Fomer Sewing Bee Contestants – Where are they now?
Whilst we wait for the next series of The Great British Sewing Bee we thought it would be fun to look back over some of the former Sewing Bee contestants from the previous series and find out what they are doing now. It’s great to see how many have built successful careers in the sewing industry.
Ann Rowley (series winner)
Ann had been sewing for 75 years when she won The Great British Sewing Bee. She describes sewing as a private passion and said she entered the show to help raise the profile of home sewing, which is has certainly done. Now well into her 80s hopefully Ann is still enjoying sewing.
Tilly has been one of the big success stories from the show. Several years after her appearance she now has her own sewing studio in London where she runs regular workshops, a successful range of sewing patterns plus she has written two sewing books.
Lauren is another contestant who has built a successful business off the back of her appearance in The Great British Sewing Bee. Finalist Lauren now runs a popular sewing shop in Birmingham called Guthrie Ghani. Like several of the contestants she has also had a sewing book published: Learn to Sew With Lauren. We have a thermal lined curtain project from Lauren on our site.
Stuart has built his career mainly in the quilting industry, which was his original sewing passion. You can frequently find him appearing at sewing shows, teaching workshops around the country, writing columns for magazines and appearing on Create & Craft TV. He has also had several books published as well.
Heather Jacks (winner)
Heather has taken a slightly different route than most the other contestants and has designed her own fabric ranges for The Craft Cotton Company. She is also a brand ambassador for Simplicity sewing patterns and teaches workshops too.
Jenni is still very prominent in the sewing industry with regular TV slots (originally on Create & Craft but now on The Sewing Quarter). She has also partnered with haberdashery brand Korbond and runs frequent sewing workshops at their sewing studio in Redditch. She has also had a sewing book published too.
Chinelo wrote a book sharing her unique pattern free style of sewing called Freehand Fashion, she also ran several workshops teaching the technique. She is now working as a women’s wear designer and singer Laura Mvula wore one of her dresses for one of her performances.
Matt Chapple (Winner)
Matt is another contestant who published a sewing book, Make It, Own It, Love It. He runs a blog with his wife called Sew What’s New? Which has a mix of sewing, baking and crafts. Although there haven’t been much activity on the blog or his social media for a year or so. He also launched a craft kit called the Sew-a-saurus to make a dinosaur tail for kids.
Sadly finalist Lorna passed away in 2016 from Aplastic Anaemia. There is a fundraising page set up in her memory if you’d like to make a donation.
Charlotte Newland (winner)
Charlotte is still seiwng regularily as you’ll see from her Instagram account, and she also teaches at The Village Haberdashery in London. She is also an ambassedor for Create & Craft TV appearing on their shows and contributing to their blog.
The youngest ever contestant on the show was a big hit with the viewers. She had a monthly column in Love Sewing Magazine where she shares what she is sewing plus she shares lots of sewing videos on her Facebook page. She also set up a campaign to bring sewing back into the curriculum.
Juliet Uzor (winner)
Juliet was a primary school teacher and London-based enthusiastic sewist when she won the competition in 2019. She started her website Sew So Natural and is passionate about inspiring as many people as possible to take charge and sew their own fashion pieces.
Since being a finalist on the show in 2019, Leah has grown a large following on Instagram where you can follow her here.
Riccardo, originally from Italy, was a popular contestant on the 2019 series. Since being a finalist, Riccardo teaches how to make your own clothes – look out for his next workshop coming soon here.
Clare won the Sewing Bee Series 6 when it aired in the difficult months of spring 2020, bringing the largest audience of all the series so far. In her day job she is a respiratory consultant in Portsmouth, where she continues to work and sew in her spare time. Find her on Instagram @clare.bradders
Matt reached the final of the competition in 2019 but his day job is as a broadcast engineer. He creates drag outfits for himself, and his LGBT community in East London. Find him on Instagram.
A jewellery designer, Nicole was known for her sparkle and exuberance! Since being a finalist, Nicole’s business has transitioned into its new life as HOUSE OF AKONG – a fashion house of the future, bringing Nicole’s visionary designs across jewellery and fashion to the creative world of crafting and DIY. Visit the site here.
What I find interesting is that it is not the winners of each series who tend to build the most prolific careers in the sewing industry after the show airs but generally the other contestants. There is definitely a predictable path that emerges after the show for many contestants – workshops, book deal and/or other TV shows such as The Sewing Quarter or Create & Craft TV. Some have varied from that path a little like Heather with her fabric collections, Chinelo’s clothing brand and Tilly’s sewing pattern brand. It will be interesting to see who emerges as the stars of the next series and what route they take into the industry afterwards.
Images © BBC/Love Productions/Charlotte Medlicott