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The Great British Sewing Bee Episode Guide

The Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens! Catch up with all of the highlights and find out how to sew the looks you've seen on screen.

Sewing Bee contestants 2022
BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon
Published: May 18, 2022 at 9:57 pm
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The Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens We love sharing the highs and lows of the latest series here when it airs. You can catch up on all of the latest episodes below and relive the highlights and lowlights of the Great British Sewing Bee 2022.

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Catch up with our Great British Sewing Bee episode guide – we'll be sharing the new highlights from series 8 in 2022 as soon as they are aired.

We'll also be sharing pattern ideas inspired by the show for you to stitch at home!

We're waiting for the new series of the Sewing Bee to return this month, but in the meantime you can catch up with our festive specials and the best bits of season seven. Remember you can find out all the news and gossip about this year's series, and meet the contestants, in our complete Great British Sewing Bee guide too.

You can also get to know the Sewing Bee's new presenter comedian Sara Pascoe.

Catch up on the Great British Sewing Bee series 8

The Great British Sewing Bee 2022  has returned to our screens in a flurry of frills, pleats, tucks and some seriously good sewing – not to mention a stylish new venue! The new series is back with all our favourite bits – the beautiful sewing room, sweet soothing vintage tunes, Patrick Grant's wry smiles and Esme Young's razor-sharp judging.

Stay tuned for the highs and lows of The Great British Sewing Bee series 8 with our episode challenge recaps and links to similar patterns if you want to give the weekly garments a go.

If you're feeling inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee in 2022, check out our sister post – What sewing machines are on Sewing Bee?

For more free projects and Sewing Bee gossip sign-up to our newsletter! And if you want to take a step in the Sewing Bee's shoes and get your craft on check out our sewing kits for beginners post which covers all the supplies you need to start sewing. You might also find our how to use a sewing machine guide comes in handy!

Episode 1

The Pattern Challenge: Make a wool mini skirt with piped pockets
The Transformation Challenge: Turn loungewear into a top for a night out
The Made to Measure Challenge: Sew a stylish wrap dress

The Bee is back! The Great British Sewing Bee has returned for a brand new series. That's not the only thing that's new – the show has a new host, comedian Sara Pascoe, and a new sewing room in an old woollen mill in Farsley, Yorkshire.

This season promises to be one of the best yet and the standard is higher than ever. As Patrick pointed out, there was a surge in sewing machine sales during the pandemic and increasing number of young men have taken up sewing. That's reflected in this year's contestants with three men taking part in the Sewing Bee 2022.

The sewers are getting better and better and the challenges are getting harder and harder. They've got to be bold and take risks. I'm excited to see what they're going to come up with.
Esme Young

The judges certainly weren't going to go easy on the sewers in their first week (Capsule Wardrobe week). The show kicked off with a deceptively tricky mini skirt project, but the contestants rose to the challenge and there were only a few wonky patch pockets. A few sewers shone in the first round and Angela, Marni and Brogan were all in the top three.

The contestants had the opportunity to show off their creative flair in the Transformation Challenge. They were asked to transform comfy loungewear into tops for a night out – this was a really fun challenge to kick off the series and contestants came up with some truly inventive designs.

In the Made to Measure Challenge, the contestants were asked to sew their own versatile wrap dresses. For some of the sewers, it was the first time they'd worked with a model. The sewers whipped up an array of original – and very different – wrap dresses. But who did enough to stay in the competition and who was asked to go home?

Highlights: Marni was perhaps a little too excited to meet Patrick Grant: "I'm just hoping Patrick smells as good as he looks. There's a chance. Like tweed, but slightly musky at the same time." However, she didn't let Patrick distract her and came first in the Transformation Challenge with her 80s-inspired top. Man Yee also made the brave choice to sew using organza in the Made to Measure in week one, but did her gamble pay off? You'll have to watch the show to find out.

Lowlights: Some of the sewers were clearly overwhelmed by the pressure of appearing in the Sewing Bee. Mitch in particular seemed very nervous and Debra forgot to read the instructions on her sewing skirt.

