Monday, November 06, 2006

It's Hip to Hem: Sewing Makes a Comeback

This is the beginning of an article from AP, Wall Street Journal. Definitely click here (Savannah Now) to read the entire article. (P.S. the photo is not a part of the story. I just like it.)

Jennifer Culpepper, a hip Washington, D.C., 33-year-old who carries an iPod nano and uses a Mac laptop, has a new gadget on her holiday wish list: a sewing machine.

Ms. Culpepper, who recently learned to make a tote bag and a blouse at a six-week beginner's sewing class, is one of the young adults who are helping the craft of sewing make a comeback. She says she has realized "how creative it is, rather than it being one of those things that old ladies do."

Amid new interest among fashion-obsessed teens, as well as Gen-Xers settling down in their first homes, fabric stores that teach sewing are seeing their classes filling up and adding waiting lists. The renewed interest is also starting to give a boost to the sewing industry, which has struggled to stay afloat over the past few decades. Manufacturers are selling more sewing machines, and pattern companies, which have rolled out products geared to a hipper, more fashion-savvy set, report that those efforts are paying off in bigger sales.

The sewing trend piggybacks on broader interest in home arts, from knitting to cooking, that has been building in recent years. It hasn't hurt that women's fashions now favor personalization _ encouraging people to sew appliques on their jeans _ and vintage looks, which inspire hipsters to reconstruct thrift-store finds. TV has thrown another wild card into the mix in the past couple of years: "Project Runway," a reality show that showcases pattern-making and sewing, as fashion designers compete to display their work in New York.

Toby Haberman, owner of Haberman Fabrics of Royal Oak, Mich., says interest in sewing picked up in recent years. But in the past year, "Project Runway" "really blew it away," she says. "Whereas years ago if you made something you didn't want anyone to know, now I hear people say, 'Yes, I made that!'" She has capitalized on the trend by launching classes for kids and teens modeled on the show.

All this is making the demographics of sewing younger and more urban than at any time since the 1950s. In high-tech San Francisco, the Stitch Lounge, an urban sewing lounge where people can rent machines by the hour, reports a big surge in interest since it opened its doors two years ago. Hope Meng, one of three co-owners, thinks computer and BlackBerry-obsessed workers are yearning for something tactile and creative. At Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Ill., a recent class in the niche area of corset making drew not only middle-age women and costume designers, but also young adults who favor the edgy "Goth" look. And Fabricland, a North Plainfield, N.J., fabric store that offers classes, will offer 27 different courses this month, up from five last November, and the "Absolute Beginners for Adults" classes have waiting lists.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Hi Cheryl,

I just found your blog today. I'm the author of one of L.A.'s books "Quick & Easy Romantic Quilts". I'd love to exchange links with you.