In Monday’s post, we started discussions about identity and sewing, asking the question, “Does who you are shape your sewing or your experience in the online sewing community?”
That’s a pretty massive topic, and more than a bit intimidating to introduce. So today I’m going to talk a little about my own personal experiences, and why I think the discussion is worth starting!
First of all: Hi, I’m Gillian.
I’m a Canadian, a teacher, a crafter, and I run the Sewcialist blog. I’m slightly plus-sized, though I still fit into indie patterns. I’m white and therefore part of the majority in my small Ontario city – though I would be a minority if I drove an hour east to the Toronto area. I’m English-speaking, but I spend my days teaching second-language learners. I’m a cisgendered woman, meaning my birth sex matches the gender identity in my heart. I’m 35, straight and married, with no kids. Oh, and I’m a cat person, which judging from my Instagram feed, many of you are too!
That’s a lot of identities for just one person, isn’t it? And those identities don’t act alone – they overlap to create a complex experience. According to Wikipedia, “Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities. These identities that can intersect include gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, age, mental disability, physical disability, mental illness, and physical illness as well as other forms of identity. ”
In lots of ways, I think I fit right in to the majority of bloggers… but that does’t mean identity doesn’t play a part in my experiences!
- I was an Editor at the Curvy Sewing Collective for a year and half, where we got daily messages from people who had regained self-esteem once they started sewing clothes that fit! I like my own body a whole lot more now than I did when I was younger and thinner, and sewing is definitely to thank for that!
- I’ve worked or studied on 5 continents, so I’m used to looking and feeling out of place. Most recently, I lived in Japan for 5 years, where I was constantly aware of being white, blonde, and too large to fit the clothes in stores!
- Many of the ESL students I teach are visible minorities in rural communities, who are set apart by ethnicity and faith-based clothing as well as culture and language. The clothing they wear (ranging from hijab to Mennonite dresses) speaks loudly about their identity, and is often handmade.
- I used to be a knitter, until I got carpal tunnel/tendonitis and had to wear wrist braces for 7 years. Sewing is actually my second-choice craft, because I physically can’t knit anymore. (Don’t worry, Sewing, I love you the most now!)
So, that’s me. I think we’ve all got stories to tell, and I want the Sewcialists to be a place where that conversation is possible. After all, the world can always use more places for open discussion and diversity! And yes, identity can be a touchy subject, and maybe some of you will skip reading this series… but as a teacher I would absolutely dig into intersectionality with a Grade 5 class, and I trust that sewists are smarter than a fifth grader!
So, if you are interested in taking part in our “Who We Are” series, let us know!
There are three ways to participate:
- Comment on our posts, and join the discussion!
- Starting this Friday, we’ll periodically put out a call for people who identify with a certain category (i.e. petites, plus-sizes, 60+, Latinx, etc.), asking for people who could contribute a few paragraphs to a post. Of course we all fall into lots of groups, so you can contribute to more than one!
- If identity is a topic you feel passionately about, we welcome proposals to write a whole post yourself, or coordinate a group post of some kind!
I’d love to know in the comments: Are you in? Are you interested in reading about other Sewcialists experiences, and maybe even sharing your own?
Ooh, I’d like to take part in this series! Actually wrote a very similar blog post of my own, earlier this year. I’ll keep an eye out for your calls.
YAY! Glad to have you on board!
Happy to learn more about you. I look forward to reading this series. People are fascinating, and I can’t wait to “meet” more sewists.
People ARE fascinating! There’s always do much I’m learning about people through this discussion, and I’m thrilled people are being open and honest!
I am interested in this, but with some trepidation. I grew up military, away from the majority of my family. My parents are both from Southern Texas which means they are a confusing mix of Native American and European races. But growing up all over the country meant that I was often the only brownish girl in a class of white and black. My race and gender have been subjugated to the real parts of my personality, I grew up thinking I was scrappy and a fighter.
