A TALENTED seamstress is pinning her hopes on a future in the fashion industry – despite narrowly missing out on the top spot in a popular BBC competition.
Viewers of the Great British Sewing Bee saw Chinelo Bally, 26, from Laindon, beaten to the winning gold mannequin by Heather Jacks, on Tuesday evening.
Although admitting she was “gutted” with the result, Mrs Bally is feeling positive.
She is working on her first fashion line, which will be a fusion of British and Nigerian styles, as seen on the BBC2 show.
Filming for the Great British Sewing Bee, which took place in a converted factory in London, finished in October – meaning Mrs Bally has had to keep tight-lipped for six months.
She said: “I’m quite secretive, so it was actually quite fun having everyone ask me how far I got. It kept them all guessing.
“To get to the final was amazing. I can’t deny I was gutted, but I didn’t mind losing out to Heather.
“The support has been crazy – everyone has been amazing.
The show has been a brilliant platform for me.”
The programme followed the same format as the popular Great British Bake-Off, and saw skilled amateurs whittled down over eight episodes.
Mrs Bally moved to Britain from Nigeria when she was eight, and used her roots to inspire her bright designs.
She mainly uses a freehand method of sewing and measuring, and only started using a sewing machine three years ago when husband Tunde bought her one.
Mrs Bally, who is a devoted member of her local church, spotted a flyer for the Great British Sewing Bee while shopping in Walthamstow with her younger brother.
She said: “Those influences from Africa will always be there. My work’s a real fusion.
I’ve got the clean lines of British design, but with a vibrant twist.
“I’ve had so many messages from young girls saying they’ve been really inspired by the programme, and they don’t see sewing as something old women do anymore.
“That was one of the main things I wanted to achieve.
“I wanted people to see you can make your own fashionable clothes.”