my daughter).
That said my earliest memory was a rather ill fitting oven glove that I made in home economics. I’m pretty sure that anyone looking to use it for it’s intended purpose would’ve received 3rd degree burns as the wadding was somewhat less than sufficient.
What’s the best sewing tip you’ve learned since being on Great British Sewing Bee?
Don’t be scared of challenging yourself, just give it a go and you’ll see that you can achieve more than you thought. The best tip to future GBSB contestants: look at what is achievable in the time and then don’t stop until Claudia shouts “time’s up”.
One thing every sewer can relate to… is that moment when you realize you’ve done a sublime run of accurate stitching but you’ve joined the wrong sides.
Do you have a favourite sewing book or go-to blog where you find inspiration?
I must admit, whilst there are so many great magazines and books out there, the world and technology has changed so much I tend to head for online tools like Pinterest. They give instant gratification. I could honestly lose days on there!
In a future issue of Mollie Makes we delve deeper into the subject of men who make. What’s your position on craft/sewing considered a ‘woman’s pastime’ and how do you feel about being labelled a ‘man who sews’ rather than ‘a sewer’?
Yeah, it’s funny isn’t it, even now when I tell people I sew some feel the need to justify it on my behalf by saying “well, I guess some of the best tailors are men”, as if being a tailor is a bit more manly. For many years sewing was something that the housewife did, it takes time to change that stereotype but I do feel things are starting to change especially with programs like the Great British Sewing Bee.
Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. Stay tuned to BBC2 Thursday nights at 8pm.