Meet the Sewing Bee 2022 finalists

Can you believe the final of the Sewing Bee 2022 is here? Meet the talented Sewing Bee 2022 finalists…

The Great British Sewing Bee finalists 2022
Published: June 29, 2022 at 1:18 pm
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We've loved watching the highs and lows of The Great British Sewing Bee, which has to be one of the toughest series to date! The standard of the sewing has been exceptional, which is why the judges made the decision to allow four contestants to compete in this year's final.

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Over the weeks, we've got to know the contestants and shared their highs and lows. Debra has won Garment of the Week three times, Brogan is an exceptional technical sewer and Man Yee has won more challenges than anyone else. Annie really started to shine after week six and has managed to win Garment of the Week three times.

But who will win? We'll be tuning in this evening to find out who will win the coveted mannequin trophy and the title of Britain's best amateur sewer.

Read on to get to know the contestants ahead of tonight's final episode…

Want to catch up on the highlights of this year's Sewing Bee? Take a look at our Sewing Bee episode guide, which includes some great pattern ideas inspired by the show. And if you've been admiring the sewing equipment on the Bee, find out what sewing machines are used on the Sewing Bee and order your own!

All photos by BBC/Love Productions/James Stack.

Annie, Great British Sewing Bee 2022 finalist
BBC/Love Productions/James Stack

Annie, 32, Surrey Fashion Buyer

Annie has always loved art and fashion and now works as a buyer for a high street fashion brand. She lives in Surrey with her boyfriend. Annie enjoys roller skating and loves going camping and on long walks with her 2 younger siblings and mum and dad.

The person who has given her most inspiration is her 92 year old Granny Monica who taught her to sew. The first thing she made was an apron when she was 8 years old for The Brownies.

Annie took sewing up again in earnest during the pandemic. She describes it as therapeutic and loves to sew late at night. Her granny’s Ghanaian heritage is important to her and she likes to incorporate bold and colourful African prints into her creations.

Was it liberating to be filming this series?

Most definitely liberating! It’s something I couldn’t have imagined even attempting before my mum convinced me to apply but I am so glad I did.

When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?

I first started sewing with fun arts and crafts projects when I was only around 8/9 with my granny who taught me to sew, and I think that’s why it has such a personal and special place for me. It’s an outlet for me to be creative and have something at the end to show for it and I love that.

Do you have a mentor that encouraged you to get into sewing?

Granny Monica! She gave me my first shears….

What is your favourite garment to sew/or your speciality?

I love altering jackets and making dresses! Anything I can upcycle or make in a seriously bold print or colour.

Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee, and which challenge were you fearing the most the first week - Pattern challenge; Transformation challenge, or Made to Measure challenge?

It was completely bizarre when we initially walked in and saw our boards and sewing machines, but to be honest the whole time was out of this world. Seeing something on the television and then being in it is the weirdest thing you could imagine. I was fearing the pattern challenge for sure the most and I was right to be apprehensive! It was so intense. I literally couldn’t wait to make my made to measure designs!

Do you have an attachment to a sewing tool, and why is it special to you?

My rainbow sewing box – it gives me powers.

In your sewing life: What has been your worst sewing disaster – and your biggest triumph?

My worst disasters are projects started that I gave up on prior to Sewing Bee and I have a lot of them! My biggest triumph has to be to get into the Sewing Bee.

Do you make for family and friends as presents? And most asked for garment?

Much to their disappointment no. I rarely make for others!

Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?

I make or alter probably 50% of my own clothes and in terms of choosing what that should be I ultimately ask myself ….what would Tracee Ellis Moss wear? I enjoy playing dress up and describe my style as fun, colourful and eclectic.

Can you give a sewing tip for amateur sewers who have been enjoying the show?

Remain calm and Read. The. Instructions.

What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?

I’d have to say some sort of sewing therapy group – we honestly just wanted us all to get through each task and make it to the end! A little sewing beehive.

Brogan, Great British Sewing Bee 2022 finalist
BBC/Love Productions/James Stack

Brogan, 25, Leicestershire (Originally Edinburgh) Secondary School Teacher

Brogan is originally from Edinburgh but now teaches Spanish and French at a secondary school in Derbyshire. She has just bought her first home in Leicestershire with her fiancé and they share it with Roger the sausage dog who has a handmade wardrobe courtesy of Brogan.

