24 Oct 2023 Fall/Winter Craft Trends by Stitchcraft Marketing
Because Stitchcraft is a niche marketing firm specializing in the craft industry, we spend our days with tabs and windows open across many crafty social media accounts—for ourselves and all of our clients. We see posts from manufacturers, designers, and retailers and witness how viewers engage with various kinds of content.
Given our focus on craft and our desire to raise all boats across the craft industry by sharing the best business info we can find (did you see our 2023 Craft Retailer Research Survey Results craft retail research results, btw?!?), our team gathered recent rising trends we expect will continue to have traction well into the new year.
Get Your Merch On
Merch—or merchandise—is a retail category encompassing shirts, stickers (see Hunter’s Design Studio), tea towels, tote bags (see Yarning for Ewe for example), etc. Put your logo on a sticker, patch, or custom enamel pin exclusively for a stitch-along (like Libs Elliott did this spring) and pop it onto your website. The interest in merch involves expressing your team spirit in support of a particular shop or maker.
For example, take a look at a recent example from fabric design group Ruby Star Society. They designed a T-shirt to celebrate their ten-year anniversary. It’s not their typical fabric design or logo; instead, it’s a collection of little drawings (created by one of the designers) representing each RSS designer. It’s super cute, and it’s something you’d only recognize if you’re part of the “in-crowd.”
That sense of belonging is enormously attractive, both to brands that want to encourage loyalty and to customers who want to show their love for the businesses with which they feel connected.
Hip To Be Granny Squares
Granny squares have been around forever, and they percolate up into retail fashion every now and then. Right now, however, we’re seeing a unique surge in interest in this classic crochet technique. The trend surfaces simultaneously across very different audiences.
This summer, season 20 of Project Runway (an all-stars edition) brought back Kara Saun, a designer from season 1 (2004). In several episodes, the designer wore a bold granny square duster coat as part of her workroom look. The fact that we’re seeing a successful designer wearing crochet confers an endorsement of the style, even if no one ever talked about it directly on the show.
Though Kara Saun didn’t send crochet down the runway, designer Marine Serre did. She included a strapless, fitted granny square gown in her Spring/Summer 2024 Paris runway show. The gown features crocheted squares of varying sizes, all with black as the anchor color. We’ve never seen granny squares look this elegant!
Around the same time that Project Runway season 20 was ending, TikTok and Instagram started buzzing with user @infinityandless. She’s crafting a human-sized micro-crochet granny square blanket using standard sewing thread! Her squares work up to just one inch each. At the most recent check-in, she had made over 700 squares and is nowhere near done. Her content is beautiful and fun to look at, drawing in loads of views.
All’s Well that Blends Well
We’ve also noticed a cool trend in the knit and crochet world. People are mixing mohair or mohair-silk blends with wool to create fascinating, unique textures. Combining a sturdy wool with a lighter, airy yarn can produce custom colors and textures in your work.
Laine Magazine’s September 2023 issue showcased several garments where designers paired wool with mohair silk. They even went a step further and combined merino with mohair silk and angora. Blending silk and mohair with wool endows fabric with lovely sheen from the silk and a halo effect from the mohair. In addition, when featuring the same color across different fiber compositions, we see the dye interacting with the fibers to create nonidentical shades, resulting in beautiful color melanges.
Take Mélodie Massacote’s Ecumé sweater, for example. She used a fingering weight wool and a lace weight mohair silk blend. Both yarns are purple, but the wool is a lighter, more subdued hue while the mohair silk is a bright, almost magenta purple. The result is a fabric with high luminosity—it almost looks lit from within.
Pattern designer Joji Locatelli also showcases blending in her Instant Crush pullover, which is worked in two strands of silk/mohair in a Fair Isle pattern. Because of the mohair, the pattern takes on this dreamy, soft, almost watercolor-like quality.
