Good News in Sewing

Here at the Sewcialists, our mission is to build community and make everyone feel welcome. We support sewing and crafting as an inclusive and welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, genders, orientations and sizes.

With these goals in mind, we’re starting a new occasional series on the blog: Good News in Sewing. Inspired by our fearless leader, Gillian, these posts will highlight news, conversations, opportunities and happenings in the sewing world that move the craft and the community in a more inclusive direction. If you know of any happenings fitting this description, drop us an email at sewcialists@gmail.com!

Accessibility

Rad Patterns has released a collection of accessible sewing patterns! Their collection includes three thoughtfully designed patterns that address various accessibility issues in style.

The Clara Skirt opens fully in the front so it can be put on while seated and has different closure options for different dexterity needs, and strategically placed side seams and pockets. The Mokena Shirt has several access options for ports, monitors, or breastfeeding, as well as hem options that consider seated wear in a wheelchair. The Back to Business Raglan has a center back opening, helpful for those in a wheelchair or with limited over-the-head mobility.

“Accessible fashion means offering styles that can work for specific needs or sizes, while also working for those without those specific needs. Everyone should be able to feel good, look good, and have functionality in their wardrobe!”

— Rad Patterns

Sizing

Several pattern companies have recently announced that they are, or are considering, expanding their size ranges!

Laela Jayne Patterns is expanding their already wide size range to include size 4X!

Grainline Studio announced in their newsletter that they have begun work on expanding their size range! They are currently developing a second block and are prepping a sizing survey; subscribe to their newsletter if you’d like to participate.

Ready to Sew‘s latest pattern, the Jocko Sweater, has an expanded size range, up to size 52, and with French, English and Spanish instructions!

Chalk + Notch Patterns2019 plans include adding more sizes to their range! They are starting by adding more sizes to their current block, but may expand beyond that in the future.

Helen’s Closet is extending the size range for their patterns in 2019! There is a survey asking questions of the community about sizing and preferred labels (eg: curvy, plus size, XXL, 2X, etc.).

Over the past three years, the sewing community has opened my eyes to the true beauty of women. Not beauty in a conventional sense, because conventional beauty is boring. It’s heartbreaking. It’s often impossible. I am talking about real beauty. Everyday gorgeousness from our varicose veins to our stubborn chin hairs. From our stretch marks to our laugh lines. From our small chests to our big booties! We are all so freaking beautiful and being a part of a community of passionate, creative women has taught me that. You have taught me that.

— Helen’s Closet

Claire of Penguin & Pear just launched a year long sewing challenge for curvy and plus size sewists: #12PatternsPlus. You can read more about the challenge on the 12 Patterns Plus Facebook page, but it’s a sew-a-pattern-per-month challenge with curvy sewists in mind!

Visibility

The time is now in the sewing community and the broader crafting community for some difficult but necessary conversations about white privilege, visibility and recognition for BIPOC, inclusivity (and exclusivity), othering, and blatant racism, among other topics. Some heated exchanges popped up recently in the knitting community, and have rightfully trickled into the sewing world, too.

But it’s not the first time these issues have come up. A couple of years back, Rumana at The Little Pomegranate wrote a blog post highlighting the lack of diversity on the covers of all the major sewing magazines. She revisited this issue in fall of 2018 to discover than only nominal progress had been made. Enter the hashtag #SewinColour

… It is no exaggeration to say that by failing to represent us, they are telling people of colour that we don’t matter… You don’t need to be a woman of colour to speak out about this! We can’t celebrate all women if we don’t support and stand up for each other. 

— The Little Pomegranate

Candice Ayala followed up on Sew in Colour with a shout-out to people of color in the sewing world to be seen and heard using the hashtag #POCWhoSews…

Most recently, Atia at The Bright Blooms wrote a thoughtful post about being inclusive, which included a reading lists and links to resources to learn more about the detrimental role exclusivity in all its forms can have. Atia also started the hashtag #InclusiveMaker to serve as tool for us to engage with other makers of all backgrounds.

