The contestants on The Great British Sewing Bee really are a talented bunch. If only we could just whip up a dress on the sewing machine rather than spending hours trawling fashion websites.
The sewers don’t win anything at the end of the series, except a warm glow of satisfaction. Nonetheless they’re all desperate to make it to the final without a withering critique from Patrick and Esme.
Who is in contention this year? Here’s our guide to the sewers in the haberdashery in 2020.
Ali has been a paramedic in West Yorkshire for the past 23 years. It’s a high octane job that gets her adrenaline pumping – she has delivered countless babies! To offset that, Ali likes to sew and play golf, and she even makes her own colourful golfing clothes! She runs a popular sewing blog and plans stitching meet-ups to share her passion.
Like Ali, Clare has a stressful job. She works as a medical consultant in Portsmouth, specialising in lung cancer care, and sewing allows her to switch off and enjoy something creative. While Clare’s mum taught her to sew at the tender age of eight, it was only five years ago that she started taking it seriously. Being a big fans of the 1940s era she wanted to be able to make vintage clothing for herself, and now makes most of her own clothes.
Fiona is from Renfrewshire. The first thing she sewed was a rag doll when she was a little girl, but it wasn’t till her 20s that she took it up more seriously.While her partner was on the golf course she would spend her time stitching and eventually made clothes for her three children as well as soft furnishings for the house. She still sews every day, with her dog Coco sitting by her side.
Hazel is a charity worker from Kent, who works with young people, helping them find opportunities with major companies. Her aunt taught her to sew when she was a child but it was only after the birth of her son that she took it up as a hobby, finding it was a way to keep her own identity and confidence while being a mum.
Product manager Liz has a distinctive goth punk style, which has made her clothes stand out in the haberdashery. She loves using black and grey materials. Liz lives in Middlesbrough with her partner Andy and their children and works for an outdoor power equipment company.
Proving that bankers can be creative, Mark from Kenilworth is both a keen pianist and a dedicated home sewer. He always wanted to learn how to sew but didn’t have the confidence until three years ago when he learned the skill at a local haberdashery. He likes to make vintage-inspired menswear, Dr Who inspired clothes and outfits for his dogs!
Matt is from London and works as a broadcast engineer, keeping an eye on 45 different TV channels as they play out internationally. He longs to do something more creative though, and sewing is his outlet. He only began in 2017 and enjoys making drag outfits for his partner and their friends, as well as his own beach shirts and jackets.
Nicole is a jewellery designer during the day and a keen sewer in her spare time. She now lives in London but grew up in Trinidad where her mum taught her to make her own clothes because the choice of imported clothes was so limited. Nicole loves working with bold prints and metallic materials.
Peter used to be a hairdresser but is now the Deputy Manager of a Youth Hostel in Brighton. Although he learned to sew as a child, it was watching The Great British Sewing Bee on TV that inspired him to pick up a needle and thread again. He sews in his spare room and loves the work of Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.
Therese is a semi-retired teacher from East Sussex, who still works as a private tutor. She first learned to sew at primary school, where her teacher taught her to make a gingham apron. She has carried that love of sewing with her through her life and now she loves to upcycle clothes for her grandchildren.
Retired Watford primary school teacher Angilia was unfortunately the first to leave the haberdashery this year, after a few too many mistakes in Wardrobe Staples week. Sewing is just one her many calming hobbies – she also likes to meditate and practice mindfulness. Although she retired in 2016, Angilia still works with young people.
The youngest sewer in this year’s competition, Alex is a student at Edinburgh University, where he studies cognitive sciences. Alex learned to sew as a teenager as he watched his mum making wedding dresses on her 1980s sewing machine. He is also a keen and competitive ballroom dancer, and makes his own costumes for his performances.
Sadly Alex was eliminated from the series in week 2, Holiday Week.
The Great British Sewing Bee airs Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC One. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.