I Enjoy Sewing

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?


Lisa Neal Behrens from sparkklejar says:

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.


Owl Microwave Heating Pad Set


Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots replied:

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.


Plastic Canvas Penguin Earrings


Draco N. Knut from DragoninKnots responded:

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.

Damask Book Weight


Susan-Sharon Passmore from MsPDesignsUSA added this comment:

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:

Giraffe Elf PDF Applique Quilt Pattern


The History of Crafting

Contributor post by Catherine from DesignsbyCnC

Crafting has always been a human activity.  We are driven to create for many different reasons sometimes by need, challenge, spiritual or the drive for artistic expression.

Early in the 19th century, decorative home crafts, as we recognize them today, came into being as a byproduct of the Industrial Revolution.  Craft ideas and instructions first appeared in women’s magazines during this time. Fabric crafts and needlework were principal, with home crafting being the main occupation of women.

By 1830, scrapbooking became a popular family pastime to record family histories.  Once photography became available in the last half of the century, its popularity reached new heights.

Thanks to an increased interest in natural materials and handcrafted quality, the arts and crafts movement experienced a 20th century revival.  Many craft guilds were reestablished, crafter organizations formed and craft industry associations  founded during the 1920’s – 50’s.  Today we live in a worldwide community of crafters and scrapbookers, aided in part by craft magazines and publications, instructional television programs and the internet.

According to the 1998 study by the Craft and Hobby Association:

  • More than 8 out of 10 American households have one family member engaged in crafting.
  • A staggering 97% of adult women (ages 55-64) surveyed had participated in a crafting activity in their lifetime.
  • The most popular crafts were cross-stitch/embroidery (45%), crocheting (29%), apparel/fashion sewing (26%), home decor painting/accessories (25%), craft sewing (24%), cake decorating/cake making (22%), needlepoint/plastic canvas (22%), art/drawing (21%), floral arranging (21%), home decor sewing (21%) and scrapbooking/memory crafts (20%).
  • The breakdown of how people used their craft projects was: gifts (71%), home decorating (69%), personal use (62%), holiday decorating (59%) and items to sell (16%).
  • The major sources from which craft/hobby participants get their ideas are magazines, books and catalogs. Family and friends are also an important source of ideas.

I have been an avid crafter all of my life.  The very first crafting technique that I learned was knitting. This skill was acquired participating in 4H.  I still have the first knitting projects that I created and the ribbons earned, lovingly packed away in my cedar chest.

I asked the members of the Christmas In July team the following questions:  What was the first craft technique that you ever learned? Do you still do this craft today and sell items made with this technique in your shop?


Alexandra Richards from EyeLoveKnots shared her story:

I can remember always being a crafty person – inspired by my mom and grandma – but the first craft I can remember wanting to pick up and learn was plastic canvas. My Aunt Arlys used to work plastic canvas projects all of the time, and I just had to work them too. She took me down to AC Moore and bought me some yarn, canvas and a book and gave me some pointers like carrying my yarn under stitches. That was almost 10 years ago – I have been hooked since, and have recently been inspired to think outside the box with it to work up quicker projects, and my own designs using the plastic canvas.

I wear my earrings all over the place, and get a lot of compliments on them. I have them listed in my shop, and have downloadable versions of my designs and tutorials available for purchase.

I have many favorite designs, but I suppose the one I love above all (for now) are my Two Tiny Hearts Dangle Earrings – inspired by Valentine’s Day. I love how lightweight they are, and that both hearts are visible when worn. I have created five pairs since working my first up – have to match each outfit I wear. Hehe.

I am really glad my aunt shared her passion with me, and that I can share it with others now.

Red dangle plastic canvas heart earrings


Dawn Whitehand from DeeDeeDeesigns had this to say:

The first craft I learned was embroidery from my grandmother. I don’t do much of that anymore, however I still have her old embroidery box and some old threads and buttons. I also have some old metal winders she used to organize her cottons.

These days I use embroidery cotton and blanket stitch to make the jewelry gift pouches which all of my jewelry comes packaged in… not exactly embroidery, but inspired by this early experience, as opposed to machine sewing the pouches, for example.


Upcycled Marble Choker


Jessica and Bryan King from FeathandKee replied:

So the earliest thing that I remember is my grandmother doing the hook and loop kits – I guess that is what they are called. She taught me how to do those. Very close to that time, my great-grandmother taught me how to sew by hand – vital skill! Yes, this is something that I am still doing.

Fluttery Black Flower Headband