This week was the final of the 2023 Great British Sewing Bee! It seems to have come around very quickly. We’ve seen some beautiful and interesting makes this series, and it feels like we have a nicely varied bunch for the final three.
I’m going to recap the Series 9 final in this post, so don’t read on if you haven’t watched it yet, or don’t want to know who won!
Who are the finalists this year?
Mia, who only learned to sew in lockdown, has been remarkably creative with her makes, turning shower curtains into haute couture and finishing her garments beautifully.
Postman Tony started sewing to make himself some mountain biking gear, and just kept going.
Asmaa is a breast surgeon, and has lots of experience sewing lingerie (including for her patients!)
The final pattern challenge
The last pattern challenge of this series was a ‘Victoriana’ dress – a style inspired by Victorian high necklines, frilly sleeves and a fitted bodice. They’re classic dresses which look beautiful in fabrics with some drape.
The judges asked the sewists to choose a luxurious fabric – perfect for an elegant silhouette, but also unforgiving with any mistakes. It requires a good amount of technical skill and finesse to finish the details of this garment – they’re looking for a very fine, overlocked edge to encase the lightweight frill of the sleeves, neat gathers and delicately inserted zip.
Tony and Asmaa chose the same fabric in different colours – it was glittery and luxurious, but wouldn’t stop fraying. Mia’s animal print fabric looks on brief too, and has a beautiful drape.
Asmaa knows her darts. she points out it’s a ‘french dart’ because of the angle, and pointing towards the bust.
Despite the fraying, Asmaa finished her dress neatly, thought you could see she ran out of time for the gathers at the bottom and to finish the zip neatly. Tony’s looks very impactful, but when looking closer you can see he struggled with the fabric. Mia’s fabric turned out to be the perfect choice, and she created a wonderfully finished and luxurious Victorian Dress, winning her the challenge.
The transformation challenge
This final transformation was a celebration of opulence in menswear. Using inspiration such as Timothee Chalamet or Billy Porter on the red carpet, the sewists were tasked with transforming men’s shirts and trousers, glitzy womenswear and sparkly scraps into a glamorous outfit. The judges wanted to see interesting shapes and striking combinations of fabrics.
Asmaa made an outfit of two halves – an asymmetric top with asymmetric trousers. The fabrics worked well together, and it was definitely Billy Porter inspired.
Tony’s gold top, pink neck cravat and striped, flared trousers are a 70s disco dream.
Mia’s made a rainbow tulle one shoulder top, with a black skort. Despite doing so well in the first challenge, Mia came third this time – I think her outfit just wasn’t as exciting as the others. Asmaa’s dramatic Billy Porter inspired outfit won.
A show-stopping made to measure!
As usual in the final, the sewists have brought loved ones as models for their last ever made to measure challenge. This challenge has an exciting twist this year though – they need to create a dress within a dress! Inspired by outfit stunts at events like the Met Gala, the sewists are making a dress which can be completely transformed into a second dress, while their model is walking down the catwalk. This one requires more engineering, and some theatre!
It seems like a push to make one dress in the time given, so it was always going to be challenging to create two, especially given they needed to finish them both to a final made to measure standard.
They all struggled for time, but Mia in particular. I have to say, I did feel for her – she completely ran out of time to finish her mechanism, leaving part of the second gown exposed and some of her outer lining showing. The judges said her fabric choices were lovely, but she just ran out of time.
Tony’s transformation was great fun – the shake as it fell down worked so well, and completely transformed the skirt.
Asmaa’s transformation was absolutely spectacular! How she hid the green dress inside the blue one was truly extraordinary. The way it spiralled around as it transformed was so theatrical and elegant. Both dresses were expertly finished, too. If you haven’t seen Asmaa’s dress transform, I really recommend watching the episode, or finding a clip of the moment it reveals. It’s really worth it.
And the winner is…!
After that made to measure, I think there could only have been one winner. Asmaa was announced as the Series 9 Great British Sewing Bee winner, and it was so well deserved. She sewed expertly throughout, and consistently produced well made, neatly finished and inspired garments. She’s hoping to use her success on the show to launch her own lingerie line for breast surgery patients – I love that she’s combined medicine and sewing in this way!
So, what’s next?
We hope you’ve felt inspired by all this lovely sewing content! Though the Bee is over now, we’ve got lots of ideas for crafty projects, and can’t wait to show you what we’re up to. Follow along with the WG Studio (our dedicated sewing blog) for more fun sewing ideas, along with useful tips and tutorials.
Coming up later this year, we’ll be making our own underwear from jersey scraps, creating quilted wall hangings, making tote bags, and more! We also love sharing sewing inspiration with you, so have a look out for that.
I hope you enjoyed our coverage of the 2023 Sewing Bee! You can find all the posts and our sewing pattern ideas here.
See you soon!