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Fabric is a feminist issue

Look, kraken lovers, I have no idea whether you care about this but… I am a feminist. Yup, I’m a 43 year old woman who thinks women and men should be treated equally, that the No More Page Three campaign reigns supreme, that the Everyday Sexism Project is one of the most exciting feminist developments of  recent times and that Robin Thicke should be left trapped in a speeding cement mixer. Thing is, as you might have guessed from this here website I also sew bags and home decor for a living. That either makes me a sewing feminist or a feminist sewer, I’m not sure which. Problem is that for some people I know this also makes me confusing because to them feminists should never sew.

Germaine Greer once said of sewing, “women have frittered away their lives stitching things for which there is no demand” and thanks to its connotations as a hobby for perm-sporting, tulle-wearing fifties housewives a few feminist friends have questioned whether Kraken Kreations is my betrayal of the sisterhood. After all, how could I possibly be the enraged, stick-wielding feminist behind www.thekrakenwakes.org as well as a woman who coos at fabric, strokes her button stash and physically hops from one foot to another when she spots a new print?

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Well, I can be those things quite easily, thanks. That’s because in 2013 women sew because we want to, not because behind every pin cushion there’s a bloke hollering about getting his socks darned. Time was when we women sewed because we had no choice, no money, few economic prospects and rigid domestic lives. And yes, modern women can still do all of those things but all of those things are not why we sew.

I create bags, covers, cases, bunting and anything else that involves fabric because I adore the freedom of expression it involves, not because the patriarchy has decided that that is how I should act. Oh, we can go into the issues raised by a male dominated society forcing women down this path after centuries of coercion but as far as the here and now is concerned I sew because I adore it. I’m not about to abandon a life that I adore because it might be the result of patriarchal nudgings. I’ll abandon it when it stops being fun or profitable, thanks very much.

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You see thank to sewing not only do I, as a feminist, get to create the way I look – rather than following the high street stereotype – but I get to retain my independence, make my own money, grow my own business, control my own career and make a unique contribution to my family, community and, yes, sisterhood. In short, instead of sewing being the reason why I can’t be a feminist, sewing is exactly what helps me to be a feminist. If forging my own way as a woman and a business person while demanding equality isn’t a feminist act then I am at a loss as to what is.

That’s why if there is anyone left out there who thinks I can’t be a sewing feminist or a feminist sewer (do I really have to decide which?) then they need to revise their ideas. It’s time to abandon the dainty connotations that sewing conjures and to realise that sewing is yet another way in which we women can demonstrate our creativity, ingenuity, strength and business nous. Yes, I sew and yes, I’m a feminist. It’s time the rest of the world realised that I am as sharp, direct and determined as the needle I wield.

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