3 May 2013

It's Ann!


What an amazing lady! Ann Rowley kept her cool during challenge after challenge, methodically and meticulously stitching her way to glory. 75 years of sewing experience really showed, as did her yoga practice. Yes, I took up yoga after meeting Ann. And yes, I sat at her feet during the breaks to feed off her sewing wisdom. Let's hear from the wonder woman herself...

Thanks for joining us, Ann! What are your favourite things to make for yourself?
"I make everything I wear except for underwear, nightwear and t-shirts - all these are too boring! I most enjoy working with wool, jackets and coats. Basically anything that challenges me. But I also knit, crochet, embroider and quilt – anything that uses my hands and a needle."

Do you have a favourite pattern?
"No, I don’t use the same pattern twice – I bore easily..."


What are your top sewing tips?
"Preparation, preparation, preparation. Make sure you have everything you need before starting and that you understand the pattern. Work slowly and methodically and enjoy the process."

What would you say to anyone who has seen the show and is thinking of learning to sew?
"Have a go! It’s not rocket science, and the more you sew the better you will become."

How did you find taking part in the show?
"One of the most interesting and challenging things I’ve done! Incredibly hard work – I’ve never worked against the clock before – but a real test of my abilities."

How did you find watching yourself on television?
"Strange to see yourself as others see you, but not too toe-curling..."

What was your best moment on the show?
"The finale!"

Your worst moment?
"Those awful pockets in the second episode. My mind went totally blank – Patrick’s 'You could do better' was the understatement of the show."

Your funniest moment?
"Reading Alison Pearson’s column in the Daily Telegraph. And Stuart..."

Your fondest memory of taking part?
"Meeting all the other contestants - such a wonderful and caring group. It’s great to see the impact that this series has had and I really hope that it will start some sort of revival and help to spread the joy of sewing."



What are you doing now or what plans do you have for the future?
"I’m doing a patchwork class and a crochet block-of-the-month. Nice change of pace after the the show and I love going to classes. I continue to help with sewing problems on Stitcher's Guild, a lively, international community of needle women (and a few men)."

Congratulations, Ann - you are an inspiration to us all!

39 comments:

  1. Great interview! And, I very much enjoyed watching Ann (a very well deserved winner!) and all the contestants - I can't wait to watch the next series :)

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  2. She is such a sweet person! I loved how he always stayed clam, she deserved to win. She reminded me a lot of my grandmother (who first introduced me to sewing) and of Claire Shaeffer (whose sewing books and dvds I absolutely love!)

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  3. Ann certainly is an inspiration and thanks for the link to the stichers guild it is just what I was looking for.

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  4. Love Ann. I want to be just like her when I grow up. (mind you I am 55...but there is time yet)

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  5. I love Ann so much, do you think she would accept another grandchild into her fold? ;)

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  6. What a great interview - and that tip about preparation and taking your time is priceless! I find it is so easy to rush just to get finished! So, thanks! :-)

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  7. I loved Ann on the show! She inspired me to take it slowly and be more meticulous. But if I made sure I totally understood a pattern before starting, I would never sew anything. I never ever understand everything about constructing a piece. But I'll take her advice and keep at it, I'll get better....

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  8. My crafting group - average age probably 50-ish - was certain they wouldn't 'let' Ann win, that they would want a younger contestant win to boost the image of sewing. I thought that was really sad. Much as I loved and admired many of the others, I couldn't see how Ann could not win, she was so cool and collected and she turned out such sharp work. I'm completely in awe of her!

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  9. Thanks for the interview! She's an inspiration to all. I loved her calm under pressure, too.

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  10. The phrase 'national treasure' is oft misused but not in this case. Ann surely is a national treasure with her calm unflappable approach not just to sewing but I suspect to life in general.

    The whole series and lovely participants has inspired me to dust off my machine, dig out some old patterns and get making unique quality clothes again.

    Great interview Tilly! :-)

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  11. I love this woman. Even my husband was rooting for her. He said she did things the old way, though what he knows of the "old Ways", I have no clue.

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  12. My Nana taught my Mum to sew, and my Mum taught me. My Nana died when I was six. But I like to think, had she lived longer and we'd have been able to spend time together, she'd have been like Ann - passing on knowledge and the sheer love of sewing, and having a smile and a laugh along the way.

