An interview with David Dawson - GBSB Episode 6

Hopefully by now you've all had a chance to catch up with Tuesday's episode of the Great British Sewing Bee - Vintage week. I'm guessing so as the various emails and messages asking for "no spoilers yet" are slowly being replaced by people asking when this post will be published.

It was an emotional episode for me not in the least because I, like many others who commented on various social media, spent part of it teary-eyed when my mum was reminiscing about her mother, her clothes and her old sewing machine. It brought back so many memories of my childhood and teens, much of it sat waiting for my nan to finish something I was waiting to wear (often from a rough sketch I'd drawn). 

I was thrilled that Mum won Garment of the Week for the THIRD time for her authentic 1950s coat (the only person who has won the accolade more than once). 
This was my favourite episode so far in terms of the garments, and it's no surprise that three of this week's items made it into the book - the 1930's blouse, Tamara's 1960's coat and Mum's A-line Pinafore (made from a man's suit).

Although I knew who was leaving this week's show before watching it, I felt terribly disappointed to see David's departure and felt his performance this week should have earned him a place in the semi-finals. Ok, his blouse in the first challenge wasn't great. It may have been something to do with his attaching "the blouse-top-bit to the bottom-skirty-bit", but then a vintage pattern without markings wasn't ever going to end well for everyone! However the suit-to-dress- transformation was David's best alteration challenge of the series and looked well executed, as did his vintage-style policeman's coat - despite the fabric not being quite what he expected. I really didn't think he deserved to go and it was horrible to see him hobbling out of the sewing room on his crutches with his backpack. (Good TV though!)

Like many of you, I have enjoyed David's sense of humour, and his kind nature - he is what some might call "a good egg". I hope that at least some of the men who watched the show by default (because someone else in the house was watching) will be inspired by seeing a quite ordinary family man sewing and making nice things for his wife and kids! I asked David to tell us about his sewing background and what he's doing now. Here's what he had to say.... 

Hi David and welcome to Crafts from the Cwtch. I know you have a lot of fans amongst my readers, and I'd like to take the opportunity to say congratulations on getting through to the quarter finals and being the last man standingCan you tell us what other crafts you enjoy (if any)?
I don't really do any other crafts but I do tinker with my motorbike and one day I might even get it running again!! Another hobby though is Aikido, great stress reliever for when you can't get to a sewing machine.

Photo credits: BBC/Love Productions
You seem like a real "man's man" and quite handy with tools, what do your male friends and colleagues make of your sewing? Do any of them sew too?
The lads at work are always taking the mickey and I wouldn't have any it other way. They now take the mic and then hand me their trousers to take in or let out!! No they don't sew although one of the guvnors has blown off the dust of an old machine. Hopefully I've inspired him to learn some sewing skills.

What made you apply for the competition and at what did your friends say when they found out you were on the show? Were they surprised?
I enjoyed the first series so much I just thought I'd give it a bash. I kept it secret apart from the wife and few select ladies (which the wife knows!!!) Surprise is an under statement from the lads at work, but everyone of them has said well done,  of course after having taken the mickey first.

On  the show your wife said that you have made quite a few things for the house, what's your favourite thing you've made for the home? What other things do you like to make?
I made all sorts of home stuff but  I think I'm most happy with a pair of curtains which were lined and had french pleats. Clothes are the most fun to make though and that's where I put most of my effort. Dresses for my wife and daughter.

It seems as though the contestants got on well and you have even been helping one another out in some tricky situations you proved to be the 'hero' a few times. Did you ever stop to think that you were meant to be competing?
The guys and girls on the show are great and it's nice to have to someone to talk to about my hidden guilty pleasure!!! As for competing, yes it was a competition but they're more my friends than my competitors so why wouldn't you help them? They all helped me and are still helping now all the filming is done and dusted. And what big burly bloke wouldn't want to be the hero for a room full of beautiful women? Lucky me!!!!

How difficult was it for you to compete whilst using crutches? (I also know everyone will be keen to know whether your leg is recovered.)
After surgery I was only supposed to be on crutches for a couple of weeks but due to difficulties it became three months, aaaarrrrgggggg! I had to learn to control my left foot well and quickly as I couldn't use my right to press the pedal! It was fine though and didn't really cause me too many problems. Of course Claudia was always at hand to carry things for me and steal my sweets off camera!! The leg is well on the mend now and hopefully be 100% in time.

Source: @AnnaDrives via Twitter
What did you learn about sewing and about yourself, as a result of being on the show? 
I didn't stop learning from day one. I was very inexperienced really, due to working so many hours and this is my hobby. I learned that I was good at sewing from a pattern and not good at creativity. Skills wise I've learned so much it's too much to mention. I basically sewed straight stitch and that was about it. The over-locker or 'over-lord' as Claudia calls it, was a steep learning curve. I've got it on my birthday list just in case the wife wants to spend any of my money on me for a change!!!

What's next for you? 
I'm enjoying making sewing tutorials on YouTube. As I learn I can pass it on, hopefully get some more of the blokes sewing! I'm going to make more clothes for myself and fit them well. I have broad shoulders and a narrow waist (when my belly isn't ruining it). So getting a jacket to fit well is always a problem so it's time to take on that challenge.

If you've enjoyed watching David and want to see more of his sewing and general good nature, you can find him on YouTube,  FacebookTwitter and on his website. I have another interview lined up next week, when one of the semi-finalists will be here to talk about their journey and life after the Sewing Bee. I'm not telling you who it is though - you'll have to come back to find out! 


  1. Fab interview, we were both sad when David left. Looking forward to seeing who you have being interviewed next time :)

  2. Every week I look to see if your mom has made it through and I a delighted to see how well she is doing. I will say again how much I wish we could watch this show in the states!

  3. Small World Sarah - I've been following your blog for about 18 months and now realise your husband and my son (M) are friends. I was sorry to see David go, but so pleased that your mum is doing so well. She is a 'natural'! I'm looking forward to your next interview.

    1. What a small world indeed - your son is lovely and a gentleman. My mum is very fond of him :)


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