Good News In Sewing, Vol. 2

More good news to be shared, and some things I missed last time…


More Inclusive Models

One comment I’ve heard over and over from people at the Sewcialists is that it’s hard to find sewing patterns that are androgynous or suit non-binary folks. For example, most sewing patterns aimed at women are very feminine, enhancing either bust, waist or hips, or using flowy or body-con fabrics that emphasise the figure. One pattern line that has always had a more androgynous look is Grainline Studio, and I love that their model for the new Yates Coat continues that trend!


Acknowledging Sewists of All Kinds

Melissa from Fehr Trade included a wonderful paragraph from her book in a tutorial last month. The post was demonstrating how any pattern could be used as the base for the modifications outlined in her book, so that the book can be a learning tool for anyone.

“The included blocks are designed for women in the sizes shown in these size charts, but if you’re not a woman or your body doesn’t match any of the measurements in the size charts, using your own block means that these designs could work for children, men, disabled people, trans people and non-binary folks, those who prefer modest clothing and those whose measurements are beyond the size range here. There really is no limit: if you’ve got a body, you can exercise, and if you can sew, you can make activewear.”

I loved this message so much! Exercise IS for everyone, and sewing is for people of all ages, sizes, genders, and needs. It’s powerful to see a designer being so thoughtfully inclusive, and I’d love to see it more!


Maternity Sewing is More Integrated

I remember a few years back, when a friend of mine was pregnant, she wanted to sew herself some nice maternity clothes. At that time, one of the only options was Megan Neilson’s few maternity patterns for Simplicity. We sewed one of the dresses, and it came out with Big-4 amounts of ease instead of the RTW-ish amount of ease I expect from indies!

Now, there are more and more maternity patterns being brought out by Indie companies as additions to their normal line. I imagine that it’s helpful for pregnant people to be able to pick from pattern designers you trust and sew something that matches your personal style!

Of course, not every sewist can or wants to be a parent, or is in that stage of life – but I’m glad at least that pattern choices are now more easily accessible.

Sewists Going Pro! 

Do you follow Well Sewn Style? Mary Alice burst onto the blogging scene just a year or two ago, making really fashionable clothing for herself as a plus-size woman. I find her such an inspiration to dress boldly and with a sense of fun and flirtation! Mary Alice launched her own RTW collection last year, and just released her 2018 Warm Weather collection. She is expanding from plus-sizes to size-inclusive (size 0-28), and committing to environmentally -friendly production and paying a fair wage to people sewing her line!

Another good friend of mine who has made sewing into a career is Sewcialists co-founder Leila Breton! Leila runs Curvy Custom Bride, doing custom gowns and alterations in the Indianapolis area. The shopping experience can be filled with so much pressure to conform to beauty norms and gender stereotypes, so I like knowing that there are badass business women out there like Mary Alice and Leila, creating an inclusive space for everyone!


The Sewcialists

It’s only been 9 months since I restarted the Sewcialists, but the community is growing quickly! We get hundreds of new followers every week on Instagram, and there were 125 participants in February’s #sewstripes theme month. Best of all, there is an incredible team of more than 50 sewists behind the scenes helping to keep it all rolling. I literally could not do it without them!

Meanwhile, we’ve had some really unique and eye-opening discussions through our #WhoWeAre series, including recent posts on mental health, infertility, the German sewing community, and sustainable sewing. There is more great stuff coming up, including more about LGTBQ identities, race, and size. If you aren’t already following us on Instagram or WordPress, please join the conversations!

And finally, some personal good news…

I’ve loved many things about my three years teaching English as a Second Language in tiny rural communities, but not the commute! Starting in April, I’m transferring to teach ESL in my own city! The schools will be much more diverse, and I’m looking forward to the new challenge – plus 2 hours more time to sew every day!

Has any other good news in sewing caught your eye? Please share below if it has! 