    A worthy winner - congratulations Ann!

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  13. Superb Tilly - thanks so much for cornering Ann into doing this interview. Keep teaching the masses about sewing Ann - it's a fantastic skill to teach and with your patience and dogged determination, I'm sure you make learning a pleasure for students of the guild

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  14. I enjoyed watching all of you on the show. Thanks for doing these individual interviews, Tilly.

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  15. Yay! Ann is an inspiration and I think we all want to be that amazing when we grow up :)

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  16. Well done Ann - what a wonderful woman!

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  17. I love, love, LOVE Ann!! She's what I aspire to be when I grow up... I don't mean her sewing skills alone, but her keep calm and carry on and quick thinking and ready to help anyone who asks for sewing help! And Gosh! So full of energy!!

    And Oh my!, That yoga pose in which she was hanging upside down!! Oooooooh!

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  18. Ann is truly and inspiration! I she hadn't won the GBSB, I would have had to fly to England and find out why! Thanks, Tilly for providing this interview.

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  19. What an inspiration and what a great interview. And I love her point about enjoying the process. All too often it's too easy to focus on the end product and forget to enjoy the journey! She really is wise!

    Thanks Tilly!

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  20. I loved Ann! I wish she had a blog... Did she come up with the design for that sewing case / pin cushion herself? I'd love to see closer pictures, I really want to make one now.

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  21. Thank you so much for doing these follow-up interviews. Ann' sewing skills are so impressive, along with her warmth, but so is her style. Crocheters everywhere will be replicating that gorgeous scarf she was wearing!

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  22. I can't wait to have 75 years of sewing experience under my belt! Ann is my idol.

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  23. Ann is such an inspiration! I am so happy that she won the show!

    Tilly, do you think Ann could be convinced to blog?

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  24. Geronimo! This show was an inspiration- I watched all 4 episodes yesterday and I'm ready to spend some time getting more familiar with my darn sewing machine. I was so impressed with Ann's passion for the craft and cool calm during the time trials. I need to learn to be more careful and plan my way through a project!

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  26. Oops. Messed up there. What I said was...Ann is so inspiring. Her no-nonsense approach, her vigor, her talent. Oh how i wish there were more Anns at the helm. ;-)

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  27. Tilly, thank you for the interview with Ann.. What an amazing lady.. Her skills and kindness is so evident in her. She seems to be a super nice/caring lady.. Congrats Ann.
    My wishes--- I would love to be taught by her.

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  28. Ann is amazing. I enjoyed watching her just work and getting it done. Brava!

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  29. great show and a great final. Love all of the contestants!

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  30. I loved Ann from the start ~ what an amazing woman and a brilliant sewist. Congratulations, Ann. You deserve it.

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  31. Ann is my stitching hero! :-)
    Carly
    x

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  32. Thank you for this, Tilly! Ann is everything I love about sewing. I adore her - what an ambassador! In addition to her Stitcher's Guild contributions, her flickr stream is FULL FULL FULL of her sewing including tutorials, so a very nice place to spend some time! http://www.flickr.com/photos/7370831@N07/

    Petra
    (Born on the Bias)

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  33. LOOK at her in that teal dress! I hope I'm like her when I'm 80.

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  34. Now that I'm finally caught up on the show, I can read and comment! Ann seems like a very lovely person, and it must have been such a privilege to meet and work with her! Her story of lifelong sewing is very inspiring, and I'm glad she got some well-deserved recognition for it!

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  35. Ann showed firstly that experience and practice really DO count, secondly that you are never too old too enjoy fashion, learn new things and have fun!

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  36. lovely interview .such a spritely interesting lady .I love the fact she still makes her own clothes .such an inspiration

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  37. What a lege! (As in legend, not sure how you abbreviate that word!) xx

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  38. Hello! I am Vanessa from Germany. I just watched the series on Youtube and I loved it! I think you were all amazing and did an incredible job! It was so much fun to watch you sewing. I enjoy sewing myself very much but mostly bags and home stuff.

    Huge fan of you all :-)
    Best regards, Vanessa

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