Great British Sewing Bee: Celebrity Christmas Special 2020
The Great British Sewing Bee is back for a second time in 2020 with a celebrity special over the Christmas holidays
We are so excited that for a second time in 2020 The Great British Sewing Bee is back with celebrity Christmas specials. Returning to the BBC with two special episodes, its our chance to get a fix of sewing over the holidays. The two special sewing bee series will air on BBC One on Boxing Day (26th December 2020) and New Year’s Eve (31st December 2020). 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. Head over to our sewing bee celebrity Christmas special blog to find out more.
Great British Sewing Bee Series 6
The Great British Sewing Bee is back for series 6 in 2020!
We are so excited that The Great British Sewing Bee series 6 TV show is back in 2020 and will be returning to our screens on BBC One (for the first time!). In this TV programme sewers take on garment challenges each week to crowned the best home sewer in Britain. We have been eagerly awaiting series 6 since the sewing bee was last broadcast in early 2019. We will be sharing all the news about the new contestants of The Great British Sewing Bee and each week a run down of the episodes with sewing patterns featured.
The Great British Sewing Bee first hit our screens in 2013 on BBC Two, following the same format as the popular Great British Bake Off. Each episode features three sewing challenges with an overall theme for every episode. In the pattern challenge, every contestant using the same sewing pattern and they must follow the instructions exactly. The second challenge is a Transformation challenge, where the contestants are given second hand garments and must up-cycle them into a brand new outfit. In the final sewing challenge, it tests the contestants ability to create a made-to-measure outfit for a real life model, where the fit must be perfect.
When will Sewing Bee series 6 be on TV in 2020?
The Great British Sewing Bee will return to our screens on Wednesday 22nd April at 9pm on BBC1! Block out your diaries! This is the first year the sewing bee series has been broadcast by the BBC on BBC One, previously airing on BBC Two. Each episode will be an hour long with three sewing challenges. In series 6 of the sewing bee there will be twelve contestants and we welcome back judges Patrick Grant, Esme Young and presenter and comedian Joe Lycett.
Where can I watch the trailer for series 6 of the Sewing Bee?
You can watch the trailer for the sewing bee series 6 here, it was shared by presenter Joe Lycett on the 18th March on his Twitter account. Get a sneak peak pf the new contestants, challenges and humour we can expect from the show this year. With twelve contestants, there will be more challenges and episodes than ever before!
Hopefully the return of this will provide some light relief in the coming weeks 🥰🐝 pic.twitter.com/oSYEHSIBc8
— Hugo Boss (@joelycett) March 18, 2020
Is there a book to accompany the new Sewing Bee series?
Yes, The Great British Sewing Bee, Sustainable Style written by the lovely Alex and Caroline of Selkie Patterns (you can discover more about their own sewing pattern range here!) Including five full-sized pattern sheets with 27 projects for women (sizes 8-22) and men (sizes XS – XL), this book accompanies series 6. The book aims to encourage makers from beginners to advanced to reduce, reuse and recycle on their creative journey to sew a considered closet. The book will include lots of tips on looking after your clothes and sewing machine along with fitting tips, information on natural and sustainable fibres plus ideas on how to revamp existing clothes. The book is published by Quadrille and was released on the 26th March 2020.
Watch our vlog review of the book where Kate talks about what sewing patterns are included and you can get a sneak peak of what to expect inside!
Images: (Left) Quadrille, (Right) Selkie Patterns
Who are the sewing bee contestants for series 6?
There will be 12 contestants this year, up from ten in series 5. There will also be ten episodes, with some of the challenges including sewing rugby shirts, flamenco skirts and palazzo pants! Aged from 24 to 64, this year’s contestants include a teacher, paramedic, doctor, jewellery designer, student, bank and youth hostel manager. Find out more about the twelve sewing bee contestants in series 6 below.
From left to right…
Angilla – Retired primary school teach from Watford, 62. Angilla loves making her own clothes for special occasions using bold prints. Left the show in week one.
Alex – Student from Gloucestershire, 24. The youngest contestant this year, Alex studies science at University. He learnt to sew from his mum as a teenager and now makes his own clothes. Left the show in week two.
Ali – Paramedic from West Yorkshire, 48. Alex loves golf and makes her own golf outfits. She also has a sewing blog and likes to get involved in the sewing community arranging meet ups.
Matt – Broadcast engineer from London, 43. He recently started sewing in 2017 and started by making his own dress for a drag party. He makes clothes for this partner and friends alongside menswear for himself too.
