How do I say goodbye to the Sewcialists community? 8 years is a long time, and this community is built on the love and hard work of some many people.
The History: 2013-2017
Sewcialists started on a whim in 2013, when a group of friends was looking for a place to host silly sewing challenges. Once the term was coined, various founders used their personal skills to start a blog, Twitter, and the Firehose blog aggregator. We hosted theme months around punk, Vikings, Oonapalooza, and whatever topic inspired us. It was fun, impromptu, and exhausting, so in 2015 we went on hiatus.
Two years later, I found myself with the itch to create a space that was lacking in the sewing community: A sewing blog for everyone. Somewhere where all sewists could share their stories that wasn’t a “cool kids club”. I was struggling at the time with a lack of diversity and inclusion in my workplace, and I needed somewhere to pour my passion for social change. I reached out to my fellow co-creators and asked for permission to take Sewcialists in a new direction. I’m so grateful they said yes! Thank to Joost, Lei, Elizabeth, and all the other original founders for trusting me.
The Current Sewcialists Community: 2017-2021
The 2017 relaunch has gone beyond my wildest dreams.
Right from the start, people were willing to help out, but I did most of the organizational work myself for the first nine months. Just as I was realising how impossible it was to sustain this as a solo effort, Chloe and Becky reached out and offered to be my partners in crime as the permanent Editorial team. I didn’t know either of them well, but they turned out to be the best possible partners. Chloe’s levelheadedness, Becky’s passion (and compassion), and my sister Anne’s eye for detail have balanced, challenged and inspired me ever since. When I had a concussion in 2019, the three of them kept Sewcialists running seamlessly so I could recover.
Allow me to wax poetic about the permanent editors all for a bit!
- As Becky said in her wrap up of the interview series, she reached out to offer help very early on. Becky has this wonderful ability to make people believe in themselves and see the potential in everyone. She is a tireless worker, equally willing to help with the grind as tackle difficult conversations. Becky stepped back last winter, but she is always in our hearts and on our shoulders as we’ve made decisions ever since!
- Chloe sometimes calls herself our Chief Scheduler, but she is so much more. Chloe sees the long game, and she took the lead on how we organise our workflow and connect as a team. She balances a family and executive job with Sewcialists and keeps a cool head and her dry wit through thick and thin. I always trust Chloe’s judgement, whether it’s about a tricky issue or what I should sew next! Her genius is making everyone feel safe and supported while deftly removing obstacles so that the impossible is achievable.
- Anne is my older sister. Growing up with a brilliant big sister, you either decide to compete (that didn’t go well for me!) or harness her genius. I’m so grateful that Anne threw her organizational skills, eye for detail, sense of humour, and determination into Sewcialists, even though she knits more than she sews. I am so incredibly proud of all Anne has accomplished as the head of the copy-editing team.
In addition to the permanent editors, we also had a rolling collective of temporary editors who came on board for 6 months to a year. Being an editor is a big job, including hours of work every week to plan and deliver all of our content and manage our social media. Over the years, we have had at least 30 editors plus repeat contributors like Gabby, who all brought unique perspectives, ideas, and dynamism to our community. We have published over 600 posts on Sewcialists since 2017, and we never could have had that longevity or variety without fresh insights from new people! Editors, you challenged and changed us, inspired and motivated us, and did the hard work behind the scenes that makes Sewcialists possible. I’m grateful to count you as friends.
Another permanent fixture of our team are the copy editors. For years they have dealt with my overabundance of exclamation marks and my steadfast resistance to learning to use hyphens properly. Who does that FOR FREE? They take turns making sure that every single post has alt text, inclusive language, and properly formatted links. The copy editors make us all look good!
Finally, you, our community. You read our posts and showed us that this “sewing blog for everyone” had a place and purpose. Hundreds of you wrote posts for us, trusting us with your own stories. We are nothing without you.
You’ve changed my life.
I’m an introvert, and I felt like an outsider growing up. I spent decades trying to mould myself to fit in through clothes, music, and parties. When Sewcialists started in 2013, I was recently married, living with my parents, underemployed and recovering from anxiety and the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Those first sewing friends online who founded Sewcialists have become lifelong friends, and through this community I have met the most inspiring, clever, passionate, and informed people in my life. When the team surprised Chloe, Anne and me with a goodbye post last week, I couldn’t quite believe it was me they were describing. After 8 years of Sewcialists, I’m happier, queer-er, better informed, and more confident, and I have you to thank for that.
I honestly can’t say if this is goodbye or a hiatus, but time will tell. Regardless, I’ll keep paying to host the blog for 2 years so that our content lives on. Maybe in a few years someone I trust will ask to relaunch with a fresh take, or maybe I’ll come up with a new direction myself. Perhaps it really is finished.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being part of the Sewcialists community. We have tried to lead with optimism and positivity, while amplifying the voices that are too often unheard in the sewing community. This is the right time for us to end because we need to rest. I also truly believe we have run our course, and it is time to make way for other voices. But I’m sobbing into my keyboard as I realise that this is it: The End.
Let me finish with the words that have been our guiding mission:
We are stronger together.
Happy sewing, my fellow Sewcialists, and be good to each other!