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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
More like this
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
The Pattern Challenge: Sew a sailor suit
The Transformation Challenge: Turn old school clothes into an outfit to wear outside of school
The Made to Measure: Make a spooky Halloween costume with a 3D element
Children's week is always a highlight of the Sewing Bee as we get to see the sewers making lots of tiny garments. This theme really allows the contestants the opportunity to show off their creative skills and sewing flair.
This week the sewers were asked to tackle a very traditional pattern in the Pattern Challenge. The contestants needed to make sailor suits – an outfit often worn by Victorian children. As usual, there were some challenging details to put the sewers to the test. Patrick and Esme were looking for neatly sewn ribbons with smart turn-ups on the shorts. The choice of fabric was crucial to create a neat finish.
There were some sewers with previous experience of making sailor outfits. Man Yee used to make sailor costumes inspired by her favourite Japanese anime characters, while Angela once made a sailor outfit for her daughter back in the 80s. However, Angela's experience was not enough to help her in this challenge and she finished up in the bottom three. Gill came seventh with Annie taking last place. Cristian and Marni took second and third place respectively, with Man Yee taking first place.
Next, the contestants were asked to turn old school uniforms into outfits that could be worn outside of the school gates. The judges instructed them to choose their fabrics carefully and it was crucial that the finished outfits didn't resemble school uniforms. The sewers whipped up an array of outfits from sleeveless hoodies to practical playsuits, but it was Angela who impressed the judges with her chic wide-legged trousers and top combo. Esme said that it was an outfit that she would wear herself!
Cristian and Man Yee came second and third, while Gill, Debra and Annie found themselves in the bottom three.
Finally, we headed into a special Made to Measure with a spooky theme! The sewers were challenged to make Halloween costumes for nine year olds – with a 3D element.
As usual, the sewers found inspiration from a wide range of sources. Cristian made a charming clown costume which was inspired by the first Halloween costume his mum made for him. Man Yee decided to face her fears by stitching a creepy banana spider outfit. Angela also decided to make a spider costume, adding a web and flies to complete the look.
Brogan got creative and stitched a cute bat costume complete with umbrella bat wings, but both the judges felt that it was not quite "batty" enough.
Meanwhile Annie was inspired by mythical beasts and made a stunning dragon outfit, which Patrick described as fantastically successful.
Debra drew on literary inspiration and created a costume inspired by the creepy Miss Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It consisted of a tatty wedding dress and a highly original headdress that featured bony fingers. Both Patrick and Esme were highly impressed by the finished costume.
Marni set out to create a dark fairy outfit. She intended to create the impression that her model was hovering by adding hoops of plastic tubing to her skirt, but she quickly realised that the piping wasn't rigid enough to support the fabric. Had she done enough to stay in the competition?
The judges said that Gill, Annie and Debra had done enough to save themselves in the Made to Measure, but Angela and Marni were both in the danger zone.
Highlights: When Patrick told Debra that her Miss Havisham costume wouldn't look out of place in a West End production – a high compliment!
Lowlights: Marni's disappointment was clear when she realised that her Halloween costume just wasn't going to work in the way that she'd hoped.
Lessons learned: Always test your patterns beforehand if you're going to be appearing on the Sewing Bee! And make sure you choose the right fabric if you need to add turn-ups to your shorts.
Week 5 – sew the looks
Looking to sew some kid's outfits? You're in luck! We have plenty of patterns to inspire you. Try making this adorable girl's dress pattern, which is perfect for the summer months. Complete the look with this sweet toddler coat pattern.
Feeling inspired by the spooky makes in the Made to Measure? We have some fantastic projects for you! If you loved Annie's dragon outfit, you can have a go at making our dragon costume pattern for the children in your life. Short of time? You can add a creepy look to a pair of jeans with our DIY easy monster costume idea.
The Pattern Challenge: Sew a parka
The Transformation Challenge: Turn denim and old shirts into an outfit worthy of a country music singer
The Made to Measure Challenge: Make an outfit inspired by David Bowie
This week in the Sewing Bee the contestants faced their toughest Pattern Challenge to date: making a parka coat. The sewers faced complex zip fastenings, plackets and fishtail hems. They also needed to choose a fabric that was both compact and weatherproof.
