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Readers, when you sew all day and write a sewing blog like Male Pattern Boldness, it’s easy to lose perspective on the popularity of home sewing.

Before I learned how to sew, I didn’t know anybody who even owned a sewing machine. Today, I think it’s totally normal to sew your own boxers and snicker at the men who don’t. I just assume everyone sews!

Still, from time to time I try to step back and look at the big picture. Where are we today, with regard to home sewing? Do you think we are losing more sewists than we’re gaining? Sometimes it seems we are still in a period of contraction — fewer sewing stores, narrower options at the ones that exist. But visit a site like BurdaStyle and it’s obvious that there is growing interest among a new generation, and creativity galore!

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Snaps from BurdaStyle Make + Take events at Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn, NY and Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA.

I love to read about trends, and a really fun site to visit is trendwatching.com, which reports on trends around the world, primarily for industry. They issue monthly reports about what’s going on, particularly in so-called ‘emerging’ markets, and it can be inspiring to those of us confronted with signs of decline (the shrinking size of the NYC Garment District, for example) to know that in other parts of the world, business is booming and people are energized. (These are reports on current trends, not predictions for the future, btw.)

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Readers, today I have an assignment for you: pretend you are field reporters-for-a-day: What are the sewing-related trends you see in your corner of the world? Are people you know excited about sewing? Do your friends own sewing machines — and use them? Where do you see growth, and where decline?

Let’s hear from all the continents!

Just how big is home sewing, in your opinion? If you wanted invest money into it, where would you put it? An online fabric store? A brick-and-mortar sewing school? A vintage sewing machine repair shop?

Trend watchers of the world, I want to hear from you! (And please mention where you’re writing from.)

~Peter

When native New Yorker Peter Lappin bought his first sewing machine two years ago to hem a pair of thrift store jeans, little did he know he was initiating a journey that would bring him fame and fortune. While awaiting his fortune he stays busy writing “the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog,” Male Pattern Boldness, and now contributing to BurdaStyle.

“For more than twenty years I’d lived on the edge of the Garment District without even knowing what a seam ripper was. Now I rip daily!”

84 Comments

  • Missing

    Jul 6, 2011, 03.39 PMby daveg

    As a Tailor (amateur) for 40 some years, I can attest that making your own garments and for your family is greatly satisfying, not to mention economical. Even with increases in fabric prices, the satisfaction over cost remains high. From the ’men’s only’ sewing classes hosted by an adult education program many years ago in the Flint, MI area, I can only guess the number of tailors and quilters our area hosts. I look forward to reading your material.

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    Jul 2, 2011, 05.34 AMby melbaweatherspoon

    I live in Utah. Here crafty type sewing (and home crafts of all types) are very very popular, and I know several women who sew their own clothes. Also altering thrift store clothing or using the fabric from thrift store clothes to make something new is done a lot. I’m mormon and so there is more of an emphasis on “homemaking” than in other cultural groups in the us, so I think the idea of sewing is more accepted around here. Among my age group (mid 20s) a lot of women are taking that homemaker identity of our mothers and infusing it with some modern style. I never thought it would be worth it in time or money to make my own clothes, but then I met people who sewed clothes that I thought were more stylish and flattering than what I saw in stores, or what I had been used to seeing when my mom tried to teach me to sew patterns from Joanns that i thought were ugly as a girl. I think there are some more patterns that appeal to young people now and make it seem worth the effort to learn and try it.

    Another big movement of course is online blog tutorials. That is basically how I have taught myself to sew and what makes me want to sew, when I see here on burdastyle and elsewhere online the awesome things people create, and new things popping up all the time. It is really helpful to see a particular idea or technique detailed in pictures and words. Among the women I know who sew, many of whom are mothers of young children, I have noticed a trend that the things we make aren’t necessarily perfect in craftmanship (though probably still sturdier than the average cheap store bought item) due to lack of time and maybe some laziness too. :) Though I have aspirations of someday being able to call myself a seamstress, it will be a long time before my clothes look “as good on the inside as they do on the outside,” like my husband’s grandmother’s did. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing, I think it’s more fun for me to just create and not worry so much about perfect craftmanship, though I really admire people who turn sewing into an art and have perfected the craft. I mostly want to sew because my natural creativity drives me to think, “hmmmm . .. I could make that” whenever I see something I like.

