The Great British Sewing Bee season 1 – Christmas Special – The Great British Sewing Bee is back for a heartwarming holiday reunion special. Beloved judges Patrick Grant and May Martin join fan favorites from the 2013 season – Stuart, Sandra, Lauren and 82-year-old champion Ann – to create beautiful handmade gifts and decorations for Christmas. Just like the traditional sewing bees of yesteryear, this talented group pools their sewing expertise and creativity. Together they craft everything from festive table linens to one-of-a-kind presents and exquisite tree ornaments.
Ann demonstrates her masterful technique for sewing an adorable vintage-style teddy bear – the perfect gift for a child or grandchild. Stuart impresses with his skills, producing a handsome gentleman’s satchel from classic tweed fabric. Sandra assembles a useful gardening belt with pockets and loops for tools. Lauren puts her precision to work constructing an intricate little dollhouse sure to delight any child on Christmas morning.
As the sewing bee assembles their handiwork, they share cherished stories and memories of Christmases past. Patrick and May also open up about their own families’ holiday traditions and favorite gifts they’ve received over the years. From the joyful opening of presents to Christmas dinner dishes that have been passed down for generations, no nostalgic detail is left unshared.
This Great British Sewing Bee reunion is a heartfelt celebration of holiday spirit, bringing together talented artisans and friends to create gifts from the heart, and take time to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
The Great British Sewing Bee season 1 – Christmas Special
The Great British Sewing Bee returns for a Christmas reunion with the judges, Savile Row’s Patrick Grant and sewing teacher, May Martin and 2013’s semi-finalists – Stuart, Sandra, Lauren and 82-year-old winner Ann. Like traditional sewing bees of the past, they pool their experience and talents to make everything from Christmas table linen, to unique gifts to exquisite tree decorations. Ann demonstrates how to make a beautiful teddy bear, Stuart produces a tweed satchel, Sandra puts together a gardening belt and Lauren constructs a fabric doll’s house. As they sew, they and the judges share stories of their own family Christmas traditions.
Decking the Halls with Boughs of Holly
The Sewing Bee gathers in a cozy cottage decorated with fragrant evergreens, strings of cranberries and popcorn, and flickering candles. The spirit of Christmas past permeates the very walls as everyone shares memories of Christmases long ago. Patrick recalls the year his grandmother hand-stitched stockings for the entire family, each with their name embroidered in her delicate scroll. May describes the Christmas her mother let her help bake and decorate sugar cookies for Santa Clause, though she admits most of the icing ended up in her mouth instead of on the cookies! The contestants chime in with stories of homes filled with the spicy scent of gingerbread, waiting breathlessly to sneak downstairs and see the gifts under the tree, and gathering with loved ones around a crackling fire.
Christmas Sewing Traditions
As they begin working on their Christmas projects, Patrick provides a bit of history on traditional sewing bees. In past centuries, communities would come together in sewing circles to complete large tasks, like quilting or embroidery too big for one person alone. He explains that sewing bees exemplified the Christmas spirit of giving by pooling time and skills. The Sewing Bee contestants are keeping that tradition alive by making handmade gifts and decorations. May adds that sewing gifts or decor by hand makes them extra meaningful because of the care put into each stitch.
A Teddy Bear for the Ages
The seasoned winner Ann decides to sew a teddy bear, a classic Christmas gift that can be treasured for years. She chooses brown and tan fabrics with a wooly texture, perfect for warm hugs and nuzzling. With expert precision honed by decades of sewing experience, Ann cuts out the main pieces – arms, legs, body, and head. She sets the bear’s dark glass eyes with extra care, bringing spark and personality to its face. Ann stuffs the bear firmly but not too tight, so it keeps a soft, cuddly feel. For a finishing touch, she uses scraps to fashion a miniature version of the bear as a tiny stuffed friend. Her creation turns out utterly huggable and sure to delight a lucky child on Christmas morning.
Tweed Satchel Styled for the Season
Stuart, inspired by winter tweeds and holiday colors, decides to sew a spacious satchel that can double as a gift bag. He selects a green and red plaid wool that looks striking with a black leather base and handles. With crisp edges and clean seams, Stuart assembles the main satchel pieces then lines the inside with a silky red fabric for a pop of color. A row of brass buckles gives it a vintage feel. For a bit of whimsy, he uses black and white fabrics to create an applique Christmas tree, trimming it with tiny pom pom ornaments along the flap. Stuart finishes by threading cord through the sides to cinch it closed. His satchel turns out beautifully festive yet timeless enough to use for many seasons to come.