Brogan remembers watching the first Sewing Bee when she was a child with her mum and was inspired to start sewing as a result. She taught herself via You Tube videos and then received her first sewing machine aged 15 as a Christmas present and has never looked back.

She now enjoys replicating high street clothes for herself which are chic and ultra feminine – usually with a tier, a frill or ruffle. Even on a supermarket run she will make fashion statement by wearing a hand made puff sleeve creation.

Was it liberating to be filming this series?

It was such an incredible experience to be a part of this year’s series- this is the first time I’ve really put myself and my passion for sewing above everything else in my life, and it felt like a dream come true to get to sew every day.

When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?

I was given my first sewing machine for Christmas by my parents when I was 15 years old – I had always enjoyed various other crafts so I was excited to give sewing a go. It wasn’t long before I fell completely in love with it. I started to develop my skills by watching Youtube videos and through lots of trial and error! I love how sewing lets me explore my love of fashion and making things at the same time, and I’m always on the lookout for pattern and fabric inspiration everywhere I go. I even fall asleep dreaming about sewing!

Do you have a mentor that encouraged you to get into sewing?

I didn’t have anyone to teach me to sew, so it was definitely a steep learning curve teaching myself and I made a lot of rubbish garments along the way. I’m still constantly learning new techniques and changing my way of doing things but it’s all part of the learning process.

What is your favourite garment to sew/or your speciality?

I am a dress addict and have made more than I’d like to count! I love how versatile a dress can be and my favourites always involve a big bow or puff sleeves.

Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee, and which challenge were you fearing the most the first week – Pattern challenge; Transformation challenge, or Made to Measure challenge?

It was such a surreal experience to walk into the sewing room in that first week – I didn’t realise just how big it would be! And the haberdashery was like something from my dreams as there were so many beautiful fabrics to choose from. I was definitely most nervous for the transformation challenge in the first week- I had never done anything like that before and never understood how the contestants managed it in such a short space of time.

In your sewing life: What has been your worst sewing disaster – and your biggest triumph?

My worst sewing disaster has been not reading the lay plan properly and running out of fabric before I have cut out all my pieces because of it. Thank goodness for next day delivery!

My biggest sewing triumph has got to be when I’m wearing a garment designed and sewn by myself, and a stranger compliments me on it. It makes me feel really proud to know other people like the clothes I’ve made and they are always really surprised when I tell them it’s not from a shop.

Do you make for family and friends as presents? And most asked for garment?

I have to admit that I am a bit of a selfish sewer, and mainly sew for myself as I don’t have that much time outside of my job as a teacher. However, my three year old niece Elsie is always asking me to make her dresses which I love to do. She shares in my love for a big bow, and most of the dresses I make for her have one.

Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?

I make the majority of the clothes I wear. My style is very girly and feminine, and I love to be inspired by vintage or retro silhouettes. I like to think I’m a happy and positive person to be around, and I like my clothes to look happy too. I’m a sucker for puff sleeves and frills, so 99% of the time my makes will involve one of those elements.

Can you give a sewing tip for amateur sewers who have been enjoying the show?

When I first started sewing, I didn’t put as much time into planning my makes, and would often make garments that didn’t fit in well with the rest of my wardrobe. I would advise newbie sewers to take the time to plan their makes carefully so they can get the most wear out of them. There’s no point in spending all that time making something if you’re not in love with the end result.

What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?

Going into the show, I never expected to meet such amazing people. I honestly feel like I have made friends for life in the other bees. From week 1 there was a real team atmosphere and we would all help each other out. It was great to know that if you were struggling, there would always be someone there willing to give you a nudge in the right direction.

Debra, Great British Sewing Bee 2022 finalist
BBC/Love Productions/James Stack

Debra, 51 North Wales Communication Lead & Personal Assistant

Debra is an active outdoorsy person who can usually be found sailing or snorkelling in the chilly waters off Anglesey with her son and husband. Or on a wild and windy day she’ll be up at 6.30 am for a spin class. Her first language is Welsh.

