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Sewing bee?

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The Great British Sewing Bee Series 3

The Great British Sewing Bee Series 3

Would you like to join the Great British Sewing Bee for Series 3 in 2014?

stephs stitches.01/04/2013 18:51:40
177 forum posts
111 photos

There's a new tv programme starting this week

called the "Great british sewing bee" . Great! I thought, I would love to see a sewing programme on tv for a change, although the cooking, antique, and gardening programmes are good I'm a bit sick of them.

Anyway to the point; I would love to know where does the phrase "sewing bee" originate? Is the "bee" thing american? is it what in Britain we would call a "sewing circle" if so WHY NOT CALL IT THAT?!

Margaret S01/04/2013 19:29:30
4019 forum posts
755 photos

Hi Steph

Can't answer that. Think it is an american expression. I was just looking up the programme and it said that it hearks back to 'the make do and mend' era, so will be interesting to watch although the presenter drives me nuts!

Personally, the making of an A line skirt and altering a neckline are not challenging, but will be interested to see how they approach the made-to-measure article. Wonder if they will start with a toile? Anything that encourages people to sew is a good thing. Pity that patterns, zips, thread etc are so expensive.

Tuesday night BBC2 8pm.


JillR01/04/2013 19:39:45
935 forum posts
119 photos

I thought it was to do with bees being a social animal and doing things as a group

Marian T01/04/2013 21:12:05
4504 forum posts
466 photos
7 articles

Mmmmm but they also have Spelling Bees too so it may well be just an American thing....Kimmers, our Cranky Yankee should know, where are you Kimmers? What does it mean and where does it originate from? M xx

June01/04/2013 21:14:48
335 forum posts
55 photos

I was told that the 'bee' part came from an Old English word for quickly, so a 'sewing bee' was something where sewing was done quickly. No idea if that's right or not but I like it smiley

June x rose

JillR01/04/2013 21:34:14
935 forum posts
119 photos

found this


Because the word describes people working together in a social group, a common false etymology is that the term derives from the insect of the same name and similar social behavior. According to etymological research recorded in dictionaries, the word in fact probably comes from dialectal been or bean (meaning "help given by neighbors", which came from Middle English bene (meaning "prayer", "boon" and "extra service by a tenant to his lord"[1][2]

Marian T01/04/2013 21:51:46
4504 forum posts
466 photos
7 articles

I also found similar as in

Origin of the Term Spelling Bee

"The word bee, as used in spelling bee, is one of those language puzzles that has never been satisfactorily accounted for. A fairly old and widely-used word, it refers to a community social gathering at which friends and neighbors join together in a single activity (sewing, quilting, barn raising, etc.) usually to help one person or family.
The earliest known example in print is a spinning bee, in 1769. Other early occurrences are husking bee (1816), apple bee (1827), and logging bee (1836). Spelling bee is apparently an American term. It first appeared in print in 1875, but it seems certain that the word was used orally for several years before that.

Those who used the word, including most early students of language, assumed that it was the same word as referred to the insect. They thought that this particular meaning had probably been inspired by the obvious similarity between these human gatherings and the industrious, social nature of a beehive. But in recent years scholars have rejected this explanation, suggesting instead that this bee is a completely different word.
One possibility is that it comes from the Middle English word bene, which means "a prayer" or "a favor" (and is related to the more familiar word boon). In England, a dialect form of this word, been or bean, referred to "voluntary help given by neighbors toward the accomplishment of a particular task." (Webster's Third New International Dictionary).
Bee may simply be a shortened form of been, but no one is entirely certain."
It seems to relate back to bees being social creatures...........Marian

stephs stitches.02/04/2013 19:08:56
177 forum posts
111 photos

Well, thanks for all your replies, very interesting, I had already looked it up on wikipedia and asked around a bit, my conclusion is that the use of the word in this way does come from the american in some way, although it may have origins in English, don't think it's been used in this particular way over here until recently. Which is okay but I prefer the term "sewing circle" or group or even club. for us on this side of the pond.

I do think that the BBC have only used the term so that they will more easily be able to sell the programme overseas.

I'm still looking forward to the programme though. I used to make most of my own clothes many years ago including my wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. I then used the train from the wedding dress to make a christening gown for my first born. But back then fabric was more readily available in many shops and market stalls.

Ahh those were the days smile (sorry about the rant.)

quilt and patch02/04/2013 19:25:05
3489 forum posts
636 photos

BBC 2 at 8pm tonight!

stephs stitches.02/04/2013 19:26:57
177 forum posts
111 photos

I'm ready

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