words NICOLE MCKENZIE
When you’re unpicking a seam for the third time at 9pm, it’s easy to forget that you are one of the millions of other makers across the globe. But how do you find other like-minded creators to chat, sew and plan with? And what happens if your perfect sewing buddies are in New York and you live in Newcastle?
A sewing community can take your making to the next level by providing support, advice, friendship and a place to show off your makes. Not to mention, it is incredibly rewarding to connect with people at different stages of their lives and sewing journeys.
Whether you’re looking for a fabric shopping friend or pattern inspiration, a sewing community is just one class (or one hashtag) away. Read on for our top tips for finding yours.
Attend a sewing meetup
Pop on a me-made and head to a sewing meetup to make some sewing buds. Book a ticket to Frocktails – a sewing meetup that involves wearing a frock you have made and drinking cocktails with other makers (perfect, right?), or attend a fabric swap to meet sewists (and clear out your stash). Search online meetup groups, Eventbrite or check out the Instagram hashtag #YourCityFrocktails to find upcoming events (or to reach out to past event organisers and express your interest in a repeat event).
Take a class
Whether you’ve been sewing for 14 days or 14 years, there is always more to learn and more people to meet. Take a short class to hone your skills in a particular area – from hand-sewing to swimwear making – or join a weekly class to keep up your sewing practice and build a strong community. A good sewing class is worth its weight in sewing machines and is a brilliant way to meet other creators.
Search for sewists on Instagram
The Instagram sewing community is HUUUGE and will welcome you in with open arms. If you don’t already follow sewists or share your makes on Instagram, now is the perfect time to start. Hashtags are your best friend (and will lead you to your new sewing best friends). Follow these hashtags to see relevant sewing content in your feed and find other sewists: #MeMade, #SewingLife, #IndieSewing, #MeMadeEveryday, #ISew, #Handmade and #ISewMyOwnClothes.
To get more specific content, try using hashtags for patterns you have made or want to make, or find hashtags that suit your sewing niches such as #PeppermintPatterns (wink, wink), #ChronicallySewn, #PlusSizeSewing, #SewOver50, #POCWhoSews and #SewBreastfeeding. Instagram hashtags can also lead you to real-life friends – to find sewists near you, search #YourCitySews (for example, #AdelaideSews) or keep it broad with #AustraliaSews. Hot tip: capitalise the first letter of each word in your hashtags to ensure they are accessible.
Find Facebook groups
There is a Facebook group for everything and sewing is no exception. Not sure where to start? Try searching for ‘your city or town + sewing’ or your sewing interests – pattern-making, bra-making or vintage patterns, for example – to find like-minded creators. Here are a few Australian groups to get you started: Sewing, Patterns and Fabric Advice Australia, Australian Sewing Advice and Inspiration, Nerida Hansen Fabrics VIP Sewing, Patterns and Fabrics.
Attend a sewing retreat
Is this a real thing? Yes, yes, it is. Ten times better than the school camps you remember, an adult sewing retreat consists of a group of sewists meeting up for a few days of sewing, learning and sewcialising. You could also create a DIY sewing retreat by booking a weekend class in another town and planning a trip away to attend.
Use your skills to make a difference and meet some generous like-minded souls while you’re at it. From baby blankets and soft toys to sensory items and hospital gowns, the need for hand-sewn wares is vast and ever-interesting. To find volunteer opportunities, take a look online at the Australian Sewing Guild’s Sewing for a Cause page or Sewing for Charity Australia (plus their Facebook group) or speak to your local fabric stores, council or community groups for something close to home.
Create your own community
Finding a sewing community can be challenging, especially if you live outside of a capital city, are new to sewing, or face other barriers. If you can’t find the sewing circle that suits you, try starting your own – if you are looking for a group that meets your needs, it is likely that someone else is too. Plan a “sewcial event” – a coffee with sewists or even a Frocktails – and share the details on social media, community noticeboards, online meetup listings and in local fabric stores. Or, if you are looking for an online niche, create an Instagram hashtag or Facebook group.