Sunday, February 26, 2012

adding the -ist


last saturday, i had the pleasure of partying with the ladies and gents of sew la, in celebration of sarai's much loved book.  sweets of all kinds, both in the form of food and peeps, were in abundance: trice.  hashi.  mena. christine.  devon.  mk.  sarai, of course (whose name i absolutely butchered).  exquisitely beautiful women all. but i'm at odds on what to call them.

you see, there's a discussion going on over at craftsy, and it's about to come to fisticuffs.

over adding an -ist to the word sew.

fascinating stuff.  in a world where new words are added to webster's every day (words like soul patch and unibrow) why are we getting all up in a tizzy (a highly excited and distracted state of mind) over adding a suffix to a noun?  it's like we've never seen a kooky word before.  we're all discombobulated over it.  sorry, but seamstress seems humdrum to me.  mossy, if you will.  and by mossy i mean dated.  and by dated i mean the first known use of the word was back in 1598.   

cobwebs aside, it also specifically applies to a woman, where its counterpart, tailor, has historically been the male side of sewing.  and wouldn't you say society has thought of the tailor as the superior, erm, for lack of a real word, sewist?  would we call that... sexist?  let's face it, you don't go to the seamstress's shop to get your important alterations done, you go to the tailor's (well, i don't, i go to my living room).  per webster's definitions: "a woman whose occupation is sewing"  versus  "a person whose occupation is making or altering outer garments".  at least they've made it gender neutral in the case of the tailor-- but do you consider yourself "one who sews", or "one who sews garments"?  let's go a little deeper: do you "style with trim straight lines and finished handwork", do you "fit with clothes", do you "make or adapt to suit a special need or purpose"?  that's all tailor, baby.  

or would you describe yourself as a "woman whose occupation is sewing?"

no wrong answer, just asking.   but for me, smackdown: tailor. 

smackdown is a real word.


mais, i don't want to be called a tailor as much as i don't want to be called a seamstress.  talk about cobwebs, tailor dates back to the 13th century.  that's not the point, i adore the word frock, date isn't really the issue. gender isn't really the issue.  i want a word that fits my idea of sewing, which is not better than your idea, which is not specific to some PYT's idea of sewing, which is not meant to be exclusive or cliqueish.  (yes, i added an ish to clique.  cliqueish is not a word.  but -ish is a suffix.)  

you know what?  let's get into the use of PYT.  it's not a real word either.  when michael jackson crooned it, i think he meant it in a nice way.  but let's define the way i've seen it used in some posts and comments of sewing blogs: le derogatory.  

pretty:  appearing or sounding pleasant or nice but lacking in strength, force, manliness, purpose or intensity, 
young:  being in the first or early stage of life, growth or development
thing:   an object or entity not capable of being designated. 

one of the best and brightest things about sewing blogs is the support of the community, wouldn't you say?  and the supreme knowledge that  All.  Women.  Are.  Beautiful.   physical evidence of this was in full effect at the sew la shindig.  all of our fit issues, colors, weights, ages, heights, we celebrate them.  our shapes: we study them, we dissect them, and in doing so we come to see more beauty.  we manipulate fabric to embellish our unique forms perfectly, we embrace our differences.  but this PYT, this girl (she's not a woman), is a weak immature object, her (societal definition of) prettiness being her first, negative, and excluding quality.  i would assume she's also a bit dim.  and even if her intelligence is not being called into question, she's still a thing.  a thing to be dismissed.

now this  is a divisive word.  and let me repeat, it's not a real word.   

BUT GOOD LORD, YOU ADDED AN -IST TO SEW?!




