Sewing Trends in Designs, Techniques, and Supplies

Hooded Baby Towel made with organic terry cloth by Katie Himmelberg.

Hooded Baby Towel made with organic terry cloth by Katie Himmelberg. 

The Odekake Tote by Ayumi Takahashi is a great example of Japanese design influences.

The Odekake Tote by Ayumi Takahashi is a great example of Japanese design influences.

 Alissa Haight Carlton's Yellow Pop quilt shows off modern quilting style.

  Alissa Haight Carlton's Yellow Pop quilt shows off modern quilting style. 


Contemporary Sewing Trends

Over the last three years of Stitch, we've covered a wide variety of contemporary sewing trends to inform and inspire readers. And with every featured trend, we give an overview of the trend and then break it down into information you can use at home in your own projects, from fabric and sewing supply ideas to design inspiration and techniques. Each trend has inspired me to look at my approach to sewing a little bit differently, so I wanted to take a tour of my ranking of the top four most influential contemporary sewing trends that continue to impact the sewing world in a big way.

• Sew Eco – This major trend encompasses everything from organic fabrics and notions to recycling, refashioning, and sustainable fashion practices. We covered this trend in our premiere issue in Stitch Fall 2008, and it's still going strong in 2011. As the sewing world continues to go green, we are also seeing more emphasis on low-impact dyes and nontoxic finishing methods, ethical and fair labor practices in the textile and fashion industries, and sustainable packaging. If you want to sew more with planet-friendly materials, try sewing with organic cotton, organic wool, bamboo, hemp, Tencel, and vintage or recycled fabrics.  

• I [Heart] Japan -Japanese-inspired sewing has gone global and continues to widely influence the sewing and quilting world. From traditional to contemporary styles, Japanese clothing design, textiles, zakka-style projects, and craft publications intrigue sewers. For fabric lovers, kimono fabric, sashiko, shibori, and other unique fabrics and textile techniques are still popular. In our coverage of this trend in Stitch Fall 2009, we took a tour of the Japanese design inspirations that sewers can choose from, plus offered a step-by-step guide to sewing with Japanese pattern books. To add Japanese handmade style to your next project, emphasize clean, simple lines with topstitching, embroidery or piping or try creating your own shibori or sashiko fabric for a handcrafted touch. 

• Modern Quilting – Regardless of whether you quilt, modern quilt style is showing up everywhere, from small patchwork gifts to home decor. With an emphasis on improvisational piecing, graphic impact, and an inspired use of color, this quilting style has created an exciting quilting community. We gave a tour of this trend in Stitch Fall 2010, along with great tips for making a modern quilt. To join in on this trend, try improvisational piecing in your next project, play with different designs on a design wall for inspiration, and practice coming up with your own unique quilt designs.

• Vintage Style – Since everything old becomes new again, the vintage trend is still going strong. From classic vintage and vintage-inspired patterns to contemporary vintage remixes and refashioned projects, there is something for everyone. And the world of vintage fabrics and notions is still popular with sewers. We chronicled this trend in Stitch Spring 2010 and offered a helpful guide to altering vintage patterns to fit. Since standard size charts have changed over the decades, it's important to shop for patterns by your measurements instead of the size listed. Vintage patterns tend to be more fitted, so be sure to create a muslin sampler first so you can make alterations where necessary before you sew it in your final fabric.

Read more about these trends in Stitch back issues and take advantage of our StashBuster sale to get any copies you missed. And more importantly, find a way to make each trend your own.

Happy sewing,


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