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

You can visit the location in real life!

a still of the judges and contestants from The Great British Spelling Bee christmas special 2022
(Image credit: Future/BBC)

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

Be it the Great British Bake Off (opens in new tab), beloved BBC programme The Repair Shop (opens in new tab) or it's spin-off show The Speedshop (opens in new tab) - 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.

Viewers have welcomed the show back onto screens this December with a fabulous Christmas special that sees their usual filming location given a festive flourish. We share all the need-to-know information to accompanying your viewing.

Where is The Great British Sewing Bee filmed?

The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great British Sewing Bee Christmas special is filmed in Sunny Bank Mills, a famous woolen mill located just outside of Leeds. The show has been filmed here since 2021, swapping it's 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 it's history. Sunny Bank Mills (opens in new tab) 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.

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The Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant agrees that the new 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 (opens in new tab) which is based at Sunny Bank Mills confirmed the Sewing Bee's new 2022 filming location in an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post (opens in new tab). "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 to 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 02 Arena. Season 7 of the show was the last installment to be filmed here before they moved to their 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.

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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.

It seems series 9 of The Great British Sewing Bee has already been filmed, with those that submitted their applications finding out if they were successful or not 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 (opens in new tab) before sending off your application.

Who is the new 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 40-year-old actress was announced as the new host on September 16, 2021. 

At the time Sara said it was "such an honour" to be taking over. "I'm so inspired by creativity and skill and I am *deeply* in love with clothes so I can't think of a happier place to be," she said.

Sara also coincidentally appeared as a contestant on the 2020 Christmas celebrity special of the show. So it seems she is already familiar with the format and crew. Saville Row's Patrick Grant and Esme Young of Central Saint Martins are both returning as judges this year.

new host Sara Pascoe in a still from The Great British Sewing Bee

Credit: BBC

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

"@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.

You can catch up on all episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee - including The Great British Sewing Bee Christmas special - now via BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab).

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the 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.