Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sewer, Sewist, Seamstress

In a recent post I wrote that I am not a fast sewist. Several of my children questioned me on my use of the word sewist, and it got me thinking, wondering what term you sewers out there use to describe yourself when it comes to your sewing.

Notice I used the word "sewers" in the above sentence. Yes, sewer may be correct, but when I read it, it brings to mind images of...you know, the smelly place where waste is disposed of.

But why not use the word seamstress, my children questioned? Well, to me, a seamstress brings to mind a professional who sews for a living. Like a tailor. When I've referred to myself as a seamstress, I'm often asked how much I charge for custom sewing, etc.. I have no inclination or desire to sew custom garments for others for pay, but that seems to be the image that being a seamstress conveys. I suppose I am a seamstress of sorts, but it's definitely not my profession.

Hence, I usually use sewist when I write, but I use sewer (one who sews) when I talk.

What do you all think? Is the word sewist acceptable? Should it be added to the dictionary? I read it all over the sewing blog world, so I know I'm not the only one using it.

Ruth

19 comments:

  1. I have always called myself a seamstress, but then, I do sew for pay. But now that I am designing patterns as well, I am not sure what team fits me best.

    Maybe "Fabric Diva" is best.
    Whatcha think?

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  2. I've always used the word seamstress until I started reading sewing blogs. Now I usually use the words sewist and sewers as well. I think they are all probably correct. Although, I would probably refer to you as a sewing diva. I know you are probably too humble to use that term personally regarding yourself.

    I don't sew for others for pay either. I've been asked a few times. My sewing is for enjoyment and to bless my family.

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  3. I had to comment on this because I always cringe when I see the word "sewer" for the same reasons you mentioned! :)
    The word sewist is actually new to me but I think it would best describe me as far as my sewing goes.

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  4. Well, I never heard or read the word sewist used. I have heard of sewer and seamstress. When I think of a seamstress I think of someone who not only sews well, but someone who can alter a garment, make a garment without a pattern....someone who is just fabulous with needle and thread and the sewing machine...Girlie, that is you!!! I never associate a person called a seamstress that is someone that sews for money.

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  5. Im a Sewer/Sewist gal myself! The term seamstress condures up visions of an older woman crumpled over a sewing machine working her fingers to the bone for pennies! LOL - I dont konw why but it does - and besides it sounds to serious... hee hee

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  6. Since the majority of your readers/followers/fans are also sewers then I'm sure they will accept whichever term you choose.

    It's almost like some of the crocheters like to call themselves hookers (tongue-in-cheek) just for fun. But everyone knows what they mean.

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  7. I think seamstress is a little sexist. What do you call the men on HGTV who sew? Seamsters? I think I would prefer to be called a sewist.

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  8. I had not heard sewist until I began reading blogs. It is the term I now prefer, though. I agree that seamstress makes me think of somebody who is not only a professional, but can also alter clothing. Sewer is just yucky!!

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  9. I prefer to think of myself as a fabric artist. Sounds impressive, though I don't know that what I do is impressive. But I love fabric so and what it can do for my soul.

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  10. I had to laugh when I read the term "sewing diva!" I don't think I've ever been a diva at anything, smile! Oh, I kind of like "fabric artist," too. Fun, fun! I've enjoyed reading all the comments on this topic.

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  11. If I'm speaking I say "sewer" but like you mentioned, the written version can lead one to think of other things. When I write it I say "I sew". I think that maybe hyphenating the word might be ok too - sew-er.

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  12. I never really thought about it. I personally say 'I sew' too. But then again, I knit more than I sew, so the subject isnt one I discuss much. Great blog, by the way. I love to read what more experienced 'sewists' have to say.

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  13. I never really thought about it. I personally say 'I sew' too. But then again, I knit more than I sew, so the subject isnt one I discuss much. Great blog, by the way. I love to read what more experienced 'sewists' have to say.

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  14. The word sewist bothers me grammatically, because "ist" is a suffix added to the end of a noun, not a verb.

    "The suffix -ist is used to denote a person who either practices something or a person who is concerned with something or a person who holds certain principles, doctrines, etc."

    By "something", the above description means a noun. If you practice anthropology, you are an anthropologist. If your career is your main concern, you are a careerist. But sew is not a noun. So sewist is not a proper word to me. Sewer sounds better. Seamstress or seamster or dressmaker are all appropriate.

    I am a runner. I am not a runist.

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  15. Lately I've been seeing the term "home sewist"... I like that much better than seamstress.

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  16. Hello SEWERS AND SEAMSTRESS! I am looking for a seamstress to sew a few leotards that I have designed. I am located in NJ. I will provide the fabric... I can not sew... but I have a good eye for quality work and designs and would love to show off my creations. I just want to start with a few samples, and if they become in demand, then grow and build from there. I am willing to obviously pay my seamstress for their work. If anyone is interested in sewing some spandex...or good with spandex materials, please contact me at dancequeen11@hotmail.com Thanks, hope to hear from someone soon!

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  17. I much prefer to think of myself as a seamstress, but then again it has been my career in the past, before I decided to stay home with my kids, so maybe that's part of it. The term "sewer" is fine by me, though I can see where reading it as opposed to hearing it could be confusing out of context. I can't, however, get on board with "sewist"...it just doesn't sit right with me for a variety of reasons. Maybe I'm too old school but it just doesn't seem like a real word to me. I'm with Cathie on this...grammatically, it just doesn't make much sense. That's just my two cents though.

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  18. I much prefer to think of myself as a seamstress, but then again it has been my career in the past, before I decided to stay home with my kids, so maybe that's part of it. The term "sewer" is fine by me, though I can see where reading it as opposed to hearing it could be confusing out of context. I can't, however, get on board with "sewist"...it just doesn't sit right with me for a variety of reasons. Maybe I'm too old school but it just doesn't seem like a real word to me. I'm with Cathie on this...grammatically, it just doesn't make much sense. That's just my two cents though.

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  19. Hi Girls! This is such a great post! I just wrote a "Before & After" blog on window treatments and referred to the person who made them as a sewer. I was soon FB'd a comment that asked "Do you mean the seamstress kind or the manhole cover type?". I pride myself on being a good and well-researched writer, but with second-guessing quickness, I scrambled to make sure I hadn't made a spelling faux pas! Nope! I WAS right! However, I did search my mental thesaurus and wonder if I could have used another term to describe not a dress maker, but someone who sews. THANK you for a new, and dictionary-worthy word! Sewist it is!

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