You love to sew. You have all of the sewing essentials that you need to make beautiful creations whenever inspiration strikes: A sewing machine (or maybe a few), a collection of sewing fabric, sewing help guides for those times when you are stumped, and tons of different sewing patterns; heck, you even have a dedicated sewing room!
While there’s no doubt that you are constantly thinking about different things that you can turn that chenille, linen, jacquard, etc into something incredible; have you ever stopped to think about your title? It might sound like a silly question, but you someone who sews should have a title, right? Like someone who plays the piano is called a pianist and someone who paints or draws is called and artist.
“Seamstress” is the word that most people use to describe someone who enjoys sewing, but that’s not always applicable. For example, the term is gender specific in that the “-stress” part refers to females; but many men love sewing, too. The term “firefighter” has replaced the title of “fireman”, as both men and women serve in this role, and therefore, the latter term is antiquated. The same is true in the sewing world; seamstress doesn’t really apply anymore, as there are just as many males enjoy sewing as there are women.
With all of that said, two words are now being used to describe people who are good with a needle and thread: sewer and sewist; but which one is correct? That seems to be a huge debate amongst members of the sewing community. Let’s dive into the topic a little deeper to see which title is more appropriate.
It stands to reason that the word “sewer” would be used to describe people who like to sew; however, a lot of people aren’t very satisfied with the title. Why? Because it’s spelled the same as, sewer; you know, the underground system used to collect wastewater? While they are pronounced differently, in writing, they are spelled the same (gotta love the English language, huh?) which can make for some confusion; especially to people who aren’t, well, sewers. Would you be comfortable writing that you are a “sewer” on a resume? While it’s likely that prospective employers wouldn’t think that you are a collection system for wastewater; still, you might feel a little weird writing the word down.
The term “sewist” was derived by blending two words together: sew + artist = sewist. While it does make sense (after all, you create art using a needle, thread, and fabric), it sounds a bit funny. To many, the word sewist sounds like a made up word, and therefore, they prefer not to use it. But is it better than being thought of as a wastewater collection system?
Sewer or Sewist: Which Should You Use?
It really comes down to personal preference, as both are acceptable terms. You could totally still use the word “seamstress” as your title, if you’d like. Whichever word you use to describe your trade, take pride in your title and keep on sewing on!