With just a few days to go until The Great British Sewing Bee gets underway, here’s a sneak peak at the contestants who will be raiding the haberdashery this series. We can’t wait to watch them whip up wonder garments in mere minutes and follow their sewing highs and lows over the coming weeks!
Joyce, 71, is a retired schools admissions officer.
Joyce likes to sew clothing for herself, from skirts to dresses and tops. She met her husband Hugh at a gliding club 50 years ago, and together they have an impressive five children and nine grandchildren. Being retired, Joyce has the time to sew whenever she likes (we’re ever so slightly jealous!).
She learnt to sew from her mother and has been sewing for over 50 years. She is a perfectionist and likes to do things her way. Joyce has made clothing for everyone in the family – her proudest make is her daughter’s wedding dress (and rightly so!).
Tracey, 53, is mum of two grown-up children and is a retired primary school teacher.
Tracey likes to sew clothes for herself and her daughter – anything with bright and bold fabrics. As a teacher she would get inunundated with sewing requests from the children – her biggest order was 42 super-hero capes!
Tracey was a teenager when she was first taught to sew by her mum and she’s passed her knowledge on to her own daughter, Laura. When her children were young, Tracey had little money and couldn’t afford to buy clothes, so she put her sewing machine to practical use to dress the family.
She is a self-confessed fabric hoarder and has drawers full of various projects waiting to be sewn… we can identify with that.
Angeline, 30, is a marketing manager who likes to sew elegant 50s inspired occasion dresses.
Angeline grew up on a potato farm in Northern Ireland – her granny was a keen sewer, but it wasn’t until she started university 10 years ago that she started sewing herself. Her brother bought her a sewing machine for a Christmas present and her first project was a pair of curtains.
As part of her job, Angeline attends galas and dinners, so needing something to wear has honed her occasion wear dressmaking skills. In addition to a wardrobe full of beautiful handmade gowns, Angeline is especially proud of the bridesmaid dresses she made for her wedding.
Jade, 18, is the youngest sewer ever to appear on the Sewing Bee.
Jade is a swimming instructor and student who likes to sew clothing for her entire family. She used to be a competitive swimmer but turned to sewing to fill her time after an injury meant she could no longer swim.
She lives at home in Sussex with her parents, three younger siblings and two English bulldogs. She sews for them all – shirts for her dad, dresses for her sister and tutus for the dogs. Her family are hugely supportive and have even built her a log cabin in the garden to sew in. She spends more time in there than she does in the house, and prefers sewing over nights out clubbing.
Duncan, 32, is a physics and maths tutor who likes to sew catwalk-inspired modern menswear.
Duncan started sewing three years ago after becoming increasingly bored of the menswear available in shops. Since then he’s been attending a sewing club once a week.
When it comes to looking for ideas for his next project, Duncan watches catwalk shows and checks out designer clothes in department stores. He’s also a vlogger, where he creates his own comedy spoofs and music videos to entertain his viewers.
Jamie, 44, lives in rural Devon with his wife and baby son.
Jamie likes to sew tailored men’s jackets and shirts for himself, along with clothing for his wife. Up until a year ago, he was a teacher at a school for students with special educational needs, but after his son Harry was born deaf, Jamie decided to become a stay at home dad. He now has more time to devote to his sewing and has been improving his skills while Harry sleeps.
With a love of fashion, Jamie enjoys mixing his modern style with traditional sewing and tailoring techniques that were taught to him by his grandmother when he was a child. He finds enjoys making country attire such as tweed jackets, wool coats and flat caps.
Ghislaine, 43, is an office manager who likes to sew bright, colourful clothing inspired by her Caribbean heritage.
Ghislaine was born in Paris but grew up on the Caribbean island of Martinique where she was taught to sew by her mother. She decided to take up sewing seriously three years ago, but had to rely on over the phone mentoring from her mum, who still lives in Martinique. Ghislaine now sews every weekend.
Her proudest creation is a pleated African-style skirt which has been known to turn heads in the street and the office. Ghislaine also enjoys singing in an international choir, where she puts her sewing to good use by making props and costumes for their concerts.
Charlotte, 43, is a mum of three and scientific editor.
Charlotte likes to sew everything from underwear to jeans, both for herself and her children – her most recent projects being prom dresses for her teenage daughters. She has a scientific background and applies her scientific mind to her sewing, aiming for precision and perfection with timings planned down to the last minute.
Charlotte was taught to sew by her mother, grandmother and school teachers, and since then has gone on to make her entire wardrobe. She endeavours to wear something that she has made every day, including underwear and swimwear. Charlotte proudly displays her love of the craft with a tattoo of a needle and thread on her arm.
Josh, 23, is an entrepreneurship engagement manager.
Josh likes to sew casual menswear – T-shirts, sweat shirts, bomber jackets and swimwear. Since a young age, Josh’s first love was anything sports-related. During his summer break from a sports degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University two years ago, he found a sewing machine at his parents’ house and was hooked.
Josh is a self-confessed “lad’s lad”. In the beginning, some of his friends mocked him when they discovered that he enjoyed sewing, but they’ve got used to the idea and now his sewing skills are in constant demand as he takes on altering their suits and tracksuits.
Rumana, 27, is a junior doctor who likes to sew baby clothes and fashionable outfits for herself.
Growing up, Rumana’s family had little money, so her mum used to sew all of her dresses from scratch. She was five when her mum made her a dress for Eid and Rumana decided she’d use the leftover scraps to make a matching dress for her Barbie doll.
When study started to take over her life, sewing had to take a backseat, but she took it up again once she graduated from UCL when she needed to find a dress for graduation. Rumana wanted to create a garment that reflected her style and love of beautiful clothes. She set about making her own and was so pleased with the end result that it spurred her on to keep sewing.
Now she makes clothing for herself and for her family, including her newborn niece. Working as a junior doctor often means that Rumana has long and stressful shifts and sewing has become an important way for her to destress and unwind after work.
The Great British Sewing Bee hits UK TV screens and iPlayer on Monday 16th May – we’ll be watching!
All Great British Sewing Bee images copyright BBC/Love Productions/Charlotte Medlicott