Friday, February 14, 2014

Interview with Sewing Bee's Stuart Hillard,

Over the summer at the Festival of Quilts, I arrived at the Popular Patchwork stand and was lucky enough to meet Stuart Hillard for the first time and since then it had been on the back of my mind to ask to interview him.  A few months ago we managed to squeeze in a chat over the phone which I'm delighted to be able to share...


ME : Hi Stuart, and thank you so much for talking to me!  My questions are all Sewing Bee related, so here goes, where did you see the advert for the Sewing Bee, and what was the application process.

STUART : Well, I didn't actually see an advert as such, a friend mentioned it, which led me to go searching for more information.  The application process was lengthy, starting with a form to fill in, then a telephone interview, followed by a telephone technical test (for example, what is a french seam?).  Next, it involved a trip to London where we had to show samples of items we had made, then there was a screen test, and a live sewing test, along the lines of the technical challenge segment on the show, and finally a psychometric test.

ME : Wow, that is lengthy!  So, what is the set up when each episode was filmed?, is it a similar set up to the Bake Off where filming seems to take place at the weekends with a week off in between?

STUART : We're not allowed to give too much away about the filming set up, but what I can say is it is very intense.  There were few breaks between episodes and during each of the sewing tasks, when they say we had 3 hours, it really was just 3 hours, there's no pause in filming while a shot is set up.


ME : On the first show, the feedback about your dress was that the fabric print should have been pattern matched throughout, and May stated that there should be whole shapes running down the back seem.  Watching at home, the first thing that went through my mind was, ok she's made it sound like that's a really easy thing to do, but in reality, how simple would pattern matching actually have been?

STUART : Ah, yes!  To tackle the pattern matching, you would place each pattern piece individually on the fabric and choose key points in the print to get a match.  I could see on the day that was specifically mentioned as the whole point of the show was to test our sewing skills, but historically, fabric prints used in dressmaking don't often match!

ME : You seemed to get on really well with presenter, Claudia Winkleman...

STUART : Yes, most definitely!, I absolutely love her personality, presenting style and her sense of humour.

ME : And lastly, do you have any advice for the series two contestants?

STUART : Well, they are already filming and not far of finishing series 2.  Advice I would give is allow your personality to shine through with what you make.  You can buy clothes so cheaply these days, no-one needs to make there own, so if you are going to sew, it should reflect you as a person.

Choose patterned fabrics when the fit isn't an issue, and go for plains if the fit is important, but most importantly, have fun!  The Sewing Bee was intense pressure but also a joy to take part in.


A big thank you to the lovely Stuart for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat, roll on series two of the Sewing Bee, can't wait!

3 comments:

Josie said...

Really pleased to see you back, I've missed you! Your husband's painting was fabulous, but I'm glad that when I visit your lovely blog I'll now be able to see what you've been up to as well!

Mrs E said...

Love your blog and website! Please check out my little Etsy shop! www.parkerpenguin.etsy.com
It'd mean the world to me! x

Iyn's Wee Patisserie said...

I remember watching the show and wanting to buy a sewing machine! Lol ( which I still kinda want to :)
If you have any interest in baking and food, feel free to stop by www.iynsweepatisserie.com !