I like to think of the Sewcialists, the Curvy Sewing Collective, Sew Queer and Chronically Sewn as a family, all with a specific mission: highlighting voices that may not always be heard in the mainstream sewing community. Curvy Sewing Collective is the wise big sister, with the most experience, then Sewcialists is the sassy middle sister, and now youngsters Sew Queer and Chronically Sewn have come along blazing their own path!
What is even more exciting is wondering, “What community is going to find their voice next?”
The Curvy Sewing Collective came onto the scene in 2014 when a group of bloggers reached out to Colette Patterns and suggested a plus-size blog tour to celebrate Colette’s new larger size range. The blog tour was so popular that the website was soon born, and from there they’ve created a booming community of 100 000 blog readers and a Facebook group with 17 000 members. They have tons of fitting resources, pattern comparisons, and years of posts showing plus-size women of all ages looking fabulous in me-made clothes! Since then, more and more pattern designers have increased their size range, and it’s fair to say the CSC has been a huge part of that. You’ve heard form plenty of CSC alumni here on the Sewcialists, including Tanya, Meg, and Jessica!
In fact, it was being an editor at the Curvy Sewing Collective that inspired me to relaunch the Sewcialists! We’d originally started in 2013, but it wasn’t until I relaunched the site in 2017 that we came to have an explicit focus on identity, intersectionality, and inclusion. We hope that by listening to each other, we can better understand how size, age, gender, orientation, ethnicity, ability, and other factors shape how we experience the sewing world. So far, you’ve been fabulously supportive of our frank discussions and fun theme months, because our community is growing exponentially!
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Are you following the #sewyourpride challenge? There are some amazing makes (and lovely words) popping up in the tag. There are many highlights in our stories, too! . Regrann from @sewqueer – So excited to announce the first ever #sewqueer challenge, to celebrate #pride month! Pride is about a lot of things: celebration, love, community, resistance, rebellion, survival, and affirmation. For #sewyourpride, post about the thing you've made that you're most proud of, and tell us a little about what that pride means to you. Tag with #sewyourpride and #sewqueer and follow the tags to see your fellow queer sewists' makes! #sewyourpride is a challenge, not a competition; there are no winners or prizes but a ton of community joy and celebration. So excited to see what you all share! 🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈 . #sewing #sewcialists #queer #queerfashion #pridemonth #gay #trans #bisexual #lesbian #lgbtqia #iwantalltherainbows – #regrann
New on the scene is Sew Queer, led by the talented Shannon from Rare Device, who has also contributed to the CSC and the Sewcialists! She wrote a post for us in winter, and at the time, I remember her saying, “I’ve also go an idea for an LGBTQ+ hashtag I want to start.” I’m so glad she made it happen because #sewqueer has now been used 1250 times! Right from the beginning though, it was more than a hashtag — Shannon runs a @sewqueer account where she reposts community photos and digs into what it means to be a queer sewist.
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Hi everyone. It's Andie from @sewprettyinpink There are so many sewing people with chronic illnesses (mental and physical) that might generate questions specific to that person's illness. Such as where do I find an ergonomic seam ripper? What is the best fabric for sensitive skin? How do I balance self-care with sewing? And so many more. I created this inclusive space for chronically ill sewists to ask those questions. We'll also provide inspirational posts and be doing sewalongs. If you want to be featured here, tag your posts with #chronicallysewn or @chronicallysewn #sewcialists #sewing
And finally, a new community that started after I originally drafted this post: Chronically Sewn. And guess what? It’s run by another Curvy Sewing Collective Editor and Sewcialist contributor, Andie from Sew Pretty In Pink! Chronically Sewn is an Instagram account that highlights sewists who are chronically impacted by mental or physical illness. It’s something that I identify with, and I’m so grateful that Andie is building community for makers who can’t always craft as prolifically as they may want because of their health!
Now, reading through this, I hope you don’t get the idea that the Curvy Sewing Collective/Sewcialists/Sew Queer/Chronically Sewn family is some kind of exclusive club. Instead, I see it as proof that we are a supportive community where anything can happen!
All it takes is someone with an idea, and anything is possible. That’s how all four communities started, and that how our next great community will probably start too!
(Let me be clear, too — none of these websites are *just* for some people, and not for others. It’s always fascinating to join in conversation with people are both similar and different to ourselves!)
So, which community might find their voice next? I’ve got some ideas, and I hope you’ll share yours in the comments!
- Male sewists (or people who identify as male/sew menswear/like androgenous style etc)
- Young sewists (teens and early twenties? Show us how to use social media innovatively, you youngsters!)
- Senior sewists (sewists of a certain age have skills, passion and style to share, and we hear often that you don’t feel represented in the typical blogosphere!)
- Ecosewists (there are lots of individual challenges and themes, but no umbrella website that I’m aware of?)
I could go on all night! But here’s what I really want to say: If you are the next community organiser, we are here to help. Email us or join our Sewcialists Blog Team on Facebook and we’ll share our skills and experience, and help you build a community. I’m sure the Curvy Sewing Collective, Sew Queer and Chronically Sewn organisers would do the same. Ideas take off quickly in the sewing community, so all you need is a clear voice, passion, and the grit to make it happen!
So, who is going to be our next sibling site? Please share below your ideas for what community you’d like to find their voice, and let us know if you have the kernel of an idea which we could help you develop!
What wonderfull thoughts ! I feel related to all the groups you have mentioned. Concerning the “Ecosewers”, I have a high intrest for what Kate (from Time to Sew) writes but I feel I need some guidance about this topic due to a lack of knowledge
Still got a lot to learn !
Yes! Kate is also one of our Sewcialists Editors, and I think she’d be perfect for leading the eco-community!
