Lately I have been reading a lot about being thankful. Not just about being thankful in every day things, but also how being thankful can help your future. Have you ever thought about the act of saying THANK YOU, and just how much it can impact you? Think about that time you held open the door for someone, and suddenly masses of people showed up and you found yourself holding the door open for a clown car. And how NONE of them said thank you? How did you feel? Like you wanted to slam the door in their big red noses…am I right? The simple act of saying thank you can open up the door to incredible things in your life. Being thankful for what you have can make you a generally happier person, and it can put everything in proper perspective. It is so easy to take what we already have for granted, even down to the air in our lungs.
As I walked into my sewing studio this morning – this thankful message carried over into my work. The sewing and blogging world seems to be moving so fast lately – it can be hard to keep up. But none of it would be here today if it weren’t for the pioneers who built and shaped our industry.
So let’s take a moment to say THANK YOU.
To remember the people who have helped make this possible. To the game changers of our industry. To the people I personally look up to and admire. Of course I cannot name them all, as the list would be rather extensive. But after thinking about it a little bit, here is a small list of the people who come to mind. I think you will agree, all of whom are, or were, GAME CHANGERS within our industry.
Obviously, we must start with Elias Howe. Known most for his invention of the sewing machine. Guess what…he actually did NOT invent the first one. He is simply the first person to get the patent correct on it. Isaac Singer even had to pay patent infringements after creating a similar sewing machine to Howe’s. Elias Howe created his sewing machine in 1845, after having apprenticed in a textile factory for his childhood and young adult years. It has also been argued that Howe may have been the earliest inventor of the zipper. – via Wikipedia
Obviously known as the famous thread company today, James & Patrick Clark and James Coats have a heritage that starts more than 250 years ago with its history beginning in the mid-late 1700’s. Not only can you still find their products in stores today, but they are the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of industrial sewing threads. And the second largest and fastest growing supplier of zips, to the apparel industry. – via Coats & Clark
A man first invented sewing patterns *mind blown*. We all recognize the name Butterick, it is one of the 4 historic American pattern companies that still exist; including Butterick, McCall’s, Simplicity & Vogue. Three of which have merged into the same company under the parent McCall’s company. Ebenezer Butterick is regarded as the inventor of the modern day tissue paper graded sewing pattern, together with his wife Ellen Augusta Pollard Butterick. The original cost of a paper pattern? Anywhere from $.25 – $.75. With the average American only earning $1 – $2 per day, it was quite expensive. Puts into perspective the $1 pattern bins at your local fabric store, doesn’t it.
German immigrants Hilda & Berthold Reich, and Sigmund & Mathilda Rohrbach opened an imported cheese store in Cleveland in 1943, which soon added fabric to its shelves. When that sold well, they opened a second store dubbed the Cleveland Fabric Shop. Eventually, they removed the cheese and a couple of decades later adopted the now famous moniker Jo-Ann Fabrics. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is the nation’s largest fabric and craft retailer with more than 790 stores in 49 states. – via Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores & Wikipedia
Eleanor Burns pioneered the quick quilting industry with her self-published book in 1978, “Make a Quilt in a Day: Log Cabin Pattern”. As the name suggests, Eleanor Burns gave quilt makers techniques that compacted months into merely a day, a quilt in a day. She single-handedly started a quilt making revolution, and has since written hundreds of books and has her own TV Series on PBS for the past 22 years. Eleanor Burns name and techniques have become synonymous with quilt-making. – via Wikipedia
Nancy Zieman is the TV host of Sewing with Nancy, on air since 1982. Sewing with Nancy is the longest running sewing program on North American television, initially being videotaped in Nancy’s living room with a 1-person camera crew (sound familiar YouTube?). An author and designer for The McCall Pattern Company, Nancy brought at-home sewing into the homes of millions of viewers through her television show. Nancy has Bell’s Palsy, which is the reason for her famous smile. She continues to be very open about her condition, helping the over 40,000 Americans affected each year. That makes her a Hero in my book. – via Wikipedia, Nancy Zieman Blog, Bell’s Palsy Info Site.