    Another interesting trend is that of sewing cloth diapers. There are a growing number of women both making their own and selling them as a business, and we’re talking lovely fabric, unique designs, nothing boring about it. That was the first big project I tackled that helped me get comfortable with my sewing machine. Also upcycling/repurposing/recycling is going crazy as the green movement continues on. It feels good to use something old to make something new rather than just throwing it away.

    My main frustration is lack of local fabric stores that have quality and affordable apparel fabric. At the chain stores I feel like I’m getting ripped off for not even very good quality fabric. It’s tough if you don’t live in NYC, LA, SF, etc. Mostly I order online, so I am very grateful for that.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jul 5, 2011, 08.07 PMby Peter Lappin

      Sounds like you’re off to a great start, Melba!

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    Jun 30, 2011, 01.58 PMby thebonnielady

    I recently started a small home based mobile seamstress business. Although my rates may seem a bit high, due to the gas prices, I am swamped with business. My original thought was that I would get a few customers for alterations and repairs, as quite a few people had asked me to do them, as a favour. After a couple of months of small projects that could be completed in my spare time, I have suddenly been inundated with requests to construct clothing, especially for people who have been unable to purchase good fitting things, “off the rack”. I have encountered many young people (male and female) who are eager to learn to sew, for themselves, but are unable to find classes. I find myself working, almost full time!

    I have been sewing for @ 50 years. I originally learned in a 4H Homemaker club in rural eastern Ontario, Canada. Back then people sewed to save money. I have four children and was able to remake clothing from either my husband or I or another child, into something to fit a little person. At one point in time, you were considered “too poor” for the good stuff if your clothing was handmade. Now, it appears to be a status to have custom made garments.

    People are now expecting better fitting and better quality clothing and unique designs, which, I believe will have to lead to an increase in home sewing or home based seamstresses.

    As other people have noted, there is a need for a dedicated school or specialized courses at colleges for sewing and tailoring. I have discovered such a variety of needs, that I have been studying vintage sewing books, found in thrift shops, for ideas and tips. I have requests for tailored men’s suits, baby clothes, bridal clothing, sports wear, lingerie, home decor, detailed costumes, business attire, etc. Each of these could be a course of study, alone.

    Unfortunately, I have to travel to find good fabric, as most of the fabric stores have been closed. Although, flea markets and thrift shops seem to be a good source. I have even found some wonderful tools, very cheap. Probably because people didn’t know what these objects were, when they found them in some Aunt’s stuff and just gave them away.

    The Niagara Region is my home. We are gearing up for a year long celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812 and a lot of people are looking for authentic reproductions of the clothing worn in the Regency Era. I anticipate being busy for the next couple of years, then maybe I can retire. Hopefully the youth of today will revive this wonderful craft.

    Bonnie MacNeil

    2 Replies
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 30, 2011, 02.29 PMby Peter Lappin

      Wow, Bonnie — great to hear about your business (and busy-ness!).

    • Missing

      Jun 30, 2011, 04.49 PMby robotattack

      Great commentary! I’m almost 28 and have started to make my own clothes after a dry sewing spell. More and more of my friends are expressing interest in sewing as well. Although I do feel a little hesitant about more people taking up our artistic and creative medium (hey, I want to be special, too! haha!) overall, I’m happy that more younger and older generations are welcoming sewing [back] to their lives. We are the trendsetters, I suppose! :)
      Great job with your business! I hope to have something going like that someday, too!

