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Weekend: The Death of The Sewing Machine

s (1 of 2)s (2 of 2) sewing blogsewing blog


was about the possible death of sewing machines and seamstresses. I came across an interesting article in The New York Times last week about 3-D printing, a trend that has become more and more prevalent in RTW and high fashion, and made a big splash during Victoria Secret’s most recent fashion show. Swarovski has worked with Victoria Secret to design “the angels” costumes for over a decade, however, this year, the jewel company implemented 3-D printing to create the barely-there bits of clothing called undergarments for the model, Lindsey Ellington. By conducting a body scan of Ellington, a costume consisting of a corset, a bustle, and arm pieces that fit her body perfectly was made.

The process 3-D printing starts with a 3-D model of the piece to be made. A computer system then breaks the model down into triangular planes, flattens it into a 2-D sheet, and adds hinges that allow the printed piece to be folded back into its original form once it is sent to the printer for fabrication. With this technology, the complexity of a garment has the potential of being incredible – one garment could be part sweater, part t-shirt, and part jacket.

Right now, the technology is limited, and most clothing is made from nylon. Also, the pieces made are more couture than everyday. But what if it spreads into laymen land? Personally, I don’t think sewing machines and seamstress will become nonexistent, but it might become an item like the Polaroid camera – a trinket that symbolizes the time it was popular and is only used by enthusiasts What do you think?

Also, Kelli of True Bias is hosting an ornament giveaway, so be sure to hop on over to her blog to check it out!


  1. Reply


    Funny you should mention it, I’m planning to buy a 3D printer really soon.

  2. Reply


    I don’t know, to be honest. I think the 3D printer will still remain a luxury item for a time, and as long as there are people making their own clothes, and not buying mass produced items, I think sewing machines and seamstresses will be around for a long while yet!

  3. Reply

    Becky Wooler

    I have trouble envisioning it killing sewing altogether. The technology is still quite expensive, and at this point, you can’t use 3D printing to make things from natural fibers like cotton and silk. So in that, what you can create from it is limited. Also, since so many different types of crafting is enjoying a resurgence in our increasingly-digital world, I think there will always be people who value the pleasure of making things with one’s own hands.

    (Maybe I’m just being optimistic, because I fully plan to sew until I die!)

  4. Reply

    unlabelled clothes

    People used to say that photography would mean the end of painting, but painting is still going strong. They co-exist. I think there will always be people who enjoy the process of sewing, rather than just the end product. There is something compelling about something hand-made, where you can ‘feel’ human touch.

  5. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    I think it will depend on how the technology is implemented and whether large RTW clothing manufacturers perceive a cost savings for them in the long run. That being said, most of us who sew don’t buy RTW that much anyway, so it’s doubtful we’re all gonna stop sewing regardless of what the industries choose to do ^__^

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      I hope that’s the case!

  6. Reply


    Boo! This whole ‘I need to have it now’ culture drives me mad. I love making things for my friends, family and myself no matter how long it takes. Printing (cheating in my eyes) can never replace the satisfaction and pride you feel when you’ve just finished making something. I plan to stay true to my crafty roots and continue to make by hand not computer. (Puts soap box away)

    KnittyNora xx


  7. Reply


    Sewing is an art. Machines can make it easier to create art, but they will not kill art. It is part of our individuality and who we are.

  8. Reply

    Jennifer, Workroom Social

    Pretty interesting article. Thanks for sharing!! It’s neat to think about how technology will change our ways in the future. I agree with the other commenters. I can’t see it taking over sewing all together.

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