There was a day not so long ago that many things in life were assigned gender roles - activities, colors, careers, mannerisms. You would often hear people say "this toy is for boys" or "pink is a girl color." These gender stereotypes are not gone, but we are starting to see a shift in language as well as expectations when it comes to traditional gender roles.
Sewing is one activity that has primarily been a girls-only club. As sewing was first used to emancipate women, giving them the opportunity to earn a living wage, women flocked to this profession and clung on to it for dear life. As the years went on, this traditional role became stuck within gender lines and, even though many men were highly respected as tailors, it was often socially unacceptable for boys to engage with sewing by profession or by hobby.
We're here to set the record straight in a new era: sewing is an activity that ANYONE can and should enjoy. The act of sewing helps to develop many crucial skills that can be used throughout life, among countless developmental benefits that come with learning the craft. Think of fashion designers, tailors, crafters making outdoor gear - many of these professionals are men. By simply learning how to sew and developing a passion for it at a young age can open many avenues when it comes to potential careers, as well as life skills.
If you're ready to break down sewing gender roles for a young boy in your life, here's how and why you do it:
Tailor Sewing to their Interests
Boys are often enthralled with superheroes, capes, cars and monsters. Sewing is one of the easiest hobbies to adapt to whoever is participating. If your son or grandson loves Superman, find a pattern so that he can start designing his very own costume to match his hero. If your young guy likes monsters and Halloween, set him up with a spooky fabric to sew his very own trick-or-treat bag or next year's costume. The sky's the limit - find patterns for aprons if he likes to cook, pajama pants if he likes to be cozy, blankets if he's feeling energetic. Whatever he's into, sewing has the ability to create something new specific to what he is interested in.
Create Something Over Time
In a world of technology and video games, we have come to expect instant gratification from most of our daily activities. Leveling up in their favorite game, receiving messages instantaneously, or reaching for candy instead of healthy snacks are all examples of how our children reach for instant rewards instead of waiting for the result. Instead of something taking only minutes to complete, try first teaching your child how to sew, and then introducing longer projects. Tackling something that takes weeks, if not months, to finish helps teach your child patience, as well as valuable skills like how to follow a pattern, develop fine motor skills and how to create something completely unique.
Build on Their Natural Instincts
Many young boys love to build, whether it's with their blocks, Lego, sticks or simply drawing structures. In the process of building, there comes imagination, patterns, design - everything that you also find in sewing. Through this activity, we can teach boys how to create something beautiful, functional and tailored to their likes, exactly the way they imagine it (most of the time!) from just simple pieces of fabric. Through this act, you take a traditionally masculine discipline like architecture or engineering, and bridge it with a traditionally feminine practice of sewing to start dissolving gender roles from the very beginning.
Enjoy an Activity Together, Regardless of Your Gender
Whether you are a mother, father, aunt, uncle, family friend or neighbor, this is the perfect way for you to break down traditional gender roles when it comes to sewing, as well as enjoy spending time together doing something new. You don't have to break out the cars and trains to spend creative time with your boys; now you can sew and create something new together, teaching and fostering a lifelong skill.
Sewing offers valuable skills to all kids that can be used throughout their life, regardless of whether they pursue it as a professional career or they simply need to sew a button back onto their shirt. Over time, we are working to break down the traditional roles imposed by societal norms and ensure that all children have open minds, a sense of discovery and access to all crafts.