As the coronavirus pandemic unfolded this year, sewing became vital to an expanded audience. The need for face masks created a call for skills and materials. I heard from retailers that sewing machines were sold out. An online pattern seller told me she sold four times her usual volume, particularly medical scrubs and pajama designs. A sewing entrepreneur shared that though her in-person classes were canceled, she kept her business afloat by selling narrow elastic. These are optimistic examples, however. It’s difficult to anticipate the impact on sewing and its rituals, from live classes and conferences to the fabric shopping experience.
Now is the time to keep sewing valid and alive. If your next sewing class or conference was canceled, look for an online alternative from your favorite instructor. If sewing machines are sold out, that may mean you know someone who is wondering what to sew next and where to learn more. Threads can help with whatever project you wish to turn to next.
In this issue, we offer garment-making insight from friends old and new. Jumpsuits are having a moment, and New York City costume designer and tailor Vanessa Nirode shares her tips for fitting and sewing them. Wardrobe consultant Nancy Nix-Rice reveals her construction enhancements to make jersey knit wrap dresses more comfortable and secure. Contributing Editor Judith Neukam explains the figure-flattering benefits of sleeve heads and how to make and install them. We’ve changed our Pattern Review department to include longer reviews and a sewn garment from each pattern.
You can show a friend the rewards of making garments that fit. Sewing always seemed solitary before (I could never work without my specific notions and machine), but now I know how to set up a video meeting and sew with a friend for hours. We have had to make new habits for a while; let’s try to keep the positive changes as we find a way forward.
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