I encourage everyone to learn more and face uncomfortable realities. Seek out people of colour who need your support, champion them when needed and always, let them be heard and be part of this community.

— The Bright Blooms

For the month of February, Myra of @OneSewSweet and Nateida at @NaturalDane have teamed up to kick off celebration of Black sewing pattern designers. The purpose of this challenge is to showcase and highlight African American pattern designers, but it’s open to the entire sewing community. Check out #BHMPatternDesigners or this video for more details on how to participate in this challenge!

Editor’s Note: In the days since this post was drafted, @meetmakersofcolor has burst onto the scene! We will highlight that more in depth soon! 

Menswear

There’s a new sewing magazine and a menswear sewing podcast dedicated to sewing menswear, just in time for the Sewcialists’ Menswear for Everyone month! Bartack Menswear Sewing Magazine is a great resource for menswear sewing, with a pattern directory, tutorials, interviews,and sewing news, among many other things!

This magazine is not about men who sew or directed at men in general but fills a gap that has been missing for far too long. Sewing menswear, rarely features in sewing magazines and those who sew menswear are often overlooked.

— Bartack

The Love to Sew Podcast just released an episode about sewing menswear!

Want to sew menswear for yourself or a loved one? We talk about some differences between classic womenswear and menswear, where to get started, and how to approach sewing for a loved one. Plus pattern ideas and tips for success with sewing menswear!

— Love to Sew Podcast

Fun

There are a few fun sewing challenges out there that are not specifically dedicated to inclusivity, but are inclusiveness nonetheless! And fun to boot!

Sew Twists and Ties organized by Meg at Cookin’ and Craftin’ (yep, that’s me: full disclosure, this is a challenge of my own creation, so I’m pretty pumped about it), which runs through January and February, is meant to encourage sewcialists to sew up garments that incorporate cool twist, tie or knot details. It’s super flexible- pick your own pattern, sew it up, join the fun. Read more here and check out the hashtag #SewTwistsandTies!

Sew Fancy Pants, the brainchild of Loni, Katie, Nicole and Jennifer, seeks to encourage members of the sewing community go make pants (trousers!) that meet their own definition of “fancy.” The challenge, which runs throughout the month of January, recognizes that everyone’s definition of fancy pants might be different, and that’s ok! Head to the hashtag to see the pants progress: #sewfancypants.

Sew My Style is back! This year-long challenge, which has themed months throughout the year, is hosted by a ton of diverse sewists from the community (including our own editor Sierra!) and has expanded to include plus size and mens patterns fitting the theme. Read more on Maddie Made This or join the Sew My Style Facebook group to learn more.

Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This is hosting her Day and Night Dress Challenge for the third year running, but this year it has a twist: this year’s challenge is not to sew dresses, but instead to sew up some pieces to work with a dress that you already own that you might not wear frequently. That way one dress can give you both day and night looks. Fun and practical… that’s my favorite! Keep up on Instagram at #dayandnightdresschallenge.

Sew 3 Unsewn, hosted by The Rural Sewist, encourages sewists to consider
saving money by sewing three projects that need tackling, in three different categories: 1) A pattern that you have bought but not yet sewn, 2) A fabric from your stash but not yet sewn, and 3) A UFO (unfinished object) item that needs some TLC. I love this wide open stash-busting concept! Follow along on Instagram at the hashtag #Sew3Unsewn.

Meg is a Sewcialists Editor living in Vermont, U.S., sewing garments prolifically, collecting too much fabric, blogging at Cookin’ and Craftin’ and ‘gramming at @cookinandcraftin.


Dear Reader: Our goal is to build community and make everyone feel welcome. We support crafting as an inclusive and welcoming space for people of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, genders, orientations and sizes. Regarding sewing challenge themes, we ask that you take each challenge as you see it fitting in your life, and express your involvement how you like, at the given time. Our challenges are for the pure enjoyment of participation and the love of community. Extended Mission Page Here.