Does ageism exist in modern dressmaking and why do we need the SewOver50 hashtag?

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So, does ageism exist in modern dressmaking both as a pastime and an industry as it’s developing at the moment? Obviously I hope the answer to my question is “no” but I have my doubts that’s the case.

Why am I even asking? I’m asking because, after I published my last blog about ‘big 4 patterns’ and indie patterns, one point I raised for discussion was that I’d noticed certain pattern designers were ignoring my photos when I’d tagged their product in them. It seems this resonated with others too, and all of us appear to be in the over 45-50 in age group. I’m also well aware by saying this that there will be those who think I’m being paranoid, have an over-inflated sense of my own importance or just suffering from FOMO! (fear of missing out, if you haven’t heard that before) simply for writing this.

Firstly, a very quick lesson in Instagram if you don’t use the platform-those of us who use Instagram regularly know that if we share photos of garments we’ve made it’s completely normal to say which pattern it is and also where we bought the fabric from for example, by ‘tagging’ those companies in the picture. Doing this means that others who see your post know what the products are if they’re are interested in buying them. Within the Instagram sewing community it’s a normal part of what we all enjoy. Tagging also alerts those companies or individuals to a post containing one of their products which they wouldn’t otherwise see. It’s nice to get a ‘like’ from these companies or individuals, more as an acknowledgement than anything else, a comment is even better and a repost on their own feed is the ultimate in flattering acknowledgment of your make.

Eventually it’s possible to strike up ‘conversations’ with some of these companies, much in the same way we do between ourselves in response to photos we like or find interesting or intriguing for example. [Weird guys with guns looking for lurve and usually involving God are a whole other matter and to be avoided and blocked at all costs]  We use their product and mention it so it’s free advertising for them, we get the satisfaction of knowing they’ve seen what we’ve made.

So far, so good, but in the last two years or so there seems to be a proliferation of new independent pattern companies and they are all clamouring for our attention and support, it’s becoming a very crowded market.

I won’t lie, it is very satisfying to have your work acknowledged and I’m always happy when it happens for one of my makes because we all like that approval don’t we? I’ve learned, however, that there are some companies who never acknowledge a tag, it isn’t what they do, it can be a bit like that on Twitter too. There’s no point in jumping up and down in front of them like a needy child.

Initially I didn’t really notice with a particular pattern company I’d used because when I shared the first post of my make being modelled by Doris my dress stand it got a ‘like’. In other words, no clues there to what I look like or anything, and I made it in almost identical fabric to the photo to the pattern cover itself, nothing too ‘inappropriate’. I decided I’d share some better photos in nicer surroundings when I was on holiday a couple of weeks later. This time I ‘modelled’ the dress myself and tagged all the usual information, pattern, fabric etc. Eventually I noticed that it hadn’t provoked a response this time…interesting I thought.

Earlier in the summer I made a garment for a student’s Final exhibition and by chance was asked to use a particular pattern by this same company for it. The photo I was eventually able to share was again of a headless dress stand wearing the garment and this got an acknowledgment.

Funny, I thought, so I had a look at their feed for myself. It’s fair to say that it’s all a beautifully curated series of images, there are reposts of other people’s makes too but all very much in line with their chosen ‘company’ image and saying more about the carefully staged photo than the garment itself. Of course any company is perfectly entitled to use only the images it chooses to to promote itself, I understand that.

I’d decided to make a second version of the dress with some lovely printed viscose linen fabric I bought in Sewisfaction, it was ideal for the dress and would be comfortable in the very hot weather we’d been experiencing in the UK. I would test my suspicions by tagging the pattern company in a photo of me wearing it to see what happened! As I expected, nothing happened. I got a lovely comment and a repost from Sewisfaction about the fabric but as far as the pattern went my face clearly doesn’t fit and I’ll draw my own conclusions why.

Ok, so now I definitely sound paranoid right?

