Brighton’s diverse artistry is helping to provide the inspiration for one of the contestants in this year’s Great British Sewing Bee.
Mercedes, 57, one of ten sewers taking part in the BBC show, describes her sewing style as comfortable, definitely not on trend but with a touch of Brighton ‘chic’.
Discussing her reasons for taking part in the Bee, Mercedes said: “I have loved The Great British Sewing Bee since the first episode.
“The acknowledgement that sewing was cool and a television programme could be made just about sewing was amazing.
“So to be part of the Bee was something I just had to do.”
Born in Hammersmith, Mercedes was taught to sew by her Italian grandmother when she was about 10 years old.
“My grandmother had always made my clothes and I just wanted to do the same,” she said.
“I believe the connection sewing gives me to my Grandmother makes sewing my happy place.
“It is something that makes me happy, allows me to unwind and the creative process is just a joy.”
Local to the Brighton area since she was a teenager, Mercedes spent 13 years in the Territorial Army, but now works as a school reprographics technician.
Talking about her time on the show, Mercedes said walking into the sewing room for the first time was a surreal experience.
“I think that I was too nervous to begin with to actually take in where I was,” she said.
“I had no idea if I could complete the pattern challenge or the transformation challenge, so it was not until the first challenge was completed and I finally understood what I personally was capable of, that I managed to take a breath and look around and take in the fact that I was in The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Room.”
Never one to miss an opportunity, Mercedes is constantly looking to create new styles, with Brighton’s expressive character inspiring a number of her designs.
She said: “The diversity, creativity and individualism of Brighton could not fail to inspire anyone.
“From the student population learning to express themselves via the charity and vintage clothes shops to the independent businesses developing new and unique creative outlets.
“Brighton is a place like no other.”
The Great British Sewing Bee continues on BBC Two every Tuesday at 9pm.