People watching is an endless source of sewing inspiration. Move over, Pinterest and Instagram! It's time for sewists to get out into the wild for garment sewing inspo.

This is part 1 of a two-part series. Here’s part 2:ย The Ins and Outs of People Watching for Fashion Sewing Inspiration (Part 2).

Can we talk, sewist to sewist? When I feel like Pinterest and Instagram are coming up short in the sewing inspiration department, I turn to people watching.

Yup โ€” good, old-fashioned observation of the masses. There’s a fashion show going on out there. It’s all the sewing inspiration you could ask for.

Let’s chat about why you should give people watching a try for fashion sewing inspiration and some great spots to make great observations.

Hey, What’s Wrong with Social Media?

First things first: There’s NOTHING wrong with Pinterest and Instagram for fashion sewing inspiration! Heck, I’m living it up on Pinterest and Instagram.

You must be aware, though, that the images you see on these social networks have been styled, photographed, and edited by someone else
โ€” someone with a point of view that’s not yours.

What’s more, professional models, wearing designer or RTW clothes and posing for professional photographers, frequently reinforce beauty and fashion norms that exclude a lot of other humans. What I’m to say is that diversity is the jam, and “mainstream” fashion content shouldn’t be your ONLY source of sewing inspiration.

Also, remember that every photograph you see is not showing you something else. That’s a huge reason why it’s good to get out among the people and make your own observations.

Sewing inspiration is all around you... in the form of people watching.

Why People Watching is Important

Here’s the case for people watching in four parts:

It Challenges Your Style

People watching doesn’t involve watching yourself in a mirror and dissecting your style! It’s about looking at someone else’s style and letting it roll around your brain, bumping into established paradigms and percolating into who knows what.

It Challenges Your Sewing

Let’s say your read this post, try some people watching, and gain mega fashion sewing inspiration. Bam, you’ve got a new sewing project on the docket that kinda sorta came out of nowhere.

It Helps Flex That Empathy Muscle

I also like to call this Getting Out of Your Own Head. Watching other people do their thing means for a while you’re not thinking about yourself. And we all need a break from ourselves from time to time, yes?

It Lets You Take a Break from Screens

Joining other humans in the real world, even if you’re an observer, is important for us social animals. Your computer and phone will be there when you get back.

Where to People Watch for Sewing Inspiration

Here are five spots for prime people watching. But, really, you can watch people anywhere there’s, um, people.

Try people watching at the gym for sewing inspiration.


Workout clothes are big on function and (usually) comfort. What design elements work toward these twin goals? How could you make a “gym” look look office appropriate? ๐Ÿค”


I especially like people watching in international terminals, where you see folks (and fashions) from all over the globe. Lots of flyers opt for deep comfort; pay attention to what “comfortable” clothes look like.

Coffee shops are a perennial favorite location for people watch. Sip your expensive coffee and take in the glorious sewing inspiration.

Coffee Shop

People watching at cafes near college campuses is entertaining and informative. Go here to see what the youths are wearing these days. I recommend coffee shops for people watching if you’re self-conscious about the activity.

Fancy and Novelty Boutiques

Do you have a favorite store that’s too expensive or lifestyle inappropriate for you? (Like maybe you’ve always wanted to be a leather-wearing motorcycle momma or a Chanel-wearing lady who lunches.) Pop in and watch other shoppers โ€” and salespeople. What’s their vibe?

Watch fellow festival attendees for sewing inspiration. People watching at concerts and fair is tons of fun.

Concerts, Fairs, and Festivals

Concerts, fairs, and festivals are events to get your full-on (fashion) freak on. You’ll see garments that are functional (e.g., lots of pockets for essentials, sun protection), and some that are big on whimsy.

Over to you, sweet sewist: Where have you found your finest sewing inspiration? Are you much of a people watcher? How often do you seek diversity in your sewing inspiration? Please sounds off in comments!

P.S. ICYMI, here’s the previous post:ย The Joann Concept Store is Good. But Hereโ€™s What Sewists Really Want.ย This comments for this post are tremendous; highly recommended.

P.P.S. In the next installment of the people-watching mini series, we cover who to watch for sewing inspo, what to watch for, and a woo-woo, hippie-dippy people-watching technique (get your crystals ready! (not really)). Here’s the link for ya:ย The Ins and Outs of People Watching for Fashion Sewing Inspiration (Part 2).

P.P.P.S. Hey. Hi. If you’ve read allll the way down to this post-post-post script, you probably like what’s going on around here (here being Sie Macht). Why not sign up for the newsletter to get even more Sie Macht? ๐Ÿ˜˜ Thanks for your consideration.

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Photo credits:

Photo byย Charles Deluvio ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆย onย Unsplash
Photo byย Jacek Dylagย onย Unsplash
Photo byย Vonecia Carswellย onย Unsplash
Photo byย rawpixelย onย Unsplash
Photo byย Rima Krucieneย onย Unsplash
Photo byย The Creative Exchangeย onย Unsplash

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