I am married to a white guy and have two beautiful mixed kids. It was them who had me think seriously about race, because maybe even more than I, they feel set apart from the very concrete race distinctions, Asians, Indians, Mexicans, Blacks, and Whites that dominate the media discussions currently. I don’t care for defined race characterizations because that is not a world that I have ever lived in. And even, more importantly my children do not experience. And, as this beautiful world continues to mix and mingle my kids will be the norm, rather than the exception,
So who am I? I’m Rachel: wife, mom, dog owned, Economist by day, Maker at night. Practicing Catholic (which partially drives my crafting). Petite with a rack. How does that sound?
What a fascinating description of yourself and your family! I”m so happy to hear that your kids have positive experience about race and diversity growing up – that makes me happy for the world! You are the second person in the comments to mention being part Native American, which I love because until this week, I would have said I don’t know of any native bloggers. Are you aware of an indigenous blogging community/other bloggers who identify with that heritage? I know lots of First Nations people in Canada sew for cultural occasions and everyday wardrobe, but I’m not aware of any cross-over into the online world.
I’m curious about how being catholic drives your crafting… and I hope when we do post about the interaction of faith and sewing, you’ll tell us! I’m a born and raised atheist (which I guess I could have included in this post, but it’s such a given in my life that I didn’t think of it!) so I’m quite interested in how religion impacts wardrobe, gender roles, identity, you name it!
Unfortunately, No I am not familiar with any Native American bloggers. My family is Native, yes, but in the Southwestern US it can be confusing because the European mix happened so long ago when the Spaniards came here. My family is an old Texas farming family. Nothing very exciting unless you like hot red clay and smelly animals!
Laudate Si was published by the Vatican in 2015. Prior to the publication I crafted and played with making things. My sewing consisted of making alterations to store bought clothes and baby quilts for friends. In the encyclical the Pope called upon people to assess the impact of their consumer decisions. Not just environmentally, but its impact on the people who produce the goods. An most importantly, the affect that blind consumerism has on the soul. Humans were built for work. We are productive and inventive. By pushing aside the need to acquire and indulging the side that makes, I have found a well of happiness that I had only previously dipped my toes into. Now when I shop I go to thrift store to find things to re purpose, to clean up and return some of the value it once had. So my religion does not dictate the length of my skirt or how much cleavage I show. Frankly, I would not go to a church that did.
I dress modestly. I am not comfortable with my stuff on display. I wholeheartedly believe you can be pretty and attractive with out a mini skirt and the ladies out (they get cold anyway.) Besides, I am 40, if I ever had them, my under wear modeling days are far beyond me.
Thank you for this discussion, I feel like it has made me put words to feelings that I have carried around for some time.
I LOVE LEARNING NEW THINGS! I never would have guessed that would be the connection between faith and sewing… but it makes total sense the way you explain it. Thank you!
I’m loving hearing about the impact your faith has on your sewing. I’m not Catholic, but my mom was raised Catholic and i was raised with her values…. Pope Francis’s message as you describe it is really resonating with me!
Love this whole idea. Nothing better than reading about folks who love doing what you love doing.
I agree! And how fun to find out ways we are different, yet be brought together by sewing!
Last post fir me was so broad of possibilities I really couldn’t understand what was the direction, so this one made everything really clear. I would very much like to take part in this. Let us see where I will be able to contribute! I have been building my blog over the past week and I have been thinking quite a bit about similar questions. Also I am going through “the curated closet”, and therefore really trying to understand how my personal experiences shape my approach to sewing.
So… count me in!
I’m glad this helped clarify! It’s such a huge conversation to start, and I hope it will be come even more clear as more posts go up. Thanks for taking part!
There are so many different people – with so many reasons they sew. I’m recently retired, and getting back into sewing. This series looks so interesting – I’m in!
