As clothes became cheaper the art of sewing waned, but the craft fought back and was reborn as recreation.
Programmes like The Sewing Bee capitalised on this trend, reflecting the latest wave of interest.
Costume designer, Iona Barker said: “The image of sewing has shifted over the years from something girly to something androgynous and cool. This shift has been aided by programmes like The Sewing Bee, which has had more and more male contestants.
“So now I think guys are keen to get into sewing and don’t worry about being mocked by their pals.”
Barker speaks from experience, as she runs the Say It Aint Sew class in Edinburgh’s Cabaret Voltaire (Monday 6.30 to 8.30pm) and Glasgow’s Hillhead Bookclub (Tuesday 6.30 to 8.30pm).
Barker said: “I started running the Glasgow class in May 2010, when I was working in a local bar. The Hillhead Bookclub was just about to open and its’ soon –to-be manager was a friend of a friend, looking to incorporate activities.”
“I was terrified at the concept of running a class; I had never done anything like it, but as the years passed it went from strength to strength; now I just love it.”
The love of sewing had filled Barker from a young age.
She said: “When I was a kid I was very creative; I enjoyed making things and watching old films where the actresses wore big dresses. So I started cutting up my mum’s clothes and turning them into costumes.
“Later I went on to Glasgow Caledonian University and studied Fashion Business.”
As a fashion student Barker sought craft tutorials in Glasgow; but the classes she found were institutional and costly. This inspired her to start a group that was free and accessible to the public.
Barker explained: “Say It Aint Sew is a total beginners group. Attendees don’t have to bring anything. All the equipment and fabric is there waiting for them.”
“I work as a costume designer, so over the years I have collected masses of material, and the classes are a great way to use my horde.”
Barker’s range of materials influence the items made in class. However, inspiration also comes from participant’s requests and the seasons; for example the class made chicks at Easter.
The tutor said: “We have made a real mix of things from headbands to Super Mario figurines.”
This variety of projects has led to a diverse group.
Barker explained: “We usually have a mix [of over 18s] from students, to professionals and elderly people.
“There is a mix in gender too; a lot of the girls bring their boyfriends to the class and the guys tend to find it is better than what they had expected.”
The class starts by grabbing a drink and name sticker at the bar. Then once seated, the sewing and socialising begins.
Barker said: “Everything is explained from the start, from the amount of thread needed, to the technique of a basic stitch.
“Beginners can be a bit apprehensive, but after an hour they get totally into it. Everybody leaves with the finished piece and a sense of accomplishment.”
She concluded: “The class is a great way to discover a new skills and people. Everyone gets the chance to chat and I have seen lasting friendships formed.”
For more information visit the Say It Aint Sew Facebook page.
Good name for the class!!
Does everybody make the same thing during the evening?
There is a basic brief, like Super Mario characters, some templates/ designs and everyone chooses which they would like to make.
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