Saturday Sewing Session Blog

Channel 4’s This Old Thing – Behind the scenes…

This Old Thing

How it all happened…

Last March I was asked to be involved with a TV show pilot. The thought made me nervous, a little bit sick and March is my busy time with hats and wedding dresses so I was secretly pleased that I couldn’t do it due to other commitments. I didn’t think any more about it.

Spring forward to August!

One morning I got the call from the very lovely Sarah. She told me about the show again and if I was free to do a camera test, that the show was full steam ahead and would I like to be involved. I think I spoke to Sarah nearly every day and I nervously run out of excuses to say ‘no’ to a camera test. Caught off guard one day and swallowing my nerves I came out with ‘ Oh. All right then’

A day later, or there abouts, a couple of the crew came over to my studio with a camera and some questions and I just chatted… chat chat chat. I went through what I did, other jobs I’ve had, things I have done, pieces I have made, a little bit about me etc , etc.

It turns out I can talk quite a bit!

After the ‘test’ I was chatting to Sarah most days then sunny one morning she told me I got the job, roughly this time last year.

The phone call was a little bit of a blur. I had been so nervous about the whole thing, so obviously I had talked myself out of it, saying I wasn’t going to get the job and that was totally fine, I would just carry on as normal. No worries! I understand normal. It was comfortable here! I also hadn’t told a single soul so that was fine too.

Well, that all changed!

After that call, whoa… wobbly, slightly sick and then this weird mixture of total happiness and excitement for what could happen, mixed with fear as the only other time, just the once, that I have been on camera, I came out in hives — attractive! I am a seamstress. I make hats, sew wedding dresses and have my lovely sewing school. This is a terrifying whole new world.

But, its good to put yourself out there right? So after the call, I went for a coffee with my best friend then went for a swim in the Serpentine. It was a wonderful, slightly nutty day!

The meeting…

A few days later I drove to the meeting to meet everyone. When I arrived a beautiful girl parked up with a familiar black and white flag sticker on her car — if you are from Cornwall, they pretty much give you this sticker when you leave the county as a branding stamp! This was Charlotte. A kindred spirit and now a dear friend.

St. Piran's flag of Kernow - aka Cornwall! Bit of history on flags for you!

St. Piran’s flag of Kernow – aka Cornwall! Bit of history on flags for you! So if you see this on a car, we are on the move!

We walked in and met everyone, had a chat and got the vibe of the coming weeks. Everyone was lovely. We were all in the same boat and after that meeting I knew something fun and very special was about to happen.

I left that meeting and went straight home to get ready for a festival that weekend. Heading up to Portmerioin in Wales – really great festi by the way in a beautiful setting. I spent the weekend relaxing by the sea and I may have had a few pimms, maybe?! I put the sleepless nights down to bumpy tents and snoring campers not the jitters of what was to happen the following week.

I have to show you the beauty that is Portmeirion. The festival is festival No.6. Go if you can, is a wonderful festi!

I got back the day with 1 day to get ready!

First day and beyond…

First day of filming was a whirl wind of  wobbly wonderfulness. The night before I hardly slept, I had my outfit prepped and was ready to go. During the filming we had no bathroom in our flat so it was victorian sink baths all week — that was interesting!

My first day of shooting - you have no idea what my tummy was doing at this point!

My first day of shooting – you have no idea what my tummy was doing at this point!

The whole time we were doing the show, it was one of the happiest working weeks I have ever had.

All the team were amazing.  It was SO fun, it was SO challenging, it was SO new but I was SO happy to be apart of it. That is a lot of SO’s. Everyone involved were wonderful and we became like a little family (ahhhh) and Dawn is totally brilliant. All of us workshop team are all tailors and seamstresses with our own businesses. This was a new thing for all of us and we all supported each other. We quickly became friends and we were constantly learning from one another. Thats the thing with sewing, you are always learning and finding new ways to do things. I picked up some valuable tips from the team. Everything was done on the day, as you saw it in the show.

I have sewed since I was little, its my career but doing the job I do everyday, with lots of people watching and a camera, knowing its going to be on Channel 4!  Well that was a totally different ball game. Plus, we were working with garments that were truly loved and treasured. Its was an honour with a hint of scariness and just a mild dollop of stress! Still, with all that, it was brilliant!

Total happiness with a mix of 'Oh my goodness this is a girls mums wedding dress and I have just chopped into it!' Turned out good though... Phew!

Total happiness with a mix of ‘Oh my goodness this is a girls mums wedding dress and I have just chopped into it!’ Turned out good though… Phew!

It was, and still is a major life lesson. I very nearly didn’t do it. I felt out of my depth with stomach turning nerves. I had them everyday but everything outweighed that. Sometimes it’s a really good reminder to put yourself out there as sometimes it could just be the best thing you have ever done. We all felt like we were apart of something special.

So that was my experience of the show what did you all think?

I really hope you all enjoyed This Old Thing: A Vintage Clothes Show and would LOVE to hear feedback, pictures of things that you have questions about, vintage pieces that need a bit of tweaking etc – GET IN TOUCH!

If you have something in your cupboard, new or vintage that needs a bit of love or just needs fitting properly. We can help! Join us on our Make Do and Mend session, for seamstresses with a little know how or a total beginner or our Survive and Revive session for all hand stitching know how and learn how to do it for yourself. We cover lots of alteration and up-cycling techniques and help with ideas of what is possible with your garments.

If sewing isn’t your thing but you feel inspired to re-zhoosh, simply leave it with us and we can do any alterations for you. Vintage, wedding or otherwise. All the information can be found here.

The show was mainly about vintage and the history and love that went into clothing. How it has changed and what it has done for society and us girls. It was to highlight the transient nature of fast fashion that we have got so used to. Our high street is wonderful, but maybe mix it up a bit. Its about getting your own style that suits you, how to make it fit, re-style it, add a modern twist – there are endless things to do, plus, no one else will have it.

How lovely is that!

Hopefully it highlighted where things come from and how wonderful a one off garment can make you feel. I could ramble on for ages on the joy on vintage but I’ll leave it there!

The show may have finished but you can still get the brilliant book that accompanied the series.

This book is full of really helpful hints and tips on how to look after, mend, alter your garments with a bit of dress history to boot!

This book is full of really helpful hints and tips on how to look after, mend, alter your garments with a bit of dress history to boot! Plus – where to shop!

The show also led me to be part of Dawn’s exciting new clothing venture – BOB. The vintage side of it is up and running, have a goose at the website and continue to watch this space for other fab things!

Have a peek at the Dawn O'Porters vintage clothing website - there are some vintage beauties to be found ... credit card at the ready!

Have a peek at the Dawn O’Porters vintage clothing website – there are some vintage beauties to be found … credit card at the ready! And this is just one arm of this gorgeous business…

Thats a whole ‘nother story, but see what happens when you say YES! It’s exciting!

I will be putting up how too’s in the coming weeks so keep posted and I hope that you feel inspired with your wardrobe and not like you have just read a self help guide … it was all a bit awesome *cue American accent!

In the mean time, here are some videos from us workshop team to get you inspired showing how to hem, sew on a button etc etc

Thanks for listening X

 

 

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