Have you ever participated in the #SewingTop5 roundups? I’ve been running this series since 2012 on my blog, and I thought it would be fun to participate on the Sewcialists! We’ll be covering hits, highlights and goals over the next few weeks.
But how on earth could I look at our 150+ posts from 2018 and choose just 5 favourites? I’m being sneaky instead, and inviting each of the Editors to contribute their favourites. Get a cup of tea, settle in, and get ready to click through to some of our most memorable posts from the year!
Some of my favourite posts are when I convince my friends to write frank, sassy posts. For example, Tanya and Michelle both wrote about sizism in sewing, and Nettie and Ebi wrote about being black women who sew. I also treasure posts where the author opens up about something personal, like Emma’s post about her fertility journey.
Finally, I’m most proud of the post that inspired the creation of the #sewover50 hashtag — a community that just needed a boost and is now flourishing!
I love the fluff pieces and themes we do, like Sewing Stripes, but to me the real heart of Sewcialists is the humanity. Humans are messy in the best and sometimes worst ways. The Who We Are posts, and even when we get a personal post in a fluff theme, those are the catalyst behind my involvement. I, too, rank Ebi’s post as a top post for 2018. The part about getting a funny feeling, and realizing THAT is what representation feels like… wow. Heather’s post about going vintage and her own journey to self-love was also a heavy hitter for me. I don’t identify with that vintage aesthetic, but it’s not really about that, per se. It’s about FEELING your clothes. Clothes get a bad rap for being superficial, commercial, unnecessary (Devil Wears Prada, anyone?), but Heather leads the reader on an amazing journey to appreciating clothing and how the journey is so important. Later in the year, Nettie’s post... Sigh. Nettie’s post is that thing when you’re white and POCs tell you to LISTEN, it means you need to read, absorb, ask questions for clarification if needed, and then STFU. Yeah. I said it. Read it. If you know, then you know.
More recently, Allyson’s post made me stop in my tracks. It opened up my mind. I, too, have fitted commissioned clothing, and heard people talk badly about themselves, and often reassure them no one is “normal” — normal isn’t real. No one fits a pattern out of the envelope. It’s a starting point schematic of averages. That’s it. But I have blind spots as everyone does, and Allyson’s story also made me realize even I still use language that isn’t always the best. Related, interviewing Shannon also make me realize I need to not use weight as a size reference… These little systemic-prejudices that we don’t even realize. So, I read, absorb, do the work to share the platform for representation, and STFU.
My favourite thing about the Sewcialists is that it is a celebration of differences and brings such awareness to some issues and challenges that are not always visible or discussed. Like Gillian, I have a particular soft spot for the really personal stories where people have opened up, like Emma’s post about fertility which I can empathise with, and more recently Anne’s post on making adjustments to accommodate an insulin pump.
I also really appreciate the topics which consider the psychology of social media and of course sustainability. Ben’s post on why Me-Made-May didn’t work for him I found really honest and refreshing, and Madeline’s post on her complicated feelings about how much me-made is enough fostered some great conversation.
Finally, the post I that I think sums up the Sewcialists fun is Andie’s one where she made a sweater that broke all the conventional style rules on stripes. Its happiness, body positivity and sewing all in one!
Choosing five?? FIVE??? I am that person who hates surveys because they often make me choose between great things and rank them when I don’t want to. 🙂 Don’t ask what my favourite film or album of all time is. Just don’t.
But since you asked… I will start by breaking the rules and including one from very late last year. Jasika’s post on how her crafting, like her feminism, is intersectional summed up so many things so perfectly for me. Her words “No pieces of who I am or what I create exists without the others.” were perfect. All of the Who We Are series has the power to make me cry or make me angry or make me think, which is fantastic. Yes, I am cheating some more and counting a whole series as one 🙂
Because I am a history dweeb, I loved Anya’s post on the history of stripes. I find the detail behind how we end up with a fabric pretty fascinating (sidebar: did you know in the late Roman empire only the state could sell purple cloth, on pain of death? See? Fascinating…). Continuing in our theme months, I really enjoyed Melinda’s Sew Style Hero post (Mimi-G). I loved her description of how frustrated she was in trying to find nice clothes that fit, and how the simple, accessible tutorials she found let her quickly see how sewing could be the answer!
For my fifth and final choice, I am going to cheat again. My favourite post of the year is always the one I just read and scheduled. I am the chief Sewcialist blog-scheduler, and so I get to see what’s coming just a little while ahead of everyone else. I love seeing the posts come in and working out how and where they fit in a rhythm of content. I am often stopped in my busy, list-making tracks by a post and can’t wait to send it on it’s way to everyone! I love that.
Reading everyone else’s Top 5 like…Yessss!! that was my favorite…ohhhh this one too!…how did I forget about that one?!?! Truly the essence of why I think Sewcialists is a great place of engagement. Hard to choose 5 but these had me taking the conversation outside my sew family.
Keira’s Ocean Trash Upcycle was dear to my heart. I am an island girl too and everytime I go home, its total heartbreak when I visit some of the remote beaches completely littered by garbage and seeing Keira’s approach to make change one garment at a time is just incredible, encouraging and inspiring.
Nettie’s article on Diversity gave me all my life! This line right here “…make allowances for our inclusion until the allowance is no longer necessary. Trust in our abilities and look for ways to expand your standard list of who’s who to include us. Without ceremony. Without pats on the back and blinking signs demanding acknowledgement. Let it be common to include. And keep on doing it. And never stop…” Say that again for the people on the back please and thank you!!
Ebi’s article on Who We Are: An Essay on Representation was also another one that hit the spot for me and pretty much all the Plus Size Series . Read it and felt like many a conversations I’ve had with my sisters in the sew.
Everything about SewStripes Month…. absolutely everything!
My most favorite posts really had little to do with what was written but more so as to how we all engaged in discussion. Even when the conversations are not easy to have, we engage with respect and thought. No need to post a specific article because I think that’s that way it should be for all. Providing a space that allows for discourse and room to learn from each other is why I am a sewcialist!
What a wrap up! I love memory lane trips! Thank you for taking me done this one! <3
Great wrap-up! All definitely HITS!!
Aw, I feel so honored that my post was a personal Top 5 for you, Gillian! Especially out of such an amazing list!
Thanks so much for including me. I’m so glad I could contribute and the response that I got was unbelievable. I was so happy to give others comfort through sharing. Thank you go the opportunity to do that. ☺