Parka coats were first popularised by the Mods, but later became associated with 90s Britpop bands such as Oasis. Unsurprisingly, Oasis inspired the fabric choices of several contestants.
The sewers all seemed to struggle with the composition of the zip and teamed up to try to work it out together, but even with some assistance some of the sewers struggled to get it right. Man Yee realised that she'd got her zip wrong when she was talking to Patrick – guessing that she'd made a mistake from his expression!
Man Yee wasn't the only one who found this challenge particularly difficult. Gill found herself behind and worried that she wouldn't finish on time. She also realised that she'd chosen the wrong fabric for the task. Angela also struggled to complete the task in time.
Gill, Angela and Man Yee found themselves in the bottom three, while Annie, Cristian and Brogan took the top three spots. The judges were particularly impressed by Brogan's immaculate parka.
In the Transformation Challenge, the sewers were asked to turn old denim and old shirts into an outfit for a country music star. The contestants took inspiration from a range of sources, from Dolly Parton to Taylor Swift. There was a creative mix of garments including double denim shirts, wrap tops and refashioned skirts.
Brogan and Cristian were once again in the top three, but this time Gill came first with her fun stage outfit. Annie was in the top three for the Pattern Challenge, but found herself in last place in the Transformation Challenge. It was clear that she needed to do well in the Made to Measure to stay in the competition. Angela and Man Yee were also in the bottom three.
Going into the Made to Measure, it was clear that Angela was in last place, while Man Yee and Annie were also in the danger zone.
The Made to Measure featured one of our favourite themes to date: a David Bowie-inspired challenge! The judges stressed that the choice of fabric was important and that the designs must reflect David Bowie's unique style.
Debra got to work on a bold two-piece trouser suit inspired by the Ashes to Ashes video. Man Yee decided to team up a tiger-patterned blazer with a floaty skirt. While Annie got to work on an asymmetric blazer dress influenced by 80s fashions. Meanwhile Angela's pattern was inspired by the fantasy movie Labryrinth.
Gill's take on the challenge was very theatrical, featuring blue sequined fabric and a skirt that resembled flames. Cristian also went for a look fit for a superhero with a skintight bodysuit and matching cape.
Unable to decide on one theme, Brogan decided to mash up some of her favourite Bowie outfits – with striking results.
Annie's double-breasted suit caught the eye of the judges, who felt that it really reflected Bowie's story. They also loved the drama of Cristian's catsuit, but Esme spotted that it was too tight in certain places. Brogan had a more mixed response from the judges, who described her skirt as an afterthought. Man Yee was praised for the sewing on her jacket, but the judges were unsure about the overall look of the outfit. Angela received very similar comments – although her outfit was well-sewn, it didn't really fit the brief.
Highlights: Esme revealing that she met David Bowie at Notting Hill Carnival and that they sat on a window ledge together! She also revealed that she once dressed up as Dolly Parton. We were also blown away by the amazing designs in the Made to Measure – it's one of our highlights of the series so far!
Lowlights: Cristian admitting that he'd tried out his Made to Measure on himself and assumed that the model would have a smaller bottom than him, but it was still too tight!
Lessons learned: Testing patterns on yourself isn't always the right solution!
Week 6 – sew the looks
Who doesn't love a denim transformation? Luckily we have plenty of denim refashioning ideas for you to try! This fabulous DIY denim shirt upcycling project is a good place to begin – we can certainly imagine someone like Dolly Parton wearing it.
The Pattern Challenge: Make a lace bra with matching pants
The Transformation Challenge: Turn thermal nightwear into a garment for going out
The Made to Measure: Sew luxury pyjamas for men
This week's episode began with a tough Pattern Challenge: making a lace bra with matching pants. As Debra pointed out – bras and pants are typically made from "slippy and slidey" fabrics, so it was a demanding pattern to make. Each set had to be sewn precisely with no signs of stretching. The bras also needed to be symmetrical with the cup pieces aligned correctly.
