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Great British Sewing Bee

Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Specials 2021

Esme Young, Sara Pascoe, Patrick Grant – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: James Stack

Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 2021


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 special episodes and we are thrilled to have another chance to enjoy our favourite TV show! Returning to BBC One again in 2021, 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 Wednesday 22nd December 2021 at 8 pm and Thursday 30th December 2021 at 9 pm. 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 7 aired on BBC One and included ten episodes along with twelve contestants, all trying to be crowned Britain’s best home sewer.

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

Judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young return along with brand new presenter Sara Pascoe and a group of celebrities who take on special sewing challenges. Celebrities include Rev Kate Bottley, Antony Cotton, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Anneka Rice, Lawrence Chaney, Rose Matafeo, Claire Richards and Kirsty Wark. 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 in our ultimate guide to The Great British Sewing Bee.

Sara Pascoe, Patrick Grant, Esme Young – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: James Stack

 

Rev Kate Bottley – Church of England Priest who has written for newspapers such as The Guardian and Independent, has featured on TV shows including on Channel 4’s popular programme, GoggleBox, and radio broadcasts including Radio 4.

Antony Cotton – actor and comedian best known for his role in Coronation Street and Queer as Folk and as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! (2011).

Kiell Smith-Bynoe – actor who is best known for his role in the BBC One sitcom, Ghosts and his role in the BBC One crime drama, Death in Paradise (2020).

Anneka Rice – a well-known television presenter, broadcaster and journalist. Anneka studied painting in 1995 and has painted ever since.

 

Antony Cotton, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Anneka Rice, The Reverend Kate Bottley – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: James Stack

 

Lawrence Chaney – drag performer and winner of Ru Paul’s UK Drag Race (2020) which aired on the BBC.

Rose Matafeo – comedian, actress, TV presenter and writer, she is best known for the BBC television series Starstruck (2021) that she created, co-wrote and starred in.

Claire Richards – singer-songwriter and dancer in the pop group, Steps. She is has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother (2013) and is a regular panellist on Loose Women.

Kirsty Wark – journalist, newsreader, and television presenter, best known for BBC2’s news and current affairs TV show, Newsnight.

 

Lawrence Chaney, Claire Richards, Kirsty Wark, Rose Matafeo – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: James Stack

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 a Christmas jumper, followed by sewing fancy dress outfits in the transformation challenge. The final challenge will be to create dresses from Christmas past. In the second episode of the sewing bee Christmas special, the celebrities are challenged to sew a festive waistcoat, transform old clothes into children’s party frocks and finally make a fitted, food-themed fancy dress outfit!

Christmas Sewing Bee celebrity Episode guide 2021

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 the previous series, contestants have faced three tasks per episode including a pattern challenge, upcycling challenge and creating 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.

Patrick Grant, Sara Pascoe, Esme Young – (C) Love Productions – Photographer: James Stack

Pattern picks: Episode 1

Pattern challenge 1: Christmas jumper

The first challenge of the celebrity series was to sew a Christmas jumper. The pattern was formed of five pieces including front, back, sleeves and neckband. We have lots of jumper sewing pattern options you can make and appliqué with a Christmas design. Below are our top three jumper options, which are all similar to the pattern used in the TV show.

Sidney Sweatshirt – Merchant and Mills

Sidney is a boxy sweatshirt with a loose crew neck and finger skimming sleeves. To get the structured boxy shape, choose a medium to heavy weight cloth. Sweatshirting, jersey loopback and cotton jacquards are ideal. Ribbing for the neckline, cuffs and hem.

Sizing: UK 6 – 18 or UK 18 – 28 (approx. UK 6 – 16/18 or UK 18 – 28/30, based on our standardised size chart). Available in the shop: Yes, paper, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.

 

Emilien Jumper – I AM Patterns

I am Emilien, the classic sailor jumper. My principal feature is my left shoulder button placket which opens and closes using three snap fasteners. In a navy blue woollen fabric, I’ll be your partner for the seaside. But you can also sew me in more sporty or urban versions with jersey knits.

Sizing: 36 – 46 (approx. UK 6 – 14), based on our standardised size chart). Available in the shop: Paper, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.

 

Unisex Jackson Tee and Pullover – Helen’s Closet 

The Jackson Tee and Pullover is ready to be a workhorse in your wardrobe. This gender-inclusive design is great for you and excellent for your family and friends, too. All views have a classic unisex fit with a slightly dropped shoulder and crew neck. The pullover features knit bands for the cuffs and a hem that can be sewn in matching ribbing if desired. Two lengths are provided for both the tee and pullover so it’s easy to suit yourself or the person you are sewing it for. You simply can’t have too many Jacksons!

Sizing: US 0 – 34 (approx. UK 6 – 34), based on our standardised size chart. Available in the shop: PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.

Pattern challenge 2: Dresses from Christmas Past

The third challenge of the celebrity series was to sew a dress from Christmas past to fit a model in just five hours. For each celebrity we have found the pattern they used in the BBC1 TV show so you can make your own version.

Rev Kate Bottley’s Dress from Christmas Past

Features: A festive kaftan with princes lines, ruffles in a metallic lurex fabric

Pattern: Vintage 1979 Vogue V7251. Loose fitting pullover caftan with six pattern pieces.

Available in the shop: No, try reselling sites such as Ebay or Etsy for a second hand copy.

 

Anneka Rice’s Dress from Christmas Past

Features: A festive jumpsuit with exposed gold zip, sparkly bow tie and elasticated stirrups.

