The Great British Sewing Bee 2020 – Series 6

UK viewers tuned in to BBC One for 9pm on Wednesdays! Scroll down to find out what happened in this series!

What happened in Episode 10?

FINAL WEEK!

The series reached its dramatic ending, as the three finalists competed for the title of Britain’s best amateur sewer, taking on a trio of celebration style challenges. Bringing together a range of advanced sewing skills, from pleating to high-end designing and the delicate handling of luxury fabrics, perfecting celebration wear is a pinnacle for any home sewer. 

Pattern Challenge

The sewers had to make a little boy’s kilt without a pattern, which would fill most amateur sewers into a state of blind panic! They must use their mathematical skills to create the right amount of pleats so that their kilt fitted the mannequin perfectly.

Fancy a go at making a kilt-style skirt, here’s some patterns to get you started:

Transformation Challenge

Next up, was the transformation challenge and the sewers had a final chance to show off their instinct for design and making something stunning from nothing! The task this time was to turn party dresses into dramatic and fun outfits fit to wear at a carnival.

The final challenge

Lastly and the most important made-to-measure challenge of the series, the sewers had to construct and fit glamorous cutout evening gowns for their models. This time, it was for a friend or member of their family. Creating a unique, jaw-dropping gown using yards of luxury fabric will take real sewing prowess and a feat of daring construction and they’re most precise sewing yet!

Make an evening dress fit for a princess:

The show is over!
Once the final stitch was in place and the catwalk over, the sewers’ friends and family, along with past competitors, arrive to celebrate. But once the judges have made their decision, there could be only be one winner!

Clare won the Pattern Challenge for her perfect pleating on the kilt and Nicole won the Transformation challenge for her flamboyant carnival bikini-style outfit, which just left the winner to be announced!

And the winner is………..Clare!

What happened in Episode 9?

MOVIE WEEK!

It’s the semi-final and just Clare, Liz, Matt and Nicole remain to take on famous garments from the silver screen.

Pattern Challenge

The sewers tackle a dress inspired by one of the most iconic dress of all the times worn by Marilyn Monroe’s in The Seven Year Itch. The techniques involved in creating this iconic halter-neck dress include a bagged-out ruched bodice and perfectly inserted a teeny weeny-pleated skirt (eek, this would make the most seasoned sewer quake in their shoes!).

Halterneck dresses to sew:

Back to the future!
8670 from Simplicity

Transformation Challenge


Next up was the transformation challenge, if you thought it couldn’t get any wackier!

The haberdashery is transformed into a futuristic scrapyard and from the junk, the sewers have to create a science fiction-inspired outfit in just 90 minutes, making imaginative use of the strange hardware supplies that have nothing to do with sewing!

The final challenge

This time the sewers take on the Jazz Age with a flapper dress inspired by films like The Great Gatsby (we love this film). Tasked with creating a dazzling dress fit for dancing the night away, they need to make their dresses skim the model’s body. With heavily beaded fabrics to contend with as well as keeping their dresses from stretching out of shape!

Fancy making a Flapper Dress?:

Week nine over!

Matt won (again) the Pattern Challenge with his impressive dress and Clare won both the Transformation challenge for her futuristic catwalk worthy dress, and won garment of the week! Sadly, Liz left the sewing room!

Next week is the final’s week!

The Great British Sewing Bee S6 Patrick Grant, Esme Young, Joe Lycett
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 8?

IT’S INTERNATIONAL WEEK!

Yay! It’s the quarterfinal! The five remaining sewers go global take on garments and techniques from around the world. 

Pattern Challenge

The sewers must follow a pattern that they may never have even seen before! The challenge was to make a Filipino Terno blouse. This delicate-looking blouse is deceptively robust, and this garment involves sewing
with difficult-to-handle fabrics to make the distinctive, voluminous butterfly sleeves and intricate covered buttons. It’s all about selecting the right fabric to use!

Filipino Terno inspired blouses and resources:

Transformation Challenge
Next up was the transformation challenge; the sewers are resented with Provencal tablecloths from France. These colourful, strikingly patterned cloths must be transformed into a brand new outfit in just 90 minutes, making imaginative use of the distinctive, bold print.