Esme was also looking for an even gusset (the part of the knickers that goes between your legs) and it had to be carefully sewn. The sewers also had to be careful not to stretch their knicker elastic!
Cristian felt out of his depth and admitted that he had no idea how a bra was constructed. Luckily Man Yee was on hand to show him how to get his bra fastening the right way round.
The sewers produced an impressive selection of lingerie in the time, but there were a few mistakes. Gill accidentally made a pleat on the centre front of her bra, which was really obvious due to its position. Meanwhile Brogan managed to put her straps on the wrong way round.
At the end of the first round, Gill was in last place, Cristian was in 5th place and Debra was in 4th place. Brogan came third and Man Yee was second, with Annie taking the top spot. Patrick said that it was tough to decide between Man Yee and Annie, as they both did such a good job.
In the Transformation Challenge, the sewers were asked to turn thermal pyjamas into outfits that you could wear out and about. They weren't allowed to use any additional fabrics, but could use whatever they liked from the haberdashery. Fortunately the thermal PJs were all in pretty pastel colours, providing a good starting point for the sewers' creations. Patrick described this challenge as "from Nana to Rihanna", which we love!
The stretchy thermal fabric was difficult to sew, but the contestants didn't seem phased. They quickly set to work creating a variety of interesting outfits from ruffled sweatshirt tops to tiered dresses. Man Yee went rogue while making her intricate top, using a glue gun to stick her design together. Surprisingly, Esme and Patrick didn't seem to mind too much, but they didn't like her daisy embellishments at all!
Annie also impressed the judges with her plaited halterneck design and Cristian made a dramatic daisy dress transformation that Patrick and Esme loved. However, it was Debra who took first place with her frilly double-bow top.
Unfortunately Gill found herself in last place again, with Man Yee in 5th place and Brogan in 4th place. Going into the final challenge, the judges felt that Gill was clearly in last place, but could make it through to week 8 if Brogan, Cristian or Man Yee made a big mistake.
Finally, in the Made to Measure the sewers had to make luxury pyjamas for men. The sewers were allowed to practice their patterns at home, but needed to make sure that their pyjamas fit the models perfectly. The judges were looking out for accurate sewing and thoughtful details to make the clothes feel high quality.
Many of the sewers chose to make their PJs using fabrics such as silk, which are slippery to sew but feel comfortable to wear. Debra joked that making men's clothes should be easier as you don't need to factor in breasts. Cristian seemed relieved to finally have a challenge that was more in his comfort zone.
Annie got to work on some glamorous silk PJs inspired by the American rapper ASAP Rocky, who Patrick claimed to have met! The judges loved the look and feel of the fabric that she'd chosen. Debra opted for a more vintage theme and stitched some pyjamas inspired by the style of Noel Coward in the 1930s. Meanwhile Man Yee's ideas came from closer to home – her dark blue pyjamas were inspired by her dad and she added a beautiful bee motif to the pocket. Gill made goldfish-inspired pyjamas while Cristian had no specific theme in mind.
Brogan decided to steer clear of the more slippery fabrics, opting for cotton lawn instead. It's much more stable and easier to sew. Brogan is something of a nightwear fan and confessed that she owns 15 sets of pyjamas. She chose a tropical print, which the judges felt looked more appropriate for the beach than pyjamas.
Cristian and Gill found themselves struggling in this challenge and Gill broke the thread while trying to sew her buttonhole. Cristian found it difficult to get a good finish using the fabric he'd chosen.
Man Yee wowed the judges with her neat sewing and fine details. Patrick described the "very height of luxury pyjamas" and "genuinely knockout PJs". Debra was also praised by the judges. However, Gill and Cristian had clear issues with the fit of their clothes.
Did Gill do enough to stay in the competition?
Highlights: It was lovely to see Man Yee's delight when she heard the judges' comments and she was clearly in the running for Garment of the Week. Annie was also thrilled by her Pattern Challenge win.