  • Missing

    Jun 30, 2011, 07.19 AMby cands2010

    I live in Washington Staqte and I started sewing when I was about 5 ( now 46), my mother use to make all of our clothes and it was great, my Auntie made quilts and Great- Grandma use to make everything ( I think that’s where my love of sewibg comes from). Anyhow, I took classes all through Jr. High and High school in the 70’s and early 80’s but for some reason it is no longer taught in the schools, I’m upset about that. The reason I still love sewing to this day is because I have many neices and nephews and they range in age from 4months to 30 yrs.and will come to me and ask if I can make costumes, prom gowns and ect… and of course when you own 7 machines you have them all over and teach them. I have 3 boys and all of them are sewing( yea, their not the greatest but at least they have learned the basic’s ), the only reason is cause I told them I’m not sewing buttons on their clothes anymore. My 20 year old has been coming up with pattern ideas for his own clothes he wants,( he hates spending money on something he’s not happy with)…lol. I have have a 4 year old great neice that comes over once a week to watch and help me sew her clothing, picking out fabric, helping Aunti cut and even helping Auntie guide the fabric through the machine; ( she’s already told her mother when she gets older Auntie is giving her a SM and she’s sewing here own clothes). I’m glad that I live in the Northwest and have many fabric shops to choose from, but as said before, not all of the carry quaility fabrics. I know that sewing is alive and kicking in the Northwest…I mean we have the sewing Expo every March. If I was able to I’d open a school just to be able to teach sewing to all ages. I’m just hoping that with the Internet and more people(like you) who have the voice are able to spread the word. And Peter, keep up the great work, you are an inspiration to all ( expecially my 20 year old). Thank you so much!!!!

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 30, 2011, 11.08 AMby Peter Lappin

      Thanks! Great to hear you’re spreading the sewing gospel too.

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    Jun 30, 2011, 01.19 AMby gaelledavila

    Hi! I’m a fashion designer from Venezuela, i don’t have any friends that sew just the people that studied with me. Here it’s very difficult to find materials, you always have to design according to what you could find on the fabric stores, and it also gets very hard to find affordable fabrics with great quality. I agree with what other people said, that customers don’t take you seriously because your a young designer (i’m 21 years old), they rather paying for an expensive odd fitting dress from a store, than buying you mesure made clothes. So i think we’re losing that too… I think it’s better to have good quality and unique clothing, than having lots of clothes that anyone could have and that will not last much longer.

    1 Reply
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    Jun 29, 2011, 10.58 PMby raxin1

    I am a female living in California home of the abundant cheap albeit crappy clothing market. I think sewing has declined for several reasons but one here in california is because it is rather costly to whip up a little blouse etc after spending $5 and up for a pattern, $10 and up for material, then thread etc. It is cheaper and faster to just go to H&M or urban outfitters. when i was young they taught sewing in school and everyone made their own clothes from hot pants to maxi dresses! i even made my graduation dress a halter top maxi in a psychadelic print. also the machines need to get in step with the wired generation and fuse computers with sewing to an extent that the machines are both affordable and user friendly. sewing needs a good pr person to get the message out. there need to be workshops and social groups dedicated to sewing in every town with mentors who can help the inexperienced learn how to sew. my teenaged daughter gave up sewing because i was at work and couldn’t help her and she just wanted to make something quickly. when those spur of the moment sewing urges come on it would be nice to have a place to go for help if needed.

    2 Replies
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      Jun 30, 2011, 11.10 AMby Peter Lappin

      That is so true. I think a lot of young people with interest may not know where/how to learn.

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      Jun 30, 2011, 09.06 PMby hstorm799

      Amen to the machine manufacturers getting in step with current trends in technology. I was recently in a shop looking for a new machine and was considering one that would do embroidery; found out that none of them are Mac compatible! Same thing with the Wild Ginger software. There are a lot of Mac users out there! The alternative to get new designs was so fussy I gave up on it.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 10.12 PMby uepsillon

    I live in Switzerland, and I do have a friend that sews, but not that often. When I mention that I sew clothes though I always get positive reactions. I guess a lot of people my age (around 20) think of homemade clothes as old fashioned and unfashionable, so they’re surprised when they compliment me on my dress and I say “I made it myself”. Most of the time I think young people are just scared to start, they always say “wow, that’s so cool that you sew, I could never make something like that” but they don’t realize that it’s about practicing! It took me about 3 years to get where I am, but it was fun even if the clothes didn’t turn out perfectly! So yeah, I try to encourage people to sew, but it’s hard to convince them that ANYONE can sew if the just do it and have fun with it.

