Ulster viewers will be tuning in on Monday night to see if a Co Down woman has matters “all sewed up” when she appears in the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee.
Angeline Murphy – the first Northern Ireland contestant to appear on the popular BBC show – will be pitted against nine other amateur stitchers as they prepare for clothy battle, with three new garment challenges each week.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Magheralin, says her granny inspired her love of sewing.
“My first memories of sewing were watching my granny stitch me up a duck. I was in awe at how she could create something from my request as a child.”
But it wasn’t until Angeline started university 10 years ago that she started sewing herself. Her brother bought her a sewing machine for a Christmas present and her first project was a pair of curtains for her future husband. Since then her sewing skills have been in further demand.
In search of a new sewing challenge, she decided to enter The Great British Sewing Bee, which replicates the formula of The Great British Bake Off, with dresses rather than desserts.
Angeline, who works as a marketing manager, describes being selected from 10,000 entrants as “unbelievable”.
“It was a rigorous process which involved telephone interviews, flights to and from London for TV interviews before finally getting the call in January this year to say we would be starting to film in March this year.”
The show, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, is hugely popular, with more than 3.5 million viewers hooked by the menu of well-executed seams, bias-binding and invisible zips.
“The judges are tough this year,” said Angeline.
“They expect perfection and that can be really tough when you are creating garments you have never dreamed of making before. To say I was out of my comfort zone is an understatement.”
She added that the time pressures intensified the challenge.
“The sewing room was intense with about 30 people behind the cameras...and the crew asking you ‘how are you getting on?’ ‘do you think you’ll finish?’.”
Angeline is tight-lipped about the outcome of the show, but has recently developed a new website and has received a number of commissions.
She said: “I hope to take sewing classes in the near future for people to learn to sew fashionable garments. I want to take away the stigma that sewing is for our older generation.”
• The Great British Sewing Bee will be screened on Monday at 9pm on BBC2.