Hazel – Charity worker from Kent, 26. Hazel learnt to sew from her aunt as a child and got back into sewing after the birth of her son and loves making matching outfits for her family. Left the show in week four.
Peter – Youth Hostel deputy manager from Brighton, 40. Peter also learnt to sew as a child but wanted to get back into this hobby when he saw the GBSB on our screens. He is inspired by fashion icons for his sewing projects and has a dedicated sewing room at home.
Thérèse – Semi-retired tutor from East Sussex, 64. Therese learnt how to sew as a child from her teacher and she also followed this career path, training as a primary school teacher. She is passionate about reusing textiles and creates outfits for her grandchildren.
Liz – Production manager from Middlesbrough, 37. Liz has created her own handmade wardrobe of outfits hacking patterns to suit her punk style.
Mark – Personal banker from Kenilworth, 42. Mark has been sewing for three years now and likes to make vintage inspired menswear, often inspired by Dr Who outfits.
Fiona – House person from Renfrewshire, 56. Fiona learnt to sew as a child with her mother and took the hobby back up again in her 20s. She continued making clothes for her children and soft furnishings. Now though she only likes to make clothes for herself. Left the show in week three.
Clare – Consultant in Portsmouth, 37. Clare likes sewing to relax from her job and she learnt to sew aged eight. She picked up sewing again five years ago and loves to make early vintage inspired outfits.
Nicole – jewellery designer from London, 42. Nicole lived in Trinidad as a child and had clothes made by a seamstress. She then learnt to sew as a teenager and since then has been making many of her own clothes from relaxed outfits to outfits for special occasions using bold Asian prints and metallics.
Who are the sewing bee judges?
Joe Lycett is a British comedian and TV presenter. You may recognise him from TV shows such as Never Mind the Buzzcocks, QI, 8 out of 10 Cats and most recently on Channel 4’s consumer show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back. Joe has also appeared on various Radio shows and as a guest on several podcasts. You may have seen that in February 2020 this year Joe responded to a legal battle between the well known fashion brand Hugo Boss and a Welsh brewing company called Boss Brewing. He felt passionate about the legal action Hugo Boss was bringing against small businesses for the use of the word ‘Boss’ in their businesses. In response to this he legal changed his name from Joe Lycett to Hugo Boss before reversing this change later in April 2020. He replaced Claudia Winkleman in 2019 series 5 as the presenter on the sewing bee.
Esme Young joined The Great British Sewing Bee as a judge in 2016. She studied at Central Saint Martins and also teaches pattern cutting there. She is co-founder of fashion label Swanky Modes and a costume designer, working on films such as Bridge Jones (the bunny outfit!) and Trainspotting. Swanky Modes gained iconic status in the 1970s and celebrities including Cher, Julie Christie, Grace Jones and Toyah Wilcox wore their designs. The designs were featured in magazines such as Vogue, The Face and Honey along with newspapers like The Sunday Times. Esme looks for good sewing skills with careful attention to detail. She also likes interesting design details and contestants expressing their personalities in their makes. She is a keen seamstress herself, making many of her own clothes. Esme wants to encourage more people to take up sewing as a skill and hopes that the sewing bee will let people see it is achievable.
Patrick Grant is a British Fashion designer and on Saville Row works as a creative director for Norton & Sons, E. Tautz & Sons and Barbour. He is passionate about British fashion and our textile industry, contributing to documentaries such as Saville Row, Harris Tweed and is regularly featured in press. Two of his recent projects include launching the social enterprise, Community Clothing to rejuvenate the British manufacturing industry, find out all about this exciting project here. In 2020 he responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by launching the Big Community Sew campaign to create face coverings. His interest in fashion began after he left a career in engineering and has won many awards. Patrick is best know as a judge on The Great British Sewing bee and has featured in all series of the TV show.
Sewing Bee Episode guide – series 6 (2020)
As the sewing bee episodes are announced on BBC One later this year we will be sharing the details here including projects sewn by the contestants 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 – In episode one of the Great British Sewing Bee, twelve fresh faced contestants took part in three challenges. This first week eased the contestants in with the wardrobe staples theme. The challenges included making a wrap skirt, refashioning two men’s work shirts and making a made-to-measure tea dress for a model. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions to recreate these looks for your handmade wardrobe.
