If, like me, you love scrolling through Instagram looking at pics of fabric and frocks and patterns etc, then you may have noticed the appearance of the hashtag #sewover50. It started last summer after a blog post by @susanyoungsewing talking about how older women are under-represented on pattern covers, magazine covers, advertisements etc. This lead to a lively debate from many who felt the same. @judithrosalind created the Instagram account @sewover50 and soon women and men, all around the world were using the hashtag to show that sewing is not just for the bright young things!Susan then contacted Love Sewing magazine and asked if they would be interested in a feature and photo shoot for the mag. Love Sewing said yes and so Judith and Susan put out the call for some like-minded sewists willing to take part,and after mentioning it to my husband, who said ‘go for it’ I put my hand up!
Which is how I came to travel to Stockport, on a very grey and damp November day, with some me-made items in a case, for a photoshoot for a national magazine! There were ten of us, from as far away as Edinburgh and Port Talbot. Some women had been sewing all their lives, some earned their living from sewing and teaching sewing, and some, like me, were home sewists who enjoyed making their own clothes. To be honest, I felt like a terrible imposter. Here I was in a room with people who had so much more experience than me, who had forgotten more than I would ever know. In the weeks before, we had set up an online group chat, so by the time we arrived, it felt like seeing old friends.
There had been much discussion about what to wear for the pics. In the end, I took my rose and spot patterned Joni dress, fabric from TrixieLixie, it’s a dress that makes me feel good when I am wearing it – and surely that’s the measure of a good dress! Amy Thomas, editor of Love Sewing was there to greet us, with hair and make-up artists too! Amy was so friendly, making us feel at ease and putting us in groups for various photos. Have you ever seen that episode of Friends, where Monica and Chandler have their engagement photos taken, and Chandler can’t smile, and ends up gurning at the camera? Well that was me! Who knew it was so hard to look at the lens, stand up straight and smile all at the same time? It was such a fun day, and since then we have kept in touch, and are hoping to meet up again. I came away inspired to improve my sewing, and with lots of ideas for new makes, new designers to try but more importantly I felt good from spending time with a group of wonderful women. I felt that a conversation had been started, and there was no going back, it was time for designers and publishers to reflect the makers of all ages and sizes.
If you would like to see these fabulous women and read their thoughts on sewing and life, then get yourself a copy of issue 64 of Love Sewing magazine, it’s in the shops now. And do keep an eye on the #sewover50 hashtag on Instagram, there’s more to come from all of us over50s, all over the world!
You can follow Sara on instagram @saraknitsandsews