Behind the Scenes: Making Thermal Curtains with Lauren Guthrie

Yesterday, as I curled up indoors by a log burner I found myself donned in full winter regalia. Swaddled in my scarf, gloves and bobble hat the January chill had most definitely arrived.

When the weather is grey and we’re wrapped in our finest thermals, it’s tempting to turn up the heating. However, as we know well, this quick heat fix can be expensive and damaging to our environment.

Luckily, last month I was on set with Lauren Guthrie, finalist in the Great British Sewing Bee, as she showed us how to make beautiful and useful thermal curtains to keep our properties and your homes warm and energy efficient as the big freeze sets in.

Since appearing as a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee, Lauren has been busy managing her own lovingly restored sewing supplies shop in Birmingham. She is self taught and now hosts regular sewing workshops, making her the perfect candidate to teach us how to create handmade energy saving measures at home.

Lauren Guthrie, finalist of BBC2's Great British Sewing Bee © Brian Cleckner

Lauren Guthrie, finalist of BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee © Brian Cleckner

We filmed Lauren at a National Trust holiday cottage on the stunning Calke Abbey estate in Derbyshire. The cottage was in need of a small facelift so it was a great opportunity to inject some colour by making vibrant, thermally lined curtains for a bay window in the dining room.

Now, I’m no camerawoman, so this was my chance to gawkily follow the professionals around as they did the real work. We started filming in the middle of a very muddy field where we took several shots of Lauren introducing herself and the work of the National Trust and our partner Good Energy. By the time we had finished the outdoor section of filming we were all very ready for a warming cup of tea; with all this talk of winter and being cold this seemed appropriate.

As the daylight closed-in we began a test shoot for the indoor section of filming. We decided that the videos should be in a step-by-step style. Since it was only a test I had a go at haphazardly handling a camera (I blame being left handed), and also took a few photo stills. After setting up the equipment and getting all the lighting right, we headed to the pub- all in a days work!

The second day of filming was more intense. Lauren got down to business and begun making the curtains. This required measuring, pinning, cutting, sewing, as well as some very skilled camerawork; most of which I could only observe due to my severe lack of talent in any of these areas. This said, with Lauren’s guidance I had a go at rough stitching; let’s just say my Granny would cringe if she could see me in action!

My skillful filming  ©Brian Cleckner

My skillful filming ©Brian Cleckner

By the final day of filming, the curtains were looking lovely and ready to be hung up. If you are interested in creating some beautiful and useful thermal curtains for your own home you can follow our ‘how to’ videos on the Energy and Environment web hub. Honestly, they are much easier to make than I’ve made them sound! In future, I feel my talents may lie far away from any sort of sewing machine or maybe just sharp implements generally…

By Katie Canning, Media and External Affairs Intern

Tweet: @katie_canning

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