Saturday, 21 June 2014

Sewing Lost Skill or Lost Art?

Huffington Post ran an article on lost skills grandparents have (had) that the author assumes the reader does not. Sewing appears as one of seven "lost skills".
Sewing (and crocheting and quilting and darning)grandmother sewing
These days, if someone gets a hole in their socks or jeans, they generally buy a new pair. Your grandparents, on the other hand, darned old socks and everything else. Sure, a few folks still sew. But due to budget cuts and weak demand, many school systems have dropped sewing classes from the curriculum, meaning fewer young people have the opportunity to learn. Yet many of our readers cited sewing as a lost art they'd like to see revitalized.
Sewing as a lost art! Of course, this article was not a scientifically researched subject. The data originates from a small informal collection from facebook readers. They even threw in a picture of a vintage sewing machine to sew in their point. What ever happened to the good-old days of well-researched objective journalism?

At risk of appearing as not being objective in this subject I'm going to weigh in. I don't think that sewing is a lost art! Oh my goodness, all I have to do is sit at my computer whenever I need help with a certain task and I have a whole library of resources at my fingertips! Most of the youtube videos that I watch for tutorials are posted by young people, not grannies! Sewing is not a lost art when there are hundreds if not thousands of examples of people sharing this skill online through blogs, videos, pinterest, instragram, facebook and twitter! Goodness, how can the author of the article use facebook as their source and miss all the facebook pages dedicated to sewing followers? Never mind the popularity of fashion-themed reality-television shows that have spin-off product lines.

I disagree that "school systems have dropped sewing classes from the curriculum" because of weak demand. I work in a school and trust me I see talented kids with an interest in sewing. If anything our culture has changed since the hey-day of home economics classes. The world is a different place since I was enrolled in home economics classes. We did our research without the aid of the internet. I know the horror! And we survived. We are now in the realm of the "new economy." The fashion industry has changed a lot during this time. The promise of globalization has meant that many jobs were shipped overseas to far-off places where lower wages meant cheaper made and priced clothing. The perceived decline in sewing is a complicated one that the article skirts around.

Sewing as a lost art is not a fact, it is myth. Well, now that I said my two cents worth, I'm off to darn some socks.

Happy Sewing!


  1. I agree sewing is seeing resurgence, especially amongst the young. I teach high school, and kids want to know how to sew, but here in the UK all our arts provision is under attack and textiles is one of the first to go, it's often marginalised in the arts curriculums, with poor resourcing almost impossible to teach. And as part of design technology it's often dropped in favour of food, resistant materials, graphics and engineering. I used to love teaching textiles, but now it's impossible, when my textile resources are limited to one batik wax pot, two pairs of fabric scissors, a few reels of thread, a few fabric scraps, and I mean scraps, no pins, and a couple of really really poor sewing machines, which even I find tricky to sew with, let alone a beginner.

  2. Sewing has made a huge comeback, but ppl still think it is a lost art. HP should have done better research to find the truth.

  3. Last time we were drug into to the insurance office to discuss household coverage, my husband brought up my sewing machines and the guy looked at us and said 'people still do that?' my husband replied- 'well you aren't naked, are you?' . After much researching, they said we could list them as antiques. Nice.

  4. When I was teaching, our home economics teacher was retiring and the administration decided to eliminate home economics. I asked if I could teach it. Being a math teacher, I realized the need for students to have a reason to USE what they learn and have a desire to even be at school. They told me that parents would rather have their kids take computer or art--the only choices. Very sad.


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