The Great British Sewing Bee 2020 – Series 6

UK viewers tune in to BBC One for 9pm on Wednesdays! Scroll down to find out what’s been happening. It’s going to be sew much fun!

Epsiode 5 of The Great British Sewing Bee S6 – Peter, Esme Young, Patrick Grant
– (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 4?


This week the remaining eight sewers returned to the sewing room for lingerie and sleepwear week.

Pattern Challenge

To test the sewers’ fabric handling skills, the judges kick off the pattern challenge with a boned basque (eek!). The task requires sewing together 13 small pattern pieces and unlike a corset it can’t be adjusted on the body! So it’s so important to get a precise fit and finish with a tricky hook and eye fastening.

Patterns to make a basque, bustier or corset:

Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge where the sewers transform pyjamas and nightwear into summer dresses. 

Here are a few stylish hacks from the sewing community:

The final challenge

The made-to-measure challenge this week invited the models are back to be fitted for two-piece female sleep sets, each of which has to incorporate lace somewhere in the design. These must fit comfortably, and the luxurious fabrics must be finished precisely and expertly.

Fancy making a two-piece sleep set? Here are four of our favourite patterns to get you started:

Fifth week over!

Clare won her first Pattern Challenge with her lovely the boned Basque and Nicole won the Transformation challenge for her wearable top and dungarees! Garment of the week was Terese’s two-piece sleep set outfit!  Sadly, Ali left the sewing room!

Will trash into treasure next week because it’s reduce, re-use and recycle week!

Patrick Grant and Esme Young, The Great British Sewing Bee
– (C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 4?


This week the remaining nine sewers returned to the sewing room to flex their sewing muscles for sportswear week!

Pattern Challenge

To test the sewers’ ability to create practical and stylish sportswear, judges kicked off the pattern challenge with a rugby shirt. The task requires a tricky combination of hard-to-handle stretch and woven fabrics and a fiendishly difficult-to-construct placket!

Here are a few of our favourite patterns with plackets:

Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge, the sewers take cover and turn cagoules into miniature waterproof onesies for toddlers.

Fancy a go at a onesie for a toddler:

The Final Challenge

The made-to-measure challenge this week involved making a tennis outfit. These must be perfectly fitted but allow enough freedom of movement to win a grand slam.

Make tennis wear:

Fourth week over!

Nicole won the Pattern Challenge with a beautifully-sewn rugby shirt, and Terese came up trumps again and won the Transformation challenge for her toddler’s onesie! Garment of the week was given to Ali for her nicely sewn tennis outfit!  Sadly, Hazel left the sewing room!

Next week is lingerie week…………………..!

From left to right: Mark, Peter, Therese, Alison, Hazel, Clare, Matt, Liz, Fiona, and Nicole –
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 3?

This week the remaining sewers return to the sewing room for children’s week. The garments might be mini, but they are a mammoth challenge because they are so fiddly to sew.

Pattern Challenge

To test the sewers’ dexterity, judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young kick off this challenge with a classic for any little girl’s wardrobe – a smocked dress. The task requires the sewers to combine tricky techniques, including making a bias binding and a Peter Pan collar, and, most difficult of all, creating a smocked bodice.

Here are a few of our favourite little dress patterns:

Food costumes made in the Transformation Challenge in The Great British Sewing Bee
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge, the sewers let their imaginations run wild, turning sleeping bags into food shaped fancy dress. Like the idea of patterns inspired by food:

The Final Challenge

Finally, the Sewing Bee welcomes mini-models for the made-to-measure task, which is to make a pair of dungarees for a girl or boy. These must be perfectly fitted but allow enough freedom of movement to play in.

Make mini dungarees

Third week over!

Matt came top for his little girl’s smock dress in the Pattern Challenge and Terese pulled her disastrous first round back with a cute bunch of grapes costume which was also garment of the week!  And sadly, Fiona was the second sewist to leave the sewing room!

Roll on next week to sportswear week…….. We can’t wait to see what Joe will be wearing!

The Great British Sewing Bee – Models modelling final holiday shirts
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 2?

Did you enjoy episode 2? The remaining sewers returned for holiday week but no time to relax this week for the sewers!!

