Great British Sewing Bee

Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Specials 2020

The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special (No. 1 ) – Picture Shows:  Esme Young, Joe Lycett, Patrick Grant – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 2020

The Great British Sewing Bee is on BBC One for the second time this year with two Christmas celebrity special episodes

The Great British Sewing Bee is back with two celebrity Christmas specials episodes and we are thrilled to have another chance to enjoy this TV show! Returning to BBC One again in 2020, it’s our chance to get a sewing fix over the festive season. We will be updating you with everything you need to know about the challenges and celebrities taking part here on the blog.

When will the Sewing Bee Christmas Special be on TV?

The two special sewing bee series will air on BBC One in the UK on Boxing Day (26th December 2020) and New Year’s Eve (31st December 2020) at 8pm. Each episode will be an hour long and include many of the challenges we have seen in previous sewing bee series. Earlier this year series 6 aired on BBC One and included ten episodes along with twelve contestants, all trying to be crowned Britain’s best home sewer.

Where can I see the trailer for the Celebrity Sewing Bee special?

Right here! Watch the BBC trailer for The Great British Sewing Bee Celebrity Christmas Special on YouTube below to get a sneak peak at what is in store for us!


Who are the celebrity contestants for the Sewing Bee Christmas Special?

Judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young return along with presenter Joe Lycett and a group of celebrities who take on special sewing challenges. Celebrities include Sara Pascoe, Dr Ranj Singh, Denise Van Outen, Shirley Ballas, Lesley Joseph, The Vivienne, Sabrina Grant and Sally Philips. How will these celebrities fair with a sewing machine? Will they need help from the judges to complete their challenges?

Find out more about judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young and presenter Joe Lycett here from our ultimate guide to The Great British Sewing Bee series 6 from earlier in 2020.

Sara Pascoe – comedian and actor, she has featured in TV shows including 8 out of 10 Cats, Countdown, QI and Taskmaster. She has written two books, Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body (2016) and Sex Power Money (2019).

Dr Ranj Singh – paediatric NHS doctor, television present, author and columnist, he is also been a contestant on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing. He has written two books, Food Fuel and Skelebones, a Sunday Times bestselling cook book.

Denise Van Outen – actress, singer, dancer and presenter, she presented The Big Breakfast and has also been a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. Denise played Roxie Hart in the West End and Broadway’s musical Chicago and narrates several TV Shows.

Shirley Ballas – ballroom dancer and teacher, she is head judge on Strictly Come Dancing. Shirley has won several championships earning the nickname The Queen of Latin.


The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special Special (No. 1 ) Sara Pascoe, Shirley Ballas, Denise Van Outen, Dr Ranj Singh – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon.

Lesley Joseph – actress and broadcaster, she is best known for her part as Dorien Green in the TV series Birds of a Feather in the 1990s. She has also performed on stage in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Calendar Girls and Annie.

The Vivienne – the stage name for James Lee Williams, is a drag queen best known as the first UK RuPaul’s Drag Race ambassador. Subsequently, The Vivienne was awarded an online BBC Three TV series The Vivienne Takes on Hollywood.

Sabrina Grant – presenter of Channel 4’s award-winning documentary Supershoppers, she has a passion for sustainable fashion. Sabrina has also worked in wardrobe and costume for Naked Attraction, Lawful Killing: Mark Duggan and Two Days in the Smoke.

Sally Philips – actress, television presenter and comedian. She was a writer for the comedy Smack the Pony and is also known for starting in Miranda, I’m Alan Partridge, Parents, Bridget Jones and guest appearance in Veep.


The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity New Year Special. Sally Phillips, Lesley Joseph, Sabrina Grant, The Vivienne – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

How many episodes are there for the celebrity Sewing Bee special?

There will be two special sewing bee episodes this Christmas and as usual three challenges for the celebrity contestants to take part in. In the first episode, celebrities will sew festive pyjama bottoms, followed by sewing fancy dress outfits for dogs in the transformation challenge. The final challenge will be to create a Christmas dress. In the second episode of the sewing bee Christmas special, the celebrities are challenged to sew a girl’s party dress, transform garments into a magical pantomine outfit and finally create a New Year’s Eve dress.

