Oh gosh, people. Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? We’ve been lucky to have so many contributions to the Who We Are series that we are swimming in to-be-scheduled posts… but even so, I apologise that this particular topic had been waiting so long!
We initially put out a call for contributions for LGBTQ sewists in November, and then published Jasika’s beautiful post about the intersectionality of her crafting as a queer biracial woman. We got to play a small part in the launch of the #sewqueer hashtag through Shannon’s post about being a queer sewist.
Meanwhile, we received the following contributions, and two stand-alone posts which just happen to be written by women with similar names! We’ll be publishing Claire and Clara’s post later this week.
Hey folks! So you asked for a paragraph or two on how being aromantic/asexual has shifted my focus to my clothes. First, some definitions:
- Asexual: not feeling sexual attraction often or at all. Not looking at a person and thinking, “Wow, they’re hot!” There’s lots of different ways to be asexual.
- Aromantic: not feeling romantic attraction often or at all. This often manifests in lack of dating. I consider myself demiromantic, meaning that I can only feel romantic attraction when I am already close friends with a person. It means that casual or blind dates are out of the question for me.
Neither of these imply that a person is broken, heartless, cruel, or robotic. Ace/Aro people can still have meaningful relationships, they just lack certain elements like sex or romance.
Realizing I was aro/ace helped me feel better about how much time I spend thinking about clothes and aesthetics. I mean, I haven’t sewn since this summer (cough science major cough) but I still think about what additions to my wardrobe I want. Quite a lot. Now, I can reassure myself that I’m not fixated on clothing, but even if I am a little, it’s alright. I’m not choosing material things over dating and bonding with someone — I rarely care for dating and those social norms, and I’m not capable of romantic attraction for someone I just met. I believe that focusing on aesthetics — how outfits look or their presentation — isn’t bad, because it makes me more confident to know I’ve captured a certain vibe. I have this one outfit that feels very western and Montana-y and I love it. I enjoy cultivating certain aesthetics.
Realizing I’m on the spectrum for both aromantic and asexual didn’t change who I am. I’m still a nerd with lots of hobbies. It helped me feel a little bit better about dressing the way I want to, even if it’s just for looks.
I’ve thought about this a lot, I don’t know any other lesbian sewists I real life, although I do on Instagram. I miss not having these women as part of my sewing community, but having said that, I’ve found wonderful, not just accepting, but embracing, women in the sewing community. In fact lesbians have judged me for sewing — I stopped sewing for years because of this — but I’ve never had judgement for being a lesbian in the sewing community.
During the past 2 months of a public vote on marriage equality in Australia, the sewing community has been a loud and proud supportive voice and I feel throughly embraced by it. The sewing community is a place where I feel very comfortable — they are more interested in my hemline than whether I’m wearing a frock or a flannel shirt.
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Hey! I have a giant white dog. Also, I’m a queer cis-woman. Coming out is a never ending process. It’s also a really hard combination of intensely personal and really fucking public. Do it on your own time and in your own way. Figuring out how to come out means having the words to name who you are. I figured out I was bi before I was 12. But by the time I was 20, I was looking for better words. These days I say queer. I fall on the asexual spectrum. I’m demisexual and panromantic. Happy #nationalcomingoutday! #queerwoman #graysexual #demisexual #loveisloveislove #panromantic
When people talk about why sewing is important to them, a theme I hear over and over is body acceptance. For me, my body and my queer identity are linked. Part of being queer is having to be comfortable in spaces that weren’t created for people like me. Learning to love my body and learning to accept and love my own queer identity have gone hand-in-hand for me. Creating my own clothes only furthered that acceptance. In learning that it’s not my that my body doesn’t fit the clothes, its that the clothes don’t fit my body, I am reminded that there is a space and a place for me as a queer woman — a queer sewist — and when spaces aren’t welcoming, that’s on them, not on me.
I’m a queer cis-woman. I generally use the umbrella term queer when I have to give a quick identity run down since it lets people know I don’t fit neatly into a sexual identity. If I’m giving specific terms, I say demisexual and pan romantic. I use the phrase “on the asexual spectrum”. When I learned the word demisexual, it was earth shaking. Being able to craft an identity for myself through all the learned words — queer and demi and ace and pan; the difference between sexual and romantic — settled something in me I didn’t even know was unsettled. Having words to name who you are is so important.