Lessons learned: Always read the instructions! And check the length of your dress on your model or you could end up with a very revealing outfit.

Week 1 sew the looks

Fancy making your own skirts? We've put together some of our favourite skirt sewing patterns.

Prepare for a night out with our pick of the best blouse patterns or you could buy the chic Bea blouse from the Simply Sewing shop.

If you'd like to try making your own wrap dress, we've got you covered! Try our DIY wrap dress pattern, which can be made in just one day. Over on the Simply Sewing Etsy store, we've also got the fabulous Maria dress (pictured below).

You can also learn how to sew a patch pocket and how to sew an invisible zip with our handy guides.

Maria dress pattern

Episode 2

The Pattern Challenge: Sew a pair of hi top sneakers
The Transformation Challenge: Turn netball clothing into a new garment
The Made to Measure: Make a sports jacket inspired by a sporting hero

Welcome to Sports week! This episode got off to a tough start with the judges setting a fiendish Pattern Challenge for the contestants. In a first for the Sewing Bee, the contestants were asked to make a pair of shoes. Esme warned that there was a "hell of a lot" that could go wrong. The sewers needed to make sure that their punch eyelets were positioned correctly and that their uppers were firmly stitched onto the rubber soles.

Some of the sewers excelled in this challenge and Man Yee was genuinely stunned to come first, with Annie and Marni in second and third place. However, some of the contestants struggled to finish in the allotted time. Angela failed to complete her shoes and Patrick described them as "roadkill" (a bit harsh!).

For the Transformation Challenge, the sewers were given a selection of netball uniforms and asked to turn them into smart new garments. There were some inventive takes on the brief, from geometric tops to sculptural blouses. Brogan stole the show with an elegant top which made the most of the pleats and was cleverly sewn. Marni was in the top three again with Debra in second place. Annie went from second place to last place as her design failed to impress Esme and Patrick.

In the Made to Measure, the contestants had to create sports jackets inspired by their sporting heroes and there were some really inspired designs. Man Yee decided to make things complicated for herself again by sewing a complicated geometric design on the front of her jacket. It was meant to represent a climbing wall and her sporting hero climber Kim Ja-in. Another interesting design came from Annie, who stitched a jacket with curved lines to represent a tennis ball – inspired by her hero Serena Williams.

Surprisingly, there was some doubling up: two sewers picked Olympic diver Tom Daley as their hero, while another pair were inspired by the record-breaking runner Florence Griffith Joyner aka Flo-Jo.

Chichi was one of the contestants who chose Flo-Jo as their inspiration. She added a lace sleeve to her jacket to represent Flo-Jo's iconic style, leaving one arm bare. However, she struggled to get a good finish on the sleeveless shoulder, which Esme's sharp gaze picked up.

Highlights: Not all of the sewers had experience of inserting eyelets, but luckily help was on hand. Richy, Steve, Brogan and Marni all stepped in to help their fellow contestants with practical tips and advice. Heartwarming stuff! We were also amused by Richy's pleated shorts for men, which came with a flap at the front (apparently they were inspired by historical breeches).

Lowlights: In the Made to Measure, the measuring part is very important to the success of the challenge. Richy accidentally made a jacket in the Made to Measure that was just a bit too snug, putting his place in the show in jeopardy. Things went wrong for Steve when his overlocker ripped a hole in his jacket, but there was no time for him to repair the damage.

Lessons learned: It's better for your garments to be slightly too loose than too tight. Esme likes a bow, but not a tiny one! The bigger the better!

Week 2 sew the looks

If you've been inspired to make your own sports clothes, you're in luck! We've got some great sporty patterns for you to make. Learn how to make this cute bomber jacket pattern, sew our cosy hoodie pattern, whip up our free gym shorts pattern or make this handy yoga mat bag pattern.

