Sew Nice: The DIY Bespoke Clothing Comeback

Today is Thursday and we like to feature other bloggers on Thursdays. Today is Kaarin Moore of Shoestring Magazine:

Stories like this make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I heart hearing stories like this, where sewing is making a comeback. It’s such an inspiration and such a practical common sense craft. I heart Sewing and I hope you do too.

Below is a blog post from Sew Nice by Kaarin  who outlines why Sewing appears to be on the rise.  Thanks for this Kaarin 🙂

A very curious thing is happening in attics across America. People are going into the far, dusty corners of their basements, crawlspaces, and their grandmother’s closets to pull out….sewing machines.

via Sew Nice: The DIY Bespoke Clothing Comeback.

Sew Nice: The DIY Bespoke Clothing Comeback

by Kaarin Moore, Shoestring Magazine
April 12, 2011 – 10:45am

A very curious thing is happening in attics across America. People are going into the far, dusty corners of their basements, crawlspaces, and their grandmother’s closets to pull out….sewing machines.

Yep, the sewing machine and all sorts of DIY methods of making and altering clothing are making a huge comeback. But this time around it’s with the help of a new generation of tech-savvy crafters, beautiful group studio spaces, even sewing happy hours.

Here are 5 reasons why this seemingly old-fashioned activity is winning back our hearts, and why you might want to give it a try:

1. Sewing Stitches Us Together

Sewing doesn’t have to be a solitary craft. Just like the sewing circles of our grandmas’ generation, this new wave of sewing groups are all about connecting with family, friends, and creative networks.

Bernardine Kelly started taking classes at the Crafty Girls Workshop in San Antonio, Texas, as a way to spend time with her daughter. They take turns picking sessions to attend while Kelly uses it as a means to, “…pick up on sewing skills that have grown rusty.”

Sewing is also connecting people who enjoy combining artistic endeavors with a night out. Bits of Thread Sewing Studio in Washington, DC, hosts a Sip and Stitch series that brings together sewing experts and students of all levels. Newbie seamstresses get lessons from a pro in a relaxed environment while everyone sips on wine.

To get started, find and join a local sewing club through online “open source” sewing community, which also has free patterns to get you started on that dreamy DIY style project.

2. Sewing is Creative Expression

Sewing can be an escape from those oh-too-similar chain store clothing options. Designing, DIY projects, and repurposing or upcycling fabrics are means of obtaining an individual style when the apparel you want might not be showing up on shelves.

Crafter and blogger Carolina Moore explained, “Buying mass-produced items is finally losing its cache. Instead, when you make something for yourself to wear you can express your own personality through your creation.”

3. Sewing Doesn’t Have to Mean a Machine

Okay, technically many sewing projects call for a machine. But, this time around you don’t have to own the equipment in order to participate. The Urban Craft Center in Santa Monica, California, provides sewing machines and other tools like bedazzlers, button makers, and cutting mats. This means you don’t have to invest in tools up front, but can jump right in and start learning.

On the flip side of things, if you do own a sewing machine and don’t know where to begin, many businesses offer how-to classes. It was one reason Lexa Rijos got back into sewing. “I was feeling guilty about having spent money on a sewing machine, but wasn’t ready to part with it.” Her local craft business encouraged her to bring in her machine for classes, which turned out to be just the motivation she needed to begin making curtains for her home.

4. Sewing is Virtually Everywhere

Sewing is getting a new push into the technological era, resulting in an amazing amount of information that is only a Google search away.

Stephanie Richards, owner of, provides a free, daily sewing lesson on her website. “Past generations in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s rejected sewing as a hobby, so there are very few mentors to teach young women how to sew,” she explained. “The Internet has replaced Mom and Grandma as the teacher.”

Pattern-builder Catherine Stassin launched her website Couture Nomad in response to other women telling her they wanted to know how to sew, but didn’t have the money to go to school to learn. Her website offers patterns and workshops. “I wanted to find a way to teach sewing while giving people the confidence to do it without being out of their budget.”

5. Sewing is Pretty Green

Learning how to sew is friendly to both your purse and the planet. A silver lining of the recession is that it drove people back to their closets instead of stores to obtain the latest trends. Rather than throwing apparel away, many DIYers embraced the idea of recycling old materials to create something new. And the philosophy stuck. Crafters and burgeoning seamstresses figured out that they could create something beautiful, save money, and save the planet at the same time. In the words of Michael Scott, it’s a “win win win” situation.

So, it’s time to get out that old sewing machine, talk with your grandma, find an online community, take a class, and get to work. Your efforts will be rewarded with the knowledge that you were able to channel your creative energy to make something that is uniquely your own. And that’s time well spent.

Have you recently taken a sewing class? Have sewing resources that you want to share with other Gumshoes? Let us know in the comments!

Story: Copyright 2011, Shoestring LLC.
Image: Courtesy of

About The Author Related Articles
Photo of Kaarin Moore

Kaarin Moore owns a small wardrobe consulting company called Closet Caucus, and her favorite thing in the world is to help people find their personal style vision. She lives in the heart of Washington, DC, but is still an Army Brat at heart. She loves couture, but has clipped coupons since college and will continue to do so regardless of financial situation. Her first name is pronounced Car-in, so you know.
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2 thoughts on “Sew Nice: The DIY Bespoke Clothing Comeback

  1. Jen
    Love love your blog and your PHILOSOPHY!! Would love to chat sometime about how DC Threads ( can collaborate with you! DC Threads is a volunteer-founded and volunteer-driven initiative designed to keep the art of sewing & stitch crafts alive and well in the Washington metropolitan area. We host a free Sewing Lounge once a month and other events/programs (including the Sip and Stitch events mentioned above) for DC-based sewists, designers and other creative folks!!! In fact, in May we will be hosting an evening of “Vintage Fashion ReFab” where we will bring together folks from the DC vintage clothing/fashion/rehab world to discuss vintage shopping and how to channel one’s sewing skills to tweak and improve on those vintage finds! We would love to have you join us! More to come on that on our website soon….
    Thanks so much for your words!!!

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