Angeline has it sewn up on Great British Sewing Bee

Angeline Murphy
Angeline Murphy

A Magheralin woman seems to have it all sewn up on the BBC’s latest hit series The Great British Sewing Bee.

Angeline Murphy is the first local contestant to appear on the popular BBC show and is pitted against nine other amateur stitchers as they prepare for clothy battle, with three new garment challenges each week.

And already she has won Garment of the Week on the hit series.

The 30-year-old says her granny inspired her love of sewing. “My first memories of sewing were watching my granny stitch me up a duck. I was in awe at how she could create something from my request as a child.”

But it wasn’t until Angeline started university 10 years ago that she started sewing herself. Her brother bought her a sewing machine for a Christmas present and her first project was a pair of curtains for her future husband. Since then her sewing skills have been in further demand.

Angeline, who is originally from Kilkeel, married Feargal Murphy in July last year and is an accomplished athlete having taken part in several marathons and triathalons.

In search of a new sewing challenge, she decided to enter The Great British Sewing Bee, which replicates the formula of The Great British Bake Off, with dresses rather than desserts.

Angeline, who works as a marketing manager with firmus energy, describes being selected from 10,000 entrants as “unbelievable”. “It was a rigorous process which involved telephone interviews, flights to and from London for TV interviews before finally getting the call in January to say we would be starting to film in March this year.”

The show, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, has more than 3.5 million viewers hooked. “The judges are tough this year,” said Angeline. “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.”

She added that the time pressures intensified the challenge. “The sewing room was intense with about 30 people behind the cameras...and the crew asking you ‘how are you getting on?’ ‘do you think you’ll finish?’.”

Angeline is tight-lipped about the outcome of the show, but has recently developed a new website and has received a number of commissions.

She said: “I hope to take sewing classes in the near future for people to learn to sew fashionable garments. I want to take away the stigma that sewing is for our older generation.”

• The Great British Sewing Bee will be screened on Monday at 9pm on BBC2.