-ist: suffix

one that performs an action, one that makes or produces a thing
one that specializes in an art or science or skill

there are botanists, artists, violinists, ventriloquists, cellists, philanthropists, archaeologists, geologists, psychiatrists, pianists, hedonists, novelists, guitarists, scientists (many of whom sew), why is it such a stretch to be a sewist?

yes, i know it's not a word.  but in a land where ginormous and crunk are firmly ensconced, sewist can't be too far behind.

to be honest i'm not that obsessed about it.  i find the debate intriguing and funny, they're just words, PYT included, and in the grand scheme of Big Bad Words they are so very innocuous.  when all is said and done there are much more pressing matters, pun fully intended.  i like sewist.  i also think sewasaurus rex is pretty frigging cool (ruggy came up with that one).  but i'm happy to include seamstress, tailor, sewer, crafter, sewing artist, and sewologist in my lexicon.  i'm happy to include you and whatever you'd like to be called.  'cause i like you.  you're nifty.

so?  what shall i call you when you come over for cocktails?

126 comments:

  1. I see myself as hobby seamstress; as opposed to only seamstress who sews for other people and is paid for it. I've sewn for other people, too, and have already been paid for it, but I don't think my skills are up par to real seamstress standard. (Although, hearing stories about "professional" seamstresses in the Czech Republic, maybe they are...) Mostly my velocity is not up par with them. (Can you use velocity in such a context?)

    I'm definitely not a tailor. Tailoring suggests - well, a tailored jacked (it could be made by a seamstress for all I care). I'm definitely not there yet.

    Sewist? I don't know about that one. I like it like an enveloping, all-embracing term for all the people who sew, no matter who they are. But I don't feel like a sewist myself, specifically, as in saying "I'm a sewist". If someone said "Oona and Marmota and Peter are sewists", then of course, I am, because that's what we all are. But I prefer calling myself hobby seamstress. It must have something to do with being Czech, because in Czech there are nearly always gender-specific words - it's just the way the language works, just like German or French or lots of other languages. (So actually all words are either gender-specific, or neutra - and those are mostly things.) So there's "švadlena", which is seamstress, and it's what I am. Then there's "krejčí/krejčová", which is tailor, and that's what I'm not. We don't have sewists. Yet.

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    1. I like it AS a term... Czenglish moment of weakness.

      Also, cucumber soda?!

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    2. "my velocity is not up par with them": i don't know if you can use velocity in that context, but i LIKE it. it's colorful and poetic.

      yes, i agree it's a broad term-- like, i could be a cellist, but i would be a very bad cellist :))). i like your point of gender specificity in other languages. french drove me crazy that way. we do away with so many gender-specific words in our mishmosh american now (actor/actress, etc) that i shy away from the titles that are female. not cause i don't like chicks, love the ladies, but more in a being seen as the lesser of the sexes kind of thing. at least here.

      the cucumber soda. oh hana. DELICIOUS!!!!!

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  2. You can call me Soul Sister! I couldn't care less what words people use. Language is a living, breathing animal and changing all the time - that's what's so great about it.

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    1. i DO call you soul sister, like ALL THE TIME.

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  3. I started seeing "sewist" a little while ago, I think it's meant to look better than "sewer" does when written, and also be less gender specific but I don't like it. In fact I don't think I like any of the words that can describe what I do as a hobby, I don't even like the word "hobby". Perhaps I am grouchy today (grouchy is a word though, isn't it?) I guess seamstress is ok, but I prefer to think of myself as gorgeous and creative, a 'G and C'? Sounds like a drink, haha, this is fun.

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    1. i'm with you on hobby! it has a belittling sound to me. just something i do as a hobby.... and grouchy is indeed a lovely word, meaning "given to grumbling". the kiwi got grouchy when her G & C was finished.

      (G & C sounds awesome. that shall be your drink when you arrive. i'm sure ruggy can make something up.)

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  4. Well said Miss Oona. And when I say 'well said' I mean it in the literal sense. English is an evolving language, just as the definition of a seamstress these days has evolved.

    You just have to look at greats like Shakespeare, Henry Miller and the like to see how they have given meaning to an other wise made-up words. I'm convinced that Shakespeare, had he heard the word 'fa-shizzle' would have been all over it.

    Because we all love our selves a bit of sewing, we fancy ourselves a fan of the vintage. People seem to forget that we are not the only generation that have changed from the last generation. In my parents day it was scandelous if you liked The Beatles.

