Social and Psychological Aspects

Uncommon Threads: Motivations of Men Who Quilt

  • Erin French (Iowa State University)
  • Eulanda A. Sanders (Iowa State University)


The selection of and participation in leisure activities is one way we construct and affirm our identities, and gender is a significant factor in leisure participation and practice, but it also contributes to constraints on leisure. Textile-based leisure activities such as sewing and quilting are typically associated with women, and men who sew are often stigmatized. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand motivations of American men who quilt. Fifteen oral history interviews were conducted with men who quilt, and six motivating factors were identified: (a) enjoyment, (b) artistic expression, (c) self-care, (d) care for others, (e) ability to solve problems, and (f) skill development. This study contributes to expanding an understudied area of quiltmakers' lived experiences, it seeks to advance understanding of gender atypical participation in textile-based leisure activities, and it offers suggestions to manufacturers and retailers in the quiltmaking industry.

Keywords: men who quilt, quiltmaking, Self-Determination Theory

How to Cite:

French, E. & Sanders, E. A., (2022) “Uncommon Threads: Motivations of Men Who Quilt”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 79(1). doi:

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Published on
31 Dec 2022
Peer Reviewed