Christmas Sewing Bee celebrity Episode guide 2020

We’ll be bringing you all the pattern picks from both special sewing be episodes after the programmes have aired so you can recreate these looks for your handmade wardrobe. We will be sharing the details here including projects sewn by the celebrities and the sewing patterns featured, from independent and commercial pattern companies. In previous series contestants have faced three tasks per episode including a pattern challenge, upcycling challenge and to create their own garment for a theme. In the pattern challenge they all make the same garment, using the same paper pattern. For the upcycling challenge, they must turn an existing item of clothing into something completely new in only 90 minutes. In the final most challenging task, they must create a perfect garment, sewn to fit a model.

Episode 1

The first challenge for the celebrity contestants was to make a pair of pyjamas, comprising of five pattern pieces. The pyjamas have a waistband with ribbon threaded through two buttonholes to create a tie waste. Here are two indie pyjama sewing patterns that could be used to recreate these pyjamas at home. Pyjamas are the perfect beginner dressmaking pattern to try and also great gifts for friends and family.

pyjama top and bottoms

Jaimie Pyjama bottoms and shorts by Tilly and the Buttons

Lounge in style in your me-made pyjama bottoms or shorts. With simple construction and a free step-by-step video tutorial, Jaimie is an ideal first sewing project for newbies, or a quick and satisfying make for existing stitch addicts. Choose between full-length pyjama bottoms or flirty boyfriend shorts, with an optional drawstring detail. The low-rise, elasticated waist and relaxed-fit leg make these PJs oh so comfy to wear. You’ll never want to get dressed when you’re wearing your Jaimie jammies! Available as a paper pattern and in sizes 0 – 10 (UK 4 – 24).

Night Garden PJ Set by Sew to Grow

Get a restful night’s sleep in the Night Garden PJ Set. The wide-leg pants feature a satin ribbon tie, pockets, and a contrast cuff. Make them on their own or pair them with the simple adjustable-strap camisole. This PJ set would sew up beautifully in a quilting weight cotton, or make it in rayon for a completely luxurious feel! Available in paper or PDF format from our online sewing pattern shop. Sizes XS – 4XL (approx. UK 8 – 26).

The third challenge saw the celebrities make a Christmas Day dress for their model. The celebrities were helped initially by having their pattern pieces cut out for them.

Denise’s Christmas Day Dress

A Christmas pudding dress made with brown sateen fabric, had a full circle skirt over netting, a fitted bodice and invisible zipper at the back. We have a few sewing pattern suggestions to recreate this outfit below that have similar design features.

Simplicity Amazing Fit S8096 – this dress has strap and length variations plus individual pattern pieces for B, C, D, DD cup sizes. Make in cotton print for day or use lace overlay for a special occasion. Available in paper format, sizes FF (18W-20W- 22W-24W) GG (26W-28W-30W-32W), approx. UK sizes FF (14/16 –20/22), GG (24–30/32).

Rosie Dress and Skirt by Sew Over It – The Rosie Dress has a boned, princess seamed bodice. (With no armsyce it’s easy to fit here!) The full skirt features a box pleat at the front, with flattering gathers at the sides and back. The dress closes at the centre back with an invisible zip. The Rosie Dress pattern comes complete with three different variations. Variation 1 features a pretty vintage-inspired collar with wide straps for a holiday-chic look.  Variation 2 has a gentle sweetheart neckline with dainty rouleau straps. Variation 3 is a versatile skirt that will take you from season to season. Available in paper format, sizes UK 8 – 20.

Vogue Patterns Vintage V2902 – An original 1952 design, this below mid-calf length, lined dress has a fitted bodice, circular skirt, side zipper, inside belt and contrast band extending into shoulder straps. Available in paper format, sizes A (6-8-10), D (12-14-16), FW (18-20-22), approx. UK sizes A (4/6 – 6/8), D (8 – 12), FW (14 – 18/20).

