Sewing Bee Esme Young: Everything to know about the show's judge

·3-min read
Photo credit: BBC One
Photo credit: BBC One

The Great British Sewing Bee is almost upon us, which means beloved judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant will be back on hand to advise 12 ambitious seamstresses as they create vibrant designs under their charge.

Esme Young, 73, is known for her inimitable style, including a penchant for show-stopping necklaces, her uncanny ability to spot a wonky seam, and her stern but fair style of judging. She'll be judging with Patrick as Sara Pascoe takes over from fellow comedian Joe Lycett as host.

Here's everything else we now about Esme...

The designer has enjoyed an illustrious career in the fashion industry since graduating from Central St Martins as a teen, after developing a passion for sewing at the tender age of 7.

Photo credit: BBC One
Photo credit: BBC One

Esme went on to launch her fashion label Swanky Modes, a designer collective with three of her female friends Judy Dewsbery, Melanie Langer and Jeanette Beckham in Camden Town in the '70s, during which time she was partying with David Bowie and the Sex Pistols.

Their designs appeared in the pages of Vogue and were photographed by iconic photographers David Bailey and Helmut Newton.

The TV star recently shared an incredible throwback photo of herself back in the '70s wearing a pink dress, a pair of gold sparkly tights, metallic heels and pink socks.

In the '90s, she moved into designing costumes, creating Renee Zellweger's iconic bunny outfit in Bridget Jones, and dressing Leonardo DiCaprio and his co-stars in The Beach.

Speaking about making Oscar winner Renee's costume, Esme told RTE: "Renee wanted the bunny outfit to be tighter because her character wasn't skinny. She really wanted a cleavage, so the costume pushed her breasts up. She could hardly sit down in it because it was so tight."

Esme joined BBC's Sewing Bee in series 4, following the departure of original judge May Martin in 2015. May was part of the judging panel since the show's inception in 2013, along with Patrick Grant, who remains on the show, and has great chemistry Esme.

"Sewing Bee is such a positive programme," she added to the publication. "Nobody who stops me in the street because they recognise me has ever been negative. And it’s not that I am that recognised."

She recently confirmed that she was releasing her memoir called Behind the Seams: My Life in Creativity, Friendship and Adventure, and will be interviewed about her book in conversation with former Sewing Bee host Joe Lycett.

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Speaking about her memoir, Esme said in a statement: "Telling the story of my life has been an exciting but terrifying experience – making the bunny outfit for Renée Zellweger and later becoming a judge on The Great British Sewing Bee in my late 60s were both much easier. Who knows what’s round the corner? Many thanks to United Agents, Bonnier Books and the Sewing Bee for their support, without them this wouldn’t have happened."

Along with judging duties on Sewing Bee, Esme also continues to teach at Central Saint Martins.

We can't wait to see Esme back on our small screens soon!

The Great British Sewing Bee returns to BBC One on Wednesday 27 April at 8pm.

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