This post has taken me a long time to write and indeed taken a lot of thought. We live In a World where things change at an unprecedented speed: We also, sadly, see many things that take forever to change. Now I’m not going to start talking about politics or religion and things that I don’t really understand but stick to sewing, particularly Sewing Magazines. There have been a few things, recently, that have made me write this, so here goes.
Whats the point of sewing magazines?
Well, I’m not entirely sure anymore. I used to like sitting down and having a read through the articles, get some inspiration and look at what others had made but things have started to get repetitive and quite frankly boring. We are constantly seeing the same/similar articles in different named magazines and please don’t mention the advertisements! I know magazines exist to make money but seriously, why so many adverts? Can a magazine not be profitable without pages and pages of adverts?
Ah! The free sewing patterns that come with a magazine, now that has to be a good thing? Well no, not really. Often the patterns are really dull. And lets not mention if you are over a certain dress size, as the chance of getting a free pattern that fits you is even less likely. Before any magazine editors start shouting at me, yes there has been an effort to provide alternative sized patterns, which is good but you could try harder.
Now I have been privileged enough to write articles for different magazines, which I really enjoyed doing, particularly for Sew Now. This magazine, when it started, promised to be a little different from the others. It was aimed at the beginner, provided alternative size patterns and had good reviews. I wrote a monthly article for them for 17 months but then the magazine ‘changed direction’ and my article stopped. Sadly it started to become the same as the rest of the sewing magazines. Still it was good while it lasted.
It seems that most UK magazines are produced for the beginner as they rarely tackle difficult/alternative sewing techniques or discuss more technical aspects. Yes we were all beginners once but we practice, honing our skills to become more proficient. It is at this point sewing magazines fail. There are no articles that challenge your skills or push you take the next steps.
Well there are alternative sewing magazines that attempt to fill the gap. Threads magazine from the US is a much better magazine, in my opinion, as it covers a much larger base of sewing skills and knowledge. The problem is it is often difficult to find here in the UK but you can subscribe.
A relative newcomer to the UK is La Maison Victor. A Belgium publication that is actually very good. It comes with several, on trend, patterns in each issue. OK I know there will be people moaning about having to trace the patterns and add the seam allowance! Honestly, you don’t already trace your patterns before making? A multi-sized pattern is exactly that! Trace the size you want then you can use the pattern again for a different size. OK I admit adding a seam allowance can be tedious but you can add what you like to allow for better fitting and often save the need to make a toile. OK the magazine has a few issues with translation of instructions but nothing too serious. Hang on….It’s also not full of adverts? How can they make money? Perhaps from selling to an audience that want to read it?
Now comes my real issue with sewing magazines. WHERE ARE THE MEN? Why are there no patterns for men? Have you ever seen a man on the front cover of a sewing magazine? There are many men who sew and many women that want to sew for men but magazines are not providing for us. This really became apparent to me last month when La Maison Victor had an entire issue dedicated to menswear! Yes a whole magazine with 8 mens patterns! In fact nearly every issue has had something for men.
Men Do Sew!
Why are sewing magazines (LMV excluded) failing to provide for men, or those who want to sew for men? Does it damage sales to include menswear patterns or articles? I doubt it but something needs to change. What about men who are beginning their sewing journey but don’t want to make dresses, skirts or some pointless sewing related ornament? They are not likely to pop into the supermarket and pick up a sewing magazine are they? I realise that the number of men who sew is much smaller than the number of women (we are a minority) but men and menswear is being neglected by the magazines. Perhaps we would not be such a minority if magazines catered more for us and helped encourage men to take up sewing? Magazines do occasionally feature token ‘men-who-sew’ type article but it is not enough. Sewing is such a wonderful hobby/craft that can be done by anyone regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or belief and magazines should be providing for all of their customers and not just thinking about the profit.
So what can we do? I doubt my ranting will make any difference at all but it needs to be addressed. In fact I will challenge any of the UK sewing magazines to put a man on the front cover and give away a menswear pattern (and not a neck tie or bow-tie)……Will they? No, as the risk of less sales that month would be too high for them.
I shall be using the hashtag #MenDoSew and please feel free to do the same if you agree with me. Use the logo too and share to your followers.
What are your thoughts? Should magazines provide more content for men? Would you be happy seeing some menswear patterns in a magazine? Please let me know.
Come on, lets see a little more for men in UK sewing magazines and perhaps a pattern or two? (We don’t just wear ties or T-shirts). It’s time you moved on, found a new lease of life and took a leaf from LMV don’t you think?
Until next time…..Happy Sewing!