Bomber jacket pattern

Episode 3

The Pattern Challenge: Sew a shirred midi dress with gathered sleeves
The Transformation Challenge: Turn garden hammocks into summer outfits
The Made to Measure: Make coordinating two-piece outfit for summer

It's Summer week on the Sewing Bee and the first challenge seemed to be made for Brogan, who is a huge fan of midi dresses. She was understandably delighted, but the challenge was not welcomed by everyone. Steve admitted that he'd never made a dress before and Richy said that he didn't know what shirring was.

If you're a sewer, you'll know how tricky it can be to create shirring on garment – your tension needs to be just right and your lines need to be straight. Some of the contestants found it easier than others – Steve spent too long on his shirring and fell behind, so he wasn't able to complete his dress. Richy and Debra also failed to impress the judges with their garments.

Unsurprisingly, Brogan came first in this challenge. Patrick said that he could easily see her dress "on the rail of quite an expensive clothing shop".

Next the sewers moved on to the Transformation Challenge. This week, Patrick and Esme challenged them to turn garden hammocks into summer garments. Although they were allowed to use trimmings and bindings from the haberdashery, they weren't allowed to use any other fabrics. "The important thing for me is that it ends up not looking like a hammock," said Patrick.

Brogan did well in this challenge too, coming second with her fun striped sundress, but Angela earned the top spot with her macrame-embellished dress. Cristian also wowed the judges with his jacket design, which didn't resemble a hammock at all.

It was another tough round for Steve and he ended up in last place again. Patrick and Esme speculated that he could save himself in the Made to Measure if he did spectacularly well and another sewer did really badly. Could Steve do enough to save himself in the final round?

Everyone's amazing. It's like playing against a football team with nine Ronaldos
Steve

In this week's Made to Measure, the contestants were asked to make two-piece coordinating outfits for the summer. Steve's outfit was inspired by the shirts worn by Leonardo di Caprio in Romeo & Juliet – he didn't know that Esme was the person who actually made Leo's shirts and was pleased to discover the connection! Cristian was the only other contestant making a man's outfit and both turned out spectacularly well.

Most of the sewers opted for cotton for their garments, but Brogan decided to challenge herself by choosing to sew her Spanish-inspired outfit using satin. Man Yee also set herself a challenge by making a bustier top, which Patrick commented was more difficult than any other pattern being made by the other contestants. But did Man Yee's gamble to impress the judges pay off?

It wasn't an easy day for all of the contestants. Richy catastrophically miscalculated the measurements for his harem pants and had to adapt his pattern. He confessed that he hadn't practiced sewing his self-drafted pattern in advance. Meanwhile, Angela struggled to finish her frilled top in time and sewed the zip to the wrong side of her trousers.

Highlights: It was fun to watch the sewers wrangle the hammocks into something wearable – without using any other fabrics. It was great to see how they incorporated ropes and macrame into their designs too. It was also lovely to see Angela's joy when she won the Transformation Challenge.

Lowlights: Richy realised that he'd miscalculated the length of his trousers in the Made to Measure and had to make big adjustments to his pattern. His statement bow – which was meant to impress Esme – ended up pulling down the back of his top.

Lessons learned: If you need to do shirring, choosing a gingham fabric can help because you can follow the lines as a guide (thanks for the tip, Man Yee!). And always test out your patterns in advance.

Week 3 – sew the looks

We've loved this week's theme and the excuse to dig out some of our favourite summer sewing projects! Take a look at our pick of the best summer dress sewing patterns or try stitching this comfortable harem pants pattern. You can make some baby harem pants too!

This week, we saw the contestants struggle to sew using elastic in the Pattern Challenge. If that's something you find difficult, then explore our how to sew with elastic guide.

How to make a halter dress

Episode 4

The Pattern Challenge: Sew a quilted jacket using fabric scraps
The Transformation Challenge: Turn two old coats into a new coat
The Made to Measure: Transform a duvet cover into a maxi dress.

One of our favourite themes returned in this episode: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle week! It's always exciting to see what the sewers manage to make using old garments.

As usual, Patrick and Esme had dreamt up a fiendishly difficult Pattern Challenge to start the week. The sewers were asked to make quilted jackets using a staggering 96 squares of fabric. The jackets needed to have binding and mitred corners. Some of the contestants had never attempted quilting or mitred corners before (cue some horrified expressions as they read through the instructions).

