Esme is sew good at Farsley Literature Festival

Esme Young, thanks to Truman Books for the photo

As a lover of all things Farsley and a fan of The Great British Sewing Bee I was thrilled when the series upped sticks from down south and headed north to Sunnybank Mills, where we know a thing or two about textiles, fashion and sewing, writes Anne Akers.

I love to see the opening credits showing our fabulous town and the surrounding area, Yorkshire really is very beautiful! But it delighted me even more to see that Esme Young, one of the show’s presenters, was to headline at the first ever Farsley Literature Festival, Ink Slingers.

The evening with Esme at the Old Woollen to discuss her book Behind the Seams, immediately sold out with festival co-organiser and owner of Truman Books Amanda Truman quickly setting up a book signing at the new School of Sew in the mills to help meet the demand.

Esme managed to take time out from book signing to tour the mills and inspect the archives, which are regularly open to the public.

I bagged tickets early for my friend Ruth and I. She’s am amazing seamstress, always making something lovely. I’m an occasional stitcher, so not in the same league, but knew I was with sewing stars when we sat at a table with two former Sewing Bee contestants, all wearing stunning outfits. Esme would be very proud.

Of course Esme is more than the co-presenter of the programme (along with Leeds University Alumni Paddy Grant).

During the evening she shared stories and anecdotes of her Swinging Sixties times and then later, casually dropping names such as David Bowie, the Sex Pistols, Renee Zellweger when she was Bridget Jones, and Leonardo DiCaprio, yes, she’s dressed them all!

She’s also co-founder of Swankey Modes, a designer collective and the mastermind behind the Amorphous Dress, first work by Linda Kozlowski in the 1986 movie Crocodile Dundee which featured in the last Sewing Bee. The dress itself is now in the V&A Collection.

It was a delightfully entertaining evening in good company, with the promise of more Sewing Bee stories to be told in Farsley as the series stays put here up north. There’s even a whisper that we may hear from Paddy at next year’s festival. I’m already on the waiting list for tickets.

Ink Slingers runs until November 22.

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