PhD Research

Exploring the narratives, motivations and experiences of women engaging in an online sewalong: #fussycuttingsewalong

In January 2018 I started an English Paper Piecing (EPP) fussy-cutting sewalong on Instagram. Each month has an individual theme (themes so far have included love, animals, flowers, retro) and every Monday I share a photo of an EPP block and provide guidelines/challenges for others to create their EPP block based on that week’s fussy cutting challenge (such as fussy cutting a whole motif, a central motif, a section of a motif and so on). There are lots of photos available on Instagram by searching the hashtag #fussycuttingsewalong or clicking onto my own profile http://www.instagram.com/naomialicec

Within the sewalong, there is diversity in the location of participants (with women from the UK, Channel Islands, USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Germany, Norway), ages (ranging from 27 to 70+ years), religions, techniques, socio-economic status, careers, and styles yet there is also unity through that diversity as sewing has acted as a leveller. A supportive community has been created which has extended beyond social media (some people have met and become friends in real life). We have worked together to create a strong, encouraging, creative community which is built upon shared interests by using Instagram to create a digital version of the traditional quilting bees.

Often when sewing is researched it is done from a public health perspective with sewing being explored as a creative intervention for healthy ageing and/or for those struggling with mental health difficulties, disability and/or ill physical health.

I would like to explore sewing for sewing’s sake. To do so, I am focussing on the women’s personal narratives and motivations for taking part in the #fussycuttingsewalong as well as sewing more generally. I would also like to explore the role of social media in their sewing experiences.