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.