On Friday we are putting out a call for specific contributions, including “sewing over 50” – perhaps you’ll email us a contribution? I’m so curious what it’s like to get back into sewing as the sewing community grows and changes! (Also – Are you enjoying retirement??? ! hope so! )
I’m late to see this post but if you are still doing the identity thing I’d love to contribute to the “over 50” thread. I’m 64 and just got back into sewing in a big way since I retired 4 years ago. I have sewn for over 50 years. In my teens I made all mine and my mothers dresses. It was the days of crimpoline! We were quite poor so the only way we got new clothes was if I made them. Through the years I’ve sewn but sporadically since I was so busy with working and raising a family. In those days I could fit into any Big 4 pattern with no problem. Menopause, however, has made me more fluffy and for the first time in my life I have boobs! :0) That made it necessary to figure out how to do FBA’s which I never needed before. Finding the Curvy Sewing Collective online and all the wonderful young Indy designers has been such a treat! Here I thought that the handcrafts were dying out!!!!! Silly me!!!!!! There are so many tutorials and beautifully sewn and knit items online by women much younger than me that it makes my heart happy. It would be such a shame to lose these talents. I sew a lot of the time now. I am a knitter and spinner as well. Cashmerette, Helens Closet and Closet Case Files are my current favourite Indy designers but there are others I want to try. Some of the clothing patterns I see online I have to change somewhat to suit my age but that isn’t usually too hard to do. It;s mainly tops can’t be so close fitting and lengths of dresses and skirts need to be longer.
I live about 45 minutes north/west of Guelph in a small town. I have two grandchildren who live in an apartment in our basement so I babysit before and after school. I worked as a Nutritionist for years and am really enjoying retirement. So much more time to do what I want to do (sewing, knitting, spinning, gardening, walking my dog, camping in the summer).
I just got a cover stitch machine and have had a serger for a few years. I have a high end Janome sewing machine and 3 vintage ones that all get regular use. I tinker in quilting but it doesn’t seem to be the thrill that sewing my own clothing is.
So glad you are doing this Gillian. I love reading your blog!
Adding to this because I forgot a point some of you might be interested in hearing. Because my grandmother and I had to make the majority of our clothing because of being poor, in my 30’s I felt like sewing meant I couldn’t afford things and that only poor people sewed their own clothes. That made me stop making these things for about 15 years. I did a lot of quilting and knitting in those days. Now so many people are sewing that it is a whole movement and it feels so good to do it.
Margo! I live in Guelph, and work in Fergus, Drayton and Kenilworth! Are you somewhere nearby???
I love this series. It is so interesting to read about who people are and why they were drawn to sewing. There might be a whole load of big generalised demographics but our roads travelled are all so far apart. (Sewing) folks are so interesting. Xx
It’s so hard to find the balance between generalising demographics, and opening up a space for conversation! Fundamentally, I realised that i don’t know what it’s like to be 60 and sew online, or what it’s like to be a black sewist. If I don’t know, might as well ask and see what comes up! I’m SO grateful that people so far have taken it in the spirit intended, of curiousity and respect for individual voices!
Ooh, that’s a great topic and such an interesting post! Funny how some things come at the perfect time… It resonates with me right now, partly because I’ve been spending a bit more time with my family and discussing such topics. I grew up in a small/rural town (think hills, cows, fields and medieval town centres), and moved to Berlin with my boyfriend when I was 20, to go to University (after spending a year in the USA). There, I felt that I fit in so much better, especially with the Theater Science crowd of my boyfriend’s uni colleagues. My family really isn’t all that conservative, but after more than 10 years in Berlin, it’s astounding how different our attitudes are, especially concerning stuff like feminism and sexuality/gender stuff and minorities in general…
I’m a white cis-gendered female with bisexual tendencies. I’m German, but with dark hair and eyes and a surname that sounds either Persian or Slavic, depending who you ask (my 4-times great-grandfather was Hungarian, actually, and my grandfather came back to Germany from a German settelment in Romania as a kid). English is my second language. I’m a doctor and a crafter. I live in a loving and commited, open relationship with polyamorous tendencies (and we’ve been together over 15 years). I’m pregnant, and a cat person, and a foodie. I’m so glad I can sew, because it means I can have as many comfy jersey dresses as I want, and never need to bother with trying to find a pair of trousers or jeans that fit my wide thighs and short legs.
This topic also resonates with me, because Germany had elections this past weekend, and a new party, the “Alternative for Germany” had the third highest number of votes and thus managed to get into the parliament. They are nationalistic, right-wing, misogynic, homophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee, often jumping right over the line straight into racism. It makes me sick and sad to see how many people (13%) share their rhethoric.
Life is so much better because it comes in all shapes, sizes, and colours of the spectrum. We may not always understand or share the cultures or beliefs of others, but surely we can embrace them or at least let them be? I’m so glad that my circle of friends and my little corner of the internet including the sewing community is diverse and colourful and friendly.
Thanks for putting forth this topic, Gillian!
Well said! I already know more about you than I did before, and I love that. I hadn’t heard about the German elections until today, but several sewists have mentioned it now. The turn towards xenophobia worldwide is so worrying – I too and glad that the sewing community reminds me of all the awesome, accepting people out there!
I’m enjoying being in a community of sewing enthusiasts. I’m from the white baby boom generation and I’m discovering my accepted beliefs and norms aren’t as wide spread today. I’m 67 years old, widowed and (mostly) retired. My world is filled with others similar to my age and beliefs so I look for the online community to broaden my world. I’ve sewn and explored many crafts since I was very young. My talented mother was a ‘maker’ of all things that caught her eye. My love of sewing and my skills are expanding so much since I got back to garment sewing. I’m looking forward to what evolves from this discussion.
Thanks Delores! Like you, I also use my sewing community to consciously expand the range of people I know. People can be “kindred spirits” for so many reasons, not just because they live locally/are the same age/have the same beliefs. That makes me so happy!
I’m going to be honest — my first instinct was to feel like I don’t have much to add to the conversation. Much of what I would say is my identity sounds pretty average on paper, possibly even boring. But I have been a lifelong reader, and part of what I love about books is the chance to experience life through someone else’s eyes. So for that, I’ll be interested in seeing where this goes. Also, carpal tunnel sucks. I’ve been fighting it since college myself, and that is a huge factor in why I am a ridiculously slow knitter.
Well, if I was being nosy, I’d wonder:
– I know you go to church – does that faith affect what you wear in any way?
– How did you end up with carpal tunnel? Does holding babies make it worse?
– You’ve talked a bit before sewing for musical performances, as have some other sewists… What makes a good outfit for playing flute? I wonder what other niche hobbies people are sewing for, and what are their criteria for a “good” outfit?
– Is escaping into books similar to the mental escape of sewing? Do they fill the same part of your soul, or different aspects?
I am a teacher. I ALWAYS HAVE QUESTIONS! 😛
See, this is why you’re so good at facilitating conversations!
I don’t think my faith has a huge impact. I’ve always tried to dress fairly modest, but given that I’ve had friends who come from much more conservative denominations that will only wear longer skirts and no pants ever, I don’t really feel restricted by this. I would feel overdressed in a fancier, more tailored dress, because the people in my church dress more casual overall, but none of my old woven dresses still fit anyway.
-My CTS is from the flute. Between lessons, rehearsals and personal practice, I was regularly playing 5-6 hours a day with not enough breaks. It’s the same motion as typing, so it was just too much. I’ve learned to manage it, and it’s been awhile since I’ve had worse than a mild flareup. I have a baby carrier, so that helps. (I can also dm you the title of a book that had exercises that helped me a lot, if you’re interested.)
– Good flute clothes don’t restrict me from deep, diaphragm breathing, and have a decent range of motion around the shoulders. And are often black.
– Reading hits a different spot for me. I love sewing for the ability to create something tangible with my hands, and work my mental muscles in problem solving as needed. Reading is more of a mental escape for me, especially since I tend to gravitate most towards classics/historic fiction or fantasy. Exploring different worlds and the characters in them is fun. 🙂
Hey, I play flute too! In fact, I have band practice in a couple hours. My pet peeve was always shirts that didn’t let me lift my arms into position without baring my belly 😁
Have I recently mentioned that I love the questions you ask? They’re always engaging on some interesting level. I can only imagine what a terrific teacher you are! 🙂
Thank you Alessa! I miss having discussions like this with students – now that I only work with second-language learners, it’s rare that they have the vocabulary for anything beyond the basics!
