Tony R, as the show refers to him, works as a postman from Bude, however, he has been flexing his tailoring prowess with his inclusion in this year’s series of BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee.
The show, which is now airing it’s fifth week, hopes to find the best sewers and seamstresses in the country and Tony is hoping to show the judges what he’s made of with his 90’s inspired fashion.
When he’s not enjoying the Cornish coast, delivering post, skateboarding along the promenade or whizzing down the country lanes on one of his many bikes, Tony can be found sat behind his sewing machine making everything from cycling gear to 90’s skater fashion.
“I am a self taught sewer, everything I’ve learnt, I’ve either figured out myself, through trial and error or as a last resort, gleaned from the internet,” Tony explained. “I started sewing in 2019 after reigniting my attempts at crafting (knitting and crochet) after a few years off. I initially started making project bags to put my yarn in, and then went from there.
“What I love about sewing is the process of breaking something down into smaller bits to achieve greater things, and of course the fact you get something tangible at the end!”
Tony is now entering his fifth week in the sewing room, having competed to create a dress with cut-out details, a swimsuit for open water swimming, a boubous (a dramatic and flowing wide sleeved robe worn by men and women across West Africa), and create an outfit from a second-hand crochet blanket.
“Walking into the sewing room for the first time was utter madness, I’m a big fan of the show and to be actually there with 11 other sewers was incredible,” said Tony. “Knowing what could be coming up in the first week, I was terrified of the transformation challenge as I think this is my weakest area. I was however really excited to show my made to measure as I think this sets the tone of who you are as a sewer.
“All the other Bees are incredible, we are all so different, but all joined by the love of making things. We have all bonded so quickly, it’s going to be really difficult to see anyone leave.”
However, with Tony representing Cornwall, he believes that even more people should get involved with sewing, telling those new to the craft to “Just keep going… make mistakes (don’t get too annoyed with yourself), learn from them and keep going. Sewing is such a great thing to be able to do and there is so much to learn too.”
To keep up with his journey, catch The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC One or IPlayer.