A love letter to Gillian and to YOU

Gillian posted on Sunday about the two year anniversary of the Sewcialists re-launch. It got us thinking about what we love about being part of the Sewicalists, and why it seems to resonate with the wider sewing community. We realised that is equal parts Gillian and equal parts you!

For those of you who don’t know us, we are Becky and Chloe – a.k.a the permanent editors who aren’t Gillian. We have been officially around for about a year of the last two and we can’t believe that Gillian ran this whole shebang solo for that long!

Gillian doesn’t know we wrote this one, but we wanted to celebrate her birthday and the two-year anniversary at the same time! Happy Birthday Gillian!

Gillian - one of the Sewcialists founders, wearing a Sewcialists t-shirt.

This is our love letter to Gillian, and to you – the community she brought to the fore through Sewcialists.

Becky

You know that scene in the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Willy Wonka bends over and says to Charlie, “Well, you’re just lucky to be here, aren’t you?” That’s how I feel. I’m Charlie, and I’m just lucky to be here. Also, like the Chocolate Factory, being an editor on the Sewcialists is nothing like I imagined it would be, and yet so much more.

About a year and a half ago, I asked for this position. It didn’t exist yet. I asked what the plans were for Sewcialists and made it clear I wanted a seat at the board. Sometimes I joke that I’m a Capricorn to the 4th power, but it’s not really a joke. Gillian was her usual graceful self and put me on ice for 6 months. I stuck around. I edited posts. I wrote here and there. When the position opened and Gillian asked if I was still game, I took it. I honestly don’t think any of us knew what was going to happen.

Sewcialists editor Becky - wearing a Sewcialists t-shirt and carrying a Sewcialists printed tote bag.

Sometimes when you meet people, you click. That happens less as you get older, and it’s rarer still online. Sometimes those instant-clicks turn into people you can’t imagine life without. Insert repeat about rarer still when you get older and online. I can’t imagine life without Chloe or Gillian. I can’t imagine life without being here, learning from YOU.

Every. Single. Day. I learn from you.

I’m not gonna lie. Sometimes it’s hard. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. You give us hope, desperation, love, fear, confusion, deep pain and loss, rebirth, adventure, hilarity, tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes blood. You come to us with these open hearts, open hands, and open wounds. We take what you give us, and we turn around and send it out into the world. Sometimes we know what the answers will be. Sometimes we are just as lost as you.

I only ever want to be lost with you. I only ever want to be here, on this ride with you, and with Chloe and Gillian by my side. Sure, we started as a sewing blog, or a chocolate factory, but together we are all so much more.

Chloe

I almost didn’t see this coming. Gillian is great at finding people who care about stuff and encouraging them to put that to action, but yet letting them do that in a way that works for them.

After a bit of helping out and volunteering following the relaunch, I have somehow become the Chief Scheduler person of Sewcialists. In taking that role on, I am in the amazing position of being able to read every post before it’s out there. I get to work with the best people in Gillian and Becky (I have a whole other post in me just about Becky :heart: ), as well as with the other editors and the copy-editing team who are all just a pleasure to know!

Sewcialists editor Chloe - in black and white and holding a computer with the Sewcialists logo on it.

But really, this role is about being blown away very regularly by the interesting people, ideas and perspectives that we get to showcase on the site and IG. Gillian would say that’s a team effort. She’s right to some degree, but she’s also very kind in that statement. The gentle vision of what a sewing community for everybody is, comes from her. The team behind the team effort, was built by her. The push for us to strive to be more inclusive and more about the community is from her hand, even when there isn’t any discernible sense of being pushed. It’s quite the skill.

I don’t want to sound like Gillian writes every post or diminish the fact that almost all of our content is community sourced (that’s you peeps!). Quite the opposite!

The contributions and comments and taking part that comes from Sewcialists readers is the lifeblood of the site, I just think that makes Gillian the heart.

In closing

In the end, after one year, we are humbled by your trust in us. We are grateful to Gillian for trusting us with your hearts, your art, your vulnerability, your creations. When we coined the term for our site as “hyper-inclusivity,” we never realized that would also mean you include us in your lives.

Thank you.

The Sewcialists Logo.

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.