    2 Replies
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 30, 2011, 11.11 AMby Peter Lappin

      So true. Sewing isn’t something you can master in an afternoon. Then again, you CAN make something simple pretty much from the start. Glad to hear you’re spreading the word!

    • Missing

      Jun 30, 2011, 04.55 PMby robotattack

      I agree! I try to encourage my friends, but it does take some confidence and risk taking to get good at it! Like any creative medium, practice with patience, and the ability to fail and try again are the most valuable traits a sewer can have.

  • Missing

    Jun 29, 2011, 08.17 PMby Smarti1957

    I am amazed that a female sewer is called a seamstress but a male one a tailor. And male seamstressing is not considered a gender appropriate thing to do. Sewing is a creative function for people who don’t like others to dictate what they should wear, for people who like garments that FIT their bodies and not what the fashion world has deemed appropriate proportions. I started sewing because I saw my mother make clothes for all of her six children…from the basics to winter coats and snowsuits. I got better at it because my waist was not where designer said it should be and my arms and legs were longer than the ‘regular’ sizes implied. I was a long-legged long-waisted skinny girl who needed better fitting clothes. By the time I got to “sewing” classes, I too was reprimanded for doing things the teacher said couldn’t be done. I had to suffer through the basic squared apron pattern with straight stitching, then another basic granny skirt with a ruffle because the teacher had to approve our selections. I fought with her for my last project and she gave in because everyone else was still working on their apron! I made a jean jacket with french seams and a yoke! She was expecting me to fail and couldn’t accuse my mother of doing the work because she didn’t allow me to take it home! All this to say that sewing is an art that is greatly rewarding (much like cooking) and one that can be learned in small steps, by anyone. I have three boys and I wished they’d show an interest. They frown at my “hoard” of fabrics and supplies (I don’t have a sewing room per se) but then tell all their friends that I can fix anything…and I do. I come from Canada, more precisely the Maritimes, and when I was growing up, most everyone sewed…or so I thought! I now find myself surrounded with friends who sew… or friends who appreciate that I DO! I love this forum and hope I keep getting a man’s view about an art that I love so. THANK YOU.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 07.23 PMby gogoboots

    I WANT A BIGGER HOLE!!!!! on my sewing machine of course.

    You can not always get to certain parts of garments with the small holes between the motor and the needle!!! Especially if you do any quilting, it is impossible!!!

    The original topic of the future of sewing has been amazing to read. Please, this sounds like a book in the making, and since this is your baby, why don’t you take this world wide sewing idea and fly with it? You already have a world of resources at your fingertips!!! GREAT TOPIC! Go for it!!

    Interesting that sewing has taken a decline around the world, except for the countries or areas that have taken over the manufacturing of clothing !! These jobs used to be everywhere, New York, England any where that they was a fabric manufacturing plant they would manufacture the clothing to keep production / shipping costs down. Now we think nothing of shipping anything anywhere to have something done and then to other ports for something else, then back again. No wonder Federal Express is so big we now have to buy fabric we can not touch and have a guy in shorts bring it to our homes.

    I loved reading the stories from everyone around the world!! Myself, learned at age 5 to make my grandmother’s (who came to the USA in 1907 from Poland) to make her treadle sewing machine go on a piece of paper. She was not wasting fabric on me till I was age 6! I did not get an electric sewing machine until I was 14. By that time I was able to sew anything and actually failed sewing / home ec because the teacher did not believe I made my home project myself. It was a suit jacket to go with the plain simple pants we made step by miserable slow step in class.Weeks to make a pair of pants I now make in a couple hours and call pajamas. She said it was too well made, that my mother must have done it for me. My mother can not sew on a button, she had six older sisters who all sewed, so she never had to.

