The Great British Sewing Bee is officially back, and this year’s contestant knitathon involves a sausage dog garment maker and a Canadian tribe member, to name just two of the BBC show’s competition line-up.
BBC one will see new host Sara Pascoe and returning judges Esme Young and Patrick Grant hit our screens from April 27th, before season 8 challenges eight sewers to showcase their garment-making skills.
This year, Man Yee, Annie, Cristian, Brogan, Mitch, Marni, Steve, Debra, Richy, Gill, Chichi, and Angela are entering the building. So, just who are the talented home sewers and what do they do for work?
- FIND OUT: What does the winner of the Sewing Bee get?
Originally from Hong Kong, Man Yee is a houseplant collector who moved to Portsmouth as a child. When the sewer and her friends wanted to dress up as Japanese anime characters for Comic Con, she asked her aunt to teach her.
Day by day, Man Yee works as an actuary in London, where she lives with her boyfriend.
Annie, who lives in Surrey with her boyfriend, credits her grandmother as her inspiration to start sewing. She currently works as a buyer for a high street fashion brand – and loves adding colour to her look!
Cristian grew up near Transylvania as one of six children, and learned to sew by watching his mother making her own garments. He moved to the UK four years ago and is now the manager of a high street store in London.
Interested in cycling, sewing and house plants, he recently made his own beanie! It all started when his parents gifted him a sewing machine at the age of 18.
Brogan is originally from Edinburgh but now teaches Spanish and French at a secondary school in Derbyshire. She got into sewing after watching series 1 of Sewing Bee as a child, and loves making clothes for her sausage dog, Roger.
The 26-year-old from Leicestershire enjoys making garments out of high street clothes, from frills and tiers to ruffles!
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Mitch Bridgewater is a father to two sons George and Freddie, husband to Lisa and pet owner to Frankie and cat Thomas. He taught himself to sew by reading books and studying online videos, and has a passion for colourful fabric.
He runs a university theatre in Cumbria, working behind the scenes and directing when he gets the chance.
Marni is a veterinary surgeon by day and keen sewer at night. Also passionate about the art of beading, she was born in Canada and is a Canadian First Nation member of the Maliseet tribe.
She has been sewing for 35 years, which has seen Marni adopt a signature style using unique embellishments such as discarded feathers combined with recycled clothing and charity shop finds.
Steve is a qualified running coach, and describes himself as a backflip attemptee. ‘Steve The Run Coach’ began his career when he was diagnosed with an auto-immune illness called ankylosing spondylitis.
He took up sewing as a lockdown hobby and now sews for at least two hours a day. Growing up in Essex, he moved to Newcastle with his girlfriend of 16 years after giving up his office job.
Debra began sewing aged nine, and takes inspiration from luxury designers like Erdem, Gucci and Chanel. She works for a multinational company and likes to dress up in her colourful designer-inspired creations.
The 50-year-old is passionate about fashion in particular and describes herself as a “sewing obsessive”.
Richy is a Shropshire-based sewer obsessed with regency fashion. The 18-19th century dressmaker is usually reading books or heading to a museum for research. His trademark is a homemade bowtie, of which he has over 50!
In his working life, he is a professional baker at an independent cafe where he works with his partner of 15 years.
Gill first tried sewing when her husband bought her a machine three years ago, and fell in love with the art. She taught herself to sew, and works as a public health intelligence analyst, insisting her love for numbers helps her in sewing.
She’s one of two contestants this year to make garments for her dog, alongside Brogan. Gill often creates clothes for her family, including her greyhound Maureen!
Chichi is originally from Zimbabwe and grew up in Somerset and Hampshire, before moving to London. She enjoys making creations from recycled fabrics and transforming vintage clothing – but her main passion is animal print!
Angela, from Lancashire, has 50 years of sewing experience, and won an award for her work as a school nurse during the pandemic. She is an NHS health visitor and school nurse, but in her spare time, enjoys walking and sewing.
She is a grandmother to four little ones, as seen on Instagram. She regularly takes care to water her plants in the garden, with the help of her family.
WATCH THE GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE ON BBC ONE EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 8 PM