Esme Young’s top five

We asked Esme Young, judge of The Great British Sewing Bee to round up the five things she thinks have made her the expert sewist she is today!


Be methodical, but practice makes perfect. I’ve mainly learnt through making mistakes. I find sewing very meditative and I’m sure it’s good for your health so enjoy the process. I’ve made things completely by hand and I still wear them. I LOVE SEWING!


I can be obsessive how clothes are finished and how they have evolved, so I am always looking at garments in shops to see how they are made up. I look for beautiful seams, I want everything to be perfect. I also want a surprise, to be excited by the choice of fabric, colour and sewing techniques. Overall, it has to be something beautifully put together.

Take inspiration from everywhere

It could be a button or something in my head. My students or my work in film. But sometimes it’s the fabric. Oh I have a stash. If I see fabric I like I have to buy it. I was in Greece and I was buying fabric. Wherever I am I buy fabric.

Not being afraid to redo

My favourite sewing tool is my unpicker – I am quite fussy about what type it is, as I am with all my tools. I sometimes toile up to 10 times, so it’s just right. And I have blocks that I will use again and again. Whether it’s for a certain lock or a person and I have a certain dress called the Sharon Stone and I will adapt that into what I need.

Picking the right fabric

I like fabric I can wash. I often wash the fabric before I make something so I know it won’t shrink when the garment is finished. I’m quite keen on blue and like natural fibres such as cotton and silk. I often see fabric that I fall in love with – my most recent buys are from Bilbao. One is a pale pink fabric with embroidery roses and the other has Lurex in it.

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One Reply to “Esme Young’s top five”

  • I love the green dress that Esme wore on the latest sewing bee. Is there a pattern that I could find for it?

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