May. Sewing teacher May Martin, one of the judges from the first three seasons, has reportedly left the show, to be replaced by costume designer Esme Young.
Anyone who watched the second season will remember Chinelo Bally, one of the runners-up who impressed the judges with her freehand technique. She has a book out from Pavilion, available on Amazon called “Freehand Fashion: Learn to sew the perfect wardrobe – no patterns required.”
Meanwhile, if your French is up to snuff (or at least somewhat better than mine), you can watch episodes of Cousu Main gratis on French TV M6.
I admit I’m not as enamored of this version. I like the way the GBSB host, Claudia Winkelman, interacts with contestants. I find Cousu Main’s host Cristina Cordula annoying and don’t like that she plays favorites in the workroom. The format is a little different, with two challenges done in a day rather than three challenges over two days. For the first challenge, contestants are given five-six hours and a pattern to make a garment. Episodes have included a basic pleated skirt, a duffle coat (which I don’t equate with French style), a pair of jeans, and lingerie. Repurposed clothing is the second challenge, and more interesting because it’s where some of the contestants truly shine. The judges, tailor Julien Scavini and couturier Ampara Lellouche, are precise in their critique and do a lot more hand-holding than May Martin or Patrick Grant.
There are two seasons of Cousu Main. The format is a bit clunky, but at least French TV M6 is making the show available to US audiences without forcing them to purchase Tunnel Bear. And it’s a nice alternative while waiting for the GBSB to come back.
In 2014 Love Productions announced it was looking for New York area sewers to take part in a US version of the Bee, but I haven’t seen any updates on that for a while.
There’s also a German version of the Bee.