Quilting is a traditional craft that has been passed down through generations typically by women. It has often been seen as a "woman's craft," but in recent years, more and more men are discovering the joys of quilt-making.
Quilting can be a fun and rewarding activity for anyone to indulge in, regardless of gender. Here are five ways to get men involved in quilting and breaking down those gender stereotypes.
1. Highlight the Practicality of Quilting
One way to get men interested in quilting is to emphasize its practical uses. Quilts can be used for warmth, decoration or commemoration. Presenting quilting as a useful and functional activity can help to break down stereotypes associated with it being "feminine" and show that quilting can be a truly practical activity for both men and women.
2. Make Quilting Competitive
Men often thrive on competition, so why not turn quilting into a competition? Organize a quilting bee or contest, keeping in mind that friendly competition may help to build camaraderie among participants. Set challenges or deadlines to motivate men to get creative with the quilting process.
3. Incorporate Masculine Designs
Many men are drawn to bold and graphic designs. Incorporating these types of designs into quilting projects will allow men to express themselves with a masculine flair. You may want to consider using fabrics with bold geometric patterns or rich, warm colors. This could be a great way to not only showcase a man's style and creativity but also help them feel more comfortable pursuing an activity that's been traditionally viewed as feminine.
4. Encourage Collaboration
Men often enjoy projects that allow them to work collaboratively with others. Quilting can be a great opportunity for collaboration since it often requires different skills from different people. Inviting men to participate in a quilting project as a team or even with a partner could increase their comfort level with this traditionally female hobby. By working together, men can also learn from and teach one another new techniques.
5. Create a Supportive Environment
To encourage men to take up quilting, it's important to create an environment where they feel welcomed and supported. This means avoiding any stereotypes or biases that may make men feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in the quilting community.
Creating a supportive environment involves encouraging and celebrating diversity, promoting inclusivity, and encouraging everyone to express their creativity.
Sharing the stories and artistic achievements by men (and there are many) in quilting can also be an effective motivator. Inviting husbands and male friends to join a sit-and-stitch or finding men that will spearhead men's quilting groups and other activities could be quite beneficial. Men's sewing classes or couple's sewing classes are a great way to get men involved.
Let's face it! Many of the archaic beliefs regarding the roles of the masculine and feminine have passed their time and certainly need to be relegated to stories of the past that no longer have a place in a more evolved and educated world. The more frequently men and women participate in what has been considered non-traditional roles and activities the quicker we can tear down these unnecessary barriers.
Quilting truly is a craft for everyone, and breaking down stereotypes will only make the quilting community stronger and more diverse. Imagine the works of fabric art yet to be revealed and potential collaborative fun and memories yet to be made. It's an exciting time in sewing and quilting and we want everyone to be a part.