Is sewing 'crafting'?

I have a friend who is a major crafter. She's more than likely reading this right now, (hi Shampoo!). She makes cards and has customizable card stock punchers, and grommets, the whole magilla. She subscribes to crafting mags and blogs and even sells her cards and things on etsy. She's hard core, and I totally respect that.

That's what I would call crafting. Scrapbooking, some minor DIY, etc. I wouldn't call sewing, garment sewing at least crafting by any means, yet you see it all the time, especially when you go and buy supplies.

Most major chain fabric stores will cater more so to the crafter and quilter (a totally other sewing related avenue that I respect major) lumping us sewing folk in with them. So we have to filter through the 'add a button to your scrapbook' books in order to find, if we are lucky, a book about garments and construction.

I have totally done my share of crafting. 

My flowers are are great example of what I consider crafting. I consider crafting making something that requires little sewing. Knitting and crochet would fall into that category. But even they have their own spaces. Perhaps this is the reason that so many sewers I know shop online. You can find an online place that can cater to what you want with more ease than you can taking your chances in your local chain shop.

I guess what I'm getting as is as someone who considers themselves a sewer/seamstress/tailor etc., does it bother you to have your craft lumped in with a different kind of craft? To me it does.



  1. yes!! I am not crafty when I am constructing a garment. Sewing can be a crafty, but I consider garment and costume building a skill.

  2. Very interesting post. I would agree that garment sewing is not crafting. I think I would consider some sewing, like making little things, such as things you'd make with scraps, to be crafting. :]

  3. I think this comes with anyone who becomes a master in a craft. Now they are artisans. And garment construction, particularly when you go to the couture level, is an intense learning curve.

  4. I think the answer is relative... It changes on whom you talk to and how each era defines the different disciplines.

    I think currently, our definitions are informed by industry's ability to market/distribute/manufacture to consumers. If it was more lucrative to draw a distinction, you would bet there'd be clear cut lines between what's crafting and what's sewing.

    But it's more profitable to blur the lines for many of our supply makers since they're trying to get their materials into the hands of as many people as they can--and lumping everything into the same discipline means less work for them and better reach...

  5. I can understand the marketing for it, Mr. Artistry. Lumping them all together just saves space and money and time.

    But what about just among that culture. Even people of the crafts are lumping everyone in together. I just think that's lazy.

  6. As someone who does a bit of both I would say: different! The materials are very diffent and certainly the skill level required can vary. But I would be wary of implying that intrinsic difficulty was the defining factor as there are some very easy ways to make clothes and some very difficult crafts!! I have a similar problem distiguishing Art and Craft. Blurry lines...

  7. That's an interesting question. Personally I don't consider garment making - whether sewn, knitted or crocheted - as craft work. There is a difference but I find it hard to describe what it is. Art, crafts, and garment making all requires skills and you can enjoy them at whatever skill level you achieve. Unfortunately 'crafts' cunjures up the idea of a hot glue gun and more enthusiasm than skill - which is a shame as there are some extremely artistic and skilled craftworkers. I think of crafted items being smaller in scale - like your flowers. Perhaps more decorative than functional? Although a dress can be both. I doubt though that master couturiers or tailors would describe themselves as craftworkers! When anyone asks me what I 'do' I always say I am a craftworker whereas I think of myself and my work as being more artistic (an artisan as ladykatza said) it's just simpler, quicker and easier. I guess the word 'crafts' has just become an 'umberella' term.

  8. I agree with jennywren. I tend to think of crafts as something someone can do with little skill and usually little time. In my area, the crafting part of sewing has taken over so much that it is hard to find any fabrics that aren't 100% cotton, which I assume is for quilting. If all you can sew is tote bags and aprons, you're a crafter. If you can construct a blazer or a complicated 1940s dress with a row of buttonholes, your a skilled seamstress.

