Read our exclusive interview with sewing extraordinaire Chinelo on her inspiration, the Great British Sewing Bee and what she has in store for the future.
Since I was able to buy my own clothes I had always done quirky little adjustments to them by hand, because I seldom able to find tops that made me think 'wow'. It was tops that was my major problem back then because I hardly wore dresses at that time. I used to design clothes and take my ideas to my tailor who would bring them to life. In 2011 I finally decided I needed my own sewing machine.
I was out fabric shopping in Walthamstow with my little brother and he spotted the poster in one of the shop's window. I took down the details and didn't pluck up enough courage to apply until the last day of entry when I thought "what could I lose?."
You mean apart from being in such close proximities with Patrick ;) ? There were so many; being in a room full of like-minded people from all walks of life, drawing knowledge from them and indeed the judges, Claudia was a star and she kept spirits up in the room when the pressure was really on, the crew were fantastic; I just loved the whole experience.
I felt under immense pressure. Mostly, brought on by myself, it meant a lot to me to do well on the sewing bee.
The hardest challenge had to be that tie, who would have thought that such a little item of clothing could be so complicated.
What I love about creating garments... It is the whole process, from inspiration, to ideas, to actually making and then seeing the live product. I especially love the process of seeing something that inspires me and interpreting it as a garment. It is something I cherish a lot.
I would say I am very unconventional, I don't believe that creativity should be hindered by rules; for me rules hinder the organic flow of creativity so I throw them away, and when I make mistakes I look for the beauty in them and those mistakes become discoveries.
I get inspired by anything and everything. There is beauty all over us, even in the most unusual places we can find something quite spectacular. I remember eating a red velvet cake once and all of a sudden, I was taken aback by the intensity of the rich ruby red against the decadent cream cheese frosting and right there I could picture a dress in my mind.
I love using glamorous fabrics because I love designing beautiful evening gowns; I love really elegant dresses.
I really cannot choose, but for now I have to say I really love the dress I made for Laura Mvula for her performance at Prince's gig in Birmingham.
The first person that comes to mind is Rebecca Ferguson, she wears the kinds of dresses I love to make, she's a very elegant lady.
The best advice I ever received was to always be me and believe in my style and what I do.
They are going really well, I teach the attendees how to make garments using the freehand cutting method. I ran a few doing peplum tops, but now I have started a new set, teaching how to make a maxi dress for the summer months.
I love baking, mainly desserts and cakes; I also like drawing portraits, I am quite a handy person so I generally enjoy anything that involves making.
I'd say go for it! I'm always so excited when people want to take up sewing, especially younger people. I remember when I first got my sewing machine, my younger sister said to me "oh you're such a housewife" and I think that was the general attitude towards sewing amongst the younger generation until Sewing Bee. I have had thousands of emails from young ladies showing their interest to take up sewing and telling me that I inspired them; that has made my Sewing Bee journey so worth it.
Yes there is my clothing brand I am working on. It's called Olivia Kabani - bespoke garments will always be at the heart of it but I plan to mass produce for concessions in boutiques and then eventually bigger high street and department stores.
I love teaching, and I always try to get the message across in a way the receiver will understand it. But I must say, doing it for the camera was a little nerve-racking; trying to find the right words to explain the steps was the biggest challenge I found.
I enjoyed doing the whole thing; I always love a new challenge.
Did I!?? Indeed I did, but I always have my 'poker face' on when I'm under pressure.
It was great working with Create and Craft TV, they took great care of me and the crew were very friendly and professional!
I will definitely do this again. It was a fun day and I enjoyed it.