Geeghislaine (Gee) Gazon was a series four contestant on The Great British Sewing Bee. She recently completed a course from the Understanding Fabrics programme at LCF short courses. We caught up with her to see how she got on with the course and how her new found knowledge will influence her work going forward.
Can you tell us a little about your background and what led you to apply for the Great British Sewing Bee?
I come from a very creative and crafty family. I grew up with my mum sewing all our clothes. I took up embroidery with my Godmother but often helped mum in the sewing room. However I only bought my first sewing machine five years ago and applied to the Great British Sewing Bee with only two years of actual sewing experience. I loved the show and was curious to see where I was with my beginners’ skills. To my surprise, I made the cut as 1/10 of the best amateur sewers. I guess I was further along in my journey than I thought.
How has you practice developed since leaving the show?
I have become braver with what I tackle. Precious and/or difficult fabrics, techniques: boning, front fly zip, pintuck. I have a growing list of challenges I tick with pride.
Sewing in front of cameras, and being judged has made me more comfortable to share my world. I didn’t quite realise I had things to share. I was happily sewing, quietly like Mum did back in the days.
What interested you in the Understanding Fabrics short course?
My knowledge of fabrics was basic: Cotton, flax, wool for how they behave but didn’t know much about their properties, their composition and why they behave that way.
Also, my fabric choices were very much on instinct. It’s has led to safe and probably boring results, beautifully surprising outcomes but also mistakes. I wanted to be more informed, to dig deeper. Learning is good for the soul and to build confidence. I also wanted to boost a project I have been brewing for some time.
How did you find the course?
So informative!! Very thorough. Janet, our Tutor has got such a smooth, soothing delivery and manner. It was easy to stay focused.
Course material was very well thought out, I was impressed with the practical analysis of fabrics in the second part. I hadn’t been near a microscope since I was 14! We had all the right facilities. And let me praise the delicious muffins at the canteen!
How will your time on the course impact your work going forward?
I know what I am talking about now. I was given the vocabulary and technical knowledge to add value to my work. It also has further opened the thirst for learning.
Who would you recommend the course to?
Beginners in sewing. It is useful to avoid the mistakes many have made before.
Anyone with a clothing business idea.
The issue of sustainability in fashion was discussed and rightly so. Everything is covered. It helps to make informed choices.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in fashion and in particular sewing and garment creation?
Secure your basic: measuring, cutting your fabric, straight seams, marking, darts. They’ll take you a long way.
Try to build up your techniques and your style with every project. Zips and buttonholes for example can be bewildering. Tackle them early. They are easier than you think. You’ll feel a sense of achievement and you’ll seek out the next challenge, organically.
Don’t hesitate to reach out, whatever level you are at.
Where do you hope your sewing will take you next?
I sew for myself mainly, constantly developing my style and aim to inspire others in what they can make. I want to share the joy I get from fabric selection, design, sewing, all the way to styling a look.
I am also looking at fashion choice, anthropology and psychology by attending classes and talks.
Being approached for advice has led me into coaching. It is rewarding to see my ‘coachees’ progress and how it open ups their sewing and crafting curiosity.
I have developed a fabric shopping experiences/consultancy which I will talk about with confidence now. It’s a one to one experience and an opportunity for me to share my favourite activity with everyone: fabric shopping!