Crafter Cath Janes has had it with quinoa jam and distressed kitchen tables. Where are the double-page spreads of bleeding fingers and exhausted tears?
That’s it. I’m done. I’ve read one sewing magazine too many and have developed a level of loathing even beyond that which I feel towards Boris Johnson. So I’ve decreed it high time for a feminist sewing magazine, ideally one that doesn’t make me want to stab myself in my ovaries with a seam ripper. Consider it a more realistic reflection of what happens to women when they sew. And here’s what it should look like…
Instead of white-walled, gorgeously lit, shiny-surfaced sewing studios, we have gritty photos of sewing corners. That’s because they’ll typically be forced into the arse-end of some woman’s back bedroom with ric-rac and fabric, not so much neatly stashed as trying to escape as if the place has had a sewerage explosion.
It’ll feature real sewists, women with bleeding fingers who haven’t showered or left their pyjamas even though it’s 3pm; women who know their tampon desperately needs changing but only after this next row of stitching. They will replace the 20-something Scandi-wannabes we usually see and they won’t even notice they had biscuit in their hair until the magazine hits the shelves and they see the photos.
There’ll be how-to guides that include the words ‘wang-badger’ or ‘fuckbucket’ rather than ‘love’ or ‘home’. In fact, this magazine will be far less about home decor and more about starting a revolution with stain stitches. It’ll include patterns for six-foot demonstration banners that read “Fuck da menz” as well as step-by-step instructions on fashioning anti-perv tasers from bias binding.
The letters page will essentially be a roundup of national insurrection. So instead of letters showing off the dolls women have made for their granddaughters it’ll be wildly scrawled missives and footage from women holding Theresa May hostage with a crewel needle atop Nelson’s Column while they demand equal pay.
It’ll include honest biogs whenever someone is interviewed too. So instead of a sewist being introduced with the words: “She coolly handstitches her sublime wall-art in between walking her terriers and making quinoa jam with her design-loving husband” she’ll be introduced with: “She flings together her too-tight worksuits while her kids are in bed but routinely stains the fabric with the tears of the broken and exhausted.”
“Of course, there’ll be a ban on the word ‘mumpreneur’. It will, though, be replaced with such titles as entrepreneur, CEO, chairwoman, emperor and Galactic Needle-Bitch.”
There’ll be no mention of kitchen tables. EVER. Sewing tables, sheds, cutting mats, knees and floors, yes, but kitchen tables? Not unless we’re marvelling at how there was a time when women never wandered beyond the heat radius of an oven.
It’ll also feature balanced real life stories. So for every article about a woman who started a global sewing business during the natural birth of her seventh organically raised child we also have articles from women who chewed their sewing machines with their teeth because they haven’t taken a shit on their own for the last 10 years.
Of course, there’ll be a ban on the word ‘mumpreneur’. It will, though, be replaced with such titles as entrepreneur, CEO, chairwoman, emperor and Galactic Needle-Bitch. In fact each magazine will be fitted with a device that causes said magazine to melt every time the word ‘mumpreneur’ is used near it. That is unless readers really do run businesses with the contents of their wombs in which case the word is all theirs.
No. Fucking. Tea. Sets.
It’ll have a Cock! Corner where women send in pics of the things they have fucked up. So instead of being assaulted with images of perfect seams and rolled hems readers get to sigh with relief that someone else has managed to stitch the armhole of a dress to the gusset of an item of clothing that they never even knew they owned.
Can’t sew on a button? Fine. This mag will celebrate that. It’ll teach readers to take some sort of pride in it. So instead of saying apologetically, “Oh, I can’t sew on a button” as if you’re letting down the whole of womanhood with your fumbling fingers you learn to say it as if you’re actually declaring, “Run into that burning house? Like fuck I will!” This is in direct opposition to the next suggestion, which is…
A magazine campaign to make men sew their own shirt buttons. It’ll include instructions that explain to men why, if they can perform micro-surgery on a newborn or remember a registration plate from 1976, they can stab a sharp, shiny thing through a small, round piece of plastic with four holes in it. It’ll even contain pictures just in case the word ‘needle’ or ‘thread’ unduly confounds them.
And finally the magazine will have men on every cover. That’s right, men. Sewing. I know, I know the mag is now verging on porn, but it won’t be truly feminist unless it has men excited about making up next month’s pattern for a suit that takes them from day to night. Now, who wants a copy?
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Cath Janes is the brains and stabbed fingers behind Kraken Kreations, which sells shouty, hand-sewn home decor and accessories for modern women. She also sews feminist and anatomical embroidery, dances in her sewing shed and once had a snapped sewing machine needle embedded in her right tit.