Ranj’s Christmas Day Dress

A glamorous self drafted dress with one shoulder with a wrap skirt made in scuba fabric and finished off with rhinestone embellishments.

Shirley’s Christmas Day Dress

A wrap dress with pleated waist detail and fluted skirt made in Lyrca. Shirley used Vogue Patterns V8379. This wrap front dress has soft pleats, a side tie, and sleeve variations. Dress B has a collar. Moderate stretch knits only: matte jersey, silk jersey. Available as a paper pattern in sizes BB (8-10-12-14), FF (16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes BB (6 – 10), FF (12 – 18/20).


Sara’s Christmas Day Dress

Sara chose to make a loose fitting wrap dress from tartan fabric with flared draped sleeves and a full skirt. The pattern used was Butterick B6554.

Episode 2

The first challenge for the celebrity contestants was to make a child’s party skirt, comprising of an elasticated waist, two layers of net and a lining. Here is an indie skirt sewing pattern that could be used to recreate this skirt at home. Children’s clothes are the perfect beginner dressmaking patterns to try and also great presents for little ones.

Child/ Baby circle skirt by Elemeno Patterns – This is a digital sewing pattern to make a super cute skirt for babies and toddlers. It’s a really quick sew and so adorable. Make with woven or knit fabric, for sizes 5-6T.

The third challenge saw the celebrities make a party dress inspired by their most memorable New Year’s Eve for their model. We have hunted out the patterns used by the celebrities for this final challenge so you can make them at home for your own handmade wardrobes!

Lesley’s New Year’s Eve dress

Lesley made the Rose Dress by Sew La Di Da Vintage with a sweetheart neckline and net skirt. Rose is an iconic 1950s style frock with a fit and flare style and inverted pleats. Wearing a net petticoat will make the skirt flare more exaggeratedly, emphasising the contrast between your waist and hips for an hourglass effect; although using a stiff brocade fabric often renders a petticoat unnecessary, thanks to the clever box pleats! Metallics, bold prints, satin and crepe make Rose perfect for any special occasion, whilst cottons, florals and denim see her transformed into a versatile day dress for all seasons – try wearing her with a shirt underneath as a pinafore for the chillier months! Alternatively, scuba and neoprene fabrics bring Rose to the cutting edge of fashion. Available as a PDF pattern or PDF + printed copy shop, UK sizes 6 – 18.

Sally’s New Year’s Eve dress

Sally made her dress using the Kwik Sew pattern K4057 with added waist bow and pockets. The dress has a ribbon bow through the neckline channel. Sizes XS – XL.

Sabrina’s New Year’s Eve dress

Sabrina chose to make Simplicity S8330. Arrive at your next special occasion in a gorgeous open back mermaid style gown or choose a classic little black dress. This pattern is versatile enough to give you both looks. The sleeveless halter dresses can be made short, long with a leg slit or with a mermaid tail of tulle. Dresses features an invisible zipper and a button and loop closure on neck band. Available as a paper pattern, sizes D5 (4-6-8-10-12) or P5 (12-14-16-18-20) approx. UK sizes D5 (4/6 – 8), P5 (8– 16).

The Vivienne’s New Year’s Eve dress

The Vivienne made a glamorous self drafted dress with a fishtail skirt and two-piece bust cups in a gold sequin stretchy fabric.


The Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special (No. 1 ) Esme Young, Joe Lycett, Patrick Grant – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon.


Disclaimer: Please note that this page about The Great British Sewing Bee is not linked to or endorsed by the BBC programme/Love Productions. Where images are not our own they remain the copyright of the author. 

Related posts

Great British Sewing Bee 2024 – Sewing Patterns S10 Ep1

Read post

Top 10 A-Line Skirt Sewing Patterns

Read post

The Brand Edit: Esme Young

Read post

The Great British Sewing Bee 2023 – Series 9 Sewing Inspiration

Read post
Leave a Reply