Sewing As Genre?

It seems to me that there are either many more sewing-themed films and TV shows lately, or, at least more access to them.  I’ve been watching a lot of these shows, in part because I have way too many streaming subscription services, but mostly because I’m a sewing nerd.  Thought I’d share all of the sewing related entertainment I’ve found so far, and see if anyone has anything to add in the comments.

Atelier – Netflix

Atlier2

I watched Atelier on Netflix last summer, and I have to say that I very much enjoyed this show.  It is a Japanese show, shown with subtitles, but the characters will be endearing to anyone who sews or loves fabric, regardless of your native language.  The show follows Mayuko, a textile nerd who finds herself working for a high-end lingerie designer after finishing school.  Mayuko herself does not possess high fashion style, but her absolute love of textiles allows her to persevere in a world that is so strange to her at first and follow her dreams.  Every character in this show is amazing, and the entire series is a total gem.  Highly recommend watching this 10 episode mini series.

The Collection – Amazon Prime

collection

I have just started watching The Collection, but I’m actually pretty interested so far.  It is not a long series, but each episode is around 2 hours – so there is actually quite a bit of content!  This show follows the rise of the fashion industry in France after the end of WWII, but places a realistic look at how the social climate of the time made the opulent excess displayed by the fashions (which are visually similar to Dior’s voluminous New Look style) quite controversial.  It also follows the family drama of the owners and workers of the fictional fashion house at the center of this show.  I have not yet gotten far enough to fully endorse or recommend this series, but the first episode has left me interested enough that I’m going to try to finish this show.  And, at the very least, the costumes are amazingly gorgeous.

Cosplay Melee – SyFy

CosplayMelee

Ok, this isn’t strictly a sewing show, but there is sewing in it!  Plus lots of cool electronic costume gadgets, paint, and thermoplastics.  SyFy’s last attempt at a cosplay show, Heroes of Cosplay, got a lot of flack for making the cosplay community feel like Toddlers and Tiaras for adults.  While I still watched that show obsessively (hey, people making cool stuff!), Cosplay Melee is a much better representation of what the cosplay community has to offer.  Yvette Nicole Brown is an amazing host who brings a warm, excited positivity to everything on the show, and the other judges provide a nice balance of critique and appreciation for the craftsmanship displayed on the show.  Plus, all the contestants seem so excited and grateful to be there, its hard not to root for them.  The first season was just 6 episodes long, but it was my must-see tv for the month and a half it aired.  Here’s hoping for a season 2!

The Dressmaker (2016) – Amazon Prime

dressmaker

This film has been mentioned on several other sewing blogs the past year or so, which is how I first heard about it.  I desperately tried to find a screening, but before I knew it, it was on Amazon Prime.  Sweet.  So of course I watched this odd little film.  I mean, to be fair, I adore Kate Winslet, baby Hemsworth is pretty hot, there are some stunning dresses and a beautiful vintage machine in this film, so, enough to keep me visually entertained.  The plot and *shudder* the dialogue were… not on par with other aspects of the film.  But anyone who has ever done commission work will feel immediately vindicated for loving this film because when the town slob goes to Winslet’s character, points at a dress on a crumpled up magazine page and says, “I want you to make this dress,” Winslet cooly delivers, “You’ll get what I give you.”  YAAAAAAAAS QUEEN!  All of the points.

The Great British Sewing Bee – BBC

GBSB

By now I assume the entire internet is aware of The Great British Sewing Bee, and if you aren’t then what are you doing here?  Stop immediately, find whatever episodes you can through whatever legally dubious means are necessary and watch all four seasons of this show.  Now.  Go do it.  I can wait.

Ah!  You’re back.  But see?  Pretty fantastic right?  It takes the reality show premise, but makes it fun and educational.  I’ve learned so much from watching this show, everything from how to identify problem spots in a sewn garment to techniques for a tiny rouleau loop to what the heck a babygrow is (it’s a onesie).  The odd fashion history segments are also full of fascinating knowledge.  The judges are extremely British in their critique – no sugar coating for sure, but nothing is compared to an avocado goiter either.  Even though I fear the worst I *really really* hope they won’t cancel this show.  Or that they offer it on DVD in America because I need to be able to rewatch for the rest of forever.

Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious, I totally adore this show and highly recommend it.

Project Runway – Lifetime

PR

Although Project Runway has been on for umpteen million years (I’m so old!), I felt it would be remiss not to include it on this list.  I would say that Project Runway and it’s spinoffs have certainly inspired the wave of fashion shows that have followed.  Certainly the reality show format is mimicked in The Great British Sewing Bee and Cosplay Melee, while the interest of the general public in fashion and designers has increased awareness due to this show.  And, of course, sparked the world’s love and obsession with Tim Gunn whose catchphrase “Make it work!” should be etched into the wall above every sewing machine in existence.

