Readers, we all love sewing blogs. In fact, if it weren't for sewing blogs like this one, I wouldn't be the Troy Donahue of men's sewing (with a 43.95% sexy index). But today I want to focus on something else: the online sewing communities and organizations that serve us home sewers best.
An acquaintance recently told me of a volunteer-run sewing organization located in Ithaca, New York, Sew Green. On their website, I stumbled upon this surprising statistic, from the Home Sewing Association:
Interest in personal sewing and clothing design has increased dramatically in the past few years. The Home Sewing Association estimates that the number of sewing enthusiasts in the U.S. has increased by 5 million since 2000, and annual sales of the leading brand of sewing machines has doubled since 1999.
Of course I was intrigued by the numbers, but more than anything I wondered, What in the world is the Home Sewing Association??
It turns out that there is currently no Home Sewing Association as such: they closed their doors in 2007. Or did they?
There is a site called Sewing.org and I've seen online references to the Home Sewing Association that now link there. Does anybody know what the relationship is? They both share a Monroeville, PA address. But there's nothing on the Sewing.org site about who they are or what they do beyond "Sewing.org is part of the Sewing & Craft Alliance (SCA). SCA provides education and creative resources to the sewing and craft enthusiast." They do offer a free men's sewing tutorial for a cable cache -- "a gift for a special someone" -- however.
Of course, there is the non-profit American Sewing Guild, which operates out of Houston, Texas. I know many MPB readers are members and are active on the ASG boards. I'm not, for no other reason than that I only recently heard about ASG. Are you a member? I should probably join.
My online introduction to sewing was via Pattern Review, and it's a site I love. It's not the most sophisticated-looking sewing site out there, but it works well, and it's a fantastic resource for those interested in learning sewing techniques, looking to purchase a new (or vintage) sewing machine, and most obviously, for anyone interested in reviews of new (and many vintage) patterns.
There are many advanced sewers on PR with decades of experience who are active on their message boards -- a great place to go with sewing-related questions. There are also contests and classes and much more. As a man, I've found Pattern Review to be extremely helpful and tremendously supportive. They even have a "Men Who Sew" section on their message board. I've found membership to be well worth the nominal cost.
Undoubtedly hipper is BurdaStyle, another favorite sewing site. BurdaStyle members seem to skew younger than sites like Pattern Review, but I've never felt unwelcome there and I'm no kid (wheeze...). As a more commercial website, there's a slicker feel there than at Pattern Review, with a focus on BurdaStyle patterns. But anyone can post photos of any sewing project, and it's also an excellent resource for those with sewing-related questions. Male sewers are active there, too, albeit in relatively small numbers.
Readers, as far as online communities and sewing organizations for home sewers go, these are the ones I am familiar with.
What other sewing communities are you involved with, not including blogs? Are there any you particularly recommend to others, especially new sewers?
Is there any organization keeping statistics on the popularity of home sewing that you know of? Where would one go to find the most recent information?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!