Lowlights: Gill has been a strong contender in the series so far, but it clearly wasn't her week. It also seemed to be the first week where Cristian had really struggled. Sadly one of them had to leave the show.
Lessons learned: Debra won over Esme in the Transformation Challenge with a double bow. Patrick joked: "We've got to the point where one bow just isn't enough for you." Always add more bows to impress Esme!
Week 7 – sew the looks
Looking for something more simple than the luxury pyjamas seen on the Sewing Bee this week? Try this simple pyjama sewing pattern designed by Karoline Dahrling-Hughes. If you're looking for a warmer garment, learn how to make pyjama bottoms.
Just want to lounge around at home? Make your own luxurious robe with our dressing gown pattern.
We've heard the judges and contestants talking a lot about French seams this week. If you want to try this technique for yourself, take a look at our how to sew a French seam guide.
The Pattern Challenge: Make Sailor-inspired trousers.
The Transformation Challenge: Turn men's shirts into 1930s blouses for women.
The Made to Measure Challenge: Sew a 1930s bias-cut evening dress.
It's the quarter-finals and we're down to the last five sewers. Expect lots of glamorous makes and dazzling garments in this week's episode, because it's 1930s week!
As it's the the quarter-finals, the judges came up with another fiendish Pattern Challenge for the sewers to attempt. Patrick said that it's the most difficult Pattern Challenge they've ever set. We dread to think what they'll ask the contestants to make in the semi-final and the final!
This week's Pattern Challenge was a pair of 1930s sailor-inspired trousers. These button-fronted trousers were popularised by Coco Chanel and were inspired by the trousers worn by sailors. They are still very popular today. This pattern had lots of difficult details to trip up unwary sewers including a bib front, eight buttons and concealed pockets.
Any slip during construction could lead to a tuck or a hole appearing on the trousers, so the sewers needed to be extra careful. They also needed to consider their choice of fabric – they needed something that would show the structure of the garment without being too thick.
Annie seemed very unsure of herself in this round and admitted that she felt confused by the structure of the trousers, but she wasn't alone. Debra quickly realised that she had cut out her pattern pieces incorrectly and Cristian also had to recut his pieces.
In the end, most of the sewers had some form of error in their pattern from wonky buttonholes to loose buttons. Brogan managed to sew her button through her pocket! Man Yee came first, followed by Cristian, Debra, Brogan and Annie.
Next up was the Transformation Challenge, where the sewers were asked to turn men's shirts into elegant 1930s blouses. They were given some 1930s adverts for women's clothing to inspire their designs.
Cristian was unhappy with his initial design, so made the risky decision to scrap it and start again. While some of the other sewers attempted 1930s-style puffed sleeves in their designs.
Debra impressed Esme with her ruffle-fronted blouse, while Annie disappointed her by making the bow on her top too small. The judges liked the shape of Cristian's blouse but not the colours he'd chosen. Brogan was told that her top looked like pyjamas! However it was Man Yee who really wowed the judges with her simple yet chic blouse, which Patrick said he really loved.
Man Yee won first place, followed by Debra, Annie, Cristian and Brogan. Going into the final challenge, Man Yee had clearly done enough to secure her place in the semi-finals. The judges said that Brogan and Annie were last going into the Made to Measure, but that Cristian was not far ahead of them.
The Made to Measure had a particularly glamorous theme: 1930s evening dresses. The judges specified that the dress needed to be cut on the bias. This is when the fabric is cut at a 45º angle to create some stretch – this was a new sewing innovation in the 1930s, as it meant that a dress would cling to your figure.
The sewers looked to Hollywood for inspiration for their bias-cut gowns. Brogan was inspired by the dancer Ginger Rogers and made a pink satin dress with panels. Meanwhile, Debra was making an ambitious open-backed dress.
Unusually for the Made to Measure, Man Yee and Annie both chose to make the same pattern: a scarf dress inspired by the Hollywood actor Jean Harlow. Man Yee chose to make hers in ivory satin, while Annie opted for a bold red satin.
