Meet Tracey Symonds from The Great British Sewing Bee

Tracey The Great British Sewing Bee

We’re so happy to get to chat to The Great British Sewing Bee favourite who won our hearts from week 1. We instantly loved her when the first episode saw her singing along to eighties pop classics with her daughter during a family sewing session. She never failed to lift the atmosphere in the sewing room with her light-hearted approach and great gusto for every challenge, so we couldn’t resist looking back at her best bits on the show, as part of our Meet the Bees series. Warning: contains spoilers…

When retired primary-school-teacher Tracey left the Sewing Bee this week, she may well have jolted the most tears from her fellow contestants than any previous exiting contestant. Even Patrick seemed a bit red-eyed .Series 4 of the Sewing Bee 2016 won’t be the same without her.

Simply Sewing’s high point of Tracey’s time on the Bee:

Creating sewing top trumps with soon-to-be-finalist Jade – “I think Piping’s more difficult than darts. If we’re playing Top Trumps, your piping trumps my darts,”she chirpily mused. Now if only someone were to bring out that game in real life – we would SO play it! My invisible zip beats your button hole, etc…

And our low point:

Seeing her tearfully admit she was devastated on missing out on the finals at the last minute after grappling with puzzling patterns in the semi finals.  We were crying “don’t leave us Tracey!” at our screen.

We caught up with Tracey to find out more about her time on the Great British Sewing Bee. She reveals how the show taught her to slow down when sewing and finally work out how to find the thread on a new reel of cotton.

Tracey in the semi finals of The Great British Sewing Bee

How did you get into sewing?

I was taught to sew by my mum as a young teenager and have sewn on and off all my life. I loved being able to have something new to go out in despite not having much money. In my day there were no cheap high street chains and supermarkets selling clothes, so they were an expensive ‘treat’ item. I’m from Manchester originally, where there was an abundance of mills selling inexpensive fabric, so I was spoilt for choice!

What have you learnt from your time on The Great British Sewing Bee?

The best thing I learned on Sewing Bee was to slow down! I always sewed very quickly as a result of having to rush when my children were small, to get the table cleared etc.. As a result, my quality sometimes let me down, so now my mantra is, take it slow-do it right! I also learnt to twist the top of a new reel of thread to release the end! Daft but impressed me, I’ve been struggling for ages to find the end!

What’s on your sewing table at the moment?

I’m sewing a version of a dress I have made many times before in different lengths, it’s a great fit on me and the style is flattering for my shape.

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

I couldn’t live without my steam generator iron! It makes a huge difference when things are pressed well as you go along.

Tracey from The Great British Sewing Bee in action

What do you enjoy most about sewing?

I love the total absorption I get whilst sewing. I switch off everything else and just focus on what’s in front of me. Bliss!

Complete the sentence: Every sewer can relate to…

Falling in love with a piece of fabric, then not wanting to cut into it!

We can indeed relate! We can’t wait to feel the tension in the air for the Great British Sewing Bee final next Monday at 9pm, though we’ll be missing Tracey of course. If you’ve caught the sewing bug after watching the series, why not treat yourself and subscribe to Simply Sewing? We’ll send you a free mini sewing machine to get you started! (offer ends 14th July)

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