    If someone wants to call themselves a Sewist then they shall. In fact if someone wants to call themselves a 'Sewist-monster' they can do that to. If they believe they are one then they have instantly given it meaning and hence it is now a word.

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    1. i love to picture shakespeare shizzlin all over the place.

      that doesn't sound right.

      your last sentence should be emblazoned somewhere important and in full view.

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  5. I lean towards sewist; more specifically, I tend to call myself a "mad sewist". Also microbiologist, geek, painter, embroidery artist, nerd, geek, geek, nerd, and maybe a little bit of cook.

    I need to add mixologist to the bunch.

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    1. Mad sewist - now that's a use of the word I like! :D And can - sort of - even relate to.

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    2. We're all mad here. More tea, Alice?

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    3. @ corvustristis: mad sewer INDEED. your tentacled embroidery doodles are amazing! maybe you should just go with Master Mixologist.

      tea? yes, if you throw a little bourbon in it.

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  6. Well put. I do like sewasaurus rex the best though!

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  7. I have a hatred for the term tailor because to me it's about the alterations, as in "hey can you hem these pants for me?" No ma'am, I am no one's tailor. I don't want to take in your dress or repair your jacket lining. Take that to your tailor. I am none too fond of the other terms, either, I am an apparel artist, a clothing artist, a fabric artist. I create.

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    1. "i create" is sort of glorious. and agreed on the tailor bits. loathsome.

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  8. Well I certainly don't want to be a sew-er, cos that stinks! ;)

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    1. what's funny is, craftsy's post called "sewer" unfortunate, and i was all huh? i don't get it... took me a minute.

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  9. Well, if "they" can have bromance, then I am going to keep sewist! Words don't make it into the dictionary until they become common parlance, anyway. Its certainly less confusing than usufructuary laws.

    Have I mentioned I love you to bits?

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    1. right back atcha, georgia peach.

      usufructuary. ooh, now you KNOW i had to look that one up. what a horrible word!!! i would expect big daddy to chime in on this shortly.

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  10. Oo now that's a new one ^^apparel artist sums me up quite well as a person who likes to design clothes (or a least try's to) and make them. Honestly I don't mind what sewing term your refer to me as just don't call me a hobbyist - by the way it has nothing to do with the ist haha!

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    1. many commenters over at craftsy liked "fabric artist", but i like narrowing it to apparel. apparelist?

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  11. How about "seamist"? Just a gender neutral form of "seamstress" but oddly romantic. And appropriate--don't you feel like a sea mist when you are surging, I mean serging?

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    1. i REALLY like seamist! it is oddly romantic! a dark horse...

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  12. Completely agree - I mean seriously, get over it!

    I think from now on though, I will call myself a sewasaurus Rex!!

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    1. seriously, if peeps start calling themselves sewasaurus rex ruggy will just flip.

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  13. oh oona.. only you can make me read and enjoy an entire discussion on something i don't give a damn about.. i can probably add some of the slavic words to all that debate.. but, i won't.. my name is ist, sew ist

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    1. like ice, ice baby?

      (ist, ist, sewist....)

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    2. muahahahaa.. and now i'm going to spend all day mumbling 'ist, ist, sewist'.. lovely

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  14. Seamster. Master of seamly behaviour. Crafty wench. One who knows the sews.

    So now that's done, what are we drinking?

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    1. *squints eyes, recognizing a sister in seams...*

      WHATEVER YOU WANT.

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  15. Forget sewist, seamstress, tailor, sewing artist, etc... from now on, I'm calling myself a sewing superstar.

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    1. yes! will you do the little dance whenever you finish a seam?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB_Mnr2anp0

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  16. I like seamstress because... Seam Stress.

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    1. THAT. is the ONLY reason i would like the word! CURSES!