    I owned a business for 15 years doing alterations as my main business. I was constantly looking for additional ways to make more income, since I was paying rent for the building I wanted to make as much money as possible. I hired two people to help me with the alterations, we had so many. I also sub contracted to do dry cleaning, tuxedo rental and eventually had made enough costumes to began doing costume rental. We made wedding dresses, and everything to go along with that, skating costumes, and covers for giant mirrors used by NASA for flight simulators. If it could be sewn, we did it. We also sewed samples and sometimes production for budding “clothing designers.” Although how you can design when you don’t sew at all I will never know. SEWING IS ENGINEERING!!! What else can you call taking a flat sheet of fabric fit a round curvy object like a human woman???? I LOVE what I did!!! It was a wonderful business, and next to being a mommy the best job I ever had. Unfortunately a car accident cut me down and I could not keep up with what had grown into a business I NEVER thought nor dreamed it could become— big and profitable. Alas, everything is relative. As the rent increased my prices had to increase. As the income increased, my time spent working increased. EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE. Having to close the store broke my heart, but selling a large portion of the inventory kept me going for the five years I needed to recover from the car accident.

    When I was well enough, we moved from that area and I returned to being a paralegal (college was paid for by sewing— four years of college and one year of paralegal school.) Two years ago, I left being a paralegal after ten years to go back to doing alterations for Macy’s, as an independent contractor, since they have closed down all the in store operations. I now make twice as much, sometimes more than I made as a paralegal, get to work at home, set my own hours, can do additional work for other people to supplement my income, and the best reason is I don’t have a stupid boss who I am definitely smarter than.

    This was a wonderful topic and I feel privileged to share my story with so many others. The question comes with do we share our skills, or keep this wonderful secret to ourselves. I believe there is more than enough for everyone, Teach anyone you can and hope they teach someone else to keep the skill alive.

    Tailoring is a dying art.

    Keep the stitches running.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 29, 2011, 09.44 PMby Peter Lappin

      Thanks for this fantastic comment, gogoboots!

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    Jun 29, 2011, 06.53 PMby NottinghamKnitter

    I live in Nottingham, UK. I am fortunate enough to be one of 3 full time employed Home Economics teachers, with texiles courses being over subscribed for places each year at key stage 4 and 5. We currently offer GCSE, A-level and a C&G vocational course to try and capture all abilities and access to design and technology. As the only male teacher in Textiles, Food and Child development area there are some pre-conceptions from some of my lower year core subject students (years 7-9). Having been brought up in a family where sewing, knitting and crochet was a “normal” activity. Upon taking GCSE textiles myself completed my coursework piece of a item of clothing (reversible waistcoat and buttons) in 2 1/2 weeks. This project was supposed to take 12 weeks. My mother until a month a go has been teaching fashion, textiles etc for over 30 years in FE colleges and the Prision Service. We often share ideas and her knowledge and experience. This said it is increasingly difficult to find reasonably priced fabrics. I am fortunate as my local store has a £1 a metre on selected fabrics on Friday and Saturday each week. It is pot luck, but worth going every week to seek out some bargins although like many places; the people whom work in this store leave customer service much to be desired. The bigger stores like John Lewis are reducing their range of fabrics to the desginer market; Dunelm have recently discontinued their fabric concession like many other stores. The establishments locally that offer sewing classes and sewing equipment too seem to be quite “stuck up” and twee. I do however have an excellent habadasheres whom stock everything I should desire and need. My lesson plans revolve what fabrics we have in stock at school, what I can get hold of in sufficient quantity for 30 students per class and within departmental budget and suggested parental donation. I would say that sewing/ textiles is very much in demand within my area either as a hobby of for future clothing, accessory designers. Many of my students apply to Nottingham Trent University which offers courses in Fashion and Knit wear. I hope that sewing and these skills will continue to be passed on like from my family to myself, mend and make do or design and create. I too hope that I inspire my learners and show that we all have potential to be crafty.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 04.13 PMby elisabetsy

