Why can’t I stream “The Great British Sewing Bee” in the US?

The great British pastry fair has inspired imitators, home bakers, and couch potatoes around the world, but nowhere is the show’s influence felt more deeply than with its sister shows, Love Productions. The Great Pottery Challenge and The Great British Sewing Bee. While the former floated around YouTube for a long time as a bootleg before landing in HBO Max’s library of originals, The Great British Sewing Bee remains an enigma for American Anglophiles. You can only learn it by reading Wikipedia pages or reading UK fan blog posts. (I only found out about it because one of my favorite home sewing communities makes pattern breakdowns!)

So why is it The Great British Sewing Bee so impossible to watch in the US? Is it because of a cultural disconnect? Music rights issues? Or is something more sinister brewing? Why can’t I stream The Great British Sewing Beepeople?!?

The Great British Sewing Bee premiered in 2013 in the UK and just wrapped up its seventh season this year. The series is currently hosted by comedian Joe Lycett (who thinks what would happen if a mad scientist combined Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas into one man’s body, in the best way possible) and is judged by the icon of Saville Row Patrick Grant and Bridget Jones Diary and Trainspotting costume designer Esme Young. A little like The Great British Baking Show, The Great British Couture Bee pits amateurs against each other in a series of three challenges per week. In the first round, all sewers must approach the same pattern. The second round usually asks them to recycle something portable from thrift store duds. Finally, seamstresses can show their own interpretation on a garment with the help of a live model.

Essentially it’s Project track meets the rustic charm of The great British pastry fair. And if, like me, you give up some Pastry shop tired, The Great British Sewing Bee looks new enough to make it into your must-have queue. The problem? How is a self-respecting American supposed to look The great British sewing bee? It’s… nowhere….legal.

Why could this be? How come the third of the three Pastry shopDo shows made by Love Productions still stay behind the VPN iron curtain? I have three theories.

Firstly, no American streamer wants to pick it up because Americans don’t have the same thirst for home couture as the British. It’s true that most domestic sewers in the United States are cosplayers, history buffs, aspiring designers, and/or close to eternal death’s embrace. But Americans love craftsmanship, so I don’t know. I’m also noticing a revival of home tailoring among influencers, so I don’t think that’s the problem.

Second, since I may have found a way to watch this show, I can say that The Great British Sewing Bee uses pop music as a soundtrack. The cost of music rights could be the problem. However, it also seems strange because the soundtrack could be easily replaced. It’s not Joy, you know?

Finally, I noticed that when The Foldline vlogs on the show, they note that they can’t even show screenshots of clothes on the show because they will face litigation. It’s weird only because this same sewing community site frequently captures costumes movies and mainstream shows to help people find the right model. It means there’s something about The Great British Sewing Bee it’s more contentious than his brother shows. The only thing I can find? Could Britain have different rules on clothing when it comes to intellectual property?!?

whatever he keeps The Great British Sewing Bee off our coasts, I would like it to stop. Someone please pull out that checkbook and make a deal for The Great British Sewing Bee to be broadcast in the United States.

Safer The Great British Sewing Bee

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