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  17. I like sewist, because it's gender-neutral. But what I think is really interesting about this is that people find it so inconceivable that a man should become known as a "seamstress." Often, we end up with "gender-neutral" terms which are really just the male terms being used universally while the female version gets dropped from common usage (i.e. "editor" vs. "editrix"). Women don't generally have a problem adopting male terms, but the same can't be said in the other direction. Thus, the word "tailor" refers specifically to the skills (regardless of the gender of the person performing them) but the word "seamstress" continues to refer to the person (woman) performing. Or so it seems to me, for now.

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    1. yep! in fact, like i wrote to hana above, i'll choose the male version over the female when describing myself as a sort of "screw you i'm just as good as a man." but that's it, battle of the sexes. tailor is more competent than seamstress; it gets stuck in your head. that's why i'm all for a new descriptor.

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    2. Yes, exactly. That's why I like sewist... it's new and free from all that historical baggage. (And I'm all for the evolution of language.)

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    3. Not to take this off topic, but just interesting that this happens historically with names, too. Once a 'male' name is used for girls, it typically won't go back to being used for boys (e.g., Lindsay, courtney).

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    4. yes; historical baggage.

      how interesting about the takeover of names!

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  18. Oona you are fantastic! I'm pretty sure after reading through all these lovely comments my favorites are Sewasaurus Rex, Mad Sewist, and Crafty Wench! Yes please! How about stitcher extraordinaire!?

    Doesn't it all seem so hilarious, when words evolve every day!

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    1. how about stitch-o-might!

      i couldn't believe all the new words in webster's. even "app" is a word now!

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  19. "Sewasaurus Rex" is pretty awesome. But that opens up weird Latin linguistic gender questions in my overstuffed brain. Does that neo-Latin nomenclature thing transcend gender, or are we back in that place where all nouns have gender? Or am I thinking too much and should just go get another Sazerac and finish that seam already?

    (For my own self, I prefer verbs -- I sew, you sew, he/she/it sews -- over nouns. Sidesteps a lot of angst for me to talk about what I do rather than what I am, but maybe I'm the only one who thinks the 'I'm a ...' construction is ... limiting).

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    1. hmmm... i think: sazerac sounds like a wonderful drink. a drink for seams and seaming.

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  20. i'm perfectly fine with being called a "sewist" even though it's not a word. & I love referring to my little sewing students as "little sewists" way better than calling them "little sewers" because of how it reads when it's written, eeww!

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  21. The funny thing about dictionaries is that people use them like they are some kind of grammar bible but really they are not. When they were making up the first ones (*gasp* there was a time before dictionaries!), they had people mail in little postcards with words and definitions and a citation a work of literature with the word in it. Now, dictionary companies just hire people to go around and listen for words and how people use them. It's pretty funny to read old dictionaries and see how words have changed.

    So, anyways, if you want "sewist" to be a "real" word, just get everybody to use it and it'll make it in there in time. (I do believe "ain't" is in quite a few now.) I learned so much in my History of the English Language class. :)

    Oh, and I usually just say "I sew" rather than "I am a....".

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    1. so you go for the verb, like nora above. i like it. i think therefore i am.

      interesting about the postcards!

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  22. I say I sew. It's simple.

    If people want to get all Webster, why not call us 'sewing machinists!' Ha! We can all join together and form a union. Oona will be our mob boss. Assuming she buys all our votes with G&T's. ;)

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    1. g&ts for all! that's my platform! I SO WANT TO BE A MOB BOSS NOW.

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  23. I like sewist. I use it everywhere, and it comes out of my mouth despite the weird looks I get. I guess I get away with it because I sew and my students assume I know what I'm talking about...

    I just like it. Gender stuff aside, sewer is so... Yuck. It's too plain or something... I figure the people who don't like me using "sewist" probably won't like me anyway... ;)

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    1. oh, you are excellent to have on the team, wielding your position of power can only help the cause. excellent work. martini for you!

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  24. You can call me a sewista when you see me. Um, speaking of which, I will be in LA this week (Mon-Thurs). I sorta crept up on me. My computer is in full on revolt so I can't seem to get at your contact-by-email deets (not a word?) but shoot me an email at clio[dot]phineas[at]gmail[dot]com. I'd love to bring you some NY cheer, or cynicism, whichever you prefer.

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  25. hi oona! so amazing to meet you too and I'm blushing at both the exquisitely beautiful statement as well as my stellar company! you too are exquisitely beautiful, and whatever we get called in reference to sewing is fine by me :)

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  26. Amen! I call myself a sewer, but I never write it. All those mispronunciations and all.

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    1. yeah, i'm into the word looking good and sounding good. (i'm sure that's improper english. and that prolly was too.)

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  27. Oh PLEASE call me Sewasaurus Rex! It would be very appropriate given that I am extremely clumsy and have two ineffective upper limbs when it comes to grasping or wielding any sewing related instrument. Reading a post dedicated to words made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (it wasn't the alcohol, I promise). Personally, I think people should be free to define themselves however they like. 'Sewist' doesn't really roll off my tongue but broken down into parts the definition does make sense so if it fits go for it. Define yourself how you will, come up with a name for it and everyone else can stick their opinions.

    PS. Do I spy a re-made peacock/facing on the outside dress in that first photo? And I am extremely intrigued by the existence of cucumber soda... what do you mix with it?

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    1. i KNEW you would like the rex. and, ruggy is particularly pleased you got the exact image he had in mind when he coined it. where you been girl? sewing, i hope?

      and yes, eagle eyes, that is the peacock dress of doom. more to come on how i fixed it.

      (unfortunately, you mix cucumber soda with driving. LA's lack of public transpo makes oona a sober girl. BOO.)

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  28. I'm a sewer! And my machine is a 'plain sewer'! The ladies at work who sew on the 'plain sewers' ie straight stitchers, are also called 'plain sewers' because they specialise in err, plain sewing! (As opposed to coverseaming, overlocking, etc.) Crazy.
    Other terms are machinist, or dressmaker, and my first employer called herself a tailoress!

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    1. oh, love knowing that definition vs coverseaming, etc! never knew it existed.

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  29. I saw the discussion at Craftsy and found it very interesting since I'm a linguist but I'm not a native speaker. So, although I understand what's behind the matter, I can't fully understand all the nuances. That being said, I found the reaction of that woman slightly exagerated. I don't mind the word sewist at all, nor sewer, seamstress, crafter or tailor, but of course I don't have full understanding of ALL the cultural background behind these words.
    And if you're interested in the Italian word for it, it's simply "sarta" ("sarto" for men). It's a word I love since my granny and my mum are both "sarte", so it's a familiar, cozy word for me, since my childhood.

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    1. i AM interested in the italian, to be a sarta would be wonderful. i wonder if seamstress becomes suddenly romantic to a non-english speaker?

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  30. I don't care too much about the "person who sews" definition, like Paunnet I'm not a native speaker so they all sound good to me. I just wanted to say that I've fallen in love with the word "nifty" and I can't wait to shoehorn it somewhere in my blog - yay!

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  31. I'm a sewer. You just have to pronounce it correctly that's all.

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    1. i kind of like to imagine lina lamont from singin in the rain saying it.

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  32. Sarah huggiedoeshomespun@wordpress.comFebruary 27, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    Wow. So many words, so little time. I don't like any of them. I'm not professional so I think that's tailor or seamstress off the cards. Crafter makes me think of throwing glitter around on home made Xmas cards. I knit a lot. So am I a knitter with a side of sewist (KSS) or maybe person who likes to use her hands (LTUH)..no that's sounds vaguely inappropriate. Meh I am over titles, they are so 2011. I'm a girl who likes to make things.

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  33. You can call me ""Jack Daniels neat."

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  34. Yeah, it's too bad that "sewer" also means "smelly drain system", isn't it? Would be so much easier. I have no problems with "sewist", personally. After all, I'm also a "flutist" (not a flautist, because I don't play a flaut), and "fluter" sounds kind of weird, doesn't it? I remember there was a little mini-debate going on about this over at Tasia's blog for awhile, and I think that one of the terms thrown around was "sewista", which I kind of like because it combines sewing with fashionista, which I still think counts as a word even if my spell check is arguing to the contrary. But sewasaurus rex is pretty awesome!