Gillian, you must be an amazing teacher, and I see that I’m not the only one who thinks so. It’s all about asking the questions! This “thread” is calling my name and I’d love to contribute as a post. I’ve been a blogger for a while, and at 63, have re-invented myself a number of times in my lifetime.
Thank you, Yvette! I hope you’ll contribute to the conversation often! I’m finding it so fascinating already!
I’m enjoying the responses and look forward to more posts on this topic. I’m Caucasian and recently found my DNA shows my ancestry is British with a little Spain/Portugal and Irish… or what my brother says is plain vanilla boring! Apparently the stories my father told that our red-headed grandmother was from a rare tribe of Native Americans wasn’t true! Lol
I am 51, heterosexual, a mother of 3 adult humans, a successful professional who loves her job and a lover of one, special man after two less than perfect marriages. I grew up in very conservative churches down South, but after moving around the country and seeing other cultures, I’ve changed my beliefs about a lot of the core ideas I was taught. I’m happily involved in a Quaker community now and finally have found a faith that matches what I know in my heart… there is something of “god” (whatever that means to you… the universal spirit all humans are part of, a spiritual being beyond ourselves or nature…) in all of us, all lives matter regardless of religion, sexuality, race, nationality, etc. love your neighbor is my summary of what religion should be.
I tend to dress pretty conservatively but love to sew fun, evening things to wear out with the man dancing. He taught me East Coast swing and we have a ball dancing. Twirly skirts… yes!
Your descriptions of intersections sparked my math brain to think of Venn diagrams… where you have circles that overlap. We are each unique in that space where our circles all overlap. Race, gender, age, ethnicity, roles in life, interests, etc.
Looking forward to more of the discussions.
Of course I’m in Gillian – I definitely fit in with the 60 plus and would LOVE to know if there are others like me in the group 🙂 I’m like you in that I fit on that border of plus and XL with a large bust but narrow shoulders and tall frame so I always look to Cashmerette which is another community I adore 🙂 I like sewing clothes although my need for clothes is honestly rather modest. If I sewed as many clothes as I’d like to (glancing at my alarming collection of patterns you would think I had a GREAT need of a LOT of clothes!) I’d have enough clothes for many lifetimes.
I am in! Identity has been an important subject for me recently because I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and have opted to “live flat”. None of the tops and dresses that I made for a 38DD chest fit any more. There are so many issues tied up in this situation. Sewing has helped me feel good in my new clothes and presented me with the opportunity (that we all have, any day) to reconsider my wardrobe and what it communicates.
Tomorrows call for contributors includes people with chronic illness/pain… and while I’m not sure if that quite describes your situation, I hope you’ll send us a contribution anyway! I bet so many people have loved ones in their life who have had breast cancer, and reading about your experience might help them!
Interesting- especially reading all the responses. Anyone who reads my blog probably already knows more about me than they want to, but this is me: 57, white, bi, happily mix-married to my beautiful wife. Three adult kids, 3 grandchildren, 2 cats, and a fat belly. 5′ 3″ maths teacher, broad shouldered and stout, with slim bum and hips. Oh yes, and into steampunk!
I love your blog because you are so upfront and matter-of-fact about lots of parts of your identity! I don’t know about the UK, but in the rural schools where I teach, the staff tend to be quite conservative, and I have trouble connecting with that… I wish you taught at one of my schools so we could gossip about life all through the lunch hour! 😉
I’m pretty upfront and matter of fact about most things-reflected in my teaching style too…not always appreciated at first, but the kids soon adapt! Gossip sounds great- our lunch breaks are so short these days that none of us get time to eat let alone talk. Sigh. And don’t get me started on conservative types, even with a small ‘c’ lol
It’s amazing to real all these responses. I personally don’t mind talking about who I am and where I come from, but also understand that not everyone is the same and not everyone is as comfortable to be open online.