She also loves collecting vintage designer accessories and is inspired to sew by designers whose clothes are out of reach such as Erdem, Gucci and Chanel. Debra started sewing age 9 by making outfits for her dolls and then worked her way up to full sized garments for herself.

Debra admits to being a bit of a messy sewer with lots of random fabric and assorted projects all over the place. She prefers to develop her own designs and freestyle than to rigidly follow a pattern. She works for a multi-national company and likes to dress up in some of her more colourful designer inspired creations to brighten up the workplace.

Was it liberating to be filming this series?

Taking part in the Sewing Bee has got to go down as one of the most exhilarating (and downright petrifying) things I’ve ever done in my life. It was just wonderful to spend hours designing and sewing. Fellow Bee Angela told me just before our first Made to Measure “Just think of it as us all in our sewing rooms with a few hours of uninterrupted sewing”. It wasn’t quite like that, but it really helped to focus!

When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?

I started sewing at around 10 years old. I grew up in a very small village in North Wales where the nearest boutique was 10 miles away. Everyone shopped there so we all wore the same thing! Luckily, my Mam enrolled me onto a sewing night class in our village school. I was by far the youngest there and the ladies (they were all ladies!), took me under their wing. I was always arty, but really found the most marvellous of hobbies in sewing. In my late twenties and thirties, I found that I stopped sewing to buy ready to wear clothes. I fell back into it about 10 years ago due to my son growing up and wanting to take up a new hobby. I now try and sew better quality items and challenge myself.

Do you have a mentor that encouraged you to get into sewing?

I didn’t have a mentor, however around me were many stylish and strong women who spoke about who they were/ how they dressed. It was the 80s and women were dressing in a very strong way. Also during this time there were notable ‘tribes’ such as goths, dance music, heavy metal fans etc – it fascinated me how you could tell a lot about a person by what they chose to wear.

What is your favourite garment to sew/or your speciality?

I adore making dresses and jackets. Dresses are great for me as my body has changed during the perimenopause. I have found ways to hide the bits of me that I am less confident about. I love making jackets due to the ability for them to dress up an outfit or you can dress them down with jeans and a simple white t-shirt. They are so versatile.

Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee, and which challenge were you fearing the most the first week - Pattern challenge; Transformation challenge, or Made to Measure challenge?

Oh my goodness it was so daunting walking in that first time. To be in such a familiar space as the bees and actually having to create something was exhilarating and incredibly scary. I felt like I needed to pinch myself!! By far the most difficult challenge for me was the Pattern Challenge. I also need time to digest instructions, and of course on the Bee we don’t have much of that.

In your sewing life: What has been your worst sewing disaster - and your biggest triumph?

The most recent disaster was making a quilted coat for my friend Dionne. I was ironing the seam and forgot to turn down the heat of the iron…. It went through it! I had to cut about 20cm from the length to cut it out. She still loved the coat but it was a horrible lesson to keep checking the heat on your iron! My biggest triumph is my French style (Chanel) jacket that I made. It took 30 hours of machine and hand sewing to make the garment. I learned so many couture techniques which gave me great joy.

Do you make for family and friends as presents? And most asked for garment?

I have started making things for friends such as a coat for Dionne! I have also made some velvet jackets for friends and summer dresses for my Mam. My Toile de Jouy jackets have been well received.

Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?

My style is relaxed tailoring with a romantic twist. I like being comfortable but a little over dressed! I make almost all of my own clothes.

Can you give a sewing tip for amateur sewers who have been enjoying the show?

Ooooh I guess the best tip I would give to anyone starting to sew is to press your seams. I cannot emphasise this enough! If I could sneak another in, it would be make sure you measure things twice.

What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?

We decided as a group early on that we were going to help each other. That’s been the most wonderful thing. We never felt in competition with one another, we always knew that the judges would find differences in us, so we did our best to move forwards in every challenge. On the whole, this approach worked!