This isn’t the only indie company that I’ve had it happen with and I now know, because other sewers have told me, that they feel ignored by some brands too. It’s like there’s an inner sanctum of pattern brands, bloggers with large followings and newly-hatched fabric businesses and it all goes around and around in this special perfect storm of ‘dreamy’ fabric and ‘swoon-worthy’ ruffles (and when did we get so much hyperbole in sewing too!?)

So what next? Well there isn’t much I can actually ‘do’ other than not bother tagging in photos, I guess if a person looking at my feed is interested enough in the garment they can ask me directly what it is and I’ll tell them. Also, I like to write pattern reviews here on the blog and each one can take me hours to put together. Simple Sew provide me with patterns but almost every other review has been of my own volition because I think I’ve got something useful or helpful to say about a pattern, I don’t write “it’s pretty and here are some lovely pictures of me modelling it” because that’s fairly pointless. I would have written a blog about the offending dress but now I shan’t because why would I waste my time when I could be sewing other things instead. [I should have been concerned from the outset because the model on the packet is about 6’ 7” and 6” wide so I’m guessing I’m not their target audience! hasn’t stopped me yet though LOL] At nearly £20 a pop these patterns are at the distinctly pricey end too.

Which brings me to the newly created hashtag ’SewOver50’. Fellow sewer and Instagrammer Judith Staley felt strongly enough to set up a new account @sewover50 in order that anyone can feel more connected with the online sewing community. In the first 3 days the response has been astonishing, and I think Judith has found it a little overwhelming. The sheer volume of women [no men with guns etc etc] has been extraordinary and I think is an indication of the number of people who want their own ’tribe’, where they don’t feel pushed aside by ambitious younger women. We all have a lot to offer this sewing community of ours and it’s worldwide. In the UK we’re pretty good at holding meet ups and I think the same is true in Australia, I’m not so sure about the US though.

Personally, I love being part of a completely mixed group-all ages, all sizes, all ethnicities, and I don’t want that to change. I don’t only want to be part of the ‘over-50’s’, not at all! But I won’t sit back and let us be ignored either and if this blog upsets or provokes a few people then good! Of course it’s vital to be ambitious for your business and have big plans and ideas but I would remind the ones who think it doesn’t matter if they engage, or not, with an older demographic that by choosing not to acknowledge or engage then they are potentially closing off a lucrative income stream. That isn’t a very sound business idea is it?

On a recent Stitcher’s Brew podcast Amy Thomas, editor of Love Sewing magazine here in the UK, said specifically that she wanted to include a really diverse range of readers in the magazine (this must be true because even I’ve been in it!) which is great and the evidence is there in the pages. I hope other magazines are of a similar opinion but as I don’t buy loads of them I can’t comment. Several pattern brands which I’ve mentioned before including Maven and The Maker’s Atelier take a very broad and inclusive look at who buys their products and then feature those makers in their own advertising and so on. Their styles are classic and wearable but fashion forward and designed to be remade many times, not here today, gone tomorrow. Incidentally, I’m not sponsored by either of them, I just admire their aesthetic.

I could go on but I’d prefer that others join in the discussion and open it up. Does ageism exist in dressmaking and if so, do we just accept it, like in so many other areas of life? Will our new Instagram identity bring it to the attention of those perpetuating it and cause them to reflect on the business sense of it? I hope so.

To the women who think that over 50 is a foreign country, god willing it’s where you will be one day, like it or not. We haven’t all sunk into senility yet, we don’t (always) wear elasticated waists, we do wear fashionable clothing and high heels and dye our hair, we listen to modern music and drink too much wine on occasion, we sometimes but not always enjoyed our youth but we wouldn’t necessarily want to go through it all again. Yes we might be old enough to be your mother (or even grandmother) but as I saw someone say the other day “we aren’t dead and we aren’t invisible!” deal with it!! IMG_7969

If you’ve read this far, thank you, and please leave a comment as I’m genuinely interested in what others have to say about this topic and regardless of the age group you’re currently in.

Happy sewing 

Sue

71 thoughts on “Does ageism exist in modern dressmaking and why do we need the SewOver50 hashtag?

