Sewer or seamstress or sewist or tailor - The Creative Curator

Which Do You Prefer: Sewer vs Seamstress vs Sewist?

December 17, 2016Eve Tokens

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Defining what we do: Sewer vs Seamstress vs Sewist - Which are you? - The Creative Curator

Sewer vs Seamstress vs Sewist – Which Do YOU Prefer?

This week I’ve been working on being clearer about the people I serve. Here on the blog, on the different social media platforms where I hang out, and within my online school too. It’s about being clear with what I offer and to whom.

For reference – I have for some months used this to describe what I do:

I help sewing beginners and intermediates learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

Which sounds great right? Boil it down and it becomes

‘people new to sewing can learn sewing and pattern making skills that will help them to make fashionable clothes’.

BUT… what I’m finding is that this is a tad off. You see, yes my sewing courses are currently created with the sewing beginner and intermediate in mind. And by intermediate I mean someone who knows a little about sewing, but is either very rusty or lacking in confidence. The reason this has been my focus is that you will struggle to learn to make patterns if you don’t understand garment construction.

Struggle How?

Different seam finishes will affect the pattern. Different fabric suppression techniques will affect the pattern. Without knowing about these areas, and many more, you can’t really start creating your own patterns.

Now, I will in the future be offering online courses and email challenges in pattern making, textile design and fashion design skills too, so that my sewing students can carry on learning in the one online school. This will also ensure that those excited and inspired to learn more advanced skills can jump in further along without worrying that they missed something.

This all means that ‘sewing beginner and intermediate’ no longer works. After all, how many sewing beginners do you know that already know they want to learn fashion design skills or draping?

Sewer vs Seamstress vs Dressmaker vs Tailor vs Sewist

This now means I need to think more about what my ‘target reader’ calls themselves.

So, in place of ‘sewing beginner’ I have these options:


Sewer is great when you’re talking out loud. Yet on paper, it looks like we’re talking about a way to carry off drainage water and waste matter. Yuck!

I help sewers learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

See? this one sounds weird right?



Seamstress is recognised as a term used for and by women who work in factories ‘seaming’ clothes. Doesn’t necessarily have the skills to make garments in their entirety, though I don’t believe this to be true nowadays – I’ve met plenty of seamstresses in the fashion studios I’ve spent time in, and THEY can sew entire garments with extreme skill!

I help seamstresses learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

This one would then appear to exclude anyone that IS a sewing beginner, which is NOT what I want to happen!



A dressmaker is somebody who makes individual clothes for other people, typically women.

I help dressmakers learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

Nope… I do quite like the term dressmaker, but as it is more of a female only term, and I’ve got quite a few guy readers here on the blog, I suspect it’s highly unsuitable!



Supposedly, seamster used to be the way to refer to a male seamstress for some years – lets test that one out?

I help seamstresses and seamsters learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

Ha ha! How awkward does THAT sound? Not a chance!



Tailor was in times past the term used to refer to men who make tailored items of clothing. It is now acceptable for women who work in tailoring to also be called a tailor. (One of the friends I had at uni is now a tailor!)

I help tailors learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

ABSOLUTELY not! A tailor has so much skill – and we all know it – that anyone less than expert would run a mile from The Creative Curator!



Sewist is a new, modern term used to describe people who create sewn works of art. These could be clothes, wall hangings etc

I help sewists learn sewing and pattern making skills with a fashion design focus.

Now, this I don’t mind…


Sewist It is?

So, despite mentioning in my email to Evelyn last week that ‘Sewist is another new fangled term to sound modern’, it may be just the right word to incorporate all that I am trying to represent.

What are your thoughts on this? What do you classify yourself as? Let me know in the comments below please!

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