Who are we?

Sewing Rebellion NYC is the NY branch of Frau Fiber’s Sewing Rebellion. Two women, Amelia and Maya, founded the chapter, but then Amelia went on a never ending tour of the world and became our “traveling corespondent”, so Maya tends to be the one writing blog posts. That said, anyone who has joined us at a meeting or event, read an instruction sheet, earned a sewing patch (think girl scouts, only no cookies),  or forwarded an email is also part of the crew. If you’ve taken a step towards learning or teaching about sewing in a political context (and yes, we strongly consider the personal to be political) then you’re a member of SR.

In 2011 we began a collaboration with the Textile Arts Center in south Brooklyn. Isa of TAC and Maya of SR joined forces to create The Mending Circle, a group that focuses specifically on  mending (rather than the making) garments.  The goal of Mending Circle is to develop our mending skills, literally mending our beloved and emotion-laden garments and metaphorically mending our frazzled, overworked, overbooked New York selves.

What do we do?

We teach folks to sew. We don’t charge money for that. That’s it, simple right?

You don’t get paid? So why do you do it?

The message of SR is “Stop Shopping, Start Sewing!” and we think of sewing as a tool for empowerment, a way to mend what you have, make what you don’t, and generally opt out, even slightly, from the circle of consumption that eats our money and fills the back of our closets with stuff we neither need nor want. If we charged money, we’d be buying into the idea that only those with money should be able to learn this skill. As member Amelia so eloquently said, “people buy something at Kmart and it gets a hole in it and they go and buy another one. That’s problematic for a number of reasons. It’s supporting the worldwide garment industry, which is extremely exploitative, so that we can have cheap stuff that breaks. It’s also contributing to everyone looking the same. You spend a lot of money and you look like everybody else, and you’re helpless when things break or don’t work. This is just a simple way that you can be more self-sufficient.”

How do I get involved?

A number of ways.

You could join our email list. Every few weeks (3-8 weeks, depending on our lives and idea banks) we send out a sewing mission via email. To get on our email list simply subscribe to this blog. The missions contain directions on what to do and how to do it. They can be as simple as replacing a broken zipper or as complicated as teaching a stranger how to whip stitch a tear. Do the missions you want and don’t stress the ones you don’t. Feel free to forward missions along to friends or post them in your office or on a friendly lamp post. The more people sewing the better.

You could also join us at an event. Sometimes there’s nothing like a big group of people hanging out and sewing together. Recently we’ve gotten together at Figment, Williamsburg Walks, Eco Fashion events at the Textile Arts Center, the (sadly no longer in existence) Spacecraft, and galleries throughout Brooklyn. When an event is coming up we’ll always post here first.

Still have questions?

Post comments on this blog and we’ll get to them as soon as we can. If your question is private please say that upfront, since we tend to post questions and answers openly so all have access to the same info.


29 Responses to “FAQ”

  1. julie Says:

    I’m interested in your upcoming meetings. I first came across Frau Fiber’s workshop when putting together my clothing issue of my collage zine. Keep up the great work!

    • sean Says:

      Hi Maya,

      Can you also put me on your email list, sounds like a really great group.

      • sewingrebellionnyc Says:

        Hi Sean,
        Signing up to receive blog posts is the email list. It let’s me post content in only one place instead of two. 🙂

  2. Sharon Says:

    Didn’t know you you guys existed. Sounds like a fun group! I got sent your website info from a friend. I’ll check back to find out about the next meeting. Thanks

  3. christine Says:

    hi, I live in brooklyn an found your blog via yesterday’s brooklyn based newsletter. I’d love to come to a meeting sometime, could you put me on your mailing list?

    • sewingrebellionnyc Says:

      Hi Christine,
      This blog is basically our mailing list. Just subscribe to it (click the subscribe button in the top right corner of the main page) and you’ll get posts sent directly to your email.

  4. Jo Says:

    Should you bring all of your own sewing supplies and machine? I’ve never been to a meeting.

    • Maya Says:

      Hi Jo,
      We do our best to provide hand needles, thread, scrap fabric, and so on, so if you’re willing to work with what’s there, go for it, and if you have something specific in mind you should bring what you think you need. We have 3 sewing machines at spacecraft for general use, which we share amongst ourselves, and if you’d like to bring your own for personal use go right ahead. 🙂

  5. Tiffany Says:

    hi there! i just wanted to say great work with what you are doing. i’m trying to become more conscious of the crazy things that humanity is doing to the planet and our fellow inhabitees, and of all the different organizations i have read about, yours has the coolest name! seriously though, i really like the ideas you are promoting. i have personally felt the desire to do something similar for a few years, but i had no idea there was a group such as yourselves already doing it. i would like to recieve your newsletter so that i can try to make some travel arrangements to attend a meeting. thank you!

  6. Katie Says:

    Hey Sewing Rebellion,
    I’m new to the area and would love to be added to your mailing list. Can’t wait to come to meetings! I’ll totally bring cookies!

    • sewingrebellionnyc Says:

      Hi Katie, thanks for checking in. We don’t do a mailing list anymore, but subscribing to this blog is basically the same thing. WordPress thankfully saves us the hassle of sending out the same info via blog and email, and just does the email part for us.

