Meet Farsley's School of Sew in the new home of BBC's Great British Sewing Bee

Nestled in Farsley's picturesque Sunny Bank Mills, a sewing shop and school is busier than ever.

By Abbey Maclure
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 4:30 pm

School of Sew, founded by Nicola Lee, offers sewing lessons and classes, as well as the Mill Creations shop which sells a range of fabrics and haberdashery products.

The school has attracted students from all over the region, with many going on to be accomplished sewers and even set up their own businesses.

As luck would have it, thousands of eyes are now on the Mill as the latest series of the Great British Sewing Bee airs on BBC One tonight.

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School of Sew founder Nicola Lee pictured with her daughter Isobel, who has joined the business as an apprentice (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

The programme has swapped its usual London filming location for the famous former wool mill, as contestants go up against each other in creative challenges.

“Historically, we do really well when the Sewing Bee is on," Nicola told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"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!

“It’s great it’s come up to Yorkshire - for any programme, not just the Sewing Bee.

The school offers sewing lessons and workshops (Photo: Jonathan Gawthorpe)

“We found out the week before we reopened and it 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.”

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Classes at School of Sew attract a range of people, but Nicola has seen interest peak among the younger generations.

Her daughter Isobel recently joined the business as an apprentice, with no previous sewing skills, but is now hooked.

Nicola believes people are recognising the value of creative arts for their wellbeing, particularly after being stuck at home during lockdowns.

She added: "There was a time when it was boring to make your own clothes, but we're seeing more young people coming in.

"There's definitely been a resurgence and there's the sustainability factor too.

"You're making something that will fit you and last - and you can use that pattern again.

"It's really good for people's wellbeing.

"We have doctors, lecturers and other people in high pressure jobs. It allows them to switch off."

The Great British Sewing Bee airs at 8pm on BBC One.