There are a couple of days left to vote in the Tessuti Awards, run by Australian fabric store Tessuti. My entry is in a sorry state; I opted to hand stitch it entirely from a length of linen and a length of lace (as per the brief) that I’d had lying around forever and then life got in the way… I do still hope to be wearing it by Summer.
I have however been loving looking at and reading the entries. This competition attracts sewers of all sorts, from professional designers, to aspiring students to domestic sewers, and to me challenges boundaries between professional and domestic, and about what activities constitute design. While the competition is a sewing or making one, what is being judged is essentially design. But best of all is the narratives generated around sewing, with each entrant asked to reflect on how they came to sew, what it means to them to sew and the thought process behind how they worked their way through their design.
Typical among the stories is a “moment” that counts as an induction into sewing. Says entrant Emily Pierce:
My Mum used to sew for us when I was little, and I remember sitting with her one day and cutting out a little tshirt shape and cellotaping it together and saying ‘this isnt hard!’ so from then on its history…I have excelled from that somewhat now however!
And I also love the stories about sewing that locate it firmly in contemporary life as opposed to a nostalgic pursuit practiced by our mothers, as expressed by Andy Truong:
I am a self taught sewer and I have been sewing ever since I can remember. I first started sewing when I did hand sewing projects. In year seven, I knitted phone and Ipod pockets and sold them to friends. With the money I made from selling them, I saved up for a sewing machine.