Closing Down the Sewcialists – Some Thoughts

I always thought I’d be sad when it came time to end the Sewcialists… but it feels right. What a relief!

I’ve loved organising the Sewcialists – we have had the most amazing volunteer crew behind the scenes. Right from the start in 2013 it was a team effort, with different friends taking on various types of social media or running a theme month here and there. Since the reboot in 2017, we have had a rotating cast of volunteer editors every six months or so, plus incredible copy editors making us look good. I’m so honoured that people put their time into this project.

Looking back, I’m astonished that Sewcialists kept going this long. Anne, Chloe and Becky kept it going for a good six months without me after my concussion in October 2018… and I was in and out while recovering. I returned to work full time and started climbing out of depression in November 2019, just four months before COVID hit. This time last year, we didn’t know if it was fair or possible for volunteers to continue running such a labour intensive project. We’ve had some major bumps behind the scenes over the years, and considered closing more than once. I am incredibly proud that we kept going and striving for excellence.

At this point though, I’m an HR manager, consumed with getting other people to write about sewing instead of actually having the energy to sew myself. I also spend too much time with a knot in my stomach wondering if we’ve said things right and protected our community’s safety. You might have noticed I came back to blogging in February – that coincided exactly with deciding to end Sewcialists! Getting my sewjo back has felt great.

If I’m honest, I’ve also taken pride in being some kind of leader in the sewing community, and I’m a little nervous about what comes next. Who am I when I just sew? I’ve realised that I’m more comfortable promoting a community than I am promoting myself, which is why Sewcialists has 40K+ following on Instagram and I have stayed at 2.5K for years. I’m trying to decide what success will look like for me next.

That said, I do have a “next project” in mind… and when that idea came together, it made me feel more comfortable about closing Sewcialists. I don’t know if I’ll ever do this next idea, but I’ve got an Instagram account waiting in case I do. It’s something smaller scale, with no blog component, but still focusing on bringing people together and celebrating the ways that our sewing and identity are intertwined. Time will tell if I get the itch to make it happen… or equally likely, that I eventually bring Sewcialists back in a third incarnation!

What are your tips for starting a new phase of life? I’ve run sewing communities (Sewcialists, and two years at Curvy Sewing Collective) for 8 of the ten years I’ve been sewing garments. How long should I wait before diving into something new? How do I figure out a new life balance? I’m all ears, and you are also full of great advice.


16 thoughts on “Closing Down the Sewcialists – Some Thoughts

  1. I have no advice (I’m probably the furthest from a leader you can get in the sewing community) but I’ll just say I’m so glad making the decision revitalized your energy and desire to sew—I think that proves it is the right one for you right now. I think I felt a bit similar when I stopped working at Fabricland—I was a “pro” and then suddenly I wasn’t! … and now I’m not even teaching sewing. But I still have hope I will again, so that’s a bit different. Focusing on my sewing friends and communities on a personal level was helpful for me—and I’m excited to see everything you do now!!!

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    1. It’s such a pleasure to be back to sewing – and I’m enjoying seeing you get back into sewing more often yourself, as life with twins settles into new patterns!

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  2. You have excellent intuition so I’m sure you are going to go about the next steps in just the right way for you. They key is to wait till you get “the message”. Fallow times are as important as the harvest. I suspect it’s prudent not to replant till you have a clear sense of what you would like to do next and how you want to make it happen. But given your creativity, I’m sure this will be an exciting period behind the scenes. xo

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  3. Good luck with new projects with new found enthusiasm when it comes, be it soon or a little in the future. Personally, I always find something new just around the corner! Loved the blog.

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  4. I retired from Nursing after 55 years in Sept 2019. Looked forward to plenty of sewing time. I was moving along quite well until March 2020. Then came “Rona” I sewed masks, gowns caps bags more of all and then overload. I wanted a change. Went back to making clothing. At end of 2020 I volunteered with a group setting up to do vaccine clinics where I now work 20 or so hours a week at a state run vaccine site. Long story to get to my point: You will know when it is time to step into something new, old or mixture of both. I am doing something contributory to getting us the to new normal. I still have time to sew and it is Very enjoyable now. Let yourself be in the moment, Stay well and thanks for all the years of leading us in Sewcialites I have learned much from all.

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    1. First of all, Peg, thank you so much for the volunteer work you do! Vaccines are rolling out too slowly in Canada and I’m grateful for everyone everywhere who is helping with that process. And secondly, “Let yourself be in the moment” is the perfect advice! Thanks!

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  5. I have 100% faith in your ability to forge a path through the uncertainty Gillian. This was a wonderful idea and has aired so many issues I had never thought about and caused me to stop and RE evaluate my assumptions. Well done and thank you for your contribution to the sewing brains trust. I too have expired my energy reserves for blogging but am so much better off for having virtually known you and the Sewcialists. Mwah xx

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    1. Thank you so much! I always hoped that sharing personal stories of varied experiences was the best way to help people understand each other, and I”m so glad to hear that it worked for you!

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  6. I’m grateful for what you and everyone else in the sewcialists have done. Glad you are stepping back and hope this is self care and recharging for you. We all need that and sometimes forget to take care of ourselves.

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  7. Thanks for all that you have done for the sewing community! I’m sad to see the Sewcialists go, but so glad to have seen what it’s done. And yes, I did notice the up-tick on your blog, so I guess that you’ll keep educating us!

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