18 thoughts on “Good News In Sewing, Vol. 2

  1. Great post Gillian, a bit of everything. Although I’m way beyond needing maternity clothes (thank goodness because I hate the skin tight styles of today), I did make all my own way back then. The Yates coat might make it my way, I keep going back and looking at it. Hmmmmmmm. Congratulations on both the growth of Sewcialists and your new job placements. All the best!


    1. Thanks Yvette! I am so excited about the job change – and I’m glad I’ve had March Break to get my head on straight about this midyear transition!

      I love writing these posts – it’s like a gratitude journal, but on a larger scale! When I focus on the good stuff, the negative aspects of the world today seem much less important.


  2. Congratulations on your new position Gillian! Commuting is horrible. It will be wonderful to have time for yourself to just BE 🙂


  3. It really is amazing how far maternity sewing has come in the 3 years since I was making some for myself. I know there’s other smaller indies that also have maternity add on, like Peekaboo Patterns. Now if only it was easier to find good postpartum/nursing access patterns! And congrats on the job change! Less commute is always good.


    1. I wonder why nursing clothes aren’t more popular with designers? Maybe they just assume everyone is wearing endless v-neck tees and button ups for easy access??


      1. I think I can answer this one – I never even looked for any nursing patterns… Pregnant folks have no idea if they’re going to be able to breastfeed, how long they’ll do it for, or even what size they’ll be after the birth – so they don’t usually invest in making nursing tops. And then after the birth I didn’t have enough time to sleep, never mind sew! Congratulations on your new job – I hope it’s fun and fulfilling.


    1. Thank you!! The transition two weeks are going to be a bit crazy (getting everything ready for someone new to take over my position) but once the switch happens it’s going to be great!


    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed both posts! I said to my husband this morning that I have accidentally become much more vocal and opinionated online this year… but I’m happy with the way it has turned out! I feel like all these conversations needed to happen, and if no one else more qualified is jumping in to lead them, then I’m going to have a crack at it myself! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I for one am seriously glad you’ve decided to go for it. You do seem totally qualified. You’re thoughtful and compassionate and welcoming and have made this great space. It is all conversations that really need to happen and I’m grateful for the space you’ve created. I feel a need to be more outspoken, too. It seems were in a cultural moment where the costs of staying quiet are far greater than the costs of speaking up. We have to be the change we want to see and all that… 😉


  4. Congratulations, Gillian! I used to drive an hour each way for wor, and I know how happy you must be. Thank you for blogging – I love your spark!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay, I love this! I appreciate that you work so much to recognize the good things folks in the sewing community are doing ❤

    (I know this is your own blog, not Sewcialists, but if you wanted to be inclusive in the maternity section, you could use "parents-to-be" or "pregnant people," since it's not only women who get pregnant and not everyone who gives birth will be a mama/mother!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, excellent wording changes – done! 😉

      How big are the classes you teach? I imagine it’s not possible/necessary in collage, but in Elementary we are all about the “caught you being good” philosophy, which basically entails trying to compliment student in authentic ways, instead of spending the day nagging them for what they aren’t doing. I know the same strategy works well on me – I love a boss who is encouraging, and my husband and I definitely “train” each other with praise! 😛 That’s my general philosophy with this series – maybe thanking people for good stuff will stick with them next time they make a decision, and they’ll make another good choice! (Once a teacher, always a teacher, ammiright?)


      1. Yes, I love that philosophy! It’s something I try to implement in my grading, at least, making sure to recognize what students did well first in my comments before getting to criticisms. I also hope it will work with sewing companies! And I’m so with you on the “always a teacher” thing; I was just thinking about the way my urge to teach really permeates all the social media stuff I do (for better or worse, sometimes, as it’s also important for us to recognize if we’re in danger of spreading ourselves too thin!)


        1. LOL – whatever do you mean, Miss Art-history-lessons-via-instagram? I don’t know how you are managing Sew Queer on your own – I know reposting takes time!!


          1. LOL, I know, it shouldn’t have really been a revelation, and yet! And also yeahhhh, that’s why Sew Queer is occasionally quiet for a few days, lol. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I really am trying to be mindful of what I take on!


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