Building a Local

Sewing Community

How to meet up with other sewists

in your area

Maeve Fanning

Sewing is a lovely mindful craft but sometimes it would be nice to meet up with real people and chat about your hobby, discuss the latest pattern that’s all the rage and where to find the fabric bargains.

There’s been a bit of talk recently on sewing podcasts and blogs about loneliness in sewing. Its generally a solitary activity, it’s not portable like knitting or crochet is – you can’t whip your machine out of your bag and start sewing on a bus or in a cafe. Sometimes even sewing the simple things requires a lot of concentration so its not so easy to chat and sew at the same time. You need space to sew – for the machine, to lay out your fabric/project.

What are the benefits of having a sewing community?

Sharing Knowledge and Experience – helping out a fellow sewer when they have encountered a problem 

For the Social element – for a lot of us sewing people it can be good to get away from the house and meet others – even if for coffee and a chat.

Sharing all those tips and tricks we have figured out over time.

How do you find a local sewing group?

Check out your local library – they often run a crafters meeting / get together. Usually this includes the knitters, crochet, needlecraft people but go along anyway even if you don’t do any of these things. Bring something to hand sew like a hem or just go along – a lot of crafters do more than one thing. You would be surprised to find out how many would have a sewing machine at home in regular use.

Sign up for some sewing classes – there are lots of classes popping up around the place now that sewing is growing in popularity again. Not only will you brush up on your skills but you will definitely meet others who share your hobby and you can always form a group even if you don’t continue on with the classes ( you only need 2 people to form a group).

There are lots of negative things about Facebook but it is good as a public noticeboard. Search for local groups – even if they are in the next town or your local big town.

There’s a new Cork Sewing Group CORK SEWING COLLECTIVE and the founder Joanna is trying to get some sewing meet ups going. If you are on Instagram use these hashtags :

#corksewingcollective and #sewingincork

Meetup – In Dublin there’s a fairly active Dressmaking Meet up group 

If you can’t find a real life group – start with an online one. There’s lots of existing website and Facebook groups. Try the The Foldline or Pattern Review.

Irish Sewing Meetup Spring

So you can’t find a local group – what now?

Start your own!! Use the resources I mention above to start one. Create a Facebook group, put it in your local FB buy& Sell pages, ask your friends to share it – they might not have any interest but someone in their list of friends might be.

Once you get some interest – arrange a meetup, maybe a local cafe or somewhere public to break the ice. Visit your local fabric / sewing shop. If you can make it to Kells – contact me and I can host a meet up for you including tea and scones ;).

If you’re not on Facebook – but like Instagram – use a hashtag like the Cork Sewing Collective are using. A general one I and others use is #irelandsews. I am going to start using #meathsews to see if I can find other Meath based sewing people. From there you can break it down to your local town to see if there’s others closer to you.

If you are trying to start a meet up – let me know the details and I can send it out in my newsletter and on social media to help find you members.

House of Pinheiro has written a great post in how to organise a local sewing club.

If you are a fairly experienced sewer and would like to share your skills – advertise sewing classes. You can start in your home with one on one classes or if you get a few interested book your local hall or room in a library. Insurance will cost about €200 per year and MAST or Pike Insurances are good for getting a quote.

What is my experience?

I joined our local crafter group when I was starting to work on my shop and it opened up a new world for me. I expected to go along and find a few retirees at the group. Well I was very surprised – there might have been one retiree but the rest were an average of my age.  A few of these ladies  encouraged me to start sewing lessons as they wanted to learn to sew and use a sewing machine and had never had the opportunity. I mean I had no experience teaching and didn’t realise the wealth of knowledge I had built up over the years secretly sewing away on my own (thanks blogs and YouTube). I would never have gotten to know these amazing women or maybe started sewing classes if I hadn’t gone along to that group. The down side to this is I have no time anymore to get to the meetings now – but maybe sometime in the future.

At the Knitting and Stitching show just passed in Dublin a group of us from the Irish Sewing Mamas group on Facebook met up for coffee. This is a really active group and you will get swept along and inspired by some of the amazing sewists in this group. If you qualify – do join in.

I also met up with a group that formed on Instagram – follow the #IrelandSews hashtag and you should be kept informed of the next meetup.

We often have meetups at our Dress Fabrics Open days – we had a busy one last Spring and we all went for tea afterwards.  At any of our open days if you would like to organise your own meetup with your own crew  please feel free – I will do whatever I can to facilitate you.

Join our sewing community

We have a great active Facebook group where the members post photos of finished projects they have made from our fabrics to inspire your creativity, you can ask questions and someone else out there will have the answer if I don’t. Its a lovely safe environment to chat about sewing, patterns and fabric recommendations even what sewing machine to buy or where to get it serviced.

Sign up to our newsletter to hear about our open days and meet ups. Link at the bottom / top of page.

Other resources:

Recently Love to sew Podcast had an episode about Sewing Meet Ups and how to organise them, the etiquette etc.

Another episode chats about building an online sewing community.

Stitchers Brew Podcast have a community episode here..

Have a lovely week – hope you get some sewing done


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