Series 8 of The Great British Sewing Bee has just started on BBC1 and with it comes a new sewing room. Bright and spacious, it even has it’s own runway, to show off the results of all the hard graft from the contestants. The new series is filmed at Sunny Bank Mills just outside Leeds. According to their website Sunny Bank Mills was founded in 1829 by a group of local clothiers who invested together to purchase land and build a woolen scribbling and fulling mill, it was known as The Farsley Club Mill. The Mills developed into one of the world’s most important fine worsted mills. You can visit the mill and learn about the mill workers and their skills and families. You can study the vast collection of nearly 150 years of worsted cloth designs. The mill is also home to many creative businesses and artist’s studios, shops, cafe, a bar and specialist retail.
The Great British Sewing Bee started way back in 2013, with presenter Claudia Winkleman along with judges May Martin and Patrick Grant. The first series had eight sewers competing over just four episodes The series was filmed at a former chapel at 41 Balls Pond Road in Dalston, London. The building was built as “The Maberly Chapel”, taking it’s name from William Maberly, on whose land it was built. It opened in 1826, and closed 60 years later, around 1888. The grade 2 listed building is constructed of Flemish bond yellow brick with a stucco façade. The contestants were filmed having refreshments in a small cafe, called Other Cafe and Gallery at 48 Balls Pond Road, opposite the main venue, which has since closed and is currently trading as KHP Social / Coffee Shop.
When series two came along in 2014 there were now 10 sewers and viewers were treated to 8 episodes. Filming had moved to Metropolitan Wharf in the East End of London (70 Wapping Wall to be precise). The wharf is also grade two listed (the first warehouse to be listed in Wapping) and was once a Victorian tea warehouse. The first warehouse was built between 1862 and 1863 and the last in the 1890’s. Series two contestants were also filmed taking refreshments at the now defunct Gastronomica Cafe at 73 Garnet Street.