The Pattern Challenge

Esme and Patrick asked for a pair of palazzo pants, perfect for keeping cool while abroad. The sewers would have to insert the dreaded invisible zip as well as a well-hidden inseam pocket but can they do a good job in the timeframe? Esme and Patrick were also looking for perfectly pattern matched bold prints with no awkward placement of large flowers!

Here are a few of our favourite patterns to make a pair of Palazzo Pants:

(Just click the caption to find out more about these patterns)

The Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge where the sewers were asked to turn towels into stylish beach cover-ups in just 90 minutes! Here’s some of our favourite towel refashions!

The Final Challenge

Male models arrived in the sewing room to be fitted with a made-to-measure holiday shirt, using bright and colourful fabrics. The sewers had to create a perfectly relaxed fit. Whose holiday shirt will bring on the sunshine, and who will become the second person to leave the sewing room?

Make a fun holiday shirt:

Second week over!

After much deliberation from Esme and Patrick, Ali came first for her Palazzo Pants and Peter won the transformation challenge for his beautiful chic wrap! Mark received garment of the week for his jazzy holiday shirt! And sadly, we saw Alex leave  the sewing room this week. Roll on next week to children’s week so everything is in miniature!

What happened in Episode 1?

Great British Sewing Bee, Series 6 2020 Contestants,
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Mark Bourdillon

Wasn’t the first episode fantastic? If you missed it or were inspired to make the garments the contestants made then check out our suggestions:

The Pattern Challenge

In their first week, the contestants were eased in gently with wardrobe staples that look familiar but aren’t necessarily straightforward to make! For the ‘Pattern Challenge’ – Esme and Patrick asked the stitchers to sew a wrap skirt. This skirt has clean crisp lines, which can only be achieved through precise cutting, accurate stitching and a judicious choice of fabric!

Make your very own wrap skirt:

(Just click the caption to find out more about these patterns)

The Transformation Challenge

Here, the sewer’s ability to make the ordinary extraordinary, is put to the test, and they’re tasked with turning two plain men’s work shirts into a stylish new garment to fit their female mannequin. Here’s some of our favourite shirt refashions!

The Made-to-measure Challenge

The mannequins were replaced with models as the sewers attempt to make their first made-to-measure garment – a tea dress. The tea-dress is a classic below-the-knee and above-the-ankle dress that allows for interpretation, and a chance for the contestants’ personalities to shine through. This task proves to be a benchmark test of their ability to achieve a flawless fit and to impress the judges with the finer details. 

Sew a Stylish Tea Dress

(just click the caption to find out more about these patterns)

First week over!

Peter nailed it with his wrap skirt taking first place, and then followed up by winning the transformation challenge. Matt received garment of the week for his beautiful tea-dress so it’s all to play for ladies next week! And we had to say a fond farewell to Angillia.

Who are the contestants? (left to right)

Alex, 24 – Student from Gloucestershire

Alex is the youngest person in the sewing room. He’s studying cognitive sciences at Edinburgh University and he also loves ballroom dancing.  As a teenager, Alex was taught to sew by his mum, who he watched make wedding dresses on her 1980s sewing machine, and has branched out into menswear to create his own clothes.

Ali, 48 – Paramedic from West Yorkshire

Ali’s been a paramedic for 23 years and has delivered countless babies. Her other passions are sewing and golf! The two worlds have collided on the range where she has showcased her colourful home sewn golf clothes. In 2013, she started a sewing blog which has led to sewing meet ups with followers!

Angillia, 62 – Retired Primary School Teacher from Watford

Angillia has taught primary school children for 30 years before retiring in 2016. She now spends her time making bold and colourful clothes for formal events and parties. When she’s not sewing, she still likes to work with young people, practice mindfulness and attending meditation meetings.

Clare, 37 – Doctor from Winchester

Clare followed in her mother’s footsteps and is a medical consultant at a hospital in Portsmouth with specialist interest in lung cancer. It was also her mother that introduced Clare to sewing, and now it gives her an enjoyable creative escape. Clare didn’t start sewing again until five years ago when her love of vintage clothing developed. She loves the ’30s and ’40s and makes her own clothes using modern copies of these vintage patterns.

