This year we’ve put a new spin on our classic Tribute Month theme, and renamed it Sew Style Hero! Your sew style hero could be a specific sewist, celebrity, or fictional character – we’re leaving it wide open on purpose so that it’s open to interpretation!
I’m planning to recreate a this dress by fellow Sewcialist Pauline, because her use of stripes cannot be beat, but today, I want to share Sewn Magazine, which has been inspiring me to dress more boldly all year!
Sewn is an independent magazine run by Michelle from That Black Chic and it’s clearly a labour of love. (That’s her in the stripes, by the way!) The contributors always span a range of ages, sizes, styles and ethnicities, with a strong emphasis on people of colour. I asked Michelle why she started the magazine, and she said,
“The reason that I started Sewn was because the national sewing magazines out there are not inclusive of all makers. I wanted to create a magazine showcasing more folks that look like myself.
Before I started this venture I purchased more than 10 national publications and I could not locate not one African American contributor anywhere. I did see two other nationalities represented but that was it. So, you’re going to see all nationalities in my magazine and plus it’s not your typical sewing magazine either, it falls in line with a fashion magazine which is exactly what I was going for.”
Yikes. Not one contributor who was African American? Makes me wonder too how many contributors were plus-size, LGBTQ+, or other marginalized groups. One of our main goals here on the Sewcialists is to amplify diverse voices, and I find Sewn inspiring!
For me, Sewn is mostly visual inspiration. Yes, there are articles, tutorials, and a downloadable pattern or two each time, but mostly I’m there to see page after page of badass people looking amazing in a huge range of styles! Would I wear any of these looks? No, probably not, but overall, the whole experience makes me want to wear bolder, brighter, more creative clothing.
I find myself thinking, “YES! I do want a statement bomber jacket, or a matching print suit!” And best of all… that inspiration has actually trickled into my sewing! Here are a few things I’ve sewn recently that are pushing my boundaries into bolder statement styles:
And yes, I do have a shorts-and-cropped-jacket set planned in black and white leopard twill! Not that I’ll really ever wear them together, but I love that I could!
Another reason that I love to support Sewn is that it features familiar faces and online friends. Take a look!
Another friend of the Sewcialists is the legendary Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, who wrote for us during TNT Month. She does a Q&A column each issue. She even answered my question in the first issue!
Sadly, I don’t actually have that issue – which brings me to the biggest drawback about Sewn, especially for those who live outside the USA. It costs $14.99/issue, which I think is totally fair for the amount of work that goes into making a thick, glossy magazine… but by time I add $10 shipping and convert to Canadian dollars, it costs me $35! I bought the second issue myself, and then was sent the next two by Sewn… (I honestly don’t know if they were sent to me as PR, or if my friend who arranged it paid for them herself, but I’m grateful for the chance to be able to form my own thoughts on the magazines by reading a few issues. I promise you all opinions are my own!)
The next issue is on sale now, and I’ve ponied up and purchased it for myself. If a PDF version was available, I’d get an annual subscription in a heartbeat. As is, I’m weighing the amazing inspiration against the fabric I could buy with that money. Reading Sewn feels good for my soul though, so I’m excited to keep supporting it!
I think the best inspirations get our creative juices flowing, boost our confidence, and make us actually try new things. For me, Sewn is a win in every category! Whatever inspiration you pick for a #SewStyleHero month project, I hope it brings that same smile to your face and fire to your heart!