A Northern Ireland seamstress has been confirmed as the latest contestant on the popular BBC show The Great British Sewing Bee.
And Angeline Murphy, from Magheralin, says getting confirmed for the 2016 show was a “dream come true”.
“My first memories of sewing was watching my Granny Sloan from Tullyframe, Atticall, stitch me up a duck (on my request). I was in awe how she could create something just from me asking.
“She also made my brother a elephant teddy bear – he still has it today. Then I would go to my Granny McArdle’s house in Annaclone and would sit in awe at her pristine Antique Singer Sewing Machine. I suppose I was intrigued at how things were made from a very young age” she said.
An avid fan of the popular TV programme, Angeline revealed she nearly lost out on the opportunity after filming in 2015 was set to take place around the same time she was getting married.
She explained: “I’ve watched the show ever since series one, in fact I would be sitting watching it with a notepad in my hand noting down stitches I’d never heard tell of before and techniques I could go off and learn.
“I kept saying about how I’d love to be on the show and my husband just kept saying ‘go for it’ so eventually I applied, but unfortunately I was getting married the month of filming and at that point I thought I had lost the opportunity, then I hadn’t heard that it was coming back and thought I had missed it again but I got in on time and it has been a whirlwind from then.
“There are many interviews and I had to do a screen test with a producer to make sure I came across ok on camera, then I had to do a mock and in January I found out I was in the final 10. Next minute I knew they were in Northern Ireland filming my back story.”
Tonight [MONDAY] night fans of the show will see a whole new side to Angeline, a marketing manager for Firmus Energy in Northern Ireland.
“They gave us the challenges a few weeks before filming but I was working full time so I had to fit practicing around my job, they were great with being flexible for me to go filming. It was hard to keep the secret, people were starting to ask questions as to why I was flying back and forward to London and taking time off work, I’m sure there were a few rumours.
“It was hard to get the time to practice, trying to balance everything but I spent as much time as possible in the sewing room.
“The challenges are tough and even more so when you are put under time pressure. You have a pattern challenge to start where they give you a pattern and a timeframe to chose your fabric and finish to a high level. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone.
“The second challenge is an alteration challenge where they present you with a garment and ask you to re-design something in 90 minutes – this was a nightmare and finally you had a made to measure challenge where we had real life models and we had to design and fit the garments to perfection.
“The sewing room was intense with about 30 people behind the eight cameras at anyone time. The camera’s loved pressure and this is worst time for the crew to be asking you ‘how are you getting on?’, ‘do you think you’ll finish?’
“I met nine other contestants from across the UK who shared the same passion and it was wonderful learning from them.
“The judges are tough this year – 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.”
Despite working full time in a career she’s highly passionate about, Angeline loves sewing so much that she made her own bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. A challenge she thrived on.
As well as that she has now launched her own website www.angelinemurphy.com and hopes to continue designing and making her own creations.
“My two best friends Aisling and Paula kindly agreed to wear one of my design, so I started researching pattern designs and eventually sketched the design I wanted which included lots of beautiful chiffon and draped pearls. On my wedding day I was so proud to see my girls walk up the aisle in my handmade dresses.
“I’ve just developed my new website and have now been commissioned to make a number of bridesmaid dresses, formal dresses among other things. I also love taking sewing classes and help people make fashionable garments they will want to wear.
“I want to take away the stigma that sewing is for our older generation. It’s simple once you know how and all the young stylish ladies love bespoke designs.”
See Angeline in BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee on Monday at 9pm.