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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hold the phone: you have to read this

It is no secret to those who live with this blogger that the reason I blog is to hear from my blog readers.

That is absolutely the best part of being here sewingontheedge

My mother calls me to discuss the interesting comments you leave. My husband calls when he is out of town to talk about a good point some reader has raised and to ask my response to it.

I love feeling connected to other sewing women around the world. I love knowing that the weird stuff I might think makes sense to someone else somewhere else. 

That, and not just this is what I made, is why I do this.

So on that theme I must share with you a link, well two links actually, to some words in Fast Company on sewing. Let's face it, sewing is not covered a lot in places like Fast Company, owing to the general impression that we represent slow company, slow cookers, and things only grandmothers might do (not to dis the grandmothers being one and clearly understanding we are the original hipsters).

These links were sent to me by wonderful a blog reader named Bonnie, and thank you very much Bonnie for sharing.


And as always feel free to comment:

Is this sewing robot the future of fashion?

And, just as interesting:

Fashion's future might rest on an old technology: glue


Sasha said...

I went down a internet rabbit hole last summer when I went to repair my husband's (new!) cycling shirt and became totally enamored of the glue techniques used to construct it. I'd be happy if the company in the article made their products available to the home garment fabricator. I'd say home sewer, but I don't think sewing counts if project is glued. Whatever will we call ourselves?

Cari Homemaker said...

Ewww. Just thinking about wearing the amount of chemicals that would go into those methods of construction makes me queasy. It makes sense for certain applications like serious sportswear and waterproofing, but who wants to wear exclusively that? I guess I'll end up being that weird little old lady who wears clothing with old fashioned stitching.

Brenda said...

From the robot article- “It seems crazy to me that there was so much labor being spent on these relatively simple goods,” Zornow tells Fast Company.

Simple? Making a pattern that fits a 3D person using materials that stretch and bend? This is naïveté to a high degree and almost forgivable since I bet his mom didn’t sew.

“But once I learned more about it . . . clothing manufacturing is pretty complicated, and getting robots involved has been a huge struggle.” - Zorrow. Oh. Maybe people are necessary. - me

bbarna said...

Hmmmm...too many chemicals...why not just spot weld synthetics together? Anything with polyester, nylon or acrylic could be heat set together. No way would I give up my sewing machine though :-)
Barb from Prince George.

Mim said...

I bought a mid-high end RTW tshirt a year or so ago - and for a bunch of reasons it sat in my wardrobe unworn until yesterday. Halfway through the day I was amazed to discover that the hem had been glued!

I'm still on the fence whether I like it or not - I actually thought the hem had been interfaced, it's that stiff. I'll see how it goes after a wash - if it softens a bit that's fine. If not, I doubt it'll get much wear.

KS_Sews said...

He really annoyed me in that (first) article. I don't have nice things to say.

KS_Sews said...

On the second article, boy am I glad I can sew!!! I don't want glued clothes!

Kansas Sky said...

Thanks for sharing this. One more reason why it's always exciting to find a new post from you. You're the bomb! So grateful for how you do this blog so well.

Ana Marçal said...

Hey Barbara!

On the robot article:
it surprised me the lack of knowledge about clothing production...One would think that those news about garment factory disasters would have some broader impact...
And I am all for robots sewing. I will still make my own clothing, but I am in favor on a solution that prevents the seriously bad conditions that most garment workers endure.
Bennetton (how many t's or n's??) already has a knit sweatshirt made entirely with automated process.

Fashion will still be fashion and home sewing will still be home sewing, regardless of how rtw clothing is made...

Now the glue article is for the lunch hour!

All the best :)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting reading, which I would certainly never have seen without your referral! As a skeptic and late or never adopter of many new technologies, I'm - true to form - skeptical. Health implications? Economics? Impact on garment workers - will unemployment be better or worse than the current horrific conditions? Gender role assumptions? Lots to ponder.

My own sewing is on such a relatively primitive level.....and I'm good with that.


JuliaRu said...

I am bothered by the idea of machines replacing people (again). and the machines could never do all that expert seamstresses can do with their sewing.

as for the glue idea, it appeals to me for its quickness, but comments about all the chemicals is a good point. plus, I like seeing stitches--top-stitching, decorative stitching, etc.

quicker/faster isn't always better. but creative minds are destined to come up with new ideas (like robot sewing, glue stitches, etc) (atomic bombs).

