The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

I am NOT a Sewer

I do not need Draino, or to be unstopped.  I do not smell (thankyouverymuchladiesandgentlemen – unless of course I’m from Paris, and I smell delightful and have tours regularly!).  And most of all I am not attended to by men wearing un-intentional hipsters (usually viewed from the rear!!!!)

A sewer

Of course this is a play on words, but it is mistaken lots of times.  When I put “sewer” into a Google search, you won’t believe what I get – and let’s not talk about an image search….eeeeeeuuuuuw!!!

So what’s a person do to if one sews?  What does one call oneself if not a sewer, then what?….a seamstress?  When I look up sewer at, I find that the definition I’m looking for is buried between the drainage ditch and a household officer in charge of attending to the household needs – what?  None of that is even close to what I’m looking for.  And seamstress is fine, but there’s a connotation that this person is merely a technician.  Even sewingperson is better.

But what about those of us who are more than technicians?

And don’t turn away, thinking you’re not an artist or more than a technician, –  – it’s just exactly YOU I’m talking to!

Why?  Well, let’s look at this for a minute.

Artist (, again) is a person who is engaged in a creative activity – so what’s a creative activity?  An activity in which something creative is done or something is created – ah ha!!!  Eureka!  We’ve hit the nail on the head. Here you are.  Why?

Think about this for a minute:  who decided on the fabric?…..who decided on the pattern?….did you change the pattern?….take something out?….put something in?….watch out – here it comes – – this is EXACTLY what an artist does.  An artist creates a vision, then he/she takes that vision and makes it real.  Along the way the artist runs across lots of problems, some even including “unsewing” (a gentile rendition of taking out seams!)  And what happens when the artist runs across lots of problems?….the artists figures out ways to solve the problems….like –  that seam is crooked, how can I fix that – first I have to take it out and then pin in more frequently.  People, I’m here to tell you that this is a simple matter of being an artist – you have just developed a solution to a problem, inventing a technique that has allowed to to implement your vision into a real thing.  Even if you do not know all the answers, the fact that you have a stack of problems in your sewing and you are working on solving them falls within the definition of an “artist”

Above all, this is the magic that artists create:  they turn something they’ve been thinking about – a vision, a thought, an idea, just a bunch of electrical impulses up in the middle of our gray matter – and with time and effort and persistence, it becomes something real, that takes up space and has a useful purpose.  Sometimes that’s more than we can say for some artists we all know – like those that create art that you can not see, feel, smell, touch or hear – huh?  is that really art? – oh well, that’s for the art critics!!!!

The point is that you are all artists because of the very nature it takes to put you on the cutting table to start creating your garment.  That’s why I have a problem with seamstress or sewer – it just does not fit.

Part of my mission with this blog and with the other things I hope to pass on is to not only convince you that you are an artist, but to begin to think like one and begin to transform your thinking from a mere technician or a seamstress to an sewingartist!

So in the meantime (untill Webster’s, and Wikipedia recognize sewingartist), I like using the word sewist.  It’s a play on artist – – sew(er) + (art)ist!  Names are very important, and I watch my students and readers every day tackle with the basic questions, problems and solutions that Picasso, Renoir, Diebenkorn, Pollack, all dealt with – how to transform their visions into reality.

If you would like to read more on the artistic process, there are a couple of books I recommend:

This book is out of print, although I do not know why, cause it is an excellent explanation of the creative process and not only helps you to understand the process, but also helps you get more into a creative mindset.  You can order used copies through

This is a well-established book and has many variations – workbooks, original text, and other books that can help you understand the creative process.

Most of all I want you all to understand that not only are you artists, but I want to encourage and inspire you to use that creative part of you when you are “creating” your garments.


  1. Claire,

    So good to hear from you and visit your new space. I absolutely agree with you. Those of us who create fashion designs are artists.
    I accept that…..I embrace it. Thanks always for you encouragement.
    Sewist is a very fitting title I think.

  2. I’m so glad to see you blogging again. I missed your posts the last few months, although I did see you on Facebook.

  3. So glad you have a new blog. You are such a great inspiration to us “sewist”. I’m so thankful that I found your blog and classes a couple of years ago. Congratulations!!

  4. I have been pondering this very thing. I hate that sew-er and sewer end up as the same word. I was thinking of adding another w just for effect and being a sewwer. Of course, then people will think I’m dumb for two reasons: 1) I can’t spell, and 2) I sew clothes when I can buy them at a store.

  5. @Lady T – This is hilarious….I didn’t think about it that way, but the problem for me was when I did my first Google search for sewer! – I even got a list of the local sewer backups – thankyouverymuch, but no thanks!

  6. I like the term seamster, a little less elevated than sewist. It’s a real word, even though Microsoft Word doesn’t seem to think so.

  7. Love the new site! Looks great!

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