I’d love to contribute to this conversation, especially that guessing from the responses given, I’m the first Arab and first Muslim in this thread so I offer some diversity 🙂
I’m 34, an engineer, straight and married and have 2 feline sons 😀 I call my color dark white :p I’m a Ukrainian/Jordanian mix so I look slightly olive/tanned all year round. I lived most of my life in Egypt and the culture had definitely affected me and made me who I am today, but I also traveled a lot and met different people of different cultures and countries and that made me a lot more open, tolerant and less susceptible to stereotypes.
I started sewing because I was bored, had a lot of free time, an inherited sewing machine and the dire need for a hobby. That was 3 years ago and I never looked back! I’m even starting a fabric store soon. My style is very variable, I do the sober and simple, but also the bright and crazy, as long as I think I look good in it (and it doesn’t show too much cleavage) I’ll wear it and be happy.
Marhaban! Arab and Muslim sewists aren’t as well represented online as I’d expect based on population, or maybe I just haven’t found the right blogs. Glad you chimed in! And also, I kinda want your life – cats, fabric store, international and intercultural experiences? Yes please!
My identity isn’t something I’ve really thought much about. Personality, yes, but not identity. I wonder though if that’s because I’m extremely average: white, female, middle class, cisgendered, married, atheist, mother, Planning Manager, degree educated, British (Scottish), thin (U.K. Size 8), 5’6, 42 years old. I’m in a pretty priviledged position sonive never felt the need to actively seek out people in my mould. They are there in their millions! That said, what I love about the sewing community is that it “normalises” normal people: all ages, sizes, colours and religions. We get so conditioned by what the media presents as acceptable and normal, “real life” can take getting used to, but I love it. I’m happy to read about a garment I have no intention of ever making because it’s not my style. I follow French, German, Scandinavian, Dutch, Belgian, Turkish and Japanese sewers on IG as well as from all the English speaking counties.
Hmmm going off topic now, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that although I’ve never thought about identity in relation to sewing, I am pleased to discover, on reflection, that my own identity doesn’t necessarily inform the people I chose to follow. Although it’s still probably 90% white, English speaking and young(we than me).
I love your point about the sewing community normalising normal people! I think that’s had a big impact on my self-esteem over the years. I’m happy to hear that this series got you thinking about the lovely privilege of not having to think about identity because you are mainstream in so many ways… I had a very similar realisation, and decided to start the series because I really had no idea what it would be like to be someone else. (Sorry, I’m tired, and I’m not sure that is even a sentence… but I hope you know what I mean! 😉
I am for sure in!
Its funny, when I think about my identity I think less of the characteristics nature has bestowed on me, such as race and gender, and more of the experiences that have shaped me and made me uniquely who I am. My upbringing for example, being the product of a mother with Borderline Personality Disorder and a father with Asperger Syndrome (challenging, but ultimately enriching), along with all the deeply personal things we experience completely alone that might not even have words, in the form of fleeting, elusive moments and dreams that get memorialised in our sub-conscious like a kind of map or collage, each one completely unique. Our preferences, the things we gravitate towards in terms of music, books, art, culture, colours, weather, etc. All of those things seem so much more a part of my identity than the top-tier categorisation of me as a female human, white, straight. I am an artist and illustrator, I am a vegan because I love animals and believe all life is precious, I am agnostic, borderline plus size (but know what it’s like to be bigger and smaller). Sewing my own clothes has allowed me to express my identity in a way that RTW never could, which makes me feel so much more comfortable and confident that I’m projecting who I really am. RTW comes with so many compromises. Thank you, this is such an interesting topic!
Very interesting conversation to start, Gillian! I’ve been enjoying reading the responses.
Like Bonnie, I feel like there are the categories that people identify me with – female, mixed race but in a way that makes some people feel entitled to ask the question “what are you?” Those kinds of identity have been my trailhead to understanding how the way others categorize us. Other categories that could be used on me are oldish millenial, native northwesterner, college-educated, married.
Then there are the categories I self-identify with; I’m hugely analytical and unapologetically introverted. It took me my first 30 years to develop passable people skills. I’m interested in women’s narratives and what it means to be female, while I also feel great skepticism towards gender norms. Sewing has really enabled me to create style that embodies how I feel on the inside. While I did sew a lot of dresses early on, I sew and wear mostly separates that are on the plain side in blue, white and gray/black tones. It feels great to finally be able to make the straightforward clothing I’ve always wanted.
Does who I am shape my sewing or my experience in the online community?
For sure to both questions. I think that my life experiences have shaped me into the person I am, and who I am certainly shapes my perspective, what I sew, and how I share it.
So I will share a little about me. I am a female queer woman. I have a wonderful wife (yay for being Canadian and living in Canada) and we have one amazing tiny human child. I am white. I am plus sized. I have struggled with mental health and personal wellness. I have discovered that I love making things, that I need to make things and bring beauty and comfort into the world, in order to feel whole. In general I try to tread gently in the world and leave things/people/places better than I found them.
I have lived with chronic pain. I found sewing again nearly two years ago, after realizing I was no longer physically able to create jewelry due to severe repetitive stress injuries in both hands. A friend who lives with chronic pain suggested I try quilting, so I did, and found garment sewing shortly thereafter. I find sewing my own clothes (and clothes for my family) incredibly empowering. Discovering that I am able to make clothes fit me, instead of the other way around, blew my mind and has helped me to be more accepting of my body. Sewing is now an integral part of self-care for me, as it is a creative way to express myself and bring beauty into the world, and the sewing process itself is almost meditative for me. In short, it makes me happier, and nourishes me.
Through sewing I have discovered that I want less clothing, and now have less clothing, because what I make fits me, fits my life, and says what I want to say exactly, so it feels right somehow. And that feeling of rightness spills over into other parts of my life. It’s very freeing for me to be able to step out of the cycle of consumption a little by buying much less.
I have just recently started “sewcializing”, and I think we’re so lucky to live in a time where we can share our love of making with other people that love to make from nearly every corner of the world without having to leave our homes. I mostly sewcialize on Instagram at zag.with.me because it’s fast and easy, and there are pictures 🙂
And thanks Gillian, for asking.
This is such a great topic Gillian! When it comes to identity, I’m extremely average I guess. White, female, cisgendered, atheïst, average length and size, healthy as far as I know, living together with my boyfriend, had a happy childhood, good education, stable and nicely paying job and basically all the priviledges that come with that territory. I work at a social housing company as a neighborhood worker and the most important thing this job does for me is that it makes me realise how priviledged i am on a daily basis. I also love that with pretty much everyone I meet, no matter what background , there is always a common interest or something else to connect over. It’s such a shame that in the politics of these days the only emphasis is on the thing that sets different groups of people apart while we would all be better off if we acknowledge the similarities and empathise over the differences. Just like Alessa says, there’s such a swing to right wing politics here in the Netherlands as well and it’s both scary and makes me feel ashamed. I think the sewing community sets a good example when it comes to being inclusive and I love to be a part of it!
[…] had a lot of neat discussions from older sewists on several posts so far already, on a whole range of topics, […]
Not sure if this is the best thread to leave this comment, but I’m so jazzed with Sewcialists. I’ve been wanting a space to talk into other aspects of sewing with identities and experiences- and am blogless- so it’s much appreciated. I missed the theme voting, so don’t know if this were on the table already, but I’d like to see conversations about LGBTQ+ identity in the sewing community, mental health, and trauma. Those are things that feel harder to see and discuss in the sewing community- in part because you can’t tell by looking at someone and in part because the sewing community can be serve as an escape / relaxation space. But those intersections are important!
One idea re: the term identity is perhaps the phrase “people who’ve experienced X or identify as X” ie “people who’ve experienced chronic illness or identify as chronically ill” I guess it wouldn’t work in all cases but an idea for an alternative.
That’s a good suggestion on phrasing! LGTBQ is our next topic, and then we’ve got so many posts waiting that it will be a few months before we put out a call for more!
[…] blog at Crafting a Rainbow, where I make comfy, colourful knit clothing. As I explained in this post at the start of the Who We Are series, I fit the “mainstream” mould in many ways… […]
Thanks gilliancrafts for sharing your experience i think i’m going to try this type of design with custom cotton lycra fabric.