#SewYourPride: Queer Sewing and Rethinking the Future

Hello Sewcialists! Shannon here, also known as @rare.device on Instagram and the founder of the @sewqueer community.

As a sewist invested in creating a more equitable and inclusive sewing community, I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to share my thoughts on sewing as a fat, queer, genderqueer person 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 SewQueer here, the community has grown to include 5,000 followers on Instagram and a website selling labels for queer makers. As we near our third anniversary later this year, I’m so excited to share that SewQueer is poised to move towards a number of new projects and initiatives to serve the queer sewing community.

A rainbow gradient with the words "Sew Your Pride" on top in a font that resembles stitching
#SewYourPride Challenge

For the third year running, Sew Queer will be hosting the Sew Your Pride challenge, a month-long challenge in June focusing on the relationship between making and queer pride. However, this year will be a little different: each week will have a more specific prompt, inviting participants to share a make, outfit, flatlay, or sketch related to a theme.

Originally set to run through the month of June, the dates of Sew Your Pride have been slightly shifted as Sew Queer and so many in the sewing community directed our attentions towards supporting and amplifying the voices of Black thinkers, makers, and activists during the actions across the United States and around the world in support of Black lives against police brutality.

Thus, our current context has served as a sharp reminder that it’s not enough to take a pause from the status quo in the cancellation of Pride celebrations this year. In increasingly commodified Pride celebrations, corporations and police presence have become a norm.

In the United States especially, the push from corporate interests to reopen while COVID19 continues to spread proves that a capitalist economy has always sacrificed those with less racial, economic, and ability privilege in the service of profits. The recent police murders of Black cis man George Floyd in Minneapolis, Black cis woman Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Black trans man Tony McDade in Tallahassee are part of an ongoing and unrelenting project of state violence, which continues to escalate as police forces and National Guard units incite violence against protesters in Minneapolis and across the United States.

In inclusive Pride flag with the trans pride colors and the colors black and brown in an arrow on the left, pointing toward the tradition rainbow. The words "Black Lives Matter" and "The first Pride was a riot" are on top and bottom.

The first Pride was a riot led by trans women of color and butch lesbians: the Stonewall Uprising on 1969. Our current moment is not merely a pause in business-as-usual, it’s an opportunity to re-think, re-visit, and re-invest in the revolutionary potential of queer rebellion, of Pride, and of community. With that in mind, the Sew Your Pride event this year will ask sewists who identify under the broad queer/trans/LGBTQIA+ umbrella to share not just their makes, but also their thoughts on what the world could look like in the future.

A rainbow gradient with text detailing the weekly themes of the #sewyourpride challenge: June 15-21: Virtual Pride / June 22-28: Community / June 29- July 5: Resilience / July 6-12: Most Proud
  • June 15-21: we’ll celebrate a Virtual Pride by sharing our visions for Pride celebrations in the future could be.
  • June 22-28: we’ll think about Community by sharing a make that connects us to our queer community and discussing what connection means to us.
  • June 29-July 5: we’ll discuss Resilience by sharing makes that have been given a new life and thinking about how we engender resilience in our lives and communities.
  • July 6-12: we’ll share a make we’re Most Proud of and talk about ways making connects us to more affirming, supportive, and radical ways of moving through the world.

To participate, post during the theme weeks using the hashtag #SewYourPride. You can participate each week or simply during those that especially speak to you. Posts from participants will be shared in the SewQueer stories each week to celebrate!

A rainbow gradient with the text "sew queer sewing circle"

During the month of June, SewQueer will also host weekly virtual sewing circles on Saturdays! These hour-long sessions will be an opportunity to hang out and chat while working on your latest project. SewQueer Sewing Circle will occur each Saturday in June from 11AM-12PM and 7-8PM Central Time. To sign up to receive an invitation, fill out this form.

A rainbow gradient with the words "Queer Sewing Businesses" on top

In June, SewQueer will also release an online directory of queer-owned sewing businesses, such as fabric stores, fabric designers, tailors and custom garment makers, cross stitch and embroidery designers, and educators and maker spaces. If you’re a queer maker with your own business, get in touch to be included in the directory – there are no advertising fees!

While this is a challenging time full of a lot of mourning and uncertainty, I find myself turning again and again to my queer maker community for solace, inspiration, and accountability to continually do better. I look forward to seeing what the SewQueer community brings to the revolutionary table this month!

Shannon has been sewing since childhood and delights in making clothes that fit her fat femme dandy aesthetic. You can find her at @rare.device on Instagram and her blog, With a Rare Device. She runs the SewQueer community, a resource for queer and trans sewists to make connections and find resources. Find @sewqueer on Instagram or at sewqueer.org.