With the final of The Great British Sewing Bee 2021 almost upon us, we caught up with judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young to hear why it’s going to be an incredibly exciting finale and to get their verdicts on the three remaining finalists
Here we speak to Great British Sewing Bee judges Patrick Grant and Esme Young:
What are the challenges that the sewers face in the final?
Patrick Grant: "They have to make a little girl’s bridesmaid dress for the pattern challenge. For the transformation challenge they have to use homeware to create fun summer festival outfits and for the very final made-to-measure challenge they must make a glamorous off-the-shoulder evening outfit. Of course we plan the final challenges months in advance so we don’t know what’s going to suit who. By the time it comes around it’s pot luck how it may suit each particular sewer, how it may play to their strengths or not as the case may be."
Is it going to be one the most closely contested finals we’ve ever seen?
Esme Young: “It’s a really exciting final but it’s very difficult to compare to previous years as they are such different sewers. Of course this year they had to deal with the pandemic, and it was fabulous how they coped with everything. It’s always a surprise who ends up in the final, we never can tell from the outset. Sewers develop and improve throughout the series and learn from each other.”
Patrick: "Yes, it’s really, really close! This series has been very unpredictable. There’s been no obvious front-runner. As viewers have seen we had some really great people who had bad weeks and went out earlier than we may have expected. A couple who we maybe thought would make it all the way. It only takes one bad challenge and the whole thing falls down!”
Which have been your standout creations from this 2021 series and why?
Esme: “I loved Farie’s Frida Kahlo inspired, 'Broken Column' dress in the Made to Measure Challenge in week four, and I thought Rebecca’s 70s Disco dress in week eight was great as I am a girl who still likes a bit of disco dancing!”
Patrick: “I thought Raph’s Made to Measure in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle week was really clever. My company did a collection for the menswear label E.Tautz, a couple of years ago, where we used recycled denim and that’s where the idea for the challenge came from but I hadn’t seen anyone do exactly what Raph had done before. It felt really interesting to me and from all my years on Sewing Bee, that was a real stand-out piece.”
What do you think each of the finalists brings to the competition and what are their strengths?
Esme: "Rebecca really developed over the series and learned a lot, and I was so impressed by that. Serena’s speciality is her immaculate sewing. Her precision and understanding of a pattern is great. Raph hasn’t been sewing very long, but he has worked on films and his textiles and designs are all very imaginative, and they reflected who he was."
Patrick says: "Rebecca is a phenomenal all-rounder, she’s got a bit of everything. Raph is amazing with colour, shape and texture and he’s hand-dyed a lot of his own textiles. Serena is just exceptional at sewing. She’s technically phenomenal, she’s got a lightness of touch and an ability to put things together in a way that we’ve rarely seen.”
The final of The Great British Sewing Bee is on Wednesday 16 June, 9pm, BBC1 (see our TV Guide for full listings).
Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.
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