A Gardening Belt to Grow Christmas Spirit
Avid gardener Sandra chooses to craft a versatile gardening belt. She reasons it can hold pruning shears and gardening gloves while decking the halls and trees outdoors. She starts with heavyweight tan canvas for durability. After reinforcing the belt loops, she secures sturdy metal clasps and trim at the waist. Next Sandra adds several pockets and compartments for storing gear of all sizes. She lines the pockets brightly in quilted holiday fabrics like poinsettia prints and snowy scenes for a merry effect. She decorates the belt itself with stitched fir branches and snaps on jingly bells for extra cheer. Sandra reflects that her belt can garden year-round but feels extra special seeing it festooned with Christmas motifs.
Doll House Handcrafted with Love
Lauren fondly remembers playing with her grandmother’s antique dollhouse, so she decides to make a miniature one as a nostalgic Christmas gift for her niece. Using thin plywood, she cuts out the house frame pieces with angled roofs and a front porch. Lauren paints it a cheery light blue with dark green trim. She sews tiny curtains and rugs from dainty floral fabrics in each room. Tiny mattresses and furniture take shape from scraps of felt and cotton. She makes a red brick fireplace from sculpted wool and faux candles from trimmed wooden sticks. Laurens’ attention to every delightful detail like wallpaper and bookshelves makes the dollhouse seem pulled right from Santa’s workshop. Her niece will surely appreciate the handcrafted charm.
Discussion on Christmas Traditions
As the sewing projects take form, Patrick asks each contestant about their favorite Christmas traditions and fondest holiday memories. Sandra describes her family’s tradition of hiding a pickle ornament somewhere on the tree, offering a special gift to whichever child finds it first. Stuart recalls driving around looking at neighborhood light displays, munching popcorn and listening to carols. Lauren shares how she loved receiving an orange in her stocking, a special treat in the cold of winter. Ann smiles remembering when her father would read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by candlelight, doing all the voices.
The stories spark a lively discussion between the judges as well. Patrick talks about his family’s tradition of going wassailing, caroling door-to-door on Christmas Eve and sharing a warm wassail punch. May mentions how her grandmother always started baking shortbread and fruitcakes weeks in advance. She says the scents remind her of childhood holidays and still mean Christmas is coming soon. They all agree that traditions – whether foods, activities, or small rituals – help make the season magical. The gifts they are sewing gain more meaning when they think of them becoming someone’s future tradition and happy memory.
Finishing Touches with Care
As the Sewing Bee wraps up, the contestants lovingly add final embellishments to their creations. Ann puts a big plaid bow around her teddy bear’s neck, while Stuart stitches a sprig of mistletoe to the flap of his tweed satchel. Sandra decides her gardening belt needs one more pocket, perfect for stowing a candy cane. Lauren weaves leftover fabric strips into a miniature braided rug for her dollhouse porch. Though their projects turned out quite unique, they all required dedication, care, and skill worthy of any traditional sewing circle.
Patrick and May review each finished piece, clearly impressed with the results. They agree the handmade gifts and decorations embody the true spirit of Christmas. The judges emphasize that while the end products are wonderful, the real reward is the cherished memories made while creating them. In the end, getting into the seasonal spirit mattered more than perfection. The contestants beam, knowing they will think fondly of this day each Christmas when they take out these handmade treasures for many years to come.
The Great British Sewing Bee’s Christmas reunion showed both the historical significance and enduring charm of communal sewing traditions. Gathering to handcraft gifts and decorations fostered camaraderie and seasonal spirit. The finished pieces like Ann’s teddy bear and Lauren’s dollhouse made perfect heartfelt gifts. But more importantly, the day of sewing and storytelling created special memories and a meaningful shared experience to cherish. During a season often consumed by shopping frenzies, a traditional sewing circle exemplified the true gifts of time, talent, and togetherness. This historic pastime served as a timely reminder that when it comes to Christmas, thoughtfully handmade gifts and quality time with loved ones are the most precious traditions of all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Great British Sewing Bee?
The Great British Sewing Bee is a competitive sewing reality show where amateur sewers compete in challenges to test their skill and creativity in stitchwork. Judges Patrick Grant and May Martin critique their makes each episode, with one contestant eliminated each week leading up to a winner.
Who is Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee?
Patrick Grant is a fashion designer and television personality who serves as a judge on The Great British Sewing Bee. Known for suits and menswear from his Savile Row tailoring house, he provides expertise in garment construction, fit, and fabrics.
Who is May Martin from The Great British Sewing Bee?
May Martin is a sewing teacher and author who serves as a co-judge with Patrick Grant on The Great British Sewing Bee. She brings decades of sewing experience, specializing in dressmaking and needle arts.
Who is Stuart from The Great British Sewing Bee?
Stuart Hillard is a contestant on Season 1 of The Great British Sewing Bee, known for his tailoring skills and use of tweed fabrics. He specialized in menswear inspired designs.
Who is Sandra from The Great British Sewing Bee?
Sandra Quick is a contestant on Season 1 of The Great British Sewing Bee. She became known for her modern style and bold prints as well as her love of gardening.