Fancy making a skirt from a tablecloth?

The final challenge

And for the made-to-measure challenge, the sewers take on the dramatic Flamenco skirt from southern Spain. They need to create a perfect figure-hugging fit combined with dramatic ruffles achieved by inserting yards and yards of fabric into the skirt. 

Flamenco-inspired skirts to sew:

Seventh week over!

Clare won the Pattern Challenge with her gorgeous sheer blouse and she also won the Transformation challenge for her little girl’s dress! Esme and Patrick gave garment of the week to Nicole (once again) for her absolutely stunning flamenco skirt! Sadly, it was Mark’s time to leave the sewing room! Next week is movie week!

The Great British Sewing Bee S6 – Joe Lycett, Esme Young, Patrick Grant
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 7?

1980’S WEEK!

The six remaining sewers head back in time to the 1980s, attempting to revive the glamorous – and yes, sometimes the ridiculous styles of the decade! Decade of the pedal pushers, big hair, leg warmers and shoulder pads 9hopefully not all at once!

Pattern Challenge

The sewers to get down to business with the trickiest pattern so far, a woman’s power jacket. Creating the perfect jacket involves grappling with tailoring fabrics and taking on such daunting technical hurdles as lapel construction and inserting shoulder pads, hopefully without getting in a flap

A few of our favourite Power Jacket sewing patterns:

Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge, it’s party time as the sewers let rip with their imagination, turning high Vis work clothes (yes really) into party outfits. 

The final challenge

The time the contestants take on their final icon of eighties fashion – the cocktail dress. Working with bold, shiny fabrics, they must create a knee-length-or-above dress that embodies the excess of the 1980s! Here comes the puffball hems, big bows, peplums and colour block!

Cocktail dresses with style elements from the 1980s:

If you are inspired to make a real ’80s sewing pattern then check out Etsy. They have a wide selection of used patterns. Click here

Seventh week over!

Matt won the Pattern Challenge with his stylish power jacket and Clare won the Transformation challenge for her conal top! Esme and Patrick gave garment of the week to Nicole for her dramatic colour block cocktail dress! Sadly, Therese left the sewing room!

Next week is international week!

The Great British Sewing Bee S6 – Clare, Matt, Peter, Nicole, Therese, Mark and Liz
(C) Love Productions – Photographer: Production

What happened in Episode 6?

REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE WEEK!

Did you know that the fashion industry is the biggest polluter of our planet besides oil, so this week all the fabric in the haberdashery is replaced with charity shop clothes and soft furnishings.

Pattern Challenge

To kicks things off; sewers are asked to make a man’s bomber jacket, which has to be pieced together from four second-hand women’s garments. Judges will be look for precision sewing and the ability to design and create garments using attractive colour combinations. 

Here are a few of our favourite bomber jacket patterns:

Transformation Challenge

Next up was the transformation challenge where the sewers had to make a garment from plastic laundry bags. Perhaps not for everyone!

The Great British Sewing Bee S6 – Episode 6 – Joe Lycett wearing Mark’s creation
Love Productions – Photographer: Production

The final challenge

The made-to-measure challenge this week the sewers are tasked with turning old knitwear into a jumper dress for their models. One of the jumpers has to be brought in from home and mean something to them personally. It’s a Sewing Bee first, as the sewers have never been asked to sew with knitted fabrics before.

Pattern ideas for using knitted fabrics:

Sixth week over!
Mark won the Pattern Challenge with his stylish bomber jacket and Peter won the Transformation challenge for his sculptural dress! Esme and Patrick couldn’t agree on garment of the week so there were two – Nicole and Matt won for their beautiful sewn sweater dress! Sadly, Peter left the sewing room!

Next week is 1980s week with shoulder pads and cocktail dresses!

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

What happened in Episode 5?

LINGERIE WEEK!

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?

SPORTSWEAR WEEK!

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?

IT WAS CHILDREN’S WEEK
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?

IT’S HOLIDAY WEEK!
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