I wrote a post on the Sewcialists called “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”, all about how in 2018 I’m going to focus on buying patterns and fabric that support the ideals I believe in. I want to explore the topic more here on my own blog, so let’s dive in!
I’m cusp-sized, so I fit into the majority of straight-sized indie patterns, but I’m sized out of just enough that the exclusion stings. I don’t really think of myself as “plus”, but I feel a strong sense of camaraderie with larger sewists. I’m particularly turned off when a pattern range includes my size, but none of the models or testers reflect that. As you’ll know if you listened to my episode of the Love To Sew podcast, I also have little patience for companies that don’t feature a range of ages and ethnicities in their models and testers. I think it’s time we know better and do better!
How awesome is that artwork? It’s such a simple thing to make everyone feel welcome, right from the first visual. When I’m putting my own time and fabric into helping someone else develop a pattern, I want to believe in what they make, and also feel that they designed it with figures like mine in mind!
Who else is doing it right? Another company that I think choses amazing models is Seamwork/Colette. I appreciate that By Hand London dedicated their new coat pattern to Great British Sewing Bee alum Rumana (The Little Pomegranate), because there isn’t much visibility for hijabi or modest-dressing sewists. Style Arc has one of the best size ranges, and is becoming more easily available online. Thread Theory announced they are doing more men’s patterns in their expanded size range (up to 4XL/50″ waist). As I explained on the Sewcialists, I’m also donating this year to FreeSewing.Org, which offers free patterns for any size and drafts any pattern for a body with or without a bust.
2017 was also a great year for new sewing magazine releases, with both Sew Sew Def and Sewn Magazine launching. I appreciate that both are Black-owned and feature a wide variety of figures, ages, and sewists! I’ve bought a copy of each, and I’ll try to do a review/feature sometime soon.
The obvious choice would be to buy eco-friendly fabrics, but I just don’t see the fabrics I like to wear in eco-friendly versions! I am going to try to educate myself better this year though.
For now, I’m going to try to shop local and use my money to support Canadian-owned businesses. (Starting with my list of online shopping options in Canada!) I’m happy supporting stores like Blackbird or L’Oiseau that offer a quality product at a fair price, and larger chains like Fabricland and Club Tissus that make shopping for fabric locally across Canada easier!
In addition, I’m continuing to boycott any fabric with name or motif that appropriates another culture. Why call a pattern “Navajo” or “Aztec” when it could just be called “Geometric”? That said, I enjoyed sewing with African wax print in the fall, and I still think it’s fine to buy, sew and wear authentic traditional fabrics from around the world.
I don’t join in many sewing challenges, partly because I’m so busy hosting my own with the Sewcialists! (Did you hear that February’s theme is #SewStripes?) That said, I love challenges like BP Sewvember, Me-Made May or #makenine that encourage everyone to participate in their own way, at their own pace. I think the Curvy Sewing Collective is doing a great take on the year-long sewing challenge by having loose categories and letting participants pick the pattern that best suits their size, gender, style, timeline and practical needs. It’s not hard to be inclusive!
Another great initiative is @sewqueer , which is drawing together and amplifying the voices of sewists who tag their work with #sewqueer. Shannon from Rare Device is doing such a great job building the community!
Finally, I’m going to make sure that social media brings positive thoughts and inspiration into my life. This isn’t so much financial as emotional investment – if I roll my eyes when I see a certain person/company’s post, then I know I need to unfollow. If a username or blog post makes me smile as soon as I see it, then that is the right content for me to consume! It’s easy to underestimate how much encouragement we all get from each other, so I want to consciously make sure I’m cheering on friends online as much as possible. Let’s spread the good will and love!
How do you put your money (and time and energy) where your mouth is? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
Ps. You folks gave the best recommendations for Big 4 patterns – every suggestion was a winner! I’ve started a Pinterest board to keep track of the inspiration, and I’ll start watching out for pattern sales!