I like my sewing machine. I'm keeping it. : )

Laceflower said...

Bottom line - they'll use it if it makes more $$$. As the older generation dies off, no one will know how to do anything for themselves. The grocery store is full of cut up fruit and veg, even meatballs are made for you! Sewing will certainly be way down the line of do-for-yourself. I guess if you're an electronic crack addict you need to have everything done for you as you haven't the time.
I sew for the individuality of my wardrobe and my love of fabric. The garment industry's massed produced 'fashion' isn't what I want to wear.

kim nath said...

I have a feeling 3D printing is going to take over the fashion industry at some point and each person will have custom made clothes printed to their exact measurements.

Vicki said...

How can that possibly be good for humans and the environment. Just big business out to make bigger profits.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody heard about polyester fiber washing into oceans and becoming embedded in seafood? I wonder what unforeseen effects the glue would have. Also ugh, robots. Depressing.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I had two thoughts after I read the articles - 1. What will the chemicals do to human bodies? 2. Guess we will be able to charge an arm and a leg to sew for customers because what we do will become an artform to EVERYONE if this comes into play...

Sometimes I wonder if it makes me old to wonder why EVERYTHING needs to be automated?! I always wonder what happens if the plug is pulled. How would anyone be able to function because we can no longer care for ourselves if we're not plugged in.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Interesting articles. Robot sewing perhaps will have a strong presence in the sewing industry. Not sure about home sewers. I plan to keep sewing. Learning along the way. I am ok with glue clothes. As an RN, I wear disposables clothes for work, I am not sure about direct contact with chemmicals touching my body. The nurse in me believe excessive chemical exposure can be good for the body. Allergic reactions, along with other polluting stuff in the environment.
Thanks again
I have been a follower for a while. Not able to post maybe this time

Josie H (So Cal)

Mary said...

Innovation can be a wonderful thing. On the other hand, these days it seems to be leading to fewer jobs, more profit for certain folks, and products that may or may not stand the test of time. When I read about glued clothing, I was not terribly excited. Yes, I can see that mountain climbers would be happy not to have little holes (e.g. stitches) where water could enter, but it is not something I would care for, not being a mountain climber, and despite the so-called assurance that the chemicals would not harm us. Hmm, where have we heard that before? Superfund sites, anyone?

Leigh said...

I find the implication that a thin sleazy tshirt made by a robot is just as good as a nice tshirt made of quality goods that will last more than two washings really annoying. The assumption that cheaper is always better no matter who or what it harms is appalling. Today I was reading that a rancher believes ALL wolves should be killed to make his beef cheaper (so he won't have to worry about losing stock when he grazes them on public(!) land in the mountains.). Cheaper ISN'T always better.

There are costs that the companies aren't paying. As another poster wrote - all the polyester particles are going in the ocean. Who will clean that up? Not the companies who sold the crap. They keep the profit. Probably OUR tax dollars. Or our children's.

Also, using robots in that way cheapens knowledge and skill. Knowing your materials, using appropriate techniques. Who needs knowledge or skills if we all just wear colored sacks made cheap by robots? I don't see it as a move forward at all.

LinB said...

I think that fabric is a fluid medium. It will indeed be necessary to turn fabric into a stiff thing, to treat it with precise standardization.

I fail to understand how robotizing manufacture of clothing will somehow give lots and lots of jobs to clothing constructionists ... won't it take their jobs away? With everyone out of work because their jobs have been eliminated, who will buy the clothing made by robots?

Glues are fine for costumes that won't see much use, or that need to be frequently laundered -- and there is much practicality in using glue to make out-door clothing waterproof and windproof. Stitching clothing has worked for many thousands of years so far. It will continue to work for the rest of the time that humans are on earth, in this old woman's opinion.

BeccaA said...

Like many of your commenters, I am not impressed by either of these innovations. My first thought was about the chemicals that stiffening the fabric will expose us all to. Those chemicals may very well be endocrine disrupters which cause all kinds of problems for the environment and living creatures including ourselves (sperm counts of young men are now half those of their fathers or grandfathers at the same age--in fact experts have redefined low sperm counts to much lower numbers than they used a generation ago because the alternative would be to acknowledge that all western men now have lower sperm counts). Will these glues and stiffening agents contribute to this trend? I prefer natural fibers and traditional sewing methods. Steps off soapbox and shuffles off to grumble to self in a corner.