    A recent poll among friends indicates a growing interest in sewing and DIY projects in general. A few of my friends own a sewing machine, though I am the only one who has recently made anything for myself [have to add to my projects page!]. Though we’re in an online world, I think a modern bricks & mortar sewing store/craft studio would be a fantastic! A way to learn and share ideas and techniques with fellow sewists, knitters, etc. However, here in NYC (LIC Queens) I fear that the startup costs combined with the cost of rent for a large enough space would make it difficult to earn any kind of a profit. On the topic of trends, I have noticed a trend in needlework like cross-stitch and embroidery.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 02.37 PMby trixiemcbubble

    I live in Denmark and sew occasionally, though lately I have been more fascinated by the crafts where you create your own fabric – like knitting and weaving. In elementary school (I am now 25) we were taught basic sewing, cooking and woodworking skills, but that is now replaced by something fuzzily called ‘material design’ – I think it mostly involves idea generating. But I also remember going to a sewing course once a week together with most of the girls in my class when we were teenagers, that was normal and totally cool.

    On another positive note, I almost always get ‘OOOH I would love to be able to do that’ from girls of my age or younger, when they see me sewing, knitting or embroidering, and I love to teach them, but the biggest obstacle is actually that they lack confidence in these areas – most think they are not even able to learn? It may be a patience issue, but it may also stem from negative experiences in school.

    Generally I think a lot of crafts are experiencing a rise in popularity here in Scandinavia – after excess consuming and the following financial crisis, there is a will to learn how to make things yourself. Not that it saves you money, but it gives a feeling of being independent and self-sufficient. Another motive is the craving for something authentic and unique.

    I study Textile Crafts & Design, and I hope to become a teacher and/or maybe sell knits, weavings and patterns. In my class we are only 7 people, all girls – but this fall around 40 students arrives to take this 3.5 year long education, which I am truly grateful still has a place in modern Denmark. The university center I attend also has different industry related design educations, which are very popular and highly esteemed. Even though most are to become designers sitting at a desk, all these students are also taught to construct patterns and sew themselves.

    So from my point of view, there is actually a positive movement going on here.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 01.43 PMby UFOmaven

    Sewist??? When did this odd word replace sewer? I suppose this is a non-gender-specific replacement for seamstress. To the point of this discussion — I know several young adults who know how to sew, but don’t primarily because of the time involved. I am frustrated at fashion sewing because it is difficult to find good-quality fashion fabrics — especially silks and wools — at local stores, even the large chains. I am somewhat hesitant to purchase these expensive fabrics online because I can’t touch them first. I occasionally take in sewing. I’ll make items ranging from baby clothes to aprons to pillows. Many people I know don’t have a clue how to do even the simplest sewing tasks, such as shortening hems, repairing ripped seams or replacing buttons. They’ll throw clothes away rather than repair them. Oh well, if I can grab their castoffs, that’s free “fabric” for me. I also quilt, so the explosion of fabulous fabrics and designs during the past 25 years is thrilling.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 29, 2011, 09.46 PMby Peter Lappin

      I used to be one of those people! I could sew on a button and that’s about it. The word “sewer” always makes me think of the place the dirty rainwater goes…

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    Jun 29, 2011, 12.34 PMby FashionSewingBlog

    As a teacher of textile and fashion design, I have to agree with the comment by stretch2fit. I live in the Northwest of England and constantly find it frustrating and almost laughable that fabric shops portray an air of snobbery towards its valued customers and offer such limited (and sometimes sub-standard) products without any look of embarrassment.

    Then there’s the knowledge base (or should that be lack of) of many of the sales assistants. Anybody wanting to start in the field of fashion sewing would honestly struggle to get the decent, practical advice we all genuinely sought. Where can these people turn? I could go on and on but its to depressing.

    I do have solutions to these problems but would involve some of the big names in the industry…

    As for schools we have a duty to educate our future generation about the IMPORTANCE of being able to create their own unique creations (be it fashion, art, business etc) and not let the future of tomorrow continue to be part of this disposable society which we now find ourselves part of.

    Sorry Peter, I am going off topic some what, now were was I?

    Yes! we are losing more sewers than gaining them.