In spite of this, the contestants rose to the challenge and Debra, Brogan and Gill came first, second and third respectively. However, it proved to be a struggle for some of the sewers with Steve finding himself in last place once again. Man Yee ended up in eighth place with Gill in seventh place.

Next up was the Transformation Challenge, where the sewers were asked to turn two coats into one stylish new coat using elements from both garments. After their low scores in the Pattern Challenge, Man Yee and Steve were clearly both determined to do well in the Transformation Challenge.

The coat transformations were fun and inventive with peplums, clever collars and interesting colour combinations. This time round, Annie and Brogan took second and third place with Man Yee winning the top spot. Debra, Marni and Steve came ninth, eighth and seventh.

Going into the Made to Measure, the judges were impressed by Brogan and Annie's efforts, while Steve, Man Yee and Debra were all in the danger zone. Steve managed to scrape through in week three and needed to produce an amazing Made to Measure to stay in the competition. Could he pull it back for a second time?

In the Made to Measure, the sewers needed to transform old duvet covers into flowing maxi dresses. The judges chose duvets for this challenge because they have lots of fabric – perfect for dressmaking.

Some of the thrifty stitchers found their duvets in charity shops, but a few had more personal connections to their duvets. Cristian's vibrant Indian duvet cover was a gift from his father to his mother, while Gill used an old duvet cover that used to belong to her children.

Debra's dress was movingly inspired by her feisty little rescue cat, Olive. It had a subtle leopard print pattern and a design featuring big cats.

Gill's dress caught the eye of the judges, who loved the way she'd used her fabrics and her decision to add open sleeves. Cristian's maxi dress transformation also wowed Patrick and Esme. Steve's dress has "real punch on the catwalk" according to Patrick, but Esme spotted a wonky zip at the back of the garment.

As usual, Man Yee challenged herself to create a dress with lots of gathers, but ran out of time to add a third frill layer to her dress and Esme criticised the sewing of her gathers. She was unsure if she'd done enough to get through to next week's show.

Highlights: When Angela revealed that her outfit was made out of curtains. Was she inspired by The Sound of Music? Maybe we'll never know. Steve may have found this week very difficult but, as he reminds us, he didn't know how to sew nine months ago. His progress has been impressive to watch.

Lowlights: Man Yee was clearly feeling stressed in the Made to Measure as she battled to sew all of her gathers.

Lessons learned: Don't forget to mitre your corners and if your dress is too short you can always add a flounce (a top tip from Cristian!).

Week 4 – sew the looks

Want to make your own quilted jacket? Don't worry, we won't make you sew 96 patchwork squares together to make it! This quilted jacket pattern is much easier to sew and will be a great addition to your summer wardrobe. If you were wondering how to mitre corners, check out our how to mitre corners guide.

Looking for a new coat pattern? Take a look at our best coat sewing patterns to find your next sewing project.

If you're feeling inspired by the Made to Measure, sew your own maxi dress pattern using our beautiful free pattern. Don't want to make a whole dress? Have a go at this stylish maxi skirt pattern.

Quilted jacket pattern
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If you need a little help getting started on your sewing journey then check out our tutorial on how to use a sewing machine and our Sewing glossary: beginner’s guide to sewing terms to get familiar with the lingo.

Authors

Zoe WilliamsEditor, Gathered.how

Zoe is Senior Editor of Gathered.how, with over a decade of craft publishing experience under her belt. She's a quilter and sewist who works with the UK’s best-selling craft magazines including Today’s Quilter, Love Patchwork & Quilting, Simply Sewing and The World of Cross Stitching. Zoe loves being immersed in Gathered’s quilting content, tweaking our tutorials and publishing new patterns. Zoe has previously written for radiotimes.com, Simply Knitting and The World of Cross Stitching and was previously Deputy Editor of Papercraft inspirations magazine. She has guest-lectured at Bath Spa University. She’s a keen quilter with 5 projects in progress at any one time and another 12 or so planned.

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