Cristian's pattern was a floor-length velvet gown. Patrick examined his fabric and found that it wasn't the right fabric for the challenge with a multiway stretch. Cristian had forgotten to check! Cristian also made the decision to change his dress design halfway through the challenge to create an open back.
There was plenty of drama in the final challenge, with Debra having to remake the top of her dress after she'd sewn in the darts and everything. She also realised that she'd cut the front panel of her dress the wrong way round – luckily she had just enough fabric to recut it.
The finished gowns were all incredible, but it was Annie who really stood out. Patrick described her dress as "the epitome of 1930s glamour".
Highlights: Seeing all of the gorgeous gowns in the Made to Measure!
Lowlights: Poor Cristian was so behind that he shortened his hem without measuring it, so he ended up with a wonky hem.
Lessons learned: Always check your buttons to make sure you haven't sewn through your pockets.
Week 8 – sew the looks
Want to make your own evening dress? Try making this free evening dress pattern by Portia Lawrie! If you want to finish your dresses to perfection, take a look at our guide and learn how to sew a french seam.
The Pattern Challenge: Make a kimono-inspired dress
The Transformation Challenge: Repair old denim garments using sashiko embroidery techniques
The Made to Measure: Sew a garment inspired by the Japanese art of origami
As you might have guessed from the challenges, the semi-final of the Sewing Bee 2022 has a Japanese theme. The competition kicked off with the contestants being asked to sew a kimono-inspired dress. The dress was designed by Esme and her friend Wakoko – it incorporates many features of a traditional kimono with a big bow at the waist.
As usual, the fabric choices were important to sew this elaborate pattern. The judges were looking for a collar that stood up by itself, crisp corners and a perfect lining. If any of the sewers made the lining too short, it would pucker the hem of the dress.
Brogan initially planned to do her kimono dress in one fabric, but quickly realised that she didn't have enough material to make it work. Debra made the mistake of making hers in one pattern – something that caused her great stress when it came to assembling the garment! This challenge also caused issues for Man Yee, who got her hand stuck while trying to bag out her belt.
Annie wowed the judges with her finished kimono-inspired dress. Patrick said that it was beautifully sewn and that he couldn't commend it highly enough.
At the end of the challenge, Annie was in first place followed by Man Yee, Brogan and Debra.
In the Transformation Challenge, the sewers were asked to use the Japanese sashiko embroidery technique to give some ripped denim garments a new lease of life. This meant that they had to find inventive ways to mend their torn outfits. Man Yee opted for rainbows and clouds, Annie turned holes into stars, Brogan added shooting stars while Debra used a bird motif as part of her design.
The finished outfits were both cute and creative, but Man Yee took the top spot with her charming rainbow repairs. Annie came second and Brogan came third, with Debra finishing in last place again.
Going into the Made to Measure, Man Yee and Annie were both doing well, with Brogan and Debra in trouble.
Finally, the sewers were challenged to make a very intricate Made to Measure. They had to create dresses that included origami element and appeared folded – a challenging effect to create using fabric. To succeed, they needed to choose a fabric that folded crisply or could be sewn to create the appearance of folds.
Annie went for an abstract design inspired by an origami bunny using taffeta to create her folds. Meanwhile Man Yee was inspired by one of her favourite childhood pastimes – making origami cranes. Her dress was made from cotton and decorated with a fabric crane.
Brogan took a risky approach and decided to make her dress using neoprene (wetsuit fabric!). She needed to cut out lots of circles to create a lotus flower effect. Debra's dress was inspired by Mount Fuji and she had to make over 100 origami flowers – very impressive!
The finished dresses were simply stunning and the judges had a tough decision to make.
Highlights: This episode had a surprise twist – a Sewing Bee first! No contestants were sent home and so four finalists will be returning to compete in the final episode.
Lowlights: Watching Man Yee leave the decision about whether to insert a zip into her dress until the last minute. She likes to take risks!
Lessons learned: Don't gamble that your dress will fit your model, you need to make sure you measure them.