Hi Gerda, thank you so much for the kind words! Well, what can I say – sustainability is a very big topic and the lack of transparency in the fashion supply chain makes it very hard to navigate. My guiding principles after a year of being very interested in this topic is that using what you have, and buying second hand remains the most sustainable solution. In other areas of life it is buying less and using less! PS: De boek van Marieke Eyskoot is een leuke gids voor levensstijl (Nederlands en Engels) : https://www.bispublishers.com/this-is-a-good-guide-for-a-sustainable-lifestyle.html
These are fantastic. Now all I need is a device to connect my instagram account to! LOL!
I think older sewists (yes I’m still writing something :o) just want to connect more. But a lot of us are only on our PC or laptop. Maybe a blogroll is good for us?- to find each other. And yes I check out ALL sewing regardless of age, race, identity etc. I sew for all ages.
But I enjoy a good chat with women my age who also sew for themselves. Especially if we share a same style. I don’t want to dress like my 42 year old daughter! :o)
I think you need to get on Instagram! You can follow accounts and comment on you computer… and in my Instagram posts related to this blog, there are rumblings about starting an @sewover50 account!
I am “on” , I haven’t learned how to do it on my PC!! LOL!!
oooooh – COOL! a #sewover50!!
Go to Instagram.com, log in, and you should be able to see anyone you follow – or search and add more people you want to follow! What’s your account? I want to follow you!
Now to figure out how to post pictures!
Great post! You really do have amazing ideas! I have noticed a rising trend in more men sewing and blogging…I hope that group can mobilize! They can bring such a different perspective to creative sewing, or sewing for themselves, or even the whole family!
ALL of your suggestions I can see developing into major categories! I am hopeful! 🙂
I think there’s a real need for men who sew to organize! (Not least because we have the hardest time tracking down male sewists to contribute here!!!!! 😉
Just my 2 cents worth regarding new/additional ideas/themes etc. for possible discussion as outlined below:
* not really sure what ecosewists would include but I would enjoy reading/learning about how to repurpose old
clothing and/or remnants into exciting new project ideas. I am not talking about making quilts per se but rather
strategies to use when planning and/or making a garment etc. to reduce our need for purchasing new fabric
when we all probably have a large fabric stash along with all the old clothing we have lurking in our closets and
drawers which we don’t wear any longer for a wide variety of reasons – that could be harvested and used to make
new garments instead of the item ending up as landfill. In addition, I would love to hear how sewists in other
countries repurpose/harvest clothing and other textile items into new items.
I’d love to read that too! Refashioning is quite a bit topic, but sounds like you are suggesting something deeper than just making clothes into new clothes?
Hi Buck, in terms of what is out there at the moment – have a look at Portia’s annual refashioning challenge https://makery.co.uk/2018/08/the-refashioners-2018-inspired-by/, its just about to start. Previous years are there on the blog and you can see a lot of creativity on display. I have written a couple of blog posts on sustainable sewing for the Sewcialists: https://sewcialists.wordpress.com/author/katebng/ and on my own blog http://timetosew.uk I talk about fabric production etc.
Great post! I’d like to see a senior sewers collective! I’d love to see some different style ideas for us older sewers.
It happened!!!!! After this post yesterday, @judithrosalind started a new IG account called @sewover50, with the hashtag #sewover50! We’ll feature it here soon in more detail, but do go check it out today! 🙂
While I think it’s nice to have all of these resources, I think it’s even more important that we have many leading voices within any given space. Maybe the Curvy Sewing Collective has become more inclusive w/in the past year or so, but they are not the end all and be all for plus size sewing, nor should they be – nor really could they be. Sewcialists, imho, is the best of these sorts of spaces :), but it couldn’t hurt to have more than one blog/blogging group that tackles intersectional identities and sewing themes. Etc.
I think also it’s important to remember there’s a lot out there in the sewing blogosphere, and just because someone’s blog has 10 readers and a design that looks straight out of 2002, doesn’t mean it’s content isn’t worth your time! Check out blogs that your favorite blogger links to, and follow that rabbit hole – there are so many wonderful voices online, sharing their sewing thoughts and projects.
I really appreciate all the comments here. I’ve got a strong interest in an ecosewist group and agree w/above folks that reusing fabrics, refashioning, and using less could be appropriate topics – and so could consumerist aspects of sewing and resistance to them, #30wears, minimalism, climate-wise new materials, and the revolutionary power of craft. I’d love to see a space that really dug into some of these topics and shared resources. We could start using the hashtag…
[…] #sewinclusive family including @sewqueer, @curvysewingcollective, and @chronicallysewn. In fact, our post asking which community might come next was part of how @sewover50 started! We thought it would be interesting to talk to @sewover50 […]
[…] I’m most proud of the post that inspired the creation of the #sewover50 hashtag — a community that just needed a boost […]
[…] here on Sewcialists before. When I founded the SewQueer project, Sewcialists was something of a big sibling, offering an idea of the way inclusive sewing communities could operate. Since I last shared about […]
I like the idea of a group for older adult sewers — but please, please, don’t use the dated term, “senior!” I’m 65, and conduct the social maketing at my local council on aging, where we’ve done extensive market research on how to attract my demographic. End conclusion: Baby Boomers don’t consider themselves seniors. We also found that it can be a rather perjorative, even agist term.
I love seeing and advising younger people, but of course we don’t always sew the same fashion styles. I’d like to see what other older adults are sewing for themselves. I’ve sewn for most of my life, but now that I’m semi-retired, I’m finally able to spend the time I’ve always yearned for to sew. I sew some items for my great-nieces and nephews, but my life isn’t completely focused on children’s clothing. I absolutely love seeing the posts of children’s clothing which young mothers have created, but some of my groups have A LOT of kids’ makes. Meanwhile, I’m starting to explore new avenues in my sewing, and am having fun dipping into different types of sewing.