Pattern: Vogue V1506.This semi-fitted, lined, wide-legged, sleeveless jumpsuit (close-fitting through the bust) has front extending into back collar (cut on crosswise grain) and invisible front zipper closing.

Sizing: Y (XS-S-M), ZZ (L-XL-XXL), approx. UK sizes Y (4 – 10), ZZ (12 – 24). Available in the shop: Yes, a paper pattern.

 

Antony Cotton’s Dress from Christmas Past

Features: A Christmas present floor length dress with 8m long red satin bow.

Pattern: Simplicity S1609Misses’ 1960’s Vintage Dress. This sleeveless, modern take on the classic A-line dress has center font seam, dramatic darts for fitting and back zipper. Make this dress with a scalloped edge collar, neck bow or simple round neckline.

Sizing: H5 (6-8-10-12-14) R5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes H5 (4/6 – 10), R5 (10– 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

 

Kiell Smith-Bynoe’s Dress from Christmas Past

Features: Mrs Claus Dress with faux fur trim and matching hat.

Pattern: New Look 6145. Knee length shift dress has wide round neckline with or without bias-cut stand collar and can be made sleeveless or with 3/4, short or pleated sleeves.

Sizing: A (8-10-12-14-16-18) which is approx. UK sizes A (6 – 14) based on our standardised size chartAvailable in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

 

Pattern picks: Episode 2

Pattern challenge 1: Christmas Waistcoat

The first challenge of this episode was to sew a Christmas waistcoat. The pattern is simple with front pieces, back piece, lining but no fixings at the front. We have several waistcoat sewing pattern options you can make and embellish with a Christmas theme. Below are our top three waistcoat options, which you can hack to simplify.

Belvedere Waistcoat – Thread Theory

Sew a timeless waistcoat with the Belvedere Waistcoat pattern! It’s the perfect minimalist piece to wear to formal events. This design features a curved back seam and long darts to fit the garment close to the body. It includes a back neckline facing for a high-end professional finish.

Sizing: XS – 4XL. Available in the shop: Yes, paper, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.

Mr London Waistcoat – Sew La Di Da Vintage

Mr London is a stylish 1930s inspired waistcoat cut to give a slimming silhouette, with faux pockets, button fastenings, tabs and contrasting trim at the back. The faux pockets streamline the front and are easy for novice sewists, but if you are up for the challenge and confident they won’t get stuffed full of used handkerchiefs, why not make them into real pockets? Mr London is a perfect day-to-day waistcoat that’ll smarten up any outfit.

Sizing: XS – XL (35″ – 47″ chest). Available in the shop: Yes, PDF or PDF + printed copy shop.

Butterick B6745

Butterick B6745 is a lined-to-edge waistcoat with five variations. A, B: Pockets in side-front seams and pointed front hems. B: Collar. C, D: Front and back princess seams, and buttonhole closures. C: V-neckline. D: Scoop neckline. E: Extended shoulder seams.

Sizing: Y (XS-S-M) ZZ (L-XL-XXL), which is approx. UK sizes Y (4/6 – 8/10), ZZ (12/14– 22/24) based on our standardised size chart. Available in the shop: Yes, paper.

Pattern challenge 2: Food-themed fancy dress outfit

The third challenge of the celebrity series was to sew a food-themed fancy dress outfit to fit a model in just five hours. For each celebrity we have found the pattern they used in the BBC1 TV show so you can make your own version.

Lawrence Chaney’s food-themed fancy dress outfit

Features: Pigs in blankets’ inspired comprising velvet sausage and streaky scuba bacon.

Pattern: Elements of this dress were self-drafted but Vogue© Patterns knit dress V9264 could be used to create a similar look. This close-fitting dress has front and back princess seams and length variations. Lawrence’s dress bodice had darts rather than princess seams and you would need to hack it by adding a gathered tier to the hem of the dress.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), E5 (10 – 18/20). Available in the shop: Yes, a paper pattern.

Rose Matafeo’s food-themed fancy dress outfit

Features: Fondue Set with puff sleeves, invisible zip, cheese fringing and ‘fork gloves’

Pattern: McCalls M8108. This empire seam gathered dress has length, neckline and strap variations.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), F5 (16-18-20-22-24), approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), F5 (12– 20/22). Available in the shop: Yes, a paper pattern.

 

Claire Richards’s food-themed fancy dress outfit

Features: Ice cream sundae with tulle gathers and pipe cleaner sprinkled cape.

Pattern: Elements of this dress were self drafted including the layers of tulle but Butterick B6479 would be a good place to start. The dress is a close fit and pull-on with a cape that could be hacked into the ice cream topper. The dress would need to be hacked to scoop out the neck and extra volume added to the cape.

Sizing: A5 (6-8-10-12-14), E5 (14-16-18-20-22), which is approx. UK sizes A5 (4/6 – 10), E5 (10 – 18/20) based on our standardised size chart. Available in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

 

Kirsty Wark’s food-themed fancy dress outfit

Features: Hogmanay Buffet with Haggis bon bons, kale pillbox hat and smoked salmon blini.

Pattern: A close match to this embellished top and dress would be Simplicity S9264. This top has a boxy silhouette and hidden pockets. It also comes with a pull-on elasticated waist skirt with pleat gathers and side-seam pockets. You would need to omit the hidden pockets or the top and gather the skirt instead of sewing the pleats to recreate Kirsty’s look.

Sizing: A (XXS-XS-S-M-L-XL) which is approx. UK sizes A (4-20) based on our standardised size chartAvailable in the shop: Yes, paper pattern.

 

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. 

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