    Eh, just call me whatever you want. I'd rather plot my next project than get into a sparring match over English semantics.

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  35. Sewasaurus Rex. That's just a give in. Sold. I usually say sewer or strugglesome human who tries to make stuff. Or more often then not I just say "I sew" and leave it at that. My mom calls me Little Miss Crafty, and while the little and miss might be gently pejorative, it makes me feel special....
    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. you are not struggling lately, miss rex...

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  36. I like sewist because it sounds like there is a degree of math and science to it, which there is. Sewer just looks bad and sounds dull. Dressmaker is really the opposite of tailor, not seamstress, as it would be someone who professionally makes and alters women's clothing. Seamstress to me is more someone who works in the garment making industry, someone who just does a compartmentalized step or piecework in the sewing process.

    From http://www.univ.rzeszow.pl/wfil/ifa/usar5/sar_v5_12.pdf
    "Sewing is performed by a seamstress, dressmaker or a tailor, the first
    being a woman whose occupation is sewing, the second refers to a person
    making women’s clothes to order, whereas the latter is preoccupied with
    making or altering clothes, and is predominantly male."

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    1. that's another reason i like it; the math and science. subjects i did NOT excel at, being a sewist sort of gives me a do-over.

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  37. You can call me Ginnie, although I WILL be forcing my husband to call me Sewasaurus Rex from this day forward. Thank Ruggy for me, will you? ;)

    And I think I'll have a margarita... in about 6 months. (I'm Preggo-saurus Rex until August.)

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    1. i will thank ruggy, GOD his head is gonna swell, and i'll make yours a virgin. you won't even know the difference.

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  38. LOL, great post! (and what a silly thing to get in a tizzy over...)

    I'm leaning towards "stitcher" these days, myself. It feels nicely broad, generic, and low on the historical baggage. Plus it could include the knitters.

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  39. Holy crap, look at all that hubbub over a word! Yeah, language evolves, and I really like the word sewist. One who sews. Other have said it, but sewer is simply reminiscent of that nasty trickle beneath the sidewalk. Seamstress isn't horrible, and great if it's reclaimed, but to non-sewists, it may sound a bit of a dig. "Just" a seamstress.

    Personally, I prefer seamster. My blogroll is titled "Seamsters Unite" because I think it's an empowering portmanteau.

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    1. but, is it like actor/actress, actor being acceptable for both? not that that's wrong, but in a way it's the male role being the upper hand...

      actually frig it, i like seamster too.

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    2. Ha! I thought that. And then said frig it. While flexing my guns, of course.

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  40. Yeah, I saw this conversation over at Craftsy. I love the humor you've added to it here. As a chemist I have to admit that I didn't realize that sewist wasn't a word until reading the passionate plea over on Craftsy for that word to be stricken from the internets. And, as a runner I also didn't realize what other word sewer looked like until it was pointed out on another blog. Maybe I just don't pay enough attention to words? Regardless, I'm glad you were able to go to such a fun sewing meet up. I wish I could have shared in the event!

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    1. i mean, chemist, artist, makes perfect sense! wish you could've been there too, it was fun!

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  41. I can't believe that people are still bickering about this! Aren't there more important, or at the very least entertaining, things to fuss over? Ha!

    I honestly don't care what people call me - I like to refer to myself as a seamstress or a dressmaker, because I think they both sound so sweet & old-fashioned, but if someone wants to call me a sewer or a sewist IDGAF either way. The only one that irks me is "fashion designer." As far as I'm concerned (basing my opinion on the thousands of ~fashion designers~ in my city; we have a few schools), fashion designers don't actually sew. They design clothes for the rest of the population & then they pay some poor, er, person with a sewing machine to whip them up. It actually kind of offends me to be called a fashion designer, just because it's NOT what I do at all. But you don't see me throwing a fit about. Except here, anyway :)

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    1. i had to work out IDGAF. love it.

      yeah, it was an emperor-is-naked moment for me when i found out many designers do little to no sewing.

