As we wrap up Sewcialists, our final few posts are reflecting back on our community. In this post I’d like to highlight our proudest work: exploring identity and intersectionality in sewing. Over the years I have realized that we aren’t a blog about sewing — we are in fact a blog about PEOPLE who sew. Each person is gloriously complicated and unique, and our Who We Are series explored how that affects our sewing.
Back in 2017, I wrote these words as the launch of the “Who We Are” series:
The Sewcialists would like to ask “What is it like to walk through the blogosphere in your shoes?”
- Do you have a strong community online, and how do you find them? (platforms, hashtags, etc.)
- Are there pattern designers and bloggers of your ethnicity?
- Is your size easy to find in Big 4 and Indie patterns?
- Is there a sewing community in your own first language, if it is other than English?
- Does religion impact what clothes you chose to wear?
- Does your physical or mental health affect your sewing and community involvement?
- Do you feel conscious of your age, gender, sexual orientation, relationship status, finances, or other personal factors?
- Do you see yourself represented in the sewing blogosphere?
- How do your intersecting identities affect you and your sewing?
Aside from the fact that the idea of the “blogosphere” seems quaintly out of date, I’m proud that Sewcialists was on the cutting edge of making these discussions mainstream. We haven’t always pushed hard enough, and we haven’t done everything right, but I do hope we helped people see beyond their own experiences.
In fact, I think the 2019 WordPress commercial that featured Sewcialists as a “changemaker” says it best!
Without further ado, here are some of my personal favourite Who We Are posts, groups by theme – except for Jasika’s stunning essay “My crafting, like my feminism, is intersectional“, which defies categorization! Huge thanks to all the volunteer authors who shared their stories with us!
- Tanita opened my eyes to sewing with Aphantasia
- Anna and Eve from @DisabledMakers share about being, well, disabled makers
- Anissa writes about being a D/deaf/hard of hearing sewist
- After my own concussion, we had a series of posts on brain fog and acquired brain injury that really helped me feel less alone
- Community contributors and I shared about crafting with chronic pain and/or illness
- Diane wrote about a generation gap in sewing
- Our community shared about how they learned to sew from generations before them
- Back before @SewOver50, we heard from sewists over 50!
Gender and Sexual Orientation:
- Noah shares about gender-bent sewing
- Lei, one of our original founders, wrote anonymously about being a closeted sewist, and about her journey from home sewist to custom fashion designer... and now they have an award-winning business make gender affirming finery!
- Claire wrote about feeling isolated as a bi sewist
- Clara wrote about her queer making story
- Shannon shared this post just as she was beginning @sewqueer!
- Carolyn speaks about making while Black in White sewing spaces
- Kate shares her perspective on a lack of diversity and inclusion in sewing
- Nettie brings her academic expertise and personal experience to her post about diversity
- Ebi wrote an essay on representation
- In one of our first Who We Are posts, Meris wrote about thinking critically about who we follow on social media
- Monserratt and Chris talk about body size change during the pandemic and beyond
- Jess encourages us not to follow style “rules” for our size
- Michelle shares what it is like to be a curvy sewist on social media
- Tania wrote about what it is like to not be included
Healing through Sewing
- An anonymous contributor shared how sewing helped her find herself after leaving a cult
- Hattie wrote about how sewing makes her feel safe
- Denise pulls every heartstring in her story of strength, friendship and cancer
- Becky and Jacinta honoured us with posts about the loss of their fathers. (Trigger warnings at the start of each post.)
Thank you to every single volunteer author for trusting us with their vulnerability and truth. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you.
I’d love to know which Sewcialists posts stick in your memory. Do you remember any particular stories that gave you an “Aha!” moment of insight into someone else’s life? Please let us know in the comments!
Gillian cofounded the Sewcialists in 2013 and also volunteered for two years as an Editor at the Curvy Sewing Collective. Right now Gillian is living their best life in stretch clothes on the couch surrounded by cats and her husband. You can find them online at Craftingarainbow.com and @craftingarainbow on Instagram.