I am a newcomer to the indie sewing pattern scene. I taught myself how to make my own patterns in high school, after several frustrating experiences with Big Four patterns. I went on to get my bachelor’s degree in fashion design, and for the past decade or so, I’ve made one-off sewing patterns in a wide range of styles for myself and occasional clients. Now I’ve reached the point where I want to start digitizing and publishing my own patterns for others to use. Thinking I should do some market research, I decided to purchase a bunch of patterns from other indie companies to see what I liked and didn’t like about their branding, layouts, instructions, etc. I wanted to experience the user’s perspective of sewing from indie patterns before I put anything of my own out there.
For a long time, I didn’t know my body. Hell, I didn’t WANT to know my body. It was not my own, it was something I never recognised when I looked in the mirror, I just didn’t want it. Avoiding my body was actually quite easy, I knew clothing stores just weren’t for me; it only took a couple of times trying on pants in a fitting room only to get them up to just above the knee and not an inch higher, that I got over that.
Hello! I’m Emma (@emma.m.makes over on insta) and I’m a Canadian sewist living in Denmark. I moved here with my husband last year after graduating with a BA in textile design and sadly had to leave the fabric shop I worked at/my sewing family. I miss it immensely so joining the sewing community on instagram has helped me still feel connected. I’m relatively new to this community and first off I have to say wow, what an amazing place.
I just want to add a little trigger warning. I’ll be speaking about loss which might be triggering for some.
I was 10 the first time I really remember being misgendered. I was by myself at the salon assigned to foreigners in Beijing in 1979, to get my hair cut before going home to Canada for the summer vacation. I was in shorts and a tee shirt, a lanky-long slip of a thing not quite at puberty. As the stylist cut my hair shorter and shorter, and more hair fell down on the floor, my Mandarin fled. When she finally pulled the clippers out, I shrieked, “Wo bu shi baba! No, no, I am not a father!” Soon I had a flutter of platitude-murmuring, middle-aged ladies about me, trying to rectify my gender with kiss curls around my ears and as much height as they could possibly put in my now-shorn hair, while I wept hot tears of shame into my Barbapapa t-shirt.
When people ask me how I’m keeping myself grounded during lockdown, I reply, “I’m learning to sew!” When people ask me if I sew, I say “I’m a beginner!” I don’t really feel like I’m a sewist yet, because that implies that I have some idea of what I’m doing, but calling myself a beginner feels exciting without pressure – it’s a kind of liminal space where I can thrash around in the pool of fabric without worrying too much about how professional (or not) the results look. I started to sew because I wanted to wear bright colours and bold prints and natural fibres and although the plus-size ready-to-wear market has gotten better, it’s still a slog to find something that ticks all those boxes. I never would have stuck with sewing, though, if I hadn’t found the process so much fun, in the most challenging, infuriating, exhilarating ways.
TW: death, grief and burnout
I started to sew clothes 10 years ago, next July. It’s a weird thing to know the date of, but I remember it as it’s the summer my father died.
I was lucky to have a great relationship with my dad so the months following his death were the worst of my life.
TW: talk of death, body measurements, depression, weight, weighing, body image, body positivity
The other day, Jess (@Fat.Bobbin.Girl on Instagram), posed a question that really got me into my feels. The question: What has sewing meant to you/ what has sewing enabled you to do?
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to disguise my fatness from the rest of the world. Of course, now I have realized that not only is it pointless (I am fat – it’s a fact and everyone can tell), I have also come to the point where I just don’t care who knows.
Hello Fat Sewing Club! My name is Alex, a fat sewer you can find as @adifferentstitch over on Instagram. I’ve known how to sew most of my life, but have only been actively sewing garments since 2013.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve had so many amazing conversations around size in/exclusivity. These conversations lead to expanded size ranges, better representation of all bodies in pattern promotions, greater transparency in business decisions, though, as fantastic posts here have shared, there’s still a lot of change left to happen.
For many designers, it appears that this drive for positive, inclusive change can be overwhelming. So, I* present some practical and relatively simple ways to make pattern companies more inclusive. These are things that I’ve picked up in conversations with other sewers, through my observations using patterns, and seeing what other companies have been doing well on social media and their websites. Please, share your ideas in the comments and help build this resource.
I’ve been sewing & quilting off and on for over 40 years. Every time I think about how long I’ve been at this, I’m amazed. First, it startles me to realize that I’m 51 – soon to be 52; second, I can’t believe it’s been 40 years. I learned to sew first from my mother; she used to make dresses for me, and I loved them. I can recall helping her to make a pink polyester linen-look suit to wear when I visit Washington, DC as a school safety patrol person. I was 12 years old and so proud to be wearing something I “made” with my mom. Earlier that year, I’d taught myself to applique for a school project. I was hooked.