We're so pleased The Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens this year. But if you're new to the show or simply want to know more about the seventh series, here's what you need to know...
The premise of the show is simple: 12 home sewers are challenged to create gorgeous garments, under the scrutiny of judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant, for the title of Britain’s Best Amateur Sewer.
Each week, the sewers undertake three different challenges. First in a test of sewing skill, it’s the Pattern Challenge where they chose fabric from the haberdashery to all make the same pattern.
Next, a test of creativity and imagination in the Transformation Challenge, where they get just 90 minutes to turn items of old clothing into something new and exciting.
Finally, the ultimate fashion test of the Made to Measure, fitting to a real-life model, a challenge they’ve had time to plan in advance.
When did series 7 of The Great British Sewing Bee start?
The 2021 series of The Great British Sewing Bee started on Wednesday April 14 2021 at 9pm on BBC One. But don't worry, you can catch up now on BBC iPlayer.
What channel is the Great British Sewing Bee on?
Although it was originally on BBC Two, The Great British Sewing Bee moved to BBC One for series 6 and has remained there ever since.
The judges on The Great British Sewing Bee
Esme Young joined the show as a judge in 2016. Esme, along with four passionate women about fashion, opened a London based shop called ‘Swanky Modes’ in the 70s. Their clothes appeared in magazines and newspapers including Vogue, Nova, Honey, 19, ID, The Face, Boulevard, Interview, The Sunday Times, Express, Mail, and the V&A Little Black Dress Book.
Patrick is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on the British fashion, clothing and textile industries. He has been a contributor to several major television documentaries including Savile Row, Harris Tweed, and The Perfect Suit, but is best known for his role in the The Great British Sewing Bee, for which he earned a 2017 National Television Awards nomination.
Patrick’s career in fashion has spanned over a decade. In 2005, after leaving a career in engineering, he took over as Director at Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. He won much praise for his work there including being named Retailer of the Year at the 2008 Scottish Fashion Awards.
The Great British Sewing Bee presenter
Award winning comedian Joe Lycett has presented The Great British Sewing Bee since 2019 where he took over from Claudia Winkleman who presented the first four series which started in 2013.
Joe is one of the country’s best-loved stand-ups with three sell out UK and Ireland tours, scooping two Chortle Awards and an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for his warm, sardonic brand of comedy.
Who are the contestants in The Great British Sewing Bee 2021?
Adam loves spending time with his family and often knits for his eighteen-month-old nephew whose nickname for Adam is Abba because Adam is a self-styled ‘Dancing Queen’.
His sewing style is inspired by his work as a Cruise Ship Entertainment Director and he is often drawn to nautical styles and fabrics, as well as to the glamour of classic films and iconic entertainers.
Outside of work as a Student Engagement Officer, Adeena loves organising “get togethers” for her large family that always involve a feast. Her other creative hobbies involve painting, sketching and woodwork, and one of her crafty achievements includes a giant pencil she carved for a friend.
Fusing her Pakistani heritage with British style in her clothes, Adeena loves to sew for herself and her sisters. She is a spontaneous sewer who loves to add elements as she goes along and admits that her sisters have been ‘guinea pigs’ for her creations.
The Church plays a very important role in Andrew’s life. A busy hobbyist, when he’s not making vestments for his partner who is a priest, or a new shirt for himself, he’s likely to be found bellringing or making stained glass windows. He confesses ‘one nice aspect of making things for churches is that they can be big, they can be showy, and are made from the best fabrics.’
A dinner lady for 25 years but now semi-retired, Cathryn loves spending time on her allotment. Her other love is music. As an ardent David Bowie fan her cat is named Ziggy Stardust, but she is not to be pigeonholed and has eclectic taste. She has been known to sew the lyrics of her favourite grime artist, Stormzy, into her garments.
Cathryn has been sewing for over 50 years and her starting point is often old and recycled fabrics. She uses every scrap to make jeans, dresses, and quilts.
Damien started teaching himself to sew three years ago when a pair of work trousers needed altering and hasn’t looked back – despite some initial ‘mickey taking’ from friends. He admits that he sometimes gets a raised eyebrow when visiting fabric shops, as he’s not the stereotypical customer.
Damien describes his style as ‘practical’ and he mostly makes casual clothes for himself, along with the occasional dress for his partner, Jackie.
Farie’s talent for sewing was nurtured at school, where she studied Fabrics and Fashion at GCSE. After school she became an accountant, but a love for design remained throughout her adult life, with sewing providing a creative outlet that accountancy doesn’t.
Her two young daughters also enjoy the benefits of having a creative mum, putting in requests for colourful outfits they can guarantee their friends won’t have.
Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, Jean lived with her parents and seven siblings, one of whom is her identical twin. Her parents were unaware that they were expecting two babies, so when Jean and her sister Jeanette were born, their dad raced home to whip up another set of baby clothes on the family’s treadle sewing machine. Jean’s mother taught her how to sew as a child and today she creates clothes for herself and her partner Jo.
Jean lives in Northern Ireland and works as an Art Psychotherapist, using the medium of art to help children, teenagers, and adults through difficult life experiences.
Julie’s first sewing machine was given to her as a Christmas gift and she’s been sewing ever since. When she finished school, Julie joined a European dance troupe and high-kicked her way through Greece, Italy and Spain for the next few years.
Julie’s style is bright and bold. She makes her own clothes and has sewn prize-winning dresses for Ladies’ Day at the races. She's yet to try menswear as her partner, Paul, has told her “not to bother, you’re too wacky for me”.
A local authority officer, Lawratu is also an active member of the local Women’s Institute and enjoys all kinds of crafting, including needlework and knitting. She wants to dispel the myth that people who attend the WI are ‘all fuddy-duddies sitting round eating scones and having cream teas.’ Her own branch much prefer putting the world to rights at the pub over a glass of wine or a G&T.
Lawratu has been sewing for around six years and began making her own clothes because she didn't like the fit of items in the shops. Completely self-taught with the occasional tip from YouTube, she likes bright colours and vivid prints often inspired by her West African heritage.
While his work as a Textile Artist has seen Raphael dyeing cloth for high-profile movies, it wasn’t until lockdown that he properly started learning to sew, focusing mainly on stylish menswear for himself. He’s still developing his own sewing style, saying ‘I’m a DIY sewer, because I’m self-taught. So I don’t necessarily use pins. But then, I also don’t like unpicking things!’
A trained teacher, Rebecca now enjoys working as a Customer Assistant at her local supermarket.
Sewing is in Rebecca’s blood, and from the age of four, her mum and nana would pass on their expertise with a needle. She went on to study textiles at A-level, and now finds making clothes the perfect way to relieve the stress of a working day. She likes fast projects she can make and wear quickly and admits to having ‘a bad habit for not reading the instructions and just ploughing through.’
At 21, Serena is the youngest sewer this year. She is originally from Glasgow but has moved to Edinburgh to study medicine. She is now in her fourth year and has recently started ward placements.
Serena’s passion for sewing goes hand in hand with her love of sustainable style. She began teaching herself basic skills from YouTube in her teens, and now creates her own designs as well as ‘refreshing’ charity shop garments, giving them a new lease of life. Killing Eve’s iconic character Villanelle is her style icon: “she’s a bit androgynous and I’ve always been into wearing brogues and high waisted trousers.” Serena’s eventual aim is to create a completely unique, ‘me-made’ wardrobe.