Everything you need to know about the latest Sewing Bee series

great british sewing bee
Great British Sewing Bee: EYNTKJames Stack - BBC

The Great British Sewing Bee is one of our favourite craft programmes on TV – and now the the new series is back, along with the line-up of contestants.

The sewing contest sees 12 competitors battle it out to be crowned the best amateur sewist in the country.

They will compete in three sewing challenges each week, with contestants in previous shows creating a range of garments from adorable children's clothes to fabulous fancy dress outfits. The challenges have been carefully designed to test each sewist's technical and creative skills.

Each week, one contestant will be awarded with Garment of the Week and another sewist is sent home. The best three sewists will battle it out in the final to be crowned the winner.

When is the Great British Sewing Bee on TV?

The ninth series of the sewing competition started on BBC One on Wednesday 24 May at 9pm and is also be available on BBC iPlayer, with a new episode airing at 9pm on Wednesdays each week. For those of you who love craft TV shows, The Repair Shop is on BBC One beforehand at 8pm.

Announcing the new series, the Great British Sewing Bee's Instagram account posted a picture of Sara Pascoe, Patrick Grant and Esme Young with the caption: "The Bee is back. Join @Sara.Pascoe, @PatrickGrantism, @Miss_Esme_Young and a haberdashery full of new sewers. Wednesday 24th May. 9pm. BBC One. #SewingBee".

In the first episode of the new series, the sewists were challenged to make a top with a twist at the centre for the Pattern Challenge. In the Transformation Challenge, they must turn the 'office uniform' of a pencil skirt and blouse into an outfit that reflects their own style.

For the Made-to-Measure challenge, the sewists will meet their models for the first time and must master creating a perfectly-fitted dress with cut-out details.

Elswhere, the second episode focused on travel and saw a challenge that hadn't been attempted before, the third was a West Africa special with guest judge Banke Kuku and the fourth episode due to air tonight (14 June) will be all about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle week.

Great British Sewing Bee: The judges

Our favourites familiar faces from previous series of Sewing Bee have returned to our screens. The competition is to be judged by expert judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant.

Esme, 73, is a designer who has enjoyed a brilliant career in the fashion industry, having taken up sewing aged just seven.

She launched her own fashion label in the 1970s called Swanky Modes, which featured in the pages of Vogue. Later in her career, she branched into costume design – perhaps most famously creating Renee Zellweger's iconic bunny outfit in Bridget Jones' Diary.

In an interview with Prima ahead of series 9, Esme said: "The standard this year is very high. What I really like is how the Bees learn from each other – just like my students do – and they get better and better."

Click here to read our full interview with Esme.

Esme will be joined by fellow judge Patrick Grant, who appeared on our screens most recently in a show about the tailors creating the royal military uniform ahead of King Charles III's coronation.

Patrick is a designer and tailor and the owner of Savile Row tailors Norton and Sons. He also launched the social enterprise Community Clothing, which aims to selling great quality affordable clothing, while sustaining and creating great jobs in the UK's textile making regions.

Great British Sewing Bee: The contestants

The contestants for series 9 of the competition were announced on the Sewing Bee's Instagram account along with fun facts about each sewist – and we've loved seeing them get creative! Here's everything we know so far about the Great British Sewing Bee contestants for 2023.

Vicki, 30

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Vicki, from Lincolnshire, works as a police dispatcher and sews to relax. She began sewing as a child when her grandmother taught her to thread a sewing machine and sew in a straight line.

She and her husband love going to festivals, and last year Vicki made the whole family matching outfits for Glastonbury.

When she's not sewing, Vicki also loves knitting, crochet, reading and painting.

Tony W, 33

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

One of two Tonys on this year's show, Tony W from Essex was inspired to get sewing after watching Sewing Bee. Now he sews mainly for his own wardrobe, favouring bold patterned shirts and tailored waistcoats.

As well as being a primary school teacher, Tony enjoys cycling and playing the pipe organ. He is a member of two croquet clubs and won a regional singles competition last year.

Tony R, 53

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

The other Tony on the show this year, Tony R is a postman from Cornwall. He can often be spotted out and about on one of his bikes or his skateboard.

