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Are there *trends* in sewing?

Here’s something I’ve been pondering lately – are there “trends” in online sewing?

Often there will be a popular pattern that pops up on a bunch of different blogs all within a couple weeks of each other but is there ever something (pattern, fabric, style, feature) on garment sewing blogs that appear so much that is seems like everyone is participating?

I’m not talking specifically about fashion trends, like, say, color blocking, peplums, lace overlays, neon, although I think those do appear on sewing blogs (I love me some peplums so maybe I notice those more often), but more like overarching themes or specific types of garments.

I guess I would compare this idea to when, about two summers ago, it seemed every food blogger was making kale chips. You’d think the Earth’s entire population was munching on crispy, olive oil drizzled kale bits if you went on the internet. (Does anyone else read food blogs?)

Here are a few things I’m considering “trendy” on sewing blogs at one point or another in the last couple years:

Pants/Trousers: Around the time the Colette Clover pattern came out it seamed like everyone and their mom was sewing pants. It was like the new frontier in sewing. All these people who had sewn shirts and dresses and skirts were venturing into leg territory some with great success, others – not so much. I remember a lot of posts about figuring out crotch fitting issues (I even had one) and also sewists trying their hand at jeans (Sallieoh did a whole series on making the Clovers look more like jeans).

Bras/Lingerie (and to a lesser extend swimwear): I think this one also took off around the time Sarai posted a bra made from a Bra Maker Supply kit. I remember I had just found that supplier a day or two before I read that post so I must have found it through someone else… I saw so many bras on blogs that I went a little mad finding kits and info that I made my supplier list. There also seemed to be an influx in other lingerie patterns, the Ruby Slip, So Zo’s undies pattern and Cloth Habit’s Rosy Lady Shorts come to mind, among others.

Then last summer I remember seeing a number of swimwear posts (although I might be biased because I made a lot of swimsuits then) like Heather’s cute emerald one-piece.

The Renfrew/Everyday sewing: This pattern was/is hugely popular and I think it started two things: more people discovered working with knits and it began a conversation on sewing basics and wearable, practical clothes (the frosting vs. cake debate). A Fashionable Stitch launched the Everyday Wardrobe challenge. There’s even Cake Patterns based on this concept!

There might be some other smaller/debatable trends – sustainable sewing/restyling, outerwear, indie patterns. I think sewing vintage is so prevalent and popular that it is beyond mere trend status. I’m sure a lot is slipping my mind. I also think my view of trends might be skewed based on my own interests.

I think sewing trends are marked by a need for challenge. Many sewing bloggers are at a similar skill level so when someone breaks out of the box and tries something new others get inspired to do the same.

Sometimes the word “trendy” gets a bad rap, like it’s a fad. I don’t mean to say that these sewing trends are silly or trivial, rather they’re more like examples the dynamism of the online sewing community and it’s fun to see how sewists’ preferences grow and change. I think trends encourage us sewists to learn new skills and expand our creative repertoire. (Who knew so many of us could make our own bras!?!)

So here are my questions: do you think sewing trends exist on the internet and are there any ones that you can think of? Do you agree with my assessment of trends or am I just making connections that aren’t there? Are there trends in fabric or garment types or colors? Any predictions for the next big thing in sewing (I’m hoping it’s leather!)?

Comments (32) for post “Are there *trends* in sewing?”

  • Interesting–I think the blog community loves anything that emphasizes the “community.” Sewing the same kind of projects at the same time gives us something in common, and something to talk about with each other. That’s my two cents!

  • I think your totally right on this one. I think its that once someone achieves something great like making their own bra it inspires others and then as a community we support each other. I don’t think I would have had the confidence to make pants without the support and great tutorials that went on. I’m not sure what the next one will be maybe shirt making following Grainline’s Archer pattern and the Craftsy course?

  • I totally agree with you! Especially with the lingerie sewing. I’d love to jump on that band wagon but I’m a bit scared to. Bra sewing looks so intense! And I swear I’m the only sewing blogger who hasn’t made a Renfrew yet lol. …though I do have the pattern so I’ll probably be changing that fact soon.

  • I think you are onto something with the challenge aspect. I also think that some trends are just seasonal, like the spring top sewalongs and whatnot. i find myself getting inspired to sew at the change of seasons because i’m tired of wearing the same thing for 4 months and am ready for some new clothes.

    i also think that sewalongs in general can be trendsetters. i kind of remember several different popular blogs doing pant tutorials when the pant “trend” was happening. I think a lot of people like being walked through the process of sewing something, especially if they haven’t done it before.

  • I’d call them sewing “fads” more than trends. Several years ago everyone and her sister was making a “Duro dress”. Then the Lady Gray Coat was huge. Recently it’s been the Renfrew, and there have been many others as well. People jump on a pattern (usually it’s one pattern in particular, with several related patterns in lesser quantities) for a while, then it fades. I think it’s fed by sewalongs, both by the pattern companies, and by the general zeitgeist on the internet.

  • Thanks for the bathing suit compliment! I really have to get around to grading that pattern… BUT I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT MAKING BRAS. I caught the bug HARD. There is a magic in a perfectly fitting bra that I have never experienced before…

    There are definitely trends in our community and I like to jump on board when someone is doing something interesting. We can’t help but be inspired by one another. I;m not sure what the next one will be but leather sounds pretty cool to me!

  • There are definitely trends, and I love it! There is always a certain amount of variation with sewing, through fabric choice, fitting issues, and so on, and I think trends really show how creative and versatile people are, even when making essentially the same thing. All that variety also leads to a wealth of information and inspiration.