Episode 2 – In episode two of the sewing bee, eleven contestants remain, after we sadly said goodbye to Angillia in week one. The theme for this week is sewing for the holidays. The challenges included making a pair of Palazzo pants, transforming towels into beach cover-ups and making a made-to-measure relaxed men’s beach shirt for a model. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions for your handmade wardrobe.
Episode 3 – In this third episode there are ten contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Alex in week two. The sewing bee theme for week three is children’s outfits. The challenges included making a girl’s smock dress, transforming sleeping bags into fancy dress and making a made-to-measure dungarees. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions where we have tried to find the exact pattern.
Episode 4 – In the fourth episode there are nine contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Fiona in week three. The sewing bee theme for week four is sportswear. The challenges included making a rugby shirt, transforming cagoules into miniature waterproof onesies for toddlers and making a made-to-measure tennis outfit. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 5 – In the fifth episode there are eight contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Hazel in week four. The sewing bee theme for week five is lingerie and sleepwear. The challenges included making a boned basque, transforming pyjamas and nightwear into summer dresses and making a made-to-measure two-piece female sleep set. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 6 – In the sixth episode there are seven contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Ali in week five. The sewing bee theme for week four is reduce, reuse and recycle. The challenges included making a men’s bomber jacket from four women’s garments, transforming laundry bags into stylish and wearable garments and making a made-to-measure jumper dress from knit fabrics. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 7 – In the seventh episode there are six contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Peter in week six. The sewing bee theme for week seven is the 1980s! The challenges included making a woman’s power jacket, transforming high-vis work clothes into party outfits and making a made-to-measure cocktail dress.. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 8 – In the eighth episode there are five contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Therese in week seven. The sewing bee theme for week eight is sewing global! The challenges included making a Filipino Terno blouse, transforming Provencal table cloths from France into new outfits and making a made-to-measure Flamenco skirt from southern Spain. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 9 – In the eighth episode there are four contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Mark in week eight. The sewing bee theme for week nine is the silver screen! The challenges included making a dress inspired by Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, transforming futuristic scrapyard fabrics into new science fiction-inspired outfits and making a made-to-measure flapper dress inspired by films like The Great Gatsby. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Episode 10 – In the eighth episode there are three contestants remaining, after we sadly said goodbye to Liz in week nine. The sewing bee theme for week ten is celebration wear! The challenges included making a little boy’s kilt without a pattern, transforming party dresses into carnival outfits and making a made-to-measure cut-out evening gowns for their model using yards of luxury fabrics. Take a look at our sewing pattern suggestions so you can make your own at home.
Who won the Sewing Bee in 2020?
Clare won The Great British Sewing Bee series 6. She uses her sewing hobby to relax from her job as a consultant in Portsmouth. She originally learnt to sew aged 8 years old and after picking up sewing again five years ago, enjoys making vintage inspired outfits for her handmade wardrobe.
How can I take part in The Great British Sewing Bee series 7?
You can apply for the next series of the sewing bee already by following this link, the deadline is the 7th June 2020. Love Productions and the BBC are looking for talented home sewists to apply for series 7. Do you fancy appearing on the next TV series and meeting Patrick Grant, Esme Young and Joe Lycett? If you love sewing and can read sewing patterns and can fit garments to real bodies, then why not apply now?
Where can I talk about about the sewing bee TV show with other makers?
Each week during the series we chat about the episode in our friendly Facebook group after the show has aired on BBC Two. Come join the fun! Visit our blog to keep up with all the details of each sewing bee episode and subscribe to our YouTube channel for special vlogs and newsletters.
Great British Sewing Bee Series 5
What happened in each episode of The Great British Sewing Bee series 5?
Catch up with all the sewing bee news from series 5 with our ultimate guide to the show! Each week on the blog we shared all the details of each sewing bee episode along with pattern suggestions, you can find a list of episodes on our dedicated Sewing Bee series 5 guide here. Visit our blog to keep up with all the details of each sewing bee episode and subscribe to our YouTube channel for special vlogs and newsletters.
Who are the sewing bee contestants and judges in series 5?
We’ve shared all the details of the sewing bee contestants and judges over on our dedicated page for series 5, take a look here.
Great British Sewing Bee series 4
Sewing Bee Episode guide – series 4 (2016)
Did you get caught up in the excitement and now can’t remember which sewing patterns were featured? Have no fear, catch up at your leisure on our sewing blog where we will have lots of sewing inspiration from each episode of series 4. In each of the sewing bee eight episodes, the contestants will have to complete three tasks. The first is a surprise dressmaking pattern, the second a refashioners project and finally fit a sewing pattern to a model.
