Where is The Great British Sewing Bee filmed and how long does it take to film?

You can visit the location in real life!

Sarah Pascoe and The Great British Sewing Bee contestants
(Image credit: BBC)

Fans of the popular BBC One show are keen to know where The Great British Sewing Bee is filmed.

Be it the Great British Bake Off, beloved BBC programme The Repair Shop, or it's spin-off show The Speedshop - we Brits love a show that puts people's skills and talents to the test. And The Great British Sewing Bee is another creative offering that ticks the box and has earnt a large audience following since it first aired in 2013.

In May 2023 the popular show returned to screens for its ninth season, with new episodes on BBC One each week. And as viewers watch the contestants battle for the title of best amateur sewer, many also want to know where The Great British Sewing Bee is filmed. We share all the need-to-know information to accompany your viewing.

Where is The Great British Sewing Bee filmed?

The Great British Sewing Bee is filmed in Sunny Bank Mills, a famous woollen mill located just outside of Leeds. The show has been filmed here since its eighth season, swapping its former London filming location for the popular Yorkshire attraction.

The mill was founded in 1829 and is located on the outskirts of the city. The site certainly makes sense to be the filming location of The Great British Sewing Bee given its history. Sunny Bank Mills was once one of the world's most important fine worsted mills - with worsted being a high-quality type of wool yarn used for fabric and dress-making.

The Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant has noted that the filming location is a clever tribute: "Leeds is at the heart of the wool and textile industry so it feels appropriate to film in a great big spinning mill," he said.

Nicola Lee, founder of the School of Sew, which is based at Sunny Bank Mills, confirmed the Sewing Bee's new 2022 filming location in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post. "It’s great it’s come up to Yorkshire - for any programme, not just the Sewing Bee," she said. "We found out the week before we reopened and thought it was too good to be true."

"The Mill needs showing off, it’s such a lovely building and a lovely place to work," she added. "Historically, we do really well when the Sewing Bee is on. And it's such a coincidence that it's now being filmed here. We've even got a red brick wall like they have on the show!"

Fans of the show are able to visit Sunny Bank Mills in real-life. A gallery, shop and tearoom can be explored on the site which is open 6 days a week (closed Mondays). Keen sewers can also sign up for classes at School of Sew and live out their best Great British Sewing Bee dreams.

Where was The Great British Sewing Bee filmed before 2022?

The Great British Sewing Bee used to be filmed at The Chainstore on Trinity Buoy, London - located off the River Thames and near the O2 Arena. Season 7 of the show was the last instalment to be filmed here before moving to the new Leeds location.

Filming locations for The Great British Sewing Bee have changed over the years. In 2020, the sixth series was shot at a studio based in Bermondsey - which is historically considered the home of London's textiles. Meanwhile, the 2019 series was recorded on Tanner Street, near London's famous Tower Bridge. This is perhaps now best known as the filming location for fellow BBC show Dragon's Den.

How long does it take to film The Great British Sewing Bee?

Contestants are asked to commit to 20 days of filming for the show - which takes place over a 6-8 week period. Filming usually takes place between August and November - according to the application process for The Great British Sewing Bee.

Series 9 contestants on The Great British Sewing Bee found out their applications were successful in July 2022. If you're interested in applying for a future series, you need to be aged 16 or over and consider yourself an "amateur sewer". This means no NVQ or other equivalent sewing-related qualifications. 

You also can't have previously worked full-time as a "dressmaker, sample machinist, pattern cutter, tailor or seamstress at any time during the last 15 years." Be sure to read up on all the Sewing Bee rules before sending off your application.

Who is The Great British Sewing Bee presenter?

Sara Pascoe joined as the new presenter of The Great British Sewing Bee for season 8, replacing former host and comedian Joe Lycett. The actress was announced as the new host on September 16, 2021. 

Sara has previously said of her time on the show, "It’s always lots of fun. We become very attached to the sewers. We essentially get to go round and have a chat with all our friends, then have a cup of tea and chat with each other. It’s a lovely job."

Sara also coincidentally appeared as a contestant on the 2020 Christmas celebrity special of the show, so she was already familiar with the format and crew. Meanwhile, Saville Row's Patrick Grant and Esme Young of Central Saint Martins both returned as judges this year.

Sara has proved to be a hit with viewers, with many taking to Twitter to critique her presenting performance.

One user wrote: "@sarapascoe is a magnificent addition - difficult to follow @joelycett but she’s great," wrote one user. Whilst another tweeted: "Well done #SaraPascoe. I thought @joelycett was going to be a hard act to follow but she's brilliant."

Joe Lycett presented the show's fifth, sixth and seventh series. He took over as host from Claudia Winkleman who headed up the first four seasons of the popular show.

Who are the judges on The Great British Sewing Bee?

Patrick Grant and Esme Young are the judges on The Great British Sewing Bee. Esme joined the show in 2016, while Patrick has been a judge since the show first aired in 2013.

Esme Young is a designer and has made costumes for major films such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Trainspotting and Bridget Jones’s Diary. She is also a tutor at Central Saint Martins art school and opened the shop Swanky Modes in Camden, London, in the 1970s. She has dressed stars including Grace Jones, Siouxsie Sioux and Cher.

Patrick is a designer and has been the creative director of bespoke tailors Norton & Sons of Savile Row and its subsidiary E Tautz since 2005. He won Menswear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards in 2010 and is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on the British fashion, clothing and textile industries.

You can catch up on all episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee now via BBC iPlayer.

We've got behind-the-scenes details on plenty more of the BBC's most popular TV shows, from where Future Food Stars is filmed and where Beyond Paradise is filmed, to where Better and Guilt are filmed too.

Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.