    Maybe because of the fact that no two makes of the same pattern are ever identical, it seems like the sewing community really embraces trends, both big, overarching ones (lingerie sewing), and smaller ones (making up a particular pattern). It’s not frowned upon to be heavily inspired by someone else – in fact it’s fun when lots of people are working on the same sorts of things, and this sense of community is encouraged by sewalongs and contests.

  • How is “cake” an everyday thing? I don’t get it. I mean, I WISH I had cake every day. But Bread would make more sense, non? I’m definitely interested in branching out when I see people of similar abilities tackling things I had previously thought “out of my league” — like bra sewing.

  • I’ve noticed a general trend pattern lately too, and I must say I’m a huge fan of it (my wallet and overloaded pattern stash, maybe not so much ;)). What I think is interesting is that it doesn’t necessarily parallel with fashion trends – like you said, it’s more of a general type of garment, rather than a particular style. Although peplums have been REALLY picking up lately! I’m curious to see what comes up next.

    Thanks for the shout-out, btw 🙂

  • I think there must be something to this ‘hive mind’ theory because I was thinking the same thing the other day.

    There are definitely trends in the home sewing community, it kind off baffles me when sewists regard fashion trends with such distain but then there are thousands of us sat in our renfews and clovers. We are subject to trends, it just happens we associate ourselves with a different demographic

  • Oh my gosh there are totally trends in the online sewing community! Sometimes they are a reflection of overall fashion trends (like the peplum) but I think it’s way more interesting and unique when a certain pattern or type of garment becomes trendy. I feel like there are even patterns that reach mythic proportions – it sort of becomes like a secret language – for example, I feel like I can say something is “Renfrew-esque” and everyone will know what I’m talking about! I don’t think trends in general are ‘bad’ things. And especially when it comes to sewing, because there are such a myriad of ways to make a garment unique as a home-sewer.

  • I think many sewists are ready to venture out of using patterns at all. I know I have been doing a lot of draping and patternmaking of my own designs lately. I hate relying on other people’s patterns. Hopefully more bloggers will realize making their own pattern is easy and they don’t all have to use the same patterns. But there is a fun community aspect to pattern sew alongs isn’t there?

  • On the one hand I think you’re right, there definitely seem to be waves of popularity around certain types of garments. Many of us read blogs for sewing inspiration so it’s no wonder that we will make something if we see a few of them popping up on the interwebs.

    On the other hand, Suzanne’s comment made me laugh and serves as a valuable reminder that maybe we assume everyone is reading the same blogs as us (cf. Sewaholic’s “cake vs. frosting” meme) and thus following these trends in the first place!!

  • Big time! I’ve especially noticed there are more people sewing bras. I don’t, however, know people who sew in the offline world, so who knows? Maybe everyone is sewing bras, maybe everyone has always sewed bras, and maybe we’re just giving ourselves too much credit? I really want to sew a bra now.

  • haha, you’re right. perhaps though – store bought clothing is bread and sewn clothing is cake because it’s special ’cause we made it. and then the super nice sewn clothing is the frosting. 😉

  • thanks, i’m really inspired by leather lately but i still haven’t jumped head first into it. i think it’s because i don’t know where to buy leather either online or locally.

  • i know a few offline sewists who aren’t bloggers but still read blogs so they’re still influenced. i wonder what non-online sewists like to sew??

  • yeah, i think my own interests have skewed what i think is ‘popular.’ i bet there’s a whole other group of sewing blogs out there that i haven’t read and they’re into something else entirely.

  • you’re right about sew alongs, even if i don’t actually sew along i still like reading them and seeing what others make. perhaps the next big thing in sewing will be pattern drafting…?

  • great minds think alike…? 😉 i think there are a lot of fashion trends that the average person (including some sewists) doesn’t like but that’s where sewing comes in handy, you can make what you do like or take what you don’t like and turn it into something that suits you better.

  • thanks lauren, i agree, the sewing world works a little off to the side from regular fashion trends, but yeah, i’m a big proponent of the peplum. i might ride that wave straight into the ground but i’ll be having peplums in my closet for years. 😉

  • i only got really into sewing more in the last couple years so i think i missed the lady gray and this “duro dress.” you’re right, sewalongs are a big booster in pattern popularity.

  • you should totally try both of those! the renfrew is quick and easy and bra sewing is suprisingly fast. it’s just a lot of smaller seams. (look at me, encouraging others to follow trends, lol) thanks rochelle 🙂

  • i think you’re right on the “community” point. we all like to feel a little more collected to the whole, whatever or wherever that may be.

  • i also get inspired during the changing seasons, being bundled up for too long gets boring as does being too hot in the long summers we get here.

    i think, also, that seeing others creations from a sewalong some how makes a project seem less intimidating. the “if they all can do it so can I” idea.

  • Yes! There absolutely are sewing trends and honestly, I’m trying to stay away from them. Unless, like you said, it’s leather. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just get wrapped up in the excitement and make things that are not my style which mostly consists of grey tops and black leggings…

  • I agree too. There are definitely trends. Additionally to what you’ve mentioned, I think it also has to do with exposure. First one person is making a bra, and you think, ‘cool! but too difficult for me’ and then the more people you see doing it, the more you start thinking you could do it too. Same goes for certain styles, they sort of just grow on you when they start popping up everywhere. To a certain extent, I’ll never wear peplums :). And the shared knowledge base grows with them, so now if you’d want to make a bra there’s a lot of tips and tricks to find which makes it easier to start. It also seems every new indie pattern release becomes a little trend on it’s own.

  • Interesting post. I do think there are trends based on the newest pattern releases (both commercial and independent) which are encouraged even more by sew-alongs, challenges, and inspiring makes by popular bloggers. I think its all a lot of fun!

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