  7. Mend your torn sweaters, Snuggies & jorts, tonight in the Slope | Brokelyn Says:

    […] Mending Circle, a free monthly workshop at the Textile Arts Center in Park Slope. Joining with the Sewing Rebellion, the center’s bringing together menders, sewers and stitchers to share their almost-lost arts […]

  8. Stephanie Lewis Says:

    Hi, this is Stephanie Lewis. I’m a casting producer at Leftfield Pictures in New York. We are producing a show about the freegan lifestyle, and I was hoping to get the word out to Sewing Rebellion. I’ve posted information about the show below, and would be so grateful if you could let your volunteers and members know about the opportunity. Anyone interested can email me directly. I realize many members of the freegan community would prefer to keep their lives private, so I do want to assure you that this show is for educational and enlightening purposes. We simply are looking to give a voice to the freegan community.



    Are you a passionate participant in the Freegan movement? Would you jump at the chance to model the principles of waste reclamation and minimization in a public forum? Are you excited about the opportunity to bring greater exposure to the Freegan alternative strategies for living, in the hopes of educating more Americans on its benefits?

    If so, we want to hear from you!

    A new television docuseries is seeking Freegans – both groups and individuals – to let us into their lives and shine a light on the Freegan lifestyle! We are looking for outgoing, expressive and dynamic people who are open to sharing their beliefs and showing the nation what this unique movement is all about. If you are interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity to teach others about the advantages of voluntary simplicity, please contact us!

    For more information and to speak with a Casting Producer, please email freegancasting@gmail.com with your name, location, and a brief summary of your story. We look forward to hearing from you!

  9. liz Says:

    Hi maya,
    This is liz from textiles art center. just wanted to be added to the listserv! also would love to see you again at tac!
    cheers, liz

    • sewingrebellionnyc Says:

      Hi Liz!! Just sign up to get these posts sent to your email. We don’t do a separate email listserv.

  10. Nick Says:

    howdy. Can someone email me directly – nick /at geekathon /dot net – Vincent from Fixers Collective recommended I get in touch with Sewing Rebellion about an upcoming event. I was at Figment too, but didn’t meet you then. Thanks.

  11. Natalie Says:

    I think this is wonderful idea. I’d love to join but I can’t even sew on a button, so not in the way of skills to share. Is it possible to still join?

    • sewingrebellionnyc Says:

      Hi Natalie, it’s always possible to join, you just show up! SR is all about teaching you how to sew your buttons. We also teach about how to use the machine, decode industrial patterns and so on. The skill share element doesn’t mean that you have to bring sewing skills to the table (in fact, we have many people swing by just to learn how to thread and use a sewing machine), but rather that you pass on the skills you learn at SR to other folks. Some of the folks who brought us button issues are now doing demos. So don’t stress it, you’ll get there when you get there and there are a lot of hands to teach you.

  12. Saving the Environment, One Umbrella (Bag) at a Time - Meets Obsession Magazine | Paper for The Fashion & Culture Obsessed Says:

    […] is a great resource because they have all the tools you need, and they have meet ups like Sewing Rebellion,” says Nora, who, in addition to teaching at Spacecraft also works with […]

  13. Economical and Eco-Friendly Clothing Art « The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts Says:

    […] otherwise go to waste. In fact, cutting down on consumer waste is one of the stated goals of the NYCChapter of Sewing Rebellion. Every year, millions of used clothing items are thrown away or sit in […]

  14. Elysa Says:

    Hi! I program a space in Chinatown and am just starting a series of workshops on self-sustainability (from food to biogas to knowledge and skill share). I saw that you guys were looking for a space and thought this could work out well! What’s the best way to get in touch? Definitely shoot me an email if this sounds interesting. Even if it’s not the perfect home, it would be great to talk about doing a workshop!!

  15. Elysa Says:

    Great! Right I’m thinking about programming these DIY workshops on Saturdays at 2PM (running from the beginning or March through mid April)- but let me know if you guys have other times you like to do things at. I’m super excited about your remit to teach folks to sew without charging! I really want to create a space for this approach to grow!!

  16. Maria Says:

    Hi Ladies,
    Our dress factory in Greenpoint, BK is looking for experienced sewers to make special occasion apparel if any of you know anybody who needs a job. The starting pay is $12/hr or dependent on experience.
    Thanks so much, you guys rock!

  17. erynn Says:

    Wondering if this is for kids and teens also?
    Please put me on the list!

  18. Lee Says:

    Hi–I am writing o November 4th from NYC, trying to help with Sandy disaster relief. Specifically me and a few other crafters have made some eye masks so that the people in the shelters can sleep, which is extremely hard when the lights are on 24-7 and there are 500 people on cots next to you. This is something that has been requested. With 30-40,000 people without homes in NYC this problem is growing. We made a couple dozen but just barely scratched the surface of need in the shelters. If anybody can help we have started an initiative to get people together or give directions for at-home making of eye masks. They have been VERY grateful and asked for more at the shelers/ evac centers but we are just a few people so far. Can you help? We are also accepting used eye masks from air flights.

  19. Cindy Says:

    Hi there!
    Don’t know if anyone is still paying attention to this, but there is a freegan mending brunch this Saturday in the Rockaways – here’s the details!

    Saturday, September 27th • Mending Brunch!

    Part sewing workshop, part freegan feast, we’ll gather to eat good freegan (and vegan) breakfast-y type foods and then will spend the afternoon sharing skills and getting some mending done! We’ll have one machine to work with, hand sewing supplies, and some crochet and craft supplies available, as well as our combined knowledge and encouragement to keep each other going! Bring your mending or sewing projects and ideas.

    When & Where?

    We’ll gather at 1pm at a volunteer’s home out in the Rockaways – accessible by mass transit, (but a bit of a trek). RSVP to cindy@wetlands-preserve.org or to Cindy at (718) 318-9460 (at least one day in advance) – and we’ll get you the address and directions. As a bonus, the weather is supposed to be FABULOUS, so you can come out and enjoy the beach as well!

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