TV & Movies

The Great British Sewing Bee Semi-Final Is Extra Special For This Reason

All the more cause for us to watch it...

BBC's 'The Great British Sewing Bee' promo picture

Sort of like the Olympics, but for amateur sewers, the latest season of The Great British Sewing Bee is heating up — with four women line-up following in the footsteps of The Apprentice’s own historic semi-final earlier this year and vying to win the top prize. It’s the first time the show has featured an all-female final since 2016.

Since April 2022, contestants have been stitching their hearts out and creating everything from capsule wardrobes to David Bowie costumes, and after last episode’s sailor trouser bonanza (not to mention this piece of trivia about the Loch Ness monster, from semi-finalist Man Yee Woo) just four remain. According to the BBC, the upcoming new episode will see contestants battling it out for a spot in the final by creating a “kimono-inspired dress” and an outfit incorporating folding and pleating, as well as repairing old denim using “Japanese techniques.” It’s set to air on June 22.

And who’s in the running? First up, Man Yee Woo — a 25-year-old actuarial analyst from London. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Portsmouth, she was taught to sew by her aunt as a teenager when she tried to recreate a Japanese anime character’s costume for Comic Con. She’s up against 32-year old Annie Phillips, who lives in Surrey and works as a fashion buyer for a high street shop. Phillips was also taught the craft by a family member, and learned everything she knows from her grandmother.

Completing the semi-final quartet, there’s 26-year-old secondary school teacher Brogan Sommerville — who lovingly hand-makes bespoke outfits for her dachshund Roger – and 51-year-old Debra Drake from North Wales. A self-confessed “messy sewer with lots of random fabrics and assorted projects all over the place.” Drake’s also really into snorkelling when she’s away from the sewing machine.

The final, meanwhile, comes with the theme “Party Week” — and will be finalists’ last chance to impress before a winner is crowned. Along the way they’ll be tasked with designing an “iconic stretchy dress” and “red-carpet worthy jumpsuits” along with creating a brand new costume out of leftover scraps. May the best stitcher win!