GBSB Series 3: I’m an Amateur Sewer – Get me Out of Here?

So, the Sewing Bee is over for another year! Great news – in as much as I can sit down in front of the telly again without shouting and the judges at regular intervalls or biting my nails about topstitching ;-).

What did you all make of it? I had a quick browse through the web and most commenters seemed very pleased with how things have gone.

I have to admit I didn’t enjoy this series as much as the two before. To be honest, I felt they had taken it down the TV entertainment jungle a bit too much for my taste.
For one I didn’t like the emphasis on having to do things fast, fast, fast all the time. It may well be the case that professionals have to work under incredible time pressure – but GBSB is about amateur sewing and why should an amateur activity have to conform to the same madness as the world of work? I get that it makes for more competition, but to me, having to sew a chiffon blouse in, what, 2 hours?, is the sewing equivalant of having to eat a dish of maggots for the viewer’s delectation.

Also, as the weeks got on and the contestants more professional I found myself disagreeing sometimes with the judges about their technical judgements. Sometimes the topstitching was “really very very good”, sometimes ” a little bit wonky”, sometimes “not quite even enough” – when it looked near identical to me.

Also, personally I don’t like the fact that the winner is announced only on the strength of the last garment. I do agree that Matt’s dress was the best by quite a way. But then, clearly, the contestants design and practice their garments at home, they know or at least strongly suspect who to make them for, so I don’t know that making one rehearsed garment well makes for the best amateur sewer. So I would prefer it, if the overall performance were taken into consideration as well when deciding on the winner. The way it is now it’s as if one Garment of the Week determines the overall decision.

So, am I alone in thinking that GBSB has been disney-fied a bit too much? That the comments about straight or wonky top-stitching don’t always bear a relation to reality? That maybe making something well rather than fast might be more inspirational? That altering old curtains/80s dresses/old sports gear into some crazy one-wear-wonder gets a bit boring after a while?

Do I, in short, just not get TV entertainment?

What are your thoughts?


PS: Will I watch the next series, if there is one? Absolutely! GBSB still is one of my TV highlights, inspite of my misgivings!



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14 thoughts on “GBSB Series 3: I’m an Amateur Sewer – Get me Out of Here?

  1. navybluethreads March 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm Reply

    I’m with you the emphasis on speed this year, and a LOT of those makes were incredibly difficult too…. But I still loved it! Slightly surprised about the winner, the other two did seem more consistent throughout. But he seemed a nice chap and his final dress was highly impressive 🙂

  2. Jana March 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm Reply

    I mostly agree. For sure the tough time constraints shall make it exciting for us to watch. I was also thinking that the show will be running out of standard garments soon. 😉 And I totally agree, that the overall performance should count when deciding who is going to win. They could simply do it mathematically: candidates get 3, 2, or 1 point(s) for each 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place throughout the competition. This way continuity will pay off. However, candidates will not take risks any more, which would be a pity, too. Best from Toronto, Jana

    • Chris March 15, 2015 at 6:39 pm Reply

      Haha, that would be a death sentence for shanklets (or whatever Neil’s “creation” ended up to be called. Not sure if that is good or bad 😉

  3. Thimberlina March 14, 2015 at 6:07 pm Reply

    I loved it, but agree about the time constraints were a bit harsh.
    The thing that baffled me was when they told the contestants to have a good nights sleep and come back tomorrow – and then they turned up in the same clothes!

    • Chris March 15, 2015 at 6:38 pm Reply

      Yeah, I was wondering about that too. I suppose they might shoot in different order to what is shown and their continuity person was off to “have some cake” as Claudia tends to say 😉

    • Jana March 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm Reply

      I noticed this, as well. I thought the reason is that this way it is easier for the audience to recognize that it is still the same challenge. Guess they asked them to show up in the same cloth again…

  4. tigerlounge2000 March 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm Reply

    i was frustrated by the end result – I liked Matt as a personality the best, but Neil clearly won the contest based on the overall quality of his sewing. It felt very arbitrary – or that the producers didn’t want to reward someone who wasn’t a fan favorite. I was amazed at how much harder the challenges were this time around – there were several garments I would have struggled to sew. That’s an improvement I think – I love that it’s more challenging now.

  5. Pat beadle March 15, 2015 at 9:55 am Reply

    How I agree with you . Neil was by far the better sewer(horrible word). I read somewhere that a good idea would be to give points every week that were carried forward each week. This is one case where you not only as good as your last garment..
    I will still watch the next series if there is one

  6. SewingElle March 15, 2015 at 11:18 am Reply

    Agree with your comments wholeheartedly. Neil’s demise in the last episode seemed almost staged, and he had sewn so fabulously all through the other episodes that it seemed unfair. I still love it, and will watch the next one for sure.

  7. Marianne March 15, 2015 at 4:02 pm Reply

    I loved it! Agreed, I would like to see at least one challenge in the final episode without time constraints so every finalist could show their real potential. After last year’s final, with Heather’s stunning couture gown, this year’s winning gown felt like an anti-climax with its unpressed seams. I did think the judges were quite fair throughout the series. It’s hard to come up with a better way to find a winner, if points were given every week Neil would have won the competition long before the finals!

    • Chris March 15, 2015 at 6:36 pm Reply

      Yep, you are certainly right there. Points would have ended that series pretty early on. Maybe points for the finale only might work better, so that it’s an average of three garments rather than just one? Whatever – I’ll still watch it, whatever the system 🙂

    • Paola March 15, 2015 at 11:28 pm Reply

      Love GBSB. I mostly agree especially about the speed aspect. On the other hand, the time thing really tests skills.
      I’ve been thinking about Matt’s win (which I think he deserved on the last garment), and liken it to football teams who go along at third or fourth place throughout the comp, then pull out the big performance in the end to win the grand final. Not exactly a fair representation of ability, but as Patrick said “timing is everything”.

  8. Tia Dia March 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm Reply

    We are GBSB fanatics in my house, and we were a bit surprised by Matt’s win, too. However, it is true that “timing is everything”, and in the final challenge, Matt was the hands-down winner. I think it’s like a round robin competition, and if you sew well enough to stay in each round, through to the final, then the final ‘game’ decides the winner. I have to say, though, I’d be challenged with the leather, and the alteration challenges would be my complete undoing!

    • Chris March 17, 2015 at 11:16 pm Reply

      Haha, those alterations! Every week I would say “That can’t be done! It’s IM POSS IBLE!” And 90 minutes later they end up with amazing projects (well, or shanklets 😉 ) Incredible

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