Anyone who sews knows that most people who don’t sew, think that sewing is just for old ladies.
They’re… well they’re actually partially correct.
But that’s not the whole picture!! There is so much to sewing and so many things you can do with it. Anybody would be able to combine their interests with sewing if they tried hard enough.
Even manly men who are into, say, football, could sew up custom hats, patches, pouches, etc. with their team’s insignia.
Check out our five types of sewist down below, and let us know if you fall into any of the categories yourself!
Grandmas and other types of old ladies are notorious for being the sewing stereotype. I was turned on to sewing by my grandma, and there’s just something infinitely compelling about the image of a little old lady sitting by a fireplace sewing or knitting a blanket. They use the best singer sewing machine that they’ve used for the past five decades.
There’s good reason for this stereotype—sewing actually used to be taught in schools. It still is, to some degree, but it’s no longer required. Back in the day, a sewing machine would be a household necessity. You just didn’t have as much stuff, so the stuff that you did have, had to last. Sewing was a necessary skill to keep a house running. From repairing curtains to clothes, these skills would have been extremely useful.
Time will tell how much this idea sticks. They may not be requiring sewing to be taught in schools anymore, but sewing is a hobby you can pick up at any point in life. As young women (and men!) today reach old age, they might just find themselves tempted to take up the spool and follow in their grandmothers’ footsteps.
Increasingly, this sewing enthusiast takes many different forms, from men to women, old and young. However, we might imagine a stereotype as the upper-middle-class, suburban, go-getter soccer mom with a bit of spare time and plenty of ambition.
The small business sewer is less in it for the pure artistic expression and more for the cold hard cash. That isn’t to say they don’t have passion, however—most start from a place of passion. For some, it can be hard to imagine sewing as a lucrative enterprise (and a one-person operation especially), but it’s all about locking down a niche. Marketing the heck out of yourself helps as well.
There are a number of ways to make money sewing. I’ll touch on other methods as well, but the small business owner archetype usually sells their own crafts. These are usually small tchotchkes—cute charms or animals, hand warmers, coin pouches, that sort of thing. You can of course also make money through altering clothes, which brings me to…
The tailor always wears a fine suit, during any circumstance, without exception. That includes sleeping. They exude class, charm, and a hawk’s eye for detail. The best can size up your measurements in an instant without even having to pull out a measuring tape.
In reality, the tailor is often a stout, polite-yet-quiet person in a shoebox hole-in-the-wall kind of shop. Tailors use their sewing chops to alter suits and clothes so that they fit better. In the past, tailors were far more common to the everyday person than they are now. Since clothes came in less sizes, you’d often have to get them tailored to fit right. Nowadays, it’s much easier to find clothes that fit off-the-rack.
I personally got my sewing start tailoring my own shirts to fit better. Since it’s not actually creating, tailoring can be a straightforward way to get into sewing. At the very least, it teaches you to measure, pin, cut, and sew—some of the fundamentals.
Tailoring is also a great way to make money with sewing. It’s one of the more accessible methods for the common person. Basically anyone can learn to tailor on their own clothes, and then move on to doing other people’s clothes. You can start with hemming pants or dresses, and then work on up to shirts and other more complicated garments. Personally, however, I feel enough pressure when working on my own clothes—I probably couldn’t handle working with other people’s clothes!
It’s no surprise that a lot of sewing has to do with clothing as well. Which brings us to…
The fashionista is an artist. She’s a 22 year old graduate of one of the best fashion design programs in Paris. She takes her coffee iced, and has interviews lined up at Gucci, Balenciaga, and Vuitton.
A select percentage of people who sew actually go into the fashion world at large. Since manufacturing happens mostly overseas, the demand for sewists in the fashion world grows slimmer every day. It’s a fast-moving and highly competitive atmosphere.
The fashionista uses her skills for designing. Apart from sewing, she’s exceptionally skilled at planning out garments on paper. She creates mood boards, communicates creative ideas, collaborates, and goes through iteration after iteration until what remains is a gorgeous final piece. If she’s lucky, she’ll start her own line or brand.
This type has a lot of overlap with “The Grandma” archetype. Most grandmas are quilters, and most quilters are grandmas. I mean, who do you even make quilts for if not for your children and grandchildren? What’s the point?
The Hardcore Quilter has their own type of intensity. They’re not just sewists, they’re quilters. A sort of evolved type. They’ve reached sewing nirvana, in some sense. They use their powers to keep cold people warm.
The most powerful type of quilter is not The Grandma, as you might first believe. No… it’s the quilter without any children, grandchildren, or relatives of any kind that are the most potent (and some would say dangerous).
For they quilt for the sheer mad pleasure of it.
Not because they’re making quilts for their grandkids—simply because they can. Their homes are filled with quilts. They put them on the beds, on the walls, in big wooden cabinets… anywhere they can find free space. Their motives are unknown, and their will unparalleled.
And that’s our five types of sewist. There are more out there, but these cover a large percentage of the sewists in the world. Did you resonate with any of the types? Did we miss any? If you didn’t fit into any of the categories above, don’t worry! For we all will become The Grandma in time. Yes, this includes men as well.