Week 9 – sew the looks
If you're in the mood for some Japanese-inspired sewing projects then you're in luck! We have lots of fun projects for you to try. If you have some clothes in need of repair, then have a go at our how to do sashiko embroidery guide and check out our top five tips for sashiko stitching.
In need of a new bag? Have a go at our free bento bag pattern, which is inspired by Japanese sewing techniques.
And if you want to have a go at making a Japanese garment, try this kimono-inspired beach cover up pattern.
The Pattern Challenge: Sew Esme's iconic Swanky Modes amorphous dress
The Transformation Challenge: Turn all of the offcuts from this series of the Sewing Bee into a party outfit
The Made to Measure Challenge: Make a glamorous jumpsuit that wouldn't look out of place on the red carpet
Who will be crowned Britain's best amateur sewer? The standard this year has been extremely high and all four sewers are in with a chance to win. 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.
"I have no idea who is going to win," Esme said.
This week, the contestants were instructed to make one of Esme's own patterns: the iconic amorphous dress, which was one of the first dresses made using lycra and is displayed in the V&A Museum. It was worn by the likes of Cher and also appeared in the film Crocodile Dundee! As lycra is incredibly tricky to work with due to its stretchy nature, the sewers needed to choose their fabric with care. As was the final, they were also given very minimal instructions. The most intricate part of the pattern was sewing the mitred corners on the ties to get a neat finish.
Brogan chose a particularly slippery metallic lycra, which really challenged her sewing skills. She admitted that she'd never sewn lycra before. Meanwhile, Debra was suffering from imposter syndrome."I'm here by mistake!" she said.
Brogan made a real mistake with her fabric choice as it wrinkled, which landed her in fourth place. Annie came third and Man Yee was second with Debra taking the top spot.
Next, the sewers were tasked with a tough Transformation Challenge. They had to take all of the offcuts from the series and make them into a party outfit. The judges didn't specify what kind of party the outfit needed to be for, leaving the sewers free to be completely creative.
Debra chose to make a dress with a ruffle which had a definite garden party vibe. Brogan chose to sew a cute dress, while Annie chose a more classical gown. Man Yee made a glitzy top that was ideal for a night on the town.
Man Yee's outfit impressed the judges and she won the final Transformation Challenge of the series. Annie came second and Debra third, with Brogan coming last again.
In the last Made of Measure, the sewers were asked to create a jumpsuit suitable for the red carpet. This time, they were allowed to bring in a friend or family member to model their finished garment.
Debra chose to make a hen night outfit for her model. Annie decided to make a glamorous jumpsuit with a sporty twist – adding stripes to the sides of the legs. She also added an elegant bow and train at the back. Brogan went for drama with her short leopard print jumpsuit, which had an added skirt. Man Yee's jumpsuit was inspired by the character of Harley Quinn and featured sequinned sections and a cape.
Man Yee gave herself a difficult job by including so much sequinned fabric – the sequins pinged off in her face as she tried to sew! She also found herself behind and really struggled to finish her jumpsuit in time. Patrick and Esme were concerned by the size of Annie's bow. Had she done enough to support it? Meanwhile Brogan tried to sew with an empty bobbin!
The finished outfits were all stunning and it was a great way to end such a fabulous series.
Highlights: There was a brilliant atmosphere in the sewing room and the sewers were so supportive of each other. They were all so happy just to be there – it's why we love the show so much.
Lowlights: Man Yee struggling with her sequins!
Lessons learned: Be careful not to stretch your lycra out of shape.
Week 10 – sew the looks
We're feeling in the party mood after this week's show! If you want to make something sparkly for a party, try this fun glitter shrug pattern. It's perfect for any celebration.
If you want to make some party decorations, we've got lots of fun patterns you can try. Have a go at making some fabric pom poms or learn how to make bunting. Bunting is a great way to use up leftover fabric scraps too.
Finally, if you want to have a go at sewing with lycra, check out our swimsuit patterns round up which includes tips for how to sew using stretchy fabrics.
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.
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