Since sealing the deal on the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee back in 2019, Juliet Uzor, has been riding the winning wave and spreading the sewing love as far as she can. She is driven to inspire others to pick up a needle and stitch their own fashion threads.
As well as her sewing projects, Juliet creates sewing related content for her YouTube channel, Sew So Natural, her blog, co-hosts a podcast called, Uncut, The Maker's Podcast and has a book in the making. Needless to say she is one busy woman, but our blog editor, Jacqui Taylor, was lucky enough to squeeze a few moments out of her schedule for an email conversation.
Hello Juliet, lovely to chat with you. Firstly, tell me a few things about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I am a mum and primary school teacher with a deep love of making things including the clothes I wear. This love of sewing clothes and a sprinkling of curiosity led me to auditioning and competing on the popular The Great British Sewing Bee season five.
I grew up in the south east region of Nigeria and moved to the United Kingdom fifteen years ago where I live with my husband and daughter. I am a London-based sewing enthusiast with big dreams.
How old were you when you started sewing?
I started sewing at the age of 29. I bought a basic sewing machine from my local haberdashery without a clue in the world about what I was doing. Fast forward to a million clicks of the rewind and pause buttons, I taught myself to create/sew magic on the sewing machine (watching sewing tutorial videos). It’s taken me over five years of sewing practise to get to the level that I am now and my aim is to remove the barriers that I faced whilst learning to sew.
Did a family member or friend inspire you to sew?
Unlike most people I know who sew, no members of my inner circle, neither friends nor family can sew clothes. I was in need of a hobby that didn't include cooking or baking to destress after most tough days teaching at my Inner-London primary teaching job.
What is it you love about sewing?
At the forefront of my love for sewing has to be the freedom to make any item of clothing I want in any fabric I wish for. I also love what switching off to sew does for my mental health.
What has been your favourite item/garment to sew?
My favourite garment to sew was a strapless red evening gown I made in the final of The Great British Sewing Bee season five. The dress has a very special place in my heart.
What has been your most challenging sewing project?
The most challenging sewing project I have ever done was a swimsuit I made on the show as well. It was my first time working with a four way stretch fabric and powermesh. Also, it was my first time using a coverstitch machine.
Juliet, in 2019 you won the Great Britain Sewing Bee. Tell me about that experience on the show and what has changed for you since?
I won the show in 2019 and it was one of the most challenging and exciting experiences I have ever been involved in. I learnt to work very well under pressure with all the camera crew and tough judging. Also, the show enabled me to use a range of fabrics and techniques that I had never encountered in my sewing journey. Above all, I met so many awesome people.
Since winning I have been very busy and I have started the Sew So Natural YouTube channel.
What would you say to someone who is keen to learn to sew?
To anyone who is keen to learn to sew, I would say, borrow or buy that sewing machine, switch it on and get started immediately. Don't overthink it, you will make many mistakes but use them as important lessons. Watch as many videos, free or purchased, and don't give up.
What is one of your dream sewing projects?
My dream sewing project is to sew a designer inspired dress to wear on a cruise for my 40th birthday in three years time.
Words by Jacqui Taylor