SewOver50 research

Saturday 29 April 2023: Judith Staley with a team of 4 SewOver50 followers conducted research of pattern companies from 1 January to 31 December 2022 to identify the visibility of older sewists. This research helps to show if the SewOver50 account and the community has made a difference since 2018.

When SewOver50 commenced in August 2018 Judith started the SewOver50 account and was then ably teamed with Sandy, there were 300 followers of the account in that first month. Today there are over 46,000 followers. That’s more followers than many pattern companies have on Instagram.

This episode is just about the research.

In 2018 Judith felt underrepresented by sewing companies and in the media. Many sewists were feeling the same at the time and many still do. However the Sewcialists put out a call to kickstart underrepresented groups in the online sewing community.

This is the full SewOver50 journey and research discussion with Judith and Sandy

That’s when Judith put up her hand to lead the way for older sewists to become more visible online and through pattern companies.

What wasn’t available at that time was any data or research to show how underrepresented older sewists were in the community.

After working tirelessly to raise the visibility of older sewists, Judith was assisted by a team of 4 sewists from the sewing community to show what the visibility is of older sewists was in 2022.

SewOver50 Research posts:

On the SewOver50 account, there are 2 posts that cover the results of this research.

Comments are available on the first post so all comments can be made on 1 post. You don’t need to feel you have to duplicate your views about this research over 2 posts.

About the research:

The team who participated in this study with Judith were Judy Henwood, Kris Doyle, Sarah Allen and Camilla Lindberg

The date this research covers is from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022 of older person representation on the Instagram grids of pattern companies. Instagram grids and not stories and not reels.

The pattern companies chosen all had over 40,000 followers on Instagram. Smaller pattern companies were not included that had less than 40,000 followers. There are 40 – 50 companies that have this amount of followers with the biggest account with over 200,000 followers.

The ‘Big4/5/6’ pattern companies were not included because they have multiple Instagram accounts.

The criteria only identified older sewists for this study. Any other criteria was excluded for others who wish to conduct further research at another time.

Data comparison:

When SewOver50 commenced in 2018, there was a feeling of lack of representation but there was no research conducted at that time.

The research of pattern companies during 2022 calendar year (1 January to 31 December), provides data to identify where each pattern company has provided representation of older people on their Instragram grids.

Again, this research provides data and celebrate those companies who have included older people to represent this age group. SewOver50 encourages companies to direct message them to help include older people in the marketing of their sewing patterns, fabrics, notions or workshops they provide to the sewing community.

Has SewOver50 made a difference?

Over 225,000 people have tagged SewOver50 on Instagram since 2018. The aim of this research is to provide a measure of who visible older people are within the sewing community as at 31 December 2022.

Love Sewing Magazine in the UK was the first media company to feature SewOver50 in 2018 when the account had started. Amy Scarr was the editor at the time and she had the foresight to feature older sewists. The article appeared in February 2019 and can be found on Susan Young’s blog.

In 2021 SewOverIt London approached Judith and Sandy for representation of older people as models for their patterns and Judith and Sandy were able to find 2 sewists who live in London to provide more representation for SewOverIt London.

Prior to the collaboration with SewOverIt London, Simplicity UK’s representative now Amy Scarr also approached Judith and Sandy to provide better representation of older models on their Instagram account for the week.

As more pattern companies reached out to Judith and Sandy to help their pattern companies raise the visibility of older people, Judith and Sandy realised there was a need to provide real data to see what the status of representation now.

Instagram research Methodology

1: Each post in 2022 with people’s faces on them were counted for a total number of posts the pattern company had posted.

2: Then these were counted for people’s faces that looked like the people were ‘over 50’, to get the percentage that represented people ‘over 50’ from that pattern company.

Posts that had more than 1 image was included if there was a person ‘over 50’ in the post.

Posts with a child in them were not included in the total number of posts used in this research.

Posts with ‘back views’ of people were also not included in the total number of posts used in this research.

If the image might have been someone ‘over 50’, that image was included in the research. Judith felt it was a good idea to be generous about including these images.

Website research methodology

The team who participated in this part of the research with Judith were Judy Henwood, Kris Doyle, Sarah Allen and Camilla Lindberg

They looked at the patterns on the websites of the top 40 to 50 companies each.

1: For each pattern they counted the total number of patterns that had a person for the pattern.

2: Then they counted for people’s faces that looked like the people were ‘over 50’, to get the percentage that represented people ‘over 50 on that pattern company’s website.

What representation is good enough?

Have a look at the posts and listen to the podcast and have your say on the SewOver50 account.

Normalising ageing and inclusion is what SewOver50 and this research is all about.

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