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  42. You can just call me "Super-amazing Wonder Woman of Doom-oom-oom (-oom)". Who sews stuff.

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    1. i would add, "Sometimes, And Usually For Small People."

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  43. I have to admit, I pause when I use any of those words: Sewist, sew-er, seamstress etc.-none of which seem to really convey the right feeling. Of course, this is only an issue because so many of us are sewing and don't really feel that what we do fits into any of the slots that the "old" words imply and "sewist" does feel awkward. If we keep sewing stuff and writing about it, the words will evolve.

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  44. Well said, Oona. Well said.
    I'm a sewer or a sewist. Either descriptor suits me just fine. But don't call me a seamstress, a dressmaker, a tailor, or a stitcher. I'm none of those. I don't sew professionally.
    Sewist is definitely new-fangled, and in my mind marks one as a member of the new, contemporary sewing community. Sewer is a bit old-school. I'm a bit of both.
    Seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, stitcher--they're all related, but they all have professional meanings that differ from the mainstream understanding and even their dictionary definitions. And there are unique connotations attached to each one that color our perceptions of the person identified by them.

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    1. that's it, isn't it, the color of the word has to match the person using it, and there's no way to tell how that person views it...

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  45. Oh fun, a controversial debate! *g* Personally I like sewist, because a) I read Terry Pratchett (who has an interesting view of what seamstresses do), b) I fell into the same trap as possibly quite a lot of non-native English speakers and pronounced "sew" like "new" for the first few times, which makes sewer just an eew word to think of and c) new words are fun. The German equivalent of Merriam Webster had a nationwide contest to make up a word for the opposite of thirsty a few years ago. I guess it's in our DNA... ;)

    Actually, I think my new favorite word may be sewologist. That's just awesome.

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  46. Replies
    1. especially when working with pattern magic!

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  47. Hey, what, are ya praticing your rhetoric skills? This is one of the most logical and persuasive arguments I've ever seen hidden in the guise of a funny blog post. Clever girl, you. I so enjoy reading your goodness.
    Anyway, I alternate between sewist, for blogging in this community where everyone knows what that is; and seamstress, when talking among non-sewists.
    As for new ideas, I suggest we look to the tradition of espanol. A tennis player is tenista, male or female,; an artist is artista, male or female; so ... let's try sewista. Sounds pretty, doesn't it?

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    1. teehee. i felt so term paper on this one.

      i like sewista as well...

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  48. Call me a sewologist and I do sewology. I'm all about the "study of...". Maybe someone can write a book, maybe you, Oona, called "the art and science of sewing". I love books called "the art and science of..."

    Can I have a margarita to go with this gorgeous weather we are having?

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    1. YES. but be warned, i make them completely from scratch and STRONG.

      the art and science of drinking and sewing?

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  49. I love this post! And well, being a writer who's married to a writer--we get into all kinds of debates about words in this house, as if they were a life or death situation. So much depends on a red wheelbarrow! I love the debate, it keeps it sharp! It reminds us of the semantic drift is constantly, daily--no by the tweet!--occurring in language. As for me, I still have no idea what to call myself in print/screen when it comes to this. When I was growing up, I said, "I sew".

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    1. if i were you, i'd say "i make people jealous."

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  50. i love making up great new words. this was such a fabulous post!

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  51. Ohhh, but why?? Why do we need to limit ourselves to just ONE word? None of them work perfectly and to get in a tizzy over what to call ourselves seems silly. At any given moment, I could be, "victor over interfacing," "lamebrain who screwed up the machine threading," "impeccable tailor...with a sharpie and wax paper," (LOL, that sounds almost kinky, but I that's what I use to trace patterns,) or my favorite, "crazy person banished to the sewing room to get out of the husband's hair."

    I could go on all night.