Martha Pullen didn’t invent heirloom sewing – the art of joining laces to create fabrics – but she and her fabulous staff can take much of the credit for the resurgence of classic, heirloom sewing and children’s clothing. Martha started her business in 1981, importing lace and fabrics to sell via mail order. Next, came the Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion, the Vintage Collection of Martha Pullen series of books, and what we probably most know her for ‘Sew Beautiful’, the popular magazine she founded and began publishing in 1987. Love to smock fabric? You can thank Martha Pullen. – via Martha Pullen Company
Amy Butler Designs was launched in 2000, when her bright colors and bohemian style fabrics hit the scene with a bang. Considered a “celebrity fabric designer”, Amy appears and speaks at large trade shows as well as publishes her own Magazine, ‘Blossom’. She is one of the top-selling fabric designers, known for her printed quilting cottons, home decor fabrics, and voile. Many would say she helped usher in the era of fabric designers being a household name amongst sewing enthusiasts. – via Wikipedia, Amy Butler Designs
We are talking Project Runway folks. Premiering in 2004, this fashion contest took America by storm and opened up a new fervor for the classic art of sewing amongst young adults everywhere. With 13 Seasons under its belt, Project Runway has the ability to turn a talented every day seamstress into a star overnight. Furthermore, it put the name MOOD Fabrics on the map, making it a must-see sightseeing tour stop while visiting NYC. Project Runway continues to awe and inspire us with its runway looks, and has turned the phrase ‘Make it Work’ into a household catchphrase. – via Wikipedia
Amy Karol represents the list of pioneering bloggers when it comes to the beginning of the sewing blog. It is impossible to trace the roots of the sewing blog, or who started it first, but Amy Karol of Angry Chicken is definitely up there as one of the first home sewing bloggers.
Other sewing bloggers that are a part of the Amy Karol generation include:
- Made by Rae for offering some of the first tutorials widely used and downloaded
- MADE for incorporating the fabulous use of color, graphics, and photography skills into blog posts (breaking down the tiny auto blogger photos)
- Sew Mama Sew for building the first true on-line sewing community
- Heather Bailey was one of the first to put a free PDF download online (bitty baby booties)
- Patty of ModKid and Carla of Scientific Seamstress are some of the first pattern designers noted for offering PDF Patterns for sale
- House on Hill Road, the very first skirt tutorial (twirly skirt)
- How About Orange
- Liesl Gibson
- Wee Wonderfuls
In all honesty, this warrants its own blog post trying to categorize and link the sewing blogger evolution. I just may try to do that…it will take time though.
I know you, you are sitting here going who in the world is this red-headed kid? That my friends is Rob Kalin, one of the founders of Etsy. Ever heard of it? Started in 2005, Etsy essentially became the world’s largest handmade and vintage goods marketplace. There isn’t a seamstress around that hasn’t either been told she should start her own Etsy shop, toyed with the idea, or already has one. Etsy opened up the doors to millions of entrepreneurs offering them an easy way to start an on-line store. In 2012 Etsy’s sellers made more than $895 million on goods sold, and in 2013 they topped $1 billion. – via Wikipedia, Bloomberg, & Business Insider.
Honestly, this list could go on and on.
I could include people like:
- Ben Silbermann – the founder of Pinterest. Who changed the way every single sewing blogger takes photos for social media optimization.
- John Levisay and Josh Scott -founders of Craftsy, who are currently revolutionizing the way we purchase and view sewing classes on the web.
- Spoonflower, allowing people for the first time to create and order their own fabric designs.
- STYLO – the first on-line kids sewing eMagazine in which I am co-editor in chief. hee hee – had to throw it in here.
But at same point, we just need to take a moment and say thank you.
Everything moves so fast, it is hard to keep up. But to those who helped us get where we are today – THANK YOU. Thank you for plowing the first road. Thank you for sticking with it, even when things got hard or you thought about quitting. Thank you for persevering. THANK YOU.
You have cultivated a love for this incredible art that we call sewing. You have desired, inspired, and impassioned generations of people to continue to pick up the needle and thread. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. I wouldn’t be here.
So tell me…
Who do you think I missed?
Thank YOU so much for stopping by, and until next time…Happy Sewing!