Meet Great British Sewing Bee contestant, Rumana

Simply Sewing meets Rumana from Great British Sewing Bee

Here at Simply Sewing we’re ever-so-slightly hooked on the Sewing Bee 2016. So we’re thrilled to meet contestant Rumana, one of the stars of series 4.

Rumana works as a Junior Doctor, and sewing has become a way for her to destress and unwind after work. Growing up, her family had little money so her mum used to sew all of her dresses from scratch. She was five when her mum made her a dress for Eid and Rumana decided she’d use the leftover scraps to make a matching dress for her Barbie doll.

Now she makes clothing for herself and for her family, including her newborn niece. We find out more about Rumana’s adventures in sewing & ask her to share her tips for success…

Great British Sewing Bee's Rumana in actionPlease tell us a bit about where your love of sewing began.

I’ve always had an interest in sewing, especially since watching my mum create the most extravagant birthday dresses for me. Watching her create whatever I wanted, however I wanted it (even if they weren’t the most normal requests… Sonic the Hedgehog embroidered onto an A-line red corduroy dress springs to mind!) inspired me to dabble in sewing on and off over the years. But it was only when I went shopping for a graduation dress that I really found my passion for sewing clothes. I couldn’t find anything in the shops to suit my religious clothing needs and got so frustrated at having to layer up to get the coverage I needed. It was a huge learning curve but it was worth it- I haven’t looked back since.

What’s the best sewing tip you’ve learned since being on Great British Sewing Bee?

The best tip was definitely: Press. Press. Press and PRESS. Press as you go along. Patrick would tell us this until he was blue in the face. Not that I listened to it much in the panic of the sewing room! But it’s one I now try to follow when I’m sewing at home. A well pressed garment gives it that ‘finished’ look.

What’s on your sewing table at the moment?

At the moment it’s actually a Ramadan countdown calendar! Just like an advent calendar, but with pockets to store treats. It’s not for anyone in particular or for any real reason. I just started it as a scrap-busting project.

Aside from your sewing machine, what sewing tool could you not live without?

Has to be my seam ripper! I still think I spend half the time sewing and half the time ripping it all out!

What do you enjoy most about sewing?

For me, sewing is a sort of therapy. It’s ‘me-time’ where I get to be creative – not something I get to do during my day job. I love having a project to work on as it gives me a sense of purpose. I really love sitting down at the dining table, my husband working on his Islamic geometry artwork on one side and me on the other with my sewing machine. It’s a creative space we get to share together.

Complete the sentence: Every sewer can relate to…

That sense of achievement when you try on that garment you’ve just finished making.

We’re looking forward to seeing how Rumana gets on when the Great British Sewing Bee‘s sewing room is transported back to the sixties next Monday on BBC2 at 9pm.

Images © BBC/Love Productions/Charlotte Medlicott and George Kimm