This week, we’re really excited to bring you a fun interview with the lovely Deborah Simms from series three of the Sewing Bee! I’ve been lucky enough to met Deborah at the Christmas Handmade Fair in Manchester last year, and love following her instagam account. I’ve been a fan of her style since she sported the gorgeous spotty Anna Dress on the Bee (seriously, Deborah has an enviable handmade wardrobe!). As a multi craft blogger and contestant on series three of the Great British Sewing Bee, Deborah has an avid interest in ‘old fashioned’ techniques, and a passion for teaching.
Tell us how you learnt to sew?
I started sewing bits and pieces when I was a kid. My mum thought I had no interest in sewing as I didn’t exactly take to it naturally. I suffered from little sister syndrome, where your projects are always messier than your older siblings? However, because I had that base knowledge, I always turned to sewing when I needed something that didn’t exist elsewhere. I used to make myself over the shoulder bags because at the time you could only buy clutch bags and I would always leave my bag somewhere.
What is your favourite thing to sew?
I love to sew things for myself that I wouldn’t be able to find in shops. That means clothes that are not only unique but also suit my shape well. Recently I have also begun to enjoy sewing for my daughter.
Did you pick up any tips to increase your speed, constancy and quality of sewing while under pressure on the Sewing Bee?
I think that while I sewed on the Sewing Bee if anything I picked up an unnecessary urgency to my sewing which I found it difficult to shake once the programme ended. I have always found that slow is best with my sewing so have had to make a concerted effort to slow back down.
What advice do you want to offer to this years contestants?
I would say to try not to take it too seriously. It’s such an amazing challenge, my favourite thing was how much it stretched me creatively, try to enjoy it.
Which is your favourite sewing tool?
Recently I bought a set of Prym pliers for snap fasteners, they are my new favourite tool as they are so easy to use and create a professional finish. I am a magpie for tools though, so I’m always on the lookout for the next toy.
During your time on the sewing bee, which item you that made did you find the most challenging?
There were lots of technically challenging items that I made on the sewing bee. One of the most difficult was the childs waistcoat. It had welt pockets, which I had never made before, but it was the construction of the waistcoat itself that threw me off. I kept attaching the lining to the wrong seam, there’s not really anything I could change about that apart from not making that mistake so I suppose to try and stay calm and not get flustered, which I definitely was on the challenge.
What have you been up to since the sewing bee?
As you know I have had a baby daughter in my year since the sewing bee. Of course this has meant that I’ve had less sewing time, but it has meant that all the sewing I have done has been well thought out and so I’ve had a lot less impromptu sewing failures. I don’t get to sew during the day really (I don’t understand people who manage to do anything in the day when they have a baby… I barely fill the dishwasher) But after bedtime I find sewing time relaxes me, and gives me that all important me time. I’m still figuring out my calling when it comes to sewing, I’ve tried many different hats on, and for now, I’m happy to keep trying new things and enjoy being a Mum.
Thanks for answering our nosy questions, Deborah! It’s lovely talking to you. I hope you can enjoy this series of the Bee without the personal jeopardy!
You can follow Deborah’s blog – dfabricate.blogspot.co.uk or stalk her on Instagram (like I do) @dfabricater.