Q&A with Lynda from the Great British Sewing Bee

I have another treat for you GBSB fans today: a Q&A with Lynda Lewis! I absolutely loved watching Lynda throughout the competition, she came across as such a lovely, warm and talented lady. If you want to keep up with what Lynda’s up to now GBSB is over, you can find her on Twitter.

How long had you been sewing for before you applied for GBSB?
I seem to have been sewing most of my life as my mother was a tailoress and I grew up amongst sewing machines and fabric. I made my first dress when I was about 9, although sometimes my sewing machine doesn’t come out form  months or even years. At these times I’m always surprised and slightly amused that I still remember how to sew, it must be like riding a bike!!

What are your favourite things to sew?
My favourite things to sew are special occasion dresses. As well as my own, I made my daughter’s and a few close friends’ wedding dresses. I don’t really like frills and flounces and prefer straight, clean lines, maybe that’s my mother’s influence coming in there. At the moment I’m making summer dresses for my grandaughter and my grandson is waiting for some summer shirts.

What made you decide to apply, and how did you feel when you were chosen?
I had not even thought about entering the GBSB, but my daughter wrote on her blog about the first series and I had commented that I would have gone about the challenges differently. She said that if I was so clever I should go on there and sent me an application form when they came out! I couldn’t believe it when I was chosen to go on the show as I had absolutely no idea that my sewing would be good enough to be considered. I think that there are far more accomplished sewers than me out there hiding their light under a bushel, so feel humbled to get as far as I did.

What was your favourite challenge?
My favourite challenge was the prom dress as it’s the sort of sewing I love best, but also because the lovely Emma was my model and delight to sew for.

What was the most challenging aspect of the show?
The most challenging aspect of the show was related to my deafness. It’s a challenge every day, but particularly so when in new situations. The first episode was difficult as I didn’t know what to expect and I think it was  a challenge for the crew too who had no experience of filming someone who is deaf. Where the judges and my interpreter would stand was something that needed thinking about every time someone spoke to me. Having said that, it felt strange for me to look at my interpreter when someone else was talking me so between us we decided that I would lip read where possible and have Helen standing by to clear up any confusion should it arise. Patrick and May were amazing and went out of their way to make sure that they looked at me when they spoke.

Do you think you learnt new skills taking part?
I definitely learnt new skills on the show, for example, I don’t think I would have ever tackled sewing leather, which I loved and using an overlocker was a new experience for me.

Are you surprised at how popular the show has been, and in particular the support people have shown you throughout the series?
I knew that Series 1 was popular and Series 2 seems to be even more so. From online messages it appears that people wish there were more programmes like GBSB. I’ve been amazed and truly touched at all wonderful messages I’ve received, people have been so kind.

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of applying to GBSB?
If anyone is thinking of applying to go on GBSB I would say: Do it; don’t think of reasons why you shouldn’t, think of reasons why you should! It’s good to be out of your comfort zone, it means that you’re learning!

A lot of people have been inspired by GBSB and yourself to learn to sew, what are your top tips for beginners?
* Spoil yourself with a sewing space that you feel relaxed and comfortable in with things that you love nearby
* Organise sewing equipment so that it’s all to hand and readily available
* Start off small …. make things that you love
* Be kind to yourself – if you make a mistake it’s not the end of the world
* Last but not least… have fun!!!

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