Savvy yarn dyers are servicing this trend by offering matching colors in complementary fibers and textures. We spotted a rack of conveniently matched fibers from Huck and Rae Fiber Studio at the recent Salida Fiber Festival in Salida, CO.
We’re also seeing sewers and quilters find creative ways to reuse fabric. Everyone from creators to high-end department stores are showcasing patchwork in their garments. They’re getting creative with design, taking various fabrics and piecing them together before cutting out the dress or garment pattern. This results in unique, eye-catching designs that often marry design and function (like pockets!).
For those who want to go all in on the quilting vibe, there are some options that really make it obvious, almost like wearing a quilt. Some of these pieces might even be upcycled—quilts rescued from vintage shops where someone started a project but never finished it. Now, these quilts find new life as dresses, pants, tops and more. We love the example from Ashley Saville who turned a traditional nine-patch quilt top into a stylish and modern dress. It’s a clever way to capture that warm and cozy cottagecore feel without going overboard. We also love the way a maxi skirt can allow you to showcase large-format prints in an eclectic way.
Another fascinating take on the trend turns vintage linens into smocked tops with unique ties. Sewists aren’t just repurposing these textiles for the body of the shirt; they’re incorporating embroidered edges and scalloped details as collars. It’s a contemporary way to showcase the beautiful handwork in clothing and breathe new life into linens that were probably too precious to use before.
Craft with Flying Colors
In the world of colors, it’s all about the extremes right now. On one hand, crafters are exploring neutral, mellow tones that focus on creating a calm and minimalistic vibe. The goal is to mix neutrals to create a serene, restful palette.
We see examples of this in the weaving world. Artists like Maryanne Moodie and Vanessa Barragão, who are known for their bold and dynamic color palettes, have pivoted their work towards more neutrals and lighter tones.
On the flip side, however, we’re also seeing maximalism (“dopamine dressing” when it comes to fashion). Maximalism has emerged as a response to the minimalism that dominated our feeds for much of the last several years. Maximalism is all about embracing bold, vibrant colors to bring joy and energy into your style.
A fiber artist who exemplifies this maximalism is Ken Kelleher. His feed is an instant mood lifter. His “flower child jacket” is like a burst of joy for your inner child. It’s incredible how colors can just brighten up your day!
Countdown to Crafting Fun
Finally, we want to highlight advent boxes and countdown calendars. These have been growing in popularity across retail sectors for a few years, but now they’re popping up in all sorts of crafting areas—and not just for Christmas.
These boxes are filled with all sorts of crafting goodies, and you get to open one each day leading up to the celebration day. While these boxes are most common leading up to Christmas, retailers are also creating them for other occasions. For example, Jimmy Beans Wool has a “Fright Club” countdown to Halloween, and The Stitchy Box has seasonal countdowns for each season. Jimmy Beans Wool also offers a birthday box, where crafters receive 30 days of little presents for their birthday month. It’s a great way to get new tools or notions, and it also creates a sense of exclusivity because these offerings are often limited.
From the consumer side, it’s a fun tradition to start, whether you indulge for yourself or gift it to another crafter. Sometimes, the things you get might even become little pick-me-ups or swap items for fellow crafters. It’s also another way of being on the same team with fellow makers with fun stickers and pins, as with the merch trend featured at the top of this post.
On the maker side, creating these boxes involves a lot of work—curating, sourcing supplies, and coordinating the whole process. However, if you need ideas for content creation, these boxes can be a goldmine for unboxing videos and Instagram posts and Reels. Plan it right, and your December or monthly content practically takes care of itself.
If you’d like to hear more about these trends, including more examples and analysis, head over to the Stitchcraft Marketing 2023 Fall/Winter Craft Trends Video on YouTube!
We hope this craft trends review helps inform your business and social media strategy for the next several months. Stitchcraft Marketing is a marketing agency of crafting experts. We customize every program to showcase your brand, engage your customer base, and generate sales in a way that is nothing less than magical. If you’re looking for help implementing a timely, on-trend marketing strategy, contact us.