    In the end...I make stuff...I'm not just a dressmaker, or a tailor or a seamstress. I'm a dreamer, a designer and an engineer who can figure out how to put stuff together and create something wearable. How awesome is that??? The word is just that...a simple word and in no way embodies what I am.

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    1. well said. and i like the addition of engineer into the hat!

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  52. Seam Star.
    There. That's what I feel like using right at this second. But Emily has it about right! At the end of the day it's just a word, but Sewasauras Rex would be about right when I mangle stuff with the Serger of DOOM!

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    1. Seam Star is pretty cool. we'd all be in an 80s band.

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  53. Just found your blog, honestly can't figure out how I missed it before now?? Ok, I am not the brightest bulb in the sewing machine.

    I can't believe the passion people bring to this debate, it is just a word people! When I speak I use the term sewer when I type I use sewist, but now I am leaning toward Goddess of Thread and Fabric. Men could be God of Thread and Fabric.

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  54. I lke sewista, it makes me picture us all in our spaces working toward a style revoution. It also explins why the dachshunds have on berets...

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    1. i see you have already had your cocktail.

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  55. niki @ sewingandotherstuff.blogspot.comFebruary 28, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    I've been pondering this a while - when someone asks 'So what do you do then?', (don't you just hate those types?) I just say, 'I sew'.

    I love 'sewasaurus rex'
    I like 'tailoress'
    I like 'dressmaker' - though a bit fusty, it serves its purpose
    I like 'sewista' - though struggle to say it
    And I still quite like the quaintness of 'seamstress' though have been put off by wikepedia's definition:

    "A seamstress is someone who sews seams, or in other words, a machine operator in a factory who may not have the skills to make garments from scratch or to fit them on a real body"

    And there I was thinking it was a catch-all term! Afterall, I guess it is just a word, its what we do that matters!
    Next time anyone asks me that question, I will just reply 'Lots'.

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  56. Years and years ago, I learned that "seamstress" was a euphemism for "prostitute" in the Old West. "Sporting ladies" would set a sewing machine in their window, to alert their (largely illiterate) customers that they were open for business. Therefore, I prefer the term "dressmaker" or "sewist." "Sewer" has an alternate pronunciation that is even just plain stinky.

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  57. Oona...how about STITCH WITCH!

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  58. I think sewist is a perfectly good term. It includes those who sew clothing of any type and those who use sewing to do art.

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  59. Fantastic post, hehe! I kinda like seamster myself... but people can call themselves what they like. There are no rules, lolz!

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  60. YES! To everything you said. I say seamstress, but believe it or not, people don't know what that is. Stitcher? More blank looks. I'm going to try sewist, because it sounds awesome and it's not SEWER. Because SEWER looks awful, at least to me. Sewist FTW!

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  61. I think I'll just go by "sewing machine" :D :D :D

    http://pinterest.com/pin/125960120798011427/

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  62. Darling post. I adore your quick witted personally that truly comes through in your writing. I will have to jump on the band wagon with you and say sewist is the word to use. I'd never really thought about it before you made the case so plainly. I am a sewist too.

    *new to your blog, glad to have found it.

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  63. Sewer=an underground conduit for carrying off drainage water and waste matter (The Oxford English dictionary says so. Don't hate.) Therefore sewist(a) = an individual that enjoys sewing. [I.e.: an individual that doesn't enjoy sewing=sweatshop worker].

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  64. What a great post. I've struggled with all words related to sewing for such a long time. Seamstress = abhor. It sounds like someone's great, great, great, grand working on the first singer ever created, or maybe bent over a needle setting a sleeve by hand. Though I actually kinda like both of those images, I don't like the word. Tailor implies male and structure, and pick-stitches in my mind. Please don't get me started on the word "crafty". When people refer to me as crafty I think I visibly cringe. The list goes on, and on.
    But sewist. I think I kinda dig. It sounds modern, and fresh, and like the today version of someone who makes cool things. I might try it on for size for a bit and see how I feel.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!