Let’s begin with a true story: when asked to write a post regarding my stance on sewing and if it was a dying art, I looked at my boss disgusted at the idea that people would question the relevance of sewing. My grandma taught me how to mend clothes when I was 5, and my love for sewing only grew from there. Sewing was fun, so I went on to take as many sewing classes in grade school as I possibly could. I went on to study the product development of textiles in college, so I must admit, I’ve been surrounded by sewing enthusiasts for a good chunk of my life. However, I quickly realized that not everyone has walked in the same path as me, so I began my research endeavors to find out if sewing is a dying art. Here we go!
Sewing was once done out of necessity, but with the rapid increase in the development of fast fashion, there’s no longer a need to make clothes at home, is there? However, sewing has always been a way to make things that fit your needs, and the personalization that sewing offers is now drawing Millenials and Gen Z’s in. This new generation of sewists desire to make their homes and garments unique and special to them, and they want to do it for less than retail value. And with the advancement of the internet, young sewists are no longer at the mercy of a fashion house to make money from their creations; they can create, sell, and receive an income from them with ease.
The textile industry is growing, and there’s an increase in resources and programs arising to teach and develop sewing skills. While Family and Consumer Science departments in High Schools are dwindling, there’s no shortage of free websites that teach sewing machine and garment construction basics. There are options for pursuing a textile oriented career when furthering your education and from experience, colleges that offer fashion and merchandising programs continue to grow and receive funding for updated materials and machines. The resources found in these programs are not always exclusive, and fashion and sewing clubs and classes are typically open to students in any major.
Some retailers are also catching on to these innovative ideas creating spaces for crafters, including sewists, to rent machines for projects, take classes to learn new skills, and have access to the tools needed to display and market their creations. Other stores have started programs for bringing in old clothes to learn how to re-purpose and upcycle, even providing sewing repair kits to encourage sewing. Mood Fabrics’ own Mood U offers classes that teach sewing skills like attaching zippers and other practical applications that are open to the public.
Millennials make up nearly half of the crafting segment, according to Forbes, so the interest is there; the quintessential part is to keep making shifts in the right direction that attract and accommodate the tech-savvy and expressive upcoming generation of crafters, sewists, and hobbyists.
It’s easy to assume that sewing is an outdated art form, but fortunately that’s just not true. The sewing community and its technology are ever-changing and ever-adapting, attracting the new generation of sewists. Sewing companies are producing a wave of smart sewing machines including WiFi connectivity capabilities, sewing cams that can record or take pictures during stitching when connected to a smart device, equipped with app syncing technology to easily access tutorials or connect to social media for sewists to share their creations with the world. Even in the industry, different materials call for the introduction of various types of sewing machines, increasing the demand for sewists and sewing machine production. The new innovations being developed in the sewing machine sector are estimated to increase sales of sewing machines by several percent by 2023.
My research leads me to see a prosperous future for sewing. Sewing is still being taught and with so many resources available to learn how to sew, it’s nearly impossible to say that the tools needed to become a sewist are not accessible. At the very least, numbers talk and the projected forecast that estimates an increase in sewing machine sales is rather promising.
Whether you’re a sewing vet or you stumbled across this post by chance, what are your thoughts on the art of sewing; do you think it’s alive and well or struggling to stay relevant and how do you think that retailers can reel the new generation of sewists in? Sound off below!