Tony got into sewing after making a bag for his knitting supplies using his wife's old sewing machine. When he's not sewing, Tony enjoys completing ultra marathons and can even juggle fire!

Mia, 20

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Mia, from Surrey, is a student as well as an avid sewer. She is due to start a costume design course at university after the Sewing Bee.

She started sewing over lockdown after her mum bought a sewing machine. Mia enjoys crochet and pottery as well as sewing.

Maria, 34

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Maria is originally from Costa Rica but moved to Scotland when she was eight, and now lives in Fife. She's an A&E nurse and finds sewing helps her unwind after a stressful shift.

She is passionate about making handbags and purses, so has given leatherwork a go. Maria lives with her partner and their rescue dog, and at the moment is making waterproof cushions for her garden furniture.

Matthew, 30

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Matthew was taught to sew by his nan and now works as a dancer and teaching assistant. He performed at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics and the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

He's influenced by fashion and style from the drag scene, as well as Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

Lizzie, 49

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Lizzie, from Bristol, is the creative director of her own graphic design company and was taught to sew by her mum. Her mum passed away when Lizzie was young, so sewing is a way to feel connected to her.

When she's not sewing, Lizzie loves working on her allotment, as well as yoga, swimming and paddle boarding.

Lauren, 30

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Lauren, from Walsall, trained as a barrister and now works as a sales assistant since having a family.

She enjoys baking – especially making occasion cakes – and learned to sew after she decided to make a quilted memory blanket from her children's clothes. Now she enjoys making clothes in a neutral palette, particularly with linen.

Gillie, 73

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Gillie is a retired secretary and HR manager and lives in Nottingham. She started sewing age seven.

Gillie loves elegant designer clothing – she studied French in Paris and her sewing is influenced by high-end French fashion houses. Gillie's also a big Nottingham Forest fan!

Fauve, 26

the great british sewing bee s9,portrait,fauve ,sewer fauve ,love productions,james stack
James Stack - BBC

Fauve is a trainee solicitor from Swansea and has represented Wales at golf. Fauve sews in the evenings from her sewing cupboard, making herself feminine puff sleeve dresses.

When she's not sewing, she enjoys cold water swimming and paddle boarding and has just bought a kayak.

Catherine, 34

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Catherine, from West Sussex, is a BAFTA award-winning video games designer and also teaches pole fitness. When Catherine bought her first home, she invested in a sewing machine and has been sewing ever since.

Catherine enjoys repurposing dresses into underwear and other garments. She has a unique style, including making Edwardian-influenced outfits and accessories.

Asmaa, 46

great british sewing bee
James Stack - BBC

Asmaa, from Cardiff, is a consultant breast surgeon who was taught to sew by her grandmother.

She enjoys creating brightly coloured modesty clothing to match her designer shoes. Asmaa has even made post-op bras for her breast cancer patients.

Apart from sewing, she enjoys knitting and crochet and going to the theatre with her teenage daughter.

Great British Sewing Bee: The presenter

the great british sewing bee
Sara Pascoe is returning to our screens as presenterJames Stack - BBC

The show is presented by comedian, writer and actress Sara Pascoe, who offers hilarious quips and moral support to the contestants as they undertake the three challenges of each week.

This is Sara's second series presenting the Sewing Bee, after taking over from comedian Joe Lycett.

Sara has previously told the Metro newspaper how much she loved presenting the show. She said: "It's a really, really fun show to film. The production company are very, very lovely people.

"Some of those shows can be quite hard for their competitors. There are tears and recriminations! But Sewing Bee is really, really respectful."

If you love sewing, there's still time to apply for series 10 of the competition – entries close at 8pm on Friday 26 May. The application form can be submitted online by clicking here, or you can email applyforsewingbee@loveproductions.co.uk or call 0207 067 4837 to have an application form posted to you.

You can also try some of the patterns featured on the Sewing Bee at home if you're itching to put your sewing machine to good use – there are even patterns suitable for beginner sewists.

We can't wait to watch the next batch of amateur sewists battle it out to be crowned winner of the Great British Sewing Bee 2023!

Watch the new series of the Great British Sewing Bee on BBC One at 9pm on Wednesdays or catch up on BBC iPlayer.

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