  9. It is a blanket term, but the garment side and quilting side are more skilled, different focus than say cardmaking, scrapbooking, even pillowcase and apron making. I consider myself a quilter, seamstress, albeit a very advanced beginner to low intermediate level one.

  10. Garment Construction & Design ≠ Crafting.
    Quilting, stuffed animals, doll clothes, etc = Crafting.

    I studied under a couture designer in Atlanta many moons ago, and I can promise you that what we did was NOT crafting.

    In fact, I'd like to see someone tell the contestants on Project Runway that what they do is "crafting". That would make for some "must see TV". ;-)

    That said, there can be components of garment making that are crafty. Like handmaking embellishments. But overall? I don't think so.

  11. No, sewing is not crafting to me it stands alone...I've been sewing for 30 plus years and then moved to Dubai and after witnessing and seeing the most beautiful couture one could imagine being constructed on a garment I then realized that all I was doing was drafting patterns and sewing. While there I asked a lot of questions and learned a lot more to add to what I had. Sewing is in a category all it's own, broken down into smaller groups with room for more. It's endless and if you have the skills (a gift) to design and incorporate a little, spice, spunk and attitude to what what you're constructing, then you are in a sewing genre of YOUR own. So when asked I express that, "I am an artist/artisan of sewing, knitting, crochet, embroidery and I sometimes craft."
    I'm new to your following (love your blog), please stop by anytime:

  12. I'm new to sewing, but have been knitting for several years now. I don't really consider the construction of clothing crafting, whether it's knit or sewn. Sewing or knitting other things - quilts, toys, etc. I do tend to think of as crafting.

  13. I've been thinking about the place of crafting a lot lately, especially going through art school as someone with a penchant for stitching everything. There's a lot of push to separate art and craft, in a very similar way to what I think you're talking about: not as something bad, but as something removed. I wonder if it comes out of a perception that the skills of fine sewing/art/etc are more involved than those of crafting? That said, I'm not sure it has anything to do with the actual craft/art involved. I think we'd be hard pressed to see some of the fantastic art quilts out there and lump them in with someone sewing a quilt of playing kittens from a kit. There's nothing wrong with either, but they are different. I think there is a difference between hobby craft and high skill Craft. Almost anything can become Craft if done with a certain level of dedication to the skills and with a spirit of innovation.

    Also, the craft section of most stores is pretty useless for the serious knitter too...
    Maybe it's craft stores that are the problem! :p

  14. As a garment sewer and knitter I'd definitely say knitting is not a craft. I think crafts generally are less complex. Once one becomes more skilled the craft turns into something else: paper arts, millinery, artsy fabric manipulation that isn't sewing, etc ;)

  15. Wow, I wasn't expecting this much consensus! Thanks for the comments all.

    I think that craft has a negative tone because of the old ideas of 'arts & crafts' that kids did at summer camp. The glue sticks, glitter, friendship bracelets, and bad ash trays glazed with how knows what.

    I don't think anyone is arguing that crafting can become a craft, especially if you are specializing in it. But I guess thats all subjective.

    But lets face it. Most people who are into crafting are not looking to develop it into a trade. They are doing it because someone said it would be quick and easy, cost little money, and might be fun. They are not doing it to challenge or exercise a skill.

    Please discuss!

  16. Honey, you ain't never lied! No seriously, that's why I do what I do. Garment construction is a whole other game, more like engineering and I wouldn't call that a craft.

  17. I agree, I have sewn for years but I don't really dressmake...nowhere near me to learn, unfortunately.... and I would never say a seamstress was a crafter. The two things are very different. I don't know about the US but I see an unpleasant trend in the UK as this has become the new bandwagon to leap on, of people creating absolute rubbish yet boasting about it and trying to teach their granny to suck eggs. The attitude that good enough is good enough, and why try to strive for the absolute best you can be, William Morris would turn in his grave!

  18. That sounds right on, sister! :) Not the same thing at all, sewing and crafting...nope.


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