 

And that’s what I’ve got.  I’m finding more and more sewing themed entertainment lately, which feels odd, but I like it.  Please share in the comments if you’ve seen/liked/disliked any of these shows, or especially if you’ve got any to add to the list!  It would be great to have a large database of things to watch that are totally sewing related, so that we can all spend the time we’re not actually sewing watching other people sew.

 

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24 thoughts on “Sewing As Genre?

  1. There are also all of the European versions of The Great British Sewing Bee. I’ve only watched the French version (2 seasons) and I don’t speak French. It doesn’t matter. It’s a sewing show and you don’t have to know the language. In the first season Carmen Bouchard (?sp) won. She’s a French-Canadian sewing blogger and member of PatternReview who lives in France.

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  2. I just learned about this one today: Signe Chanel. It’s about the making of a couture collection and the amazing white-coat ladies who work up in the attic and make the pieces. Yet to watch, but comes highly recommended. Also am keen to watch the French version of Sewing Bee – I learned of that recently too.

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  3. Signe Chanel, about the making of a couture collection and the amazing white-coat ladies who work up in the attic and make the pieces. I have yet to watch. Also keen to watch French version of Sewing Bee.

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  4. If you are able to get ‘the time in between’ in your region and have the time to watch subtitles, I can highly recommend that (spanish language drama based on a book set in the Spanish civil war, with seamstress as the heroine). I also watched the spanish language series ‘Velvet’ set in a 1950s fashion house – so much drama! Fairly similar premise to ‘the collection’. I recently rewatched all series of the House of Eliott. I love vintage fashion and watch a lot of series just for the clothes (good reference here: http://wesewretro.com/2016/01/the-vintage-sewing-nerds-guide-to-netflix/ )

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  5. I’m one of the few that liked The Dressmaker. I could care less about the dialogue…it was all about the clothes to me. I started The Collection and I just couldn’t care about the characters…maybe I will try again?!

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  6. Absolutely LOVED the Sewing Bee. The Dressmaker? did not enjoy the book so refused to watch the movie. I did go to the exhibition of clothes from the film (here in Melbourne, Aus). They were glorious.

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  7. I also wish the British Sewing Bee was offered in the US. How can there not be a DVD from Netflix at least? I watched a bit on YouTube but the video quality was so poor I couldn’t stand it.

    One movie you might like is “How to Make an American Quilt” starring Winona Ryder and Anne Bancroft. And I also would add “Pretty in Pink” basically as my personal inspiration for sewing when I was a teenager.

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  8. As a child my favourite part of the Disney animated film Cinderella was when all the birds and animals repaired the dress her sisters had ripped. In the UK there was a kids TV programme called Bagpuss where mice carved on an organ cme to life and repaired broken or tatty objects. One I really enjoyed is where they sewed and repaired a filthy old cushion. The objects then always had a story to tell and i loved it!

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  9. I’m so sorry to break the news, but the BBC announced recently that the Sewing Bee will not be continuing… It’s a terrible decision and I feel bereft. Enjoy the old episodes – they are truly wonderful

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      1. I know!! I feel just the same… Can’t believe they’ve axed such a popular show. There was even a petition against the decision, but it made no difference

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  10. Gah!! I just watched the first episode of the Sewing Bee and loved it! And now I must watch the rest of the episodes before finishing the dress I need for a wedding next week — master-procrastinator, that’s me! What a great show and thanks for the list!

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  11. I found the book of “The Dressmaker” a lot better, even the clothes described there were more delicious! But still, I’ll watch absolutely anything with Kate Winslet in it, and for me this was s sweet crossover regardless of the not-so-good plot. I came for Kate in Vintage Dior, after all.
    Not a TV-Show, but have you seen the “Making of Haute Couture” by Chanel (and others) on YouTube? I could spend hours on those!

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  12. Great list, I loved the Great British Sewing Bee (all seasons) and am crushed that Patrick & co will not be returning. What’s up with that?

    Meanwhile, try the great Spanish miniseries “Il Tiempo entre Costuras” based on the novel of the same name, called the Time in Between in English. I loved it, apparently sales of sewing machines in Spain went up as a result. It was the Spanish Downton Abbey.

    From there I moved on to Velvet, also from Spain – am watching the current season now. As plotlines go, it can be pretty ridiculous but still fun and entertaining. Plus, Alberto!

    Have you seen Dior and I (2015)? About Raf Simons (when he has with Dior) and the behind the scenes that goes into the making of a fashion show.

    I will look for the sewing bee show in French..

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