    Sewing is not a big thing or considered a fashionable and cool activity in my corner of the world, (after all, just go and buy your clothes, its easy) but because of my passion for fashion sewing, I feel it is my duty to do my bit in keeping this craft alive and present it in a more modern media via my BLOG.

    It is great to see growth in like minded people, setting up personal sewing blogs, exploring this great art and showing the world some of their achievements. It really is a delight to see.

    If I had the money to invest (my lottery win still hasn’t come yet) I would purposely set up a campaign to get fashion sewing, design and garment construction taught again in schools with a more modern twist and element. The government need to listen to the real wants of its parents, who don’t want their children growing up to be gaming nomads who have lost the ability to communicate, both verbally and visually with the world in which they exist.

    By the way Peter, a great post.

    Colleen G Lea

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    Jun 29, 2011, 11.59 AMby santaian

    Peter, there may be a surprise in store for you but as a professional Santa Claus I know quite a a few other Santas that are sewists and like me make their own costumes and accessories. My sewing career started when my wife completed my first custom suit and then swore black and blue that it was the last time she would make a suit for me. So I did the right thing by her and asked her to show me how to do it. I am onto my third suit now and though it isn’t easy I have enjoyed making my own suits and knowing just how much effort it has taken for me to get there. There are lots I still have to learn and there are still times when I have tocall on my wife’s expertise to do some task that I either have not learned or else don’t have the skills for but most of it I can do myself including material selection and cutting out from patterns. I also make my own body suit for that extra chubby appearance and all my own sacks and accessories.

    I carry a small sewing kit with me when I go on visits and can cope with most wardrobe malfunctions that might be expected.

    Here in Down-under Australia sewing is still a fairly popular art for the women of the country, very few men sew to the best of my limited knowledge. There are a number of big chains catering to sewers in the city and suburban areas. Mail order also does well, I have to buy my suit fur in from a great mail order shop because I simply cannot get the length I want in the chain stores. I use a specialised Teddy Bear fur to get the look and feel I am seeking.

    I get very surprised looks when I tell folks that I have made my own suit, but it brings me a great deal of satisfaction to say that I look as good or better in my suit than quite a few other professional Santas.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Jun 29, 2011, 09.49 PMby Peter Lappin

      Wow — I never expected to hear from you, Santa. My best to Rudolph! Seriously, great comment.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 10.46 AMby elevator

    I am studying design at the University of California Davis and I feel like there is less and less priority given to the arts. My emphasis is Fashion Design and there isn’t even a fabric store in the same town as the University. My dream is to open a fashion coop where students and townies can make and sell their designs and where people interested in sewing can take classes to learn how to turn their ideas in to real clothes.

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    Jun 29, 2011, 09.48 AMby junespoon

    In in Northern Ireland and none of my friends sew…i try to get them involved but i get the rolled eyes and the “that’s your thing” look. There is a great fabric shop near me – well the fabric choice is great, the price of fabric and the customer service is NOT! Because there are so few “young” sewers here (i’m 31) i get viewed with undisguised suspicion when i confirm that “no, i’m not here to buy material for bridesmaid dresses”, which seems to be the only dress-making that goes on around here. I’ve been buying fabric there for 16 years and in the early days loved to buy sequinned, brightly coloured fabrics and notions. I noticed that they were always giving each other strange disapproving looks while cutting my fabric, and would always serve me last, until one time a new saleswoman lifted up one of the little tassels i was buying (for the corners of a cushion) and said “Oh, you’re the dancer-girl. How exactly do you attach these to yourself?” LOL!!!! So no, sewing is not really viewed as a common hobby here!!

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      Jun 29, 2011, 10.23 AMby stretch2fit

      Hi, I am an ex teacher of textiles from East Anglia, UK, i was made redundant last year, and there is little to no hope of me gaining another textiles job. However the local fabric shop, which is expensive but has a good range of stock runs sewing classes! I have to say that their attitude is ‘snooty’ and off putting, my sons (who sew) also agree with me. All my children can sew and mend, and my friends and i are always making stuff, but we are the ‘older generation’. Education has fashions like everything else, so maybe crafts etc will come back into schools again one day, if there’s anyone left to teach them…

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