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The rise of the Bro-Sew: how more British men are getting crafty in lockdown

A new generation of male sewers has emerged from the UK lockdown, with more men discovering the benefits of sewing whilst stuck at home.

We conducted a survey (using Google Surveys) and found that one in five Britons (21%) took up sewing or embroidery during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. However, more men aged between 25 – 34 (23%) were bitten by the sewing bug compared to women of the same age (21%).

In fact, sewing among younger men proved to be more appealing than getting into fitness (20%), gardening (13%), or even learning a new language (15%).

Geoff Taylor, general manager of Brother Sewing Machines in Europe’s UK office, said: “During what has been a challenging time, it appears that sewing has provided a welcome escape for many people – including young men. Sewing and embroidery is a great skill to learn. Not only does it provide access to new clothes and alterations/repairs whilst shops are closed, but the focus and sense of achievement from learning/creating something new is great for mental health too.

“While many of the world’s greatest fashion designers are men, sewing and embroidery is often perceived by society as a typically feminine pursuit, so it’s fantastic to see that more young men than ever are taking up the skill. At Brother we think sewing, embroidery, quilting and crafting are for everyone – however you identify, wherever you are.”

But it’s not just young men who have realised the benefits of sewing, almost half (43%) of women over 63 saying they took up the hobby during lockdown. And it’s not just the UK that sees the sense in stitching – at Brother we’ve seen a very significant increase of sewing machine sales across all European countries.

Geoff added: “Whether you’re a hobbyist, master crafter or a budding fashionista, we are thrilled to see so many people developing a passion for sewing. We might be biased, but we think it’s something everyone should be getting involved in.”

The survey of 2,000 people, which was conducted through Google Surveys, also found that geographical location appears to have impacted people’s choice of hobby, with sewing becoming more popular in Wales than England, Northern Ireland or Scotland. One in four Welsh respondents said they had taken up sewing in comparison to one in five across the rest of the UK.

Young man sewing a blue and green project.