  1. Susan, I could have written this post – although not as eloquently or in such a thought provoking manner. I too don’t want to be pigeonholed, although belonging to the #sewover50 group has attractions. Not least many of us bring a wealth of experience to the table but I am saddened that despite us spending our bucks, we are not considered worthy! I want to belong to a diverse community of women who celebrate our different ages, shapes, cultures and tastes and perhaps that maturity of view is something that age has given us and that is not so readily available when one unable to use the#sewover50?

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    1. gosh that was quick! Thank you Sally. I too very much want to be part of a diverse collective so it saddens me to feel like this. I think you’re right about maturity, it comes with age! This won’t stop me sewing and dressmaking though-maturity also means I care less what people think of me.

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  2. Hurrah! You’ve put into words exactly what I’ve been mulling over in the last few months. I’ve lost my sewing mojo recently & I honestly feel that the endless stream of very similar images that do not speak to me as I’m approaching middle age is a contributing factor. I’m looking for confident, daring, edgy & individual sewists for inspiration as I get older and hope following the new hashtag will inspire & motivate me!

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  3. Susan – I have written this post on my blog in various forms in past years for ageism, sizism, and colorism. And like you I’ve stopped tagging the pattern companies on IGthat seem to ignore us. If they can’t see the wisdom in appealing to an older demographic, I don’t need to beg to be liked. I sew for pleasure and just don’t feel like jumping up and down in front of you asking you to notice me. However, this way of thinking does discourage other sewists and reduces our presence. I think that’s one of the reasons that the sewingover50 hashtag took off so quickly.

    Although if you take a quick scroll through the followers of sewover50 on IG, you will see that there are a quite a few fabric companies following and a couple of pattern firms just not the ones you’re referring to!

    I am always amazed though that the more mature sewist is neglected. So often we have more disposable income to purchase more patterns & fabric and that fact seems to be swallowed in the look of youth. Thank you for writing such a wonderful post. BTW, it’s not bitterness to state the obvious – its just a fallback to provide cover for them.

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. I don’t have a big reach with my blog and sometimes it’s an outlet for saying what I think without too much fear of it being read! I think a lot of us are grumpy about this issue simply BECAUSE we want it to be inclusive, not feel driven off to the sidelines. Let’s see what (if anything) happens x

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  4. Hi Susan! I have so many thought!!! First of all, GREAT post!!!

    Second, I’m 36 (Hi, I’m Gillian and I run the Sewcialists, as well as my own blog Crafting a Rainbow), and as I said on IG, I don’t see the ageism in my own feed – many of my most frequent commenters and sewing friends are over 50, and I follow lots of sewists over 50 in return. However, I do think that there is a huge community of older sewists who don’t feel young/cool/thin/whatever enough to join in blogging and posting pics of themselves.

    When it comes to the Sewcialists, our goal is to be a platform that welcomes and represents everyone – so if you look back at our posts, you’ll see a good proportion are written by people over 50 as well as authors who are curvy/LGBTQ+/a range of skin tones etc. However, when we did our annual survey, 20% said they’d like to see more sewists over 50! That’s what prompted my post suggesting communities that might start up next https://sewcialists.wordpress.com/2018/08/17/sewcialists-curvy-sewing-collective-sew-queer-chronically-sewn-now-who-will-be-next/ … and that lead to @Sewover50!
    I had no idea the response would be so strong, but I think Judith is doing an amazing job!

    Finally… that thing about reposting? It’s totally true, in my opinion. It’s not just older women not being reported though, its definitely also plus size women, and I’m sure other communities as well. I’ve actually emailed and messaged brands about it, because I always hope they just don’t realise what they are doing… but I can’t say I’ve seen any change. Here’s a post we had recently that also deals with the topic: https://sewcialists.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/who-we-are-not-included/

    Finally… sorry this is long… we’re planning a post with Judith when things settle down to feature how the Over50 community started… would you be open to us using a quote from your post and link to your thoughts? I think it’s a conversation worth spreading! 🙂

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    1. Hello Gillian, thank you so much for your response. In all honesty I realise there are bound to be several areas, which you mention, that are under-represented and I’ve only chosen to focus on a single one simply because it’s the one I know about. I’ll take a look at your own posts, and in the meantime I’d be happy for you to quote and link to this post in the future.

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  5. Nicely put Susan. I’m not in the over 50 bracket but I’m in a few other under represented brackets. I don’t want to be in an exclusive group but I do want to be part of an inclusive group. Highlighting bias in a reasonable decent way is hopefully a way to provoke thoughts in these companies and might shift how they promote themselves.

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  6. Hello Susan

    As always, I thoroughly enjoy seeing a post from you – a nearly 50, plus-sized and new sewing bee I am happy to learn and share from others – variety is the spice of life and all that.

    I hear you re. Tagging in social media and, at first, was a little miffed when there was no recognition but then thought why am I bothered? Or even bothering?

    I tag others as recognition (thank you), or for ease of finding something. Like outside the sewing world (gulp, can I say that?) there are always those who play the game and those who won’t, just like some people always thank, appreciate and recognise others vs those who will never (or rarely) say, “thank you”.

    So, if you like or tag me, I will try to reciprocate.

    THANK YOU Susan and to sewing bees of all ages, skills and styles for sharing your inspiration, experience and skills we (at the very least me) couldn’t do it without you.

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    1. Hello Wai, it’s a lot more about our mutual support at a grassroots level isn’t it. I spend much more of my time commenting with advice or encouragement than I do hoping to be noticed by pattern companies! That’s also the way I intend to continue.

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  7. Wow! You’ve done it again – another brilliant blog. As a woman whose nearer to 60 than 50, there does appear to be an issue with ageism in some aspects of current sewing circles. I’ve stopped following certain accounts because, like you say, if they can’t even be bothered responding why promote them? Any form of discrimination (which this is) be it against age, size or the colour of a person’s skin is unacceptable and needs to be highlighted. So well done! Although this is going off the subject slightly, what I also find interesting and a little disturbing in the current sewing climate is the ever growing element of consumerism. Now I understand that businesses have to advertise and make a profit, but there also appears to be an increasing ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ aspect to both the sale of patterns and fabric that is not too dissimilar to the fast fashion industry on the high street which, like the subject of age, I’m also uncomfortable with and was one of the reasons I went back to sewing my own clothes again. But to get back to the subject – I wouldn’t swap being the age I am for anything (I saw Bowie and The Clash live 🙌). So thanks again for a great thought provoking and extremely interesting post. Knowing there are other women out there who feel the same is reassuring and empowering xx

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    1. Hi Mary, thank you so much for responding. The major part of what I enjoy about being in the sewing community is our mutual support and encouragement, and that goes right across the whole age spectrum. If my speaking out starts a change happening then it will have been worthwhile. I saw Bowie too, just once, good times 😉

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  8. Such a bang on post yet again! The companies are actually shooting themselves in the foot by their dismissive actions as we aren’t tagging and promoting them. They encourage you to use specific hashtags on their packets, why bother if we’re going to be filtered out as not suitable Insta box material. I don’t know about anyone else but it does feel like an active blanketing of certain sections of the community. I remember my Mum saying to me one day some years ago that she felt invisible at work when she started to age, I didn’t understand what she meant at the time. I do now. In a society where discrimination isn’t tolerated we shouldn’t allow these undercurrents to go unchallenged. I may start using the #untaggedinsertcompany hashtag as a cheeky dig 😂

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    1. Thank you for bringing this up Sue, it’s never easy to address such things and you do it so fairly. I think the key is to openly discuss it and then if companies are remotely interested in our demographic (💰💷💶) then they may take note and make amends, though subtlely of course as it wouldn’t reflect well on them to openly admit to ageism and any ism. Just this morning I noticed in my IG notifications that a pattern company had liked a god awful dress made from rags that I’ve just finished, I made a pinafore of theirs a few months ago which I tagged but not a peep! So I think it shows that these folk are scouting around and reading what we’re saying. Incidentally, I liked this pattern because I was within size measurement of this range, just about (for a change) X

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  9. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for your post! I’m not over 50, but I think there is definitely bias in indie companies acknowledging (not even reposting) images you tag them in.

    As you say, some companies will only like or repost images that are pretty enough. I never post particularly staged or pretty photos of my makes because life is too short and I hate having my photo taken​! As a result I have never had a single like or comment from pattern companies I’ve tagged. Fabric shops will often like or comment when they’re tagged…

    To me the sewing community sometimes doesn’t feel inclusive, particularly when you’re outside of the aesthetic clique whatever the reason is.

    I love the mix of patterns you showcase and find your posts and makes inspiring!

    Sonia x

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  10. I’m afraid this is all true; sad but very true….I love sewing period so I follow some of everybody but I wont deny the discrimination I see clearly with the ageism and a few others aspects….there is always this mean girl thing going on trying to keep people out that they don’t deem worthy…I’ve seen horrible behavior between bloggers who were basically picking on another blogger because they felt what she had sewn for their swap wasn’t “good enough”….its terrible…I’ve always strayed away from over competitive folks when I started sewing because I didn’t wan’t that kinda energy surrounding something I love so much….this is a great post and you’re right; if it ruffled a few feathers then so be it!…

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    1. I’ve witnessed that sort of horrible behaviour too and I want no part of it. I suppose the fact is that there are unpleasant people in absolutely any walk of life and the sewing community won’t be immune from them. At least we can block or unfollow them although the mental anguish they cause can’t so easily be forgotten or overlooked.

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  11. Thank you for a really good post! I’m not quite 50 yet but I do recognize the phenomenon you talk about. I myself represent many other “subgroups” such as plus-sized, blogless etc so I’ve experienced the said issues too.
    One of the issues that mostly slow my activity in the community is that I’m not native English speaking. I guess it is not very obvious to most people what it is like to hesitate to comment because you are not sure if you’re understood the way you mean to… Anyway, I love the positivity of this “campaign”!

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  12. Hey Sue! 1Stitchforward here 🙂 i can’t speak for people over 50, but if I’m guessing right, I am not surprised at all about that particular pattern company. I pattern tested for them once and made a dress that was very clearly appreciated by the community (if you judge by likes), but they didn’t repost, nor acknowledge its existence in any way. This is not to say there isn’t ageism in the community, but just not necessarily to base it on the response of that company. Hope to see you soon!

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    1. Ha! There seems to be a bit of a pattern (!) developing-indie pattern companies want testers but then they don’t like the results so they disregard them. I remember someone-and I genuinely have no recollection of who-wanting testers but basically they only wanted people who would produce nice photos (!?) of the end result and there was less than 2 weeks to carry this out!! A need to be any good at actual sewing didn’t seem to be a requirement! WTAF! anyway, that’s a slightly different issue really…thanks for replying, hopefully I’ll see you at another meet-up soon xx

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  13. Hi. I really liked your post. I just jumped over to instagram and typed in the sewover50 hashtag and have to say that I enjoy seeing pictures of other 50+ women like myself! so whatever the motivation (and your post describes a very important one) I think it’s very valuable for us to have a voice, and see each other thrive and be beautiful, each in our own way. younger women dominate the online sewing platform, definitely, probably partly because they grew up using computers so much that it was second nature. so hurrah to older women who sew and express their creativity in this way, and post pictures!

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  14. Hi Susan. Have looked up your blog post after chatting at the Sewing Weekender. Wow – you are an eloquent writer and a great read. I have no direct experience of the ageism in acknowledging tags – maybe because I am not good at tagging stuff I post! As discussed though it is noticeable how few companies feature older models. I love reading blogs – it gives me the opportunity to be inspired by women of all ages and sizes .I too don’t want to be excluded from a mixed age group of sewists – but I’m following #sewover50 too. Hoping to be inspired by the many more mature stylish ladies out there!
    Hope to bump into you again soon

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    1. Hi Ann, thanks for reading it. Like you, it’s really important to me to part of a completely mixed group of sewers but as we’ve noticed ageism apparently creeping in to home sewing as well as being used to it in the fashion market then we need to make our presence felt before we feel completely sidelined. I was looking through the Stoff and Stil brochure we were given yesterday and there is, at least, one older model (although no one of colour) so that’s something. It was lovely to see you again over the weekend and I hope we’ll catch up again sometime soon.

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  15. Oh, l do agree! l’m newish to instagram and twitter but definitely oldish to sewing!!! There does seem to be a real bias towards some pattern companies/bloggers/online fabric shops circulating the ‘lurve’ between themselves. l do appreciate that they are running businesses and want to achieve maximum exposure, but i find that exclusivity off putting. l get bored with the same old (or young!! haha!!) names, @ and hashtags.
    l’ve been at this a long time, sew very much for me now and its great to find a like minded (and age appropriate) group.
    So, thank you!!

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  16. As a ‘non-instagrammer’ I still recognise what you are saying and also (sadly) the comments in the responses. One of the things I really enjoy about the sewing community is being able to share experiences (after all, I have made every mistake going) and encourage those asking for help or advice. In a way it shows how far I have come with my sewing that I can now offer advice! By ignoring those of us who identify with this # the pattern companies are ignoring a huge wealth of talent and experience that you would think they would want to tap into.

    My own pet peeve is that the pictures on pattern envelopes are inevitably of young girls with no curves or wobbly bits! A certain Cornwall based clothing company has started using a mature lady in their online catalogue and it made me realise how much I appreciated seeing someone like me in their images. Makers Atelier are also to be applauded for their use of ’ladies of a certain age’ in their material. It means I can so easily identify with them and their patterns – which I love.

    I hope your blog and the new # campaign makes these companies sit up and take notice! Thank you!

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  17. Maybe the trend against those of us over 50 is the reason that the indie patterns often have sleeves so tight we can’t get our arms into them!!! I never have that problem with a Big 4 pattern,

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  18. Thanks for the post- it was tweeted by the fold line so count me as a new follower! I do think the pattern companies miss a trick- our spending power should not be underestimated – we are the ones that buy and don’t always mind keeping a stash- we also make for our very ‘suitable’ teenage or young adult children. I’ve used the same pattern for my 81 yr old mother myself at 50 and -16 yr old daughter. Each dress adapted for the wearer- this should be celebrated! I don’t really post but would enjoy someone else’s posts like that!
    I value the pattern reviews and Instagram photos on how a pattern would look on a variety of ages and sizes so fully support inclusivity.

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    1. Hi Joanne, thank you for joining the debate. That’s such a good idea of using the same pattern for 3 generations! As you say, our spending power shouldn’t be underestimated and I think companies (both patterns and fabric) are overlooking a great opportunity.

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  19. Oh my goodness I love this. I was beginning to think I was the only 50+ sewist interested in these newer pattern companies and feeling very left out due to the youthful social media demographic. I absolutely agree that we probably do have considerably more spending power than the younger generation and for that reason alone we should not be ignored. Like some other commenters I am also sewing for three 20 something daughters so have a considerable interest in what’s new. I am following the # with interest.

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  20. Does ageism exist in modern dressmaking? Not necessarily—but without a doubt it runs rampant within Marketing, Social Media and Fashion.

    Designers aspiring to make a living through e-commerce often adopt “lifestyle” strategies and tactics for their marketing. They are doing what they were taught in Social Media 101. Sigh.

    As Carolyn comments (above) they are missing a huge market of creative women with disposable income. Sometimes I want to reach out and say “Honey, I know you didn’t ask for my advice, but I know what I’m talking about. Inclusivity, not exclusivity, will get you where you want to go. You’ll still be in business five years from now if you show me that dress in a creative way on curvy woman old enough to have an interesting past.”

    Five years from now I’ll still be a modern dressmaker but most of these pattern sites will be out of business.

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  21. YEA! for this post. I discovered sewing blogs about three years ago and learned that sewing was back in style. It was exciting. I started looking for blogs written by women over 50, and they were scarce. I wanted to see what women closer to my own age (70) were making, but they were hard to find. I have found a few; in fact, I just last week found Sewsmittenkitten and love it. If you ladies can suggest other over-50 sewists on line, please tell me how to reach them. I’m “sew” glad to know about the “sew over 50” group.

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    1. Hi Jeanette, I’m glad you’ve found us! there are loads of over 50 sewers on Instagram but as you rightly observe, not many of them (to my knowledge) write blogs. Kathy ‘Sew Dainty’ certainly does so have a look at hers.

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  22. Oh My Word! I never suspected! Now it all makes sense. (and I am a little pissed off. I had no idea that ageism was also within the sewing community but then again, why not. We are all people and we are all flawed. Thank you Susan…. I had stopped looking at instagram and posted very little as I felt that my own aesthetic/age bracket was missing. I had no idea that there were so many of us. Thank you. 65 and sewing strong… Cape Cod US

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  23. Hmm. I feel differently. I am 63, have sewed since I was a kid, stopped when I was too busy, and have returned to it again. I love the contributions of all the new young sewists and sewing companies. I do not feel any more excluded by them than I feel excluded by many women my own age. I am thoroughly bored by many things that some older sewists have to say about sewing. I love the energy and enthusiasm of those young sewers. I admire the young for working so hard to actually make a living from their sewing. The most exciting older sewists are those who engage with all those who sew, do their own creative thing, and don’t waste their time worrying whether their experience is thoroughly appreciated. I will follow blogs or Instagram posts from anyone who who helps me grow creatively , no matter their age. There is nothing so dreary as listening to older women complain about younger women. Yes, I want to hear from women my age, so please speak up, but tAlk to me about your sewing dreams and experiences, not the acts of younger sewists.

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    1. It isn’t my intention to be complaining about younger sewers, far from it because I’ve made many, and varied, younger friends via Instagram specifically, as well as much older ones. If you think my post was only a moan at all younger women then I think maybe you’ve misunderstood it a bit, of course I realise they are working hard to make a livelihood. There probably are plenty of boring older sewers but we don’t have to follow them if they don’t say anything that interests us. Being part of a mixed and exciting creative environment is what I enjoy, and meeting up with like minded women is great too, but I won’t be pushed aside either. I have things to offer and I’ve reached that age where as a previously not over-confident person I’ll say what I think [and it seems a lot of others are thinking too] if it opens up a debate then all well and good.

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  24. Hello I’m a 68 year old maker and sewer ( hate the word sewist) and have read all the posts with great interest. Many women in my generation were the first to eschew the two-piece crimplene outfit, permed and tinted hairdo and the roll-on corselette ( my mum gave me one when I was on my twenties, still got it, haven’t worn it!). I don’t blog or have an Instagram account but abhor ageism of any form and actively enjoying challenging some people’s ideas of how women of my generation should look and behave, sometimes quietly and occasionally loudly and rather rudely! I find I like surprising people and it’s the surprise that makes them remember and think. And as for being invisible, sometimes it can be quite comfortable and even amusing. I’m strong, healthy, independent and able and will do all I can in my everyday life to chip away at and challenge ageism and any other “ism” I encounter. And dare I say that sometimes my age and gender make it easier for me to do that and encounter less aggressive responses? We’ve come a long way. Maybe we need to give others time to catch up with us?!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. As a returnee to the sewing fold after retirement, I absolutely agree. There are a few blogs/businesses that include a wide range of ages & sizes but I find myself avoiding so many because I don’t feel an affinity with their image & yet my age group has the time (& often the skills) to be a substantial target clientele. No elasticated waists or frumpy shapes please, we just want good & interesting designs too!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. My instagram has gone rarely updated and I haven’t tagged any companies yet, but I can see this happening to mine for sure, because over 50 and overweight.

    One of the ways I use instagram is to see how patterns will look on me by searching through everyone’s pics who have tagged the pattern I am interested in, and especially anyone who is plus sized to get a sense if the pattern is flattering for my body type before I spend money. I will consider tagging in the future for this specific purpose although I am sure that would annoy the pattern companies that I have tagged, LOL.

    It is discouraging to see discrimination, but it’s not surprising. It doesn’t feel like a community as much as a marketing platform some of the people who start up businesses. The likes and attention, pattern test opportunities, etc., that these businesses give out are to keep people hooked on spending their money with them. I hardly think these businesses actually care about the people that do this labor and marketing for free for them, though they pretend to. Social media + business is not a community, but a platform for businesses to take advantage of people, in exchange for bragging rights.

    Sorry to be a bitter pill, but I have wasted precious time and energy on different social media platforms around different topics of interest, only to find it’s a waste of time for the most part, at least when it comes to actual community and the only people getting anything from it are the “famous” ones. That is just not worth people’s time IMO.

    I love the idea of the over50 hashtag, that is really great!

    Like

  27. Just as young women have begun to take charge of sewing by deigning and sewing the clothes they want to see for themselves, so too can we design and sew the clothes we want. Why not create your own label if you are disappointed in what you see in the sewing marketplace!

    Like

  28. Thank you, what a thought provoking read. I have sewn and tagged a few indie pattern makes, and just thought my photos weren’t good enough when they weren’t liked or reposted, even though I was really proud of my makes. I never thought for a moment it was an age related decision on their part, the fact that it probably is horrifies me. I have sewing friends of all ages in the instagram community, but must admit to feeling a bit under-represented sometimes. It’s great that you’ve started a community where I fit right in, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When @judithrosalind started the SewOver50 account and hashtag she’s given us all a means to connect with one another now. Like you, I love being part of a completely mixed community and it’s shame that elements of it feel they don’t need our input or cold hard cash! They must be doing awfully well in that case…

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Your “pushed aside by a. younger women” was a little harsh but as a 75 year old resumee seamstress/ sewist, I relate. I was pretty happy when after watching the petite Lisa(s), Tilly, Athina, etc., I found Michoumakes.

    The thing is though that now you have planted the flag, you’ve got to set up the parallel universe for us….the #sewing competitions/participations…..My capsule wardrobe for retirement….my flattering pant/trouser fitting journey,…mature figure flattering patterns.

    There are independent patterns for heavy figures so why not for old ones?

    You go woman!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve just looked at Michoumakes. Why oh why does she say she’s flattered that so many people want to watch an old woman like her? Whoah, come on please! As for younger women pushing us aside let’s remember what Susan commented earlier “We are all in this together”. I take the “we” to be all women, regardless of age, shape, colour and creed. We must help, encourage and applaud our young women and not allow anything to splinter us. That can only benefit marketing and advertising and those who feel threatened by our strength. As older women we have a lot to offer in many fields and let us never forget it or allow ourselves to feel otherwise. After a weekend with my grandchildren I know I have less energy than my daughters but my daughters know I will always help and support and share my experience and skills with them. Different but equally valuable.

        Liked by 1 person

  30. My blog reading/writing has lagged, so I’m just finding this marvelous post. In my case, as a returning and sporadic sewist, I’ve been inspired and encouraged by the online sewing community.(I just can’t refer to us as sewers, having spent many years working with wastewater treatment engineers) However, the #sewover50 didn’t totally grab me at first. I’m going to give it another look (but oh lordy I need to add another decade to it, holy cow) and probably join in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know not everyone is ‘getting’ SewOver50, it’s certainly never been our intention to ‘ring-fence’ ourselves, it’s all about making everyone feeling included and confident enough to share their makes with the rest of us. Give it another try, there are some really inspiring ladies (and a couple of men too) we just want the youngsters to be aware that they haven’t invented something new and we were doing it first! I hope that makes some sense and thank you, as ever, for responding.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. I think that it’s a little sad that pattern companies will focus their attentions on younger sewers like me despite the fact that the older demographics often have more time and disposable income to focus on sewing when compared to broke uni students. On top of this, even if they don’t have any more sewing experience, they certainly have more life experience and can bring many more ideas and inspirations to the table. I wish you luck in your #sewover50

    Liked by 1 person

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