Sewist, sewer, stitcher, seamstress, quilter, tailor… There are several terms used to describe us who love to sew. I pause every time I describe or refer to someone in print or in spoken language, as each term means a little different from each other and elicits certain meaning to different people.

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Seamstress

noun

a woman who sews, especially one who earns her living by sewing.

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Many women who sew call themselves seamstress, which is defined as a “woman whose occupation is sewing.” But for those who are gender conscious, prefer to be called another term because this word tends to be “sexist” or “gendered.” For some, seamstress implies a factory worker who seams. Seamstress is more appropriate for women who specifically make clothes professionally.

Sewer

Is the oldest, most dominant term used for describing people who sew. Many people use this word because its meaning is always clear from the context. But let’s face it, sewer often does not sound or read right. “Hello, fellow sewers!” or “I’m a sewer” sounds quite weird and funny! People inevitably associate it with drainage, dirty plumbing, or sewage that’s why many prefer not to describe themselves or other people as so.

Sewist

“Sewist,” on the other hand is also popular. It is a non-word term that is a combination of the words “sew” and “artist.” A lot of people prefer this word because it’s gender neutral and the meaning it implies is appealing. Many see it as trendy and contemporary. But there are some people who dislike it because it simply does not exist in the dictionary.

Tailor

A tailor is “a person whose occupation is the making, mending, or altering of clothes,” while a stitcher is “a garment maker who performs the finishing steps,” usually hand needle work.

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Quilter

Those who don’t want to be confused with someone who makes clothes or does alteration prefer to be called a quilter which is defined as “a person whose hobby or profession is making quilts.”

Other Sewing Terms

Some people want to be called terms like textile or fabric artist, quilt artist, maker, crafter, or sewing enthusiast. I like these terms because sewing is indeed an art.

Whatever term we use to identify ourselves, I think the most important thing is the fact that we all love to create beautiful things through sewing. But let me ask, what word describes what you do best?

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