Man Yee, Great British Sewing Bee 2022 finalist
BBC/Love Productions/James Stack

Man Yee, 25 London Actuary

Man Yee was born in Hong Kong and moved to Portsmouth as a child. Her sewing journey started over a decade ago when she and her friends wanted to dress up as Japanese anime characters for Comic Con, so she asked her aunt to teach her how to sew. Her style has developed from avant-garde and Japanese street style to one that balances playfulness and sophistication.

Man Yee debated studying fashion at University but the problem solving aspect of mathematics won her over. She now works as an actuary and lives with her boyfriend in London. Their home is filled with over 50 plants and Man Yee can often be found swapping plants and socialising with members of her local plant club.

She also enjoys going indoor climbing with her friends and can’t resist dancing to the sound of cheesy hits.

Was it liberating to be filming this series?

It’s not every day that I get to spend all my time and attention on my favourite hobby so I feel very lucky and grateful to be given this opportunity and to meet other likeminded people.

When did you first start sewing and why do you love it so much?

I learnt to sew when I was around 12/13 years old to make costumes for me and my friends to wear to Comic Con. I then used this skill to refashion my hand-me-downs to give them a new lease of life, not that everything was wearable - some of them were a bit like Frankenstein’s monster! I love sewing because there is so much potential to express creativity. I love that I can create garments using fabrics that are not only gentle to my eczema-prone skin but also kind to the environment.

Do you have a mentor that encouraged you to get into sewing?

Growing up I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a lot of supportive people. I was gifted my first sewing machine by my generous neighbours along with a bunch of sewing accessories, including the sewing box I brought with me to the studio! My aunt taught me how to handsew as well as how to use the sewing machine whilst my textiles teachers in school and college gave me the opportunity to experiment with various types of fabric.

What is your favourite garment to sew/or your speciality?

My favourite garments to sew are evening dresses. I don’t make them very often but I love how extravagant and elegant they are to wear for special occasions. It can be very time consuming but the outcome is the most rewarding and satisfying.

Describe your experience on first walking into the sewing room on this year’s Sewing Bee, and which challenge were you fearing the most the first week - Pattern challenge; transformation challenge, or Made to Measure challenge?

It was mesmerising to walk into the sewing room for the first time to find that the setup that I’m so used to seeing on TV was actually right in front of my eyes - it was definitely a pinch me moment! I was fearing the pattern challenge the most because it was the first one of the day and we had no idea what to expect.

What has been your worst sewing disaster - and your biggest triumph?

Worst sewing disaster was when I blindly followed the instructions to cut along the grainline despite the fact that my fabric stretches in a different direction and ended up with a dress that stretches vertically instead of horizontally across the body…

Biggest triumph so far is my self-drafted full length evening dress for a black-tie event. It has a fitted and fully lined bodice made from a turquoise satin with some turquoise lace layered over the top, and a full-length skirt with a thigh split. I had to make it over three evenings which sounds like a lifetime compared to the amount of time we get for the challenges on the show.

Do you make for family and friends as presents? And most asked for garment?

I sometimes make cushions and hair accessories for my friends and family as presents. I bought some fabrics to make a shirt for my boyfriend over a year ago, I have yet to cut into said fabric…

Describe your style, and how much of your own clothes do you make?

My style is a balance between playfulness and sophistication. I love trying bold colours and print from time to time but also settle for relaxed and simple silhouettes.

My wardrobe consists of a mix of handmade clothes and shop bought garments. I don’t expect to make 100% of my clothes because there are certain garments that I don’t enjoy making as much and there are clothes that I bought years ago that are still in great condition.

Can you give a sewing tip for amateur sewers who have been enjoying the show?

If you’re installing a zip into stretch fabrics or spandex, make sure to iron on a bit of interfacing to the fabric where the zip will be sewn onto. This stops the fabric from stretching out of shape – a tip from Esme herself! Also, iron the seams as you go and always mark your notches!

What is the best way to describe the relationship between this year’s Bees?

We are a family. We all keep in touch with each other and have been meeting up since we’ve finished filming.

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Has the Sewing Bee inspired you to start sewing? Check out our sewing for beginners guide and our how to use a sewing machine guide to get started. You can also stock up on supplies with our best sewing machines for beginners and sewing kits for beginners guides.

Authors

Sarah OrmeDigital Editor, Gathered

Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints

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