Sewing Bee Episode 1 Guide – Contestants will be sewing a panelled women’s top, women’s skirt and refashioning a maternity dress. Have a read for some pattern inspiration (plus patterns used in the episode) and tutorials for how to make them.
Sewing Bee Episode 2 Guide – Contestants will be sewing patterns for children and babies. In the first task contestants will make a baby gro, then refashion a bridesmaid dress into a child’s outfit before finally creating a child’s cape. Have a read for some pattern inspiration (plus patterns used in the episode) and tutorials for how to make them.
Sewing Bee Episode 3 Guide – Contestants will be sewing lingerie and nightwear patterns. In the first task they will make a soft cup bra, then refashion a silk scarf before fitting a luxury robe to a model. Have a read for some pattern inspiration (plus patterns used in the episode) and tutorials for how to make them.
Sewing Bee Episode 4 Guide – It’s International Week! Contestants will be sewing a Chinese inspired top, refashioning a Sari and making a garment using African wax prints to fit a model. Have a read for some pattern inspiration (plus patterns used in the episode) and tutorials for how to make them.
Sewing Bee Episode 5 Guide – This week was all about the 1960’s and according to Joyce, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Contestants made a colour block dress for the pattern challenge, refashioned a shower curtain for the second challenge and finally fitted a coat or jacket to a model. Have a read for some pattern inspiration (plus patterns used in the episode) and tutorials for how to make them.
Sewing Bee Episode 6 Guide – This week was all about sewing activewear. In the first task, contestants has to sew a men’s cycling top using Lycra® fabric. In the alterations challenge, contestants had to refashion a 1980s style ski suit into a children’s jacket. In the final challenge, contestants had to sew and fit a yoga outfit to a model.
Sewing Bee Episode 7 Guide (semi-final) – This week was all about puzzling patterns pattern cutting. The first task was to sew a asymmetric skirt inspired by Japanese pattern cutting. In the refashioning challenge, the contestants has to create a garment from a duvet and use all the fabric. In the final challenge, the contestants had to draft their own pattern and fit it to a model.
Sewing Bee Episode 8 Guide (final) – This week was the last episode in the series about focused on evening wear. The first task was to make a men’s shirt with collar and stand. In the refashioning challenge, the contestants had to create a little black dress from a men’s dinner suit. In the final ever challenge of the series, the contestants wowed the judges with fitting a gown to a model.
The Sewing Bee contestants – series 4 (2016)
There is always plenty of interest about who the sewing bee contestants will be each year, find out all about them on the BBC website.
From left to right: Rumana, Angeline, Duncan, Charlotte, Josh, Jade, Tracey, Joyce, Jamie and Ghislaine.
Angeline, 30 works in public relations and is also a designer. She likes to sew vintage dresses and ball gowns. Discover more on her website, Angeline Murphy and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram.
Charlotte WINNER, 43 is also a fellow Londoner and medical science journal editor. She sews clothes for herself and her children and also quilts and knits. Find out more about Charlotte on her blog, Charlotte Newland, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Jade, 18 is from Sussex and a student. She likes to sew clothes for all her family, including her pets. Follow Jade on Twitter.
Joyce, 71 is from West Sussex and a retired school admissions officer. She likes to sew for herself and her family.
Ghislaine, 43 is a fellow Londoner and likes to sew garments for herself
Great British Sew Bee book review – series 4 (2016)
Special Sewing bee Blog Series (2016)
We’ve some exciting special sewing bee blog posts from series 4 by some of your favourite bloggers and sewing celebrities.
Chinelo Bally’s Freehand Fashion sewing book
Read a review of Chinelo’s sewing book here, no patterns required!
Image copyright: Pavilion
Interview: Chinelo Bally
Read an interview with Chinelo about her love of African print fabrics.
Image copyright: Vliseo
Interview: Jennifer Taylor
Read our interview with Jennifer Taylor about her career as a sewing ambassador.
Great British Sewing Bee book reviews
Check out our review all three sewing books from the previous series 1 – 3 of the sewing bee. Please note: there was no book to accompany series 5.
The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric by Claire-Louise Hardie – series 3 (2015)
The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe by Tessa Evelegh- series 2 (2014)
The Great British Sewing Bee by Tessa Evelegh – series 1 (2013)
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.