Fiona, 56 – Homemaker from Renfrewshire

Fiona started sewing as a little girl when her mother helped her make a rag doll. Sewing took a back seat until her 20s when she became a ‘golf widow’ and needed something to occupy her time! Fiona has made clothes for her three kids and she moved onto all the soft furnishing for the home. These days she’s a self-proclaimed ‘selfish sewer’ who only makes for herself, which she does from her studio at the top of the house with her beloved dog Coco by her side.

Hazel, 26 – Charity Worker from Kent

Hazel started sewing again after the birth of her son but was originally taught by her aunt when she was a child. Sewing is a creative outlet that’s given her confidence and allows her to be herself! When she’s not sewing, or with her family, Hazel works for a charity that connects young people with major companies.

Liz, 37 – Product Manager from Middlesbrough

Liz loves gothic and punk styles and using a palette of black and grey she’s built her own homemade wardrobe. She went into product management after graduating and currently works for an outdoor power equipment company. Liz lives with her partner Andy with their children.

Mark, 42 – Personal Banker from Kenilworth

Mark is a personal banker but he loves music and play the piano after work. He has been sewing for three years and has always wanted to sew as a young boy, but never had the confidence. He learned basic skills at the local haberdashery and now sews vintage inspired menswear for himself, his husband and dogs. Mark has a love of big collars and cuffs, with inspiration taken from Dr Who costumes!

Matt, 43 – Playout Supervisor in London

Matt works as a broadcast engineer where he monitors forty-five TV channels broadcasting around the world. He first started sewing three years ago when he decided to throw a drag party and make his own dress! Since then he’s made more drag outfits for his friends in the East London LGBTQ community and also makes his own own beach shirts and jackets.

Nicole, 42 – Jewellery Designer from London

During her childhood in Trinidad the choice of clothes from outside was limited, so making your own clothes was the norm. Her mother taught her to sew as a teenager so she could create her own garments. Today Nicole’s sewing style is comfortable and relaxed, but she needs no excuse to makes clothes in slinky metallics, bold Asian prints and sources fabric from fashion fairs in Paris!

Peter, 40 – Deputy Manager for a Youth Hostel in Brighton

Peter’s mum taught hme to sew by his mum when he was a child but it was watching The Great British Sewing Bee that reignited his passion. Peter looks for inspiration from design rebels like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood when making his own clothes. He has a workshop in a spare room in his flat where he likes to experiment. Peter trained as a hairdresser and currently works as the deputy manager of the Brighton YHA.

Therese, 64 – Semi-retired tutor from East Sussex

Therese was taught to sew by her primary school teacher, and her first make was a gingham apron. She trained as a primary school teacher in England but her family relocated to Abu Dhabi where they spent nine years. After 40 years, she has retired from teaching but now tutors privately. Therese is an advocate of reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycles clothes for her grandchildren and updates her own clothes instead of buying new. If she does create a new outfit it’s made from a natural fabric and most likely in a floral print!

When does it start?

Yay! The Great British Sewing Bee is back and series starts on 22nd April 2020. The funny Joe Lycett will host the biggest Sewing Bee yet, with 12 talented home sewers challenged to create gorgeous garments. Under the scrutiny of judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant, they must impress to become Britain’s Best Amateur Sewer for 2020. 

Who will be hosting and judging?

The Sewing Bee is back, and with 12 sewers competing this time, it’s the bigger Bee ever. Joe Lycett kicks off 10 weeks of the most perplexing patterns, eye-popping transformations and stunning made-to-measure garments yet. Scrutinising every stitch is Saville Row’s gorgeous Patrick Grant and Central St. Martin’s Esme Young, who will be testing the sewers across a huge range of garments from rugby shirts to children’s dungarees, flamenco skirts to a boned basque, via food fancy dress!

A book to acompany the series is already out!

The Great British Sewing Bee: Sustainable Style takes sewers on a journey to reduce, reuse and recycle, and create their own considered closet. The book includes 27 projects for both women and men, that will ease you into the world of sustainable sewing. Written by sewing duo, Caroline Akselson and Alexandra Bruce from British sewing pattern brand Selkie, and published by Quadrille and available for £20.99 from Amazon UK here.

To keep track on what, where and when visit BBC Two’s Great British Sewing Bee page – click here

We’ll be keeping you posted of how you can create the looks each week so keep visiting our GBSB page but while you wait why not catch up on last series – click here