GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE: MEET THE CLASS OF 2021
Joe Lycett is back in charge, with twelve of Britain’s most talented home sewers competing to win one of TV’s toughest creative challenges. Judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young cast an expert eye over the garments, in the contest to find Britain’s best amateur sewer.
Fusing her Pakistani heritage with British style in her clothes, Adeena loves to sew for herself and her sisters. She is a spontaneous sewer who loves to add elements as she goes along and admits that her sisters have been ‘guinea pigs’ for her creations.
The Church plays a very important role in Andrew’s life. A busy hobbyist, when he’s not making vestments for his partner who is a priest, or a new shirt for himself, he’s likely to be found bellringing or making stained glass windows. He confesses ‘one nice aspect of making things for churches is that they can be big, they can be showy, and are made from the best fabrics.’
Cathryn has been sewing for over 50 years and her starting point is often old and recycled fabrics. She uses every scrap to make jeans, dresses, and quilts.
Damien started teaching himself to sew three years ago when a pair of work trousers needed altering and hasn’t looked back – despite some initial ‘mickey taking’ from friends. He admits that he sometimes gets a raised eyebrow when visiting fabric shops, as he’s not the stereotypical customer.
Her two young daughters also enjoy the benefits of having a creative mum, putting in requests for colourful outfits they can guarantee their friends won’t have. Between work and caring for small children, Farie also makes time to keep fit. During the first lockdown she and friends competed in an indoor walking challenge and she landed herself a gold medal in a 100k challenge.
Adam loves spending time with his family and often knits for his eighteen-month-old nephew whose nickname for Adam is Abba because Adam is a self-styled ‘Dancing Queen’. His love of the stage led Adam to study Performing Arts at university and then on to working as an entertainer on cruise ships, where he was promoted to Cruise Ship Entertainment Director.
Growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, Jean lived with her parents and seven siblings, one of whom is her identical twin. Her parents were unaware that they were expecting two babies, so when Jean and her sister Jeanette were born, their dad raced home to whip up another set of baby clothes on the family’s treadle sewing machine. Jean’s mother taught her how to sew as a child and today she creates clothes for herself and her partner Jo.
Julie’s style is bright and bold. She makes her own clothes and has sewn prize-winning dresses for Ladies’ Day at the races. She's yet to try menswear as her partner, Paul, has told her “not to bother, you’re too wacky for me”.
Lawratu has been sewing for around six years and began making her own clothes because she didn't like the fit of items in the shops. Completely self-taught with the occasional tip from YouTube, she likes bright colours and vivid prints often inspired by her West African heritage.
While his work as a Textile Artist has seen Raphael dyeing cloth for high-profile movies, it wasn’t until lockdown that he properly started learning to sew, focusing mainly on stylish menswear for himself. He’s still developing his own sewing style, saying ‘I’m a DIY sewer, because I’m self-taught. So I don’t necessarily use pins. But then, I also don’t like unpicking things!’
Sewing is in Rebecca’s blood, and from the age of four, her mum and nana would pass on their expertise with a needle. She went on to study textiles at A-level, and now finds making clothes the perfect way to relieve the stress of a working day. She likes fast projects she can make and wear quickly and admits to having ‘a bad habit for not reading the instructions and just ploughing through.’
Serena’s passion for sewing goes hand in hand with her love of sustainable style. She began teaching herself basic skills from YouTube in her teens, and now creates her own designs as well as ‘refreshing’ charity shop garments, giving them a new lease of life. Killing Eve’s iconic character Villanelle is her style icon: “she’s a bit androgynous and I’ve always been into wearing brogues and high waisted trousers.” Serena’s eventual aim is to create a completely unique, ‘me-made’ wardrobe.
The Great British Sewing Bee begins Wednesday 15th April at 9pm on BBC One.