It’s that naming your own identity that fits in so well with being a sewist. In making my own clothes, I am making very deliberate choices about how the world sees me. Clothes are part of how we communicate identity to the world. I can — and do — use clothes to hide behind, but when I make my own clothes, I make them for my full self, because I make them as my full self. I can’t be anything other than a queer sewist.
I know that our Sewcialists conversations highlighting LGBTQ sewists aren’t over after this week, though — inclusion is a daily act, not a theme month! If one thing is clear, it is that queer sewists feel left out of the mainstream blogosphere, and that is something we can all work to improve. If you aren’t already, please consider supporting LGBTQ sewists by following the #sewqueer hashtag, and commenting below or on social media!
“they are more interested in my hemline than whether I’m wearing a frock or a flannel shirt.” I absolutely LOVE this attitude in the sewing world! It shows up with size too, and probably all sorts of other potential windows for judgment.
Isn’t it amazing that our corner of the internet is so accepting and supportive, when other corners of the web are exactly the opposite? Sewists are the best!
this made my morning.
Regan, i love your top! it’s cool that you found self-acceptance about spending time thinking about aesthetics. getting past the “shoulds” and just saying, “nope this is who i am and what i like to do” is hard work and it shows self-reflection and wisdom that’s inspiring to see.
Siobhan, i relate to wishing for more overlap between communities. the contrast between communities in reactions to your sewing is so telling. it’s wonderful to hear sewists have been accepting and just like, we don’t care what you are making, come have fun with us!
Madeline, yes to all of this: words, fitting in where it’s not designed for you, acceptance, hiding or not hiding with clothes, sewing as your full self.
queerness and sexuality are so varied and nuanced; thank you all for highlighting that!
Thanks for being part of the conversations, Claire! I’m hoping that once the community of “out” sewists finds each other, it will be easier and easier for other people to be forthright about their identity and feel welcomed in the sewing world! <3
same. virtual high fives!
Yes! I love the online sewing community! It feels like you are visiting your sisters and brothers, who share a love of creativity in many forms! I love it!
So nice to meet you all! So happy to “see” your amazing sews!
Elizabeth, you are such a great cheerleader! Thanks for always being supportive! <3
You are so welcome! I remember (70s, 80s, 90s) when we only met fellow Sewcialists at the fabric store! LOL! And back then we were many many different people all on the same playing field in those stores! We were happy to see each other! Peeking at each other’s purchases! LOL! The internet has been a HUGE blessing. Now we can gather anytime 24/7. :o) Thanks to people like you Gillian! (((HUG)))
Ah, I love every bit of this! Madeline, I adore this part in particular: “In making my own clothes, I am making very deliberate choices about how the world sees me. Clothes are part of how we communicate identity to the world. I can — and do — use clothes to hide behind, but when I make my own clothes, I make them for my full self, because I make them as my full self. I can’t be anything other than a queer sewist.” So perfect <3
i adore you
I sooo love the sentence about sewists being more interested in the hemline. It is so true!!!
All the best to you all.
haha, it’s so true isn’t it – they are ALWAYS picking up the edges of my clothing, I need to remind myself I shouldn’t do it to non-sewing peeps!
“they are more interested in my hemline than whether I’m wearing a frock or a flannel shirt.”
A million yeses to this! I’m straight. I sew because it’s my art. My outlet. My break from the work I do for paid employment. I’m in the community so that I can enjoy other people’s art, too. I don’t give a fig what the maker/wearer does or doesn’t do in the privacy of their bedroom. I’m just here for the creativity, the beauty, the learning opportunities, and the camaraderie.
I actually would like to add that my contribution was written in the midst of some self discovery, and since then how I identify has changed a bit! I don’t want to blame it on my conservative upbringing, but I definitely didn’t realize that being a lesbian was an option for me when I first started questioning. Now I know that’s where I fit best, though the ace part is still up in the air! Thanks for featuring LGBT+ makers. It is amazing to see people like us in the spotlight.
Thanks! I’m just catching up on blog posts! The sewing community is the best!
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