A stitch in a new direction: How sewing is growing

Following the knitting craze of the early 2010s, the latest retro skill to capture the hearts of a brand new generation is sewing.

Home sewing and dress-making may have been unfashionable for a while, but a renewed interest in authenticity, DIY skills, and individuality that goes beyond what big corporations have to offer has generated a resurgence in the craft. Attracting new audiences and rapid growth in independent shops that not only sell materials but offer practical and social learning experiences.

With a forecast that expects the global market for sewing machines to exceed 29 million units by 2024, what’s interesting about this revival is that sewing, a traditional, singular activity, is now bolstered by the convenience of the digital age.

Shows like The Great British Sewing Bee helped generate an interest in the home craft, but the new audience, many of which millennials who are used to having technology as part of their everyday life, have found ways to stay involved and hone their skills utilising online support, YouTube videos, online forums and other forms of digital engagement. For the new generation of sewing experts, the activity is not driven by necessity or cost-cutting (although this also helps) but it is a way to be creative, connect, engage, and even show off. Suddenly, in a turn of events, sewing is a no longer just the preserve of the professional few.

A search on YouTube for “sewing for beginners” brings up over 1,000,000 results, covering everything from specific sewing skills to pattern-making and sewing machine tutorials.

And as the fundamentals of the craft itself, the machines, the process, the end goal, have remained mostly unchanged, this is a perfect example of how an existing product that has fallen out of fashion can find a new lease of life within an unexpected audience.