The Great British Sewing Bee is back and host Claudia Winkleman reveals it’s the toughest series yet, but the mixed bunch of contestants are up for the needle-threading challenges thrown at them.



Claudia says: “Just when you think you know what a sewer looks like, a totally mixed bunch turn up!



“We’ve got boys, girls, young, old, people who’ve just taken it up – all walks of life.”



The Great British Sewing Bee is now entering its third year. And, as the contestants get cannier about the format, the show has responded by getting tougher. 

So what can the diverse group of competitors, including Scottish dairy farmer Annie, British army Lieutenant Colonel Neil and Romanian delivery manager Alex, expect from judges May Martin and Patrick Grant this series?



Claudia reveals: “The challenges are more advanced. In this series they work with lace, neoprene and leather. It’s terrifying and the pressure is ridiculous!”



What’s on TV can reveal next week’s first challenge sees the 10 new contestants asked to make a pair of cotton trousers from a set pattern – with varying results. After the basic alteration challenge, they then get creative with some freestyle sewing! But not everyone turns a standard denim shirt into something impressive. And pressure is turned up in the final leg, when the sewers must create a made-to-measure dress for a real life model.



The sewers nerves are on edge as May and Patrick announce who has won Garment of the Week and reveal who is eliminated…



Strictly Come Dancing presenter Claudia says: “Announcing who is leaving is very hard. The standard is extraordinary this series, so the judges have got tougher and really push them.



“It’s interesting to see how much the sewers all support each other. There is great camaraderie.”



As The Great British Sewing Bee’s presenter, Claudia reveals she does what she can to lift competitors’ spirits, although her sewing isn’t up to scratch…



“I can’t thread a needle to be honest! So I bring them tea, comfort and disgusting homemade biscuits!”



The Great British Sewing Bee starts on Thursday, February 5 on BBC2 at 8pm