Do you want to take a break from your sewing machine and see what others are stitching? Here are some great reasons to join a sewing group and meet other people who love sewing as much as you do.
1. A place to develop skills
From informal chats with fellow members to organized seminars, classes or hands-on workshops, many sewing groups are organized around the idea of continuous learning. Revive the school-time tradition of “show and tell,” and ask everyone to bring something to talk about. You may discover that someone in your group is adept at a particular technique and they would love to share their knowledge with a demonstration.
2. Give back.
Many sewing groups also are involved in making thing for charity organizations, so you can contribute your skills to a good cause while spending time with new sewing friends.
3. Meet professionals
Some sewing groups host sessions with professional guest speakers who provide priceless information. Fabric sellers, pattern designers, sewing instructors and book authors make a great speakers for your local sewing group. (Local fabric stores also often have visiting speakers, and you can always connect with experts in Bluprint classes.)
4. Learn about new resources
Speaking with other stitchers is a great way to find out about new resources for fabrics, supplies and pattern, whether it’s an undiscovered fabric store to a new pattern or online class.
5. Recycle your supplies
Some organizations recycle supplies, leading to all kinds of creative expression. For me, an internet search for recycled art supplies led to a web page listing non-profits in my state that share supplies like fabric with public. Some of these places could be a great place to have a meet-up with your local stitching buddies. Check your state or local area for similar organizations.
6. Get feedback or a critique.
Need a little feedback or constructive criticism of a sewing project? Sewing groups are a great places to get the feedback you need. That’s especially true when sewing garments: We all know that it can be difficult to fit ourselves. Getting input from sewing friends has saved a few of my projects from the donation pile and taught me a lot about fitting various body shapes.
7. Get suggestions for special fabrics.
Your fellow sewing group members can help you brainstorm just what to do with a special fabric you have been treasuring for ages. Perhaps you had doubts about the fabric, or you hesitated about working with a tricky fabric. Have everyone in your group bring a few of textiles that they’re not sure how to use and throw out the question we all have: “What should I make with this fabric?”
Who doesn’t want to talk about their sewing obsession? If your non-sewing friends get a glazed look in their eyes when you talk about your latest fabric score or your topstitching triumph, then you need to find a sewing group! Step away from the sewing machine and commune with like-minded fanatics to discuss all things sewing, from new pattern releases to your latest creations.
Sharing ideas and even sewing together will get your creative juices flowing and give you a whole new set of ideas to explore. Organize a fabric or pattern swap — the white elephant party game is a lot of fun, and you might go home with something fabulous for your own stash. Perhaps try a group challenge where you all make the same item or sew using a particular theme or fabric type.
How to find a local group
You’re sold on needing to find a sewing group — but how?
A great resource to find a local group is meetup.com. Search using the keyword “sewing” or “craft,” and you’ll be amazed at how many groups are listed.
Another option is The American Sewing Guild, which is “a national organization dedicated to people who believe sewing is a creative and rewarding activity.” The ASG has chapters all over the U.S., and there are similar organizations in many countries.
Local publications and stores
Your neighborhood bulletin or local newspaper might also have information about groups to join. Fabric stores can be a great source of information and community — check if they have a group or can refer you to one nearby.
Try asking friends if they know anyone who is active in the local sewing community. Mention on Facebook that you are looking for a local group.
Start your own
Don’t be afraid to start a group of your own — you will be amazed at the number of people who want to step away from the sewing machine for a little real live sewing conversation!