Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't Call Me a Sewist...


I discovered the interesting term "sewist" when reading an article on sewing earlier this year. I heard it again, during a discussion on the Liberated Quilters' board, today. So, after a little research I found the newspaper article that I had previously read and saved in my files.

This delightful article was written by Ardeana Hamlin of the Bangor Daily News..published in January. Adreana writes:

"I’ve been called a lot of things in my time, but the one thing I don’t want to be called is a “sewist.” My awareness of that term arrived recently at my desk in an e-mail newsletter. There it was in a headline emblazoned across the screen: The Sewist’s Wish List.

My first thought was that the writer had had too many cups of eggnog at the office Christmas party, resulting in a hideous, though humorous, typographical error that somehow had eluded the writer’s editor. Then, to my amazement, I realized that the writer of the newsletter believes that “sewist” is actually a word. Why that should be, I had no idea.

Oh, goody, I thought, I’ll chase this down and learn what I can about it.

The first thing I did was reach for Webster’s New World College Dictionary. To my relief, “sewist” was not listed there.

My next stop was, of course, the Internet. When I searched for “sewist” I had 190,000 sites to choose from, all within a nanosecond, sites that might contain more information about “sewist,” its history and usage.

The first site I tried told me that a sewing machine manufacturer has dubbed one of its models the “sewist.” I’ll definitely not want to buy that one.

I also found several blogs in which the writers refer to themselves as “sewists” to describe what they do at a sewing machine or with needle and thread.

Apparently, and I am inferring this from what I read on the Internet, “sewist” was made up as a politically correct word to refer to someone who sews, who isn’t female. However, the last I knew there was a perfectly good word still in use to describe a man who sews — and that word is tailor. Women can be referred to as tailors, too, making the word nicely gender-neutral, although the connotation of the word generally refers to someone expert in making custom-fitted garments such as suits and jackets.

The Word Spy Web site, subtitled The Word Lover’s Guide to New Words, at http://www.wordspy.com/words/sewist.asp offered three citations as examples of how, when and where “sewist” was used. The first was March 12, 2000, in the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram when the word was quoted in a statement made by a woman who was talking about sewing. The second instance was April 26, 1998, in the Chattanooga Free Press, when the word was quoted in a statement made by a man who sews.

But the most interesting to me was the third citation stating that “sewist” appeared Jan. 1, 1964, in the Annals of Science, Volume 18, British Society for the History of Science. The writer of the article said that “sewist” was equivalent to calling someone who is an expert on seashells a “shellist.” Clearly, whoever wrote that comment for the Annals of Science wasn’t about to get on the “sewist” bandwagon.

And neither will I.

So call me seamstress, call me tailor, call me stitcher, call me needleworker, but please don’t call me “sewist.”

Don't call me a 'sewist' - Bangor Daily News by Ardeana Hamlin

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And you can call me a seamstress or you can call me a quilter, or you can just call me a quilter who also loves to sew. And I am both sewing and quilting today. I need to really get busy because I joined Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge! . So, why don't you make a list with a goal to finish some projects of your own!

And Julie K. this 'Listen to the Hand' was what I was thinking of when I told you not to throw out DH's old gloves. Add a hanging ring to the back, A piece of elastic around it for to hold a memo pad, or just use sticky notes as I do. You 'don't forget' what needs to be done!