Fashion Reality TV, Amateur Designer Mania Spurs Sewing Machine Sales

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On the heels of shows like "Project Runway" exposing the inner workings of fashion design on television, there's been a back-to-basics spike in DIY crafting led by a spike in sewing machine sales, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In addition to the serious sales jump -- "Project Runway" sponsor Brother International, for example, reported a 22-percent increase in sewing machines sales over 2009 --  the technology attached to the devices has become increasingly sophisticated: There are now added features like USB ports that enable embroidery-pattern transfers from a computer, needle-view HD cameras and ultra-fast stitching speeds (watch out for that last one, novices). Essentially, these are not your grandmother's machines.

According to the report, the phenomenon is a result of reality television's revival of sewing as a pop-culture trend -- putting the machines on the same level as, say, smartphones for the gadget-happy generation, all at a time when the economy has forced many consumers into thrifty, DIY mode.

While this younger demographic scrambles to try their hand at sewing, we're betