If you own and use a sewing machine, likely you do so in isolation, in the comfort of your sewing room, bedroom, closet or dining room. We have our machines set up just so, our notions and fabric stashes in handy locations, or not. The idea of sewing with others is often a foreign one. If your machine is heavy, there’s some reluctance to try and lug it somewhere. And what should you bring? There are scissors, pins, seam rippers, irons, cutting mats, measuring tape, patterns, thread, fabric… the list goes on and on.
Some of us sew with others in quilt guilds and some follow other sewers online. But unless you happen to have a few like-minded friends, you can feel like you’re the only one who participates in what sometimes feels like an obscure hobby. Our grandmothers sewed and some of our mothers sewed. But who sews today when it’s so easy to buy inexpensive, decent quality clothing at your local store? Turns out a bunch of us do! Meet the Denver Sewing Collective.
The Collective is the brainchild of Jill Case, an avid seamstress and lover of all things fashion. In 2010 Jill was searching for an avenue to both pursue and share her sewing passion outside of her home. The idea came naturally as she was sewing in her cramped sewing room listening to music, alone. Wouldn’t it be great to sew, meet like minded people and learn from others? With a little help from Meetup.org on how to start a group, the Denver Sewing Collective was born.
Jill admits that she thought the Denver Sewing Collective was going to be a complete failure with maybe two or three people signing up. After launching the group via Meetup over 100 people had signed up before a meeting had even been held. Jill’s goals for the group were first and foremost about fellowship and community, bringing seamstresses at any level out of their solitary confines and into a fun, creative and energetic environment. The Collective has been around now for 5 years. We meet on the second Thursday of each month at a local Ford dealership (O’Meara) that generously donates the use of its conference room to the community.
We also meet beyond our once a month meeting for Fabric Shop Tours, museum events, Meet the Designer and much more. Members come and go, but many have come and stayed. The sewing interests of members varies from traditional garment sewing to vintage garments, quilts, bags, costumes, and stuffed animals. Sewing skills range from absolute beginners to seasoned pros. If it can be sewn, one of us has probably tried it.
One of the many great things about the Denver Sewing Collective is the age range of its members. Members range in age to early 20’s to great-grandmothers. Men are slowly joining the ranks with interest in sewing for themselves, their children or a desire to be the next Alexander McQueen or Mondo.
As the group has matured, it became clear that to continue to expand the vision of the Denver Sewing Collective, we needed to reach out to a broader community of like-minded sewers and invite them to join our journey. Locals are always welcome to join our group in person – the DSC can be found on the Meetup website listed under “Denver Sewing Collective”. . And now we’ve decided to embark on a new adventure, this blog, Denver Sews which reflects the broader interests of our group.
Meet the Blog Team: Sewers always have stories to tell about garment successes and failures, fabric selections made in the heat of the moment, mishaps in the sewing room, and innumerable other stories about all things fabric and needle. We start this blog with some of our more vocal DSC members. Let’s meet them briefly and be sure to check out their own individual page and leave a comment!
Jill You may know me from the Magical Effects of Thinking blog, or from the Sew News blog where along with other editors I write on fashion, sewing, and other goings on. As you can see, we are all different and will have different stories to tell. Come back and check us out and let the blog begin!
Jane It’s difficult for me to remember a time when I didn’t sew. I use to “advise” my mother while she was sewing. Basically being a brat and telling her there was a better way to do it. She turned it all over to me. I was an avid sewist in high school (90s) then not as much in my late 20s/early 30s and back again since hooking up with these gals.
Jamie I can’t remember how old I was (10? 12?), but I got into sewing when a friend showed me how to sew those poofy fabric scrunchies that were popular in the 90’s from scraps of fabric we bought from the Wal-mart sewing department. I made dozens of them in various colors and prints to coordinate with all my outfits, which I’m sure is what catapulted me to the most fashionable girl in school. (I’m assuming… my memory’s a little fuzzy on that.)
Kitty My ancestors were thrifty farmers who sewed their own quilts, home decor, and clothing. There are countless generations of talented sewers in my family tree! Sadly, our family farm was sold when I was a small child. After that my mother had little time to teach me her excellent sewing skills – she worked two jobs. Although her sewing finesse was not passed down to me, her love for sewing was. This is my journey to learn the skills and techniques to support my passion for sewing.
Lynne I’ve been sewing since I was a kid. I made outfits for my stuffed animals on my mom’s Singer propped up on the ironing board in her bedroom. After I moved to Colorado in 1993, I realized I missed sewing and bought my first machine – a used Pfaff mechanical. It was fabulous! My sewing adventures have expanded greatly since then I hope to share some of them with you.