Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC
Sewing dates all the way back to the prehistoric era. During the last ice age, almost 25000 years ago, man used a needle and thread to make clothing from fur, hide and bark.
Sewing was done by hand for thousands of years. The first practical sewing machine was designed and patented in 1930 by Barthelemy Thimonnier, a French tailor. This totally revolutionized the sewing industry. Over the years, there have been many new additions and patents that continue to change the stitching industry.
Sewing began as a way to create clothing and progressed into other industries such as upholstery and book binding.
I asked the members of the Etsy Christmas In July Team to share a handmade sewn creation from their shop and the following questions: What are the sewing-related trends you see in your corner of the world? Where do you see growth in the sewing industry, and where do you see decline?
The hand-made sewing related trends I see in my corner of the world, Portland Oregon, seem to be things that help the environment. Items sewn from recycled materials, or items sewn to be re-usable things that help reduce the carbon footprint, like lunch bags and totes for groceries. This is also where I see the most growth.
I see a decline in the handmade sewing of clothing, with exception to formal and bridal wear. It has become much more economical and less time-consuming to buy a t-shirt rather than make it. But with that said, kids and adults are doing some amazing things with a sewing machine. Sewing is not just for fabric but for other mediums like, plastic, paper, etc.
Sewing things other than clothing, is my own personal new trend.
I can’t exactly call myself a sewer because most of my sewing is done in the form of weaving my ends in on my crocheted pieces, but I do enjoy working plastic canvas needlepoint projects, which I think is a basic form of sewing. It was my first love, and I am amazed at what can be created with a little imagination, yarn, needle and plastic mesh.
Though it is an older form of crafting, I feel like there are still several crafters in love with this form, and looking for simple and fun designs like those that I create. I have seen a big interest in my new, modern designs to match the trends – like the sweet penguin earrings featured here.
I was looking to enroll in a fashion design program at a local tech school, but have since decided to hold off. I think there will always be a need for those handy with needle and thread, but with the online market really guiding sales and trends, I think it isn’t as simple as it used to be for sewers, especially when you can always purchase it cheaper from somewhere else. I think nowadays, it’s much more about how unique the piece is and customization, and not the fact that it’s handmade.
I’ve seen an increase in creative pastimes over the last decade. Millennials, especially those in their 30’s or late 20’s, are the Pinterest generation. So many of them are revitalizing and reinventing traditional skills, like sewing and baking. Most of them are not at a professional skill level and realize that creating a sewn (or knitted or crocheted) object is more expensive than buying a mass-produced one, so it may not have a huge effect on the clothing industry. However, these skills are not going to be dying out anytime soon.
Everywhere I look, I’m seeing hand-sewn handbags and totes. Someone with basic sewing skills can make a one-of-a-kind bag, using fabric and a pattern of their choice. I’m also seeing lots of embellishment on the bags; buttons, rhinestones, metal studs, beads, ribbons, and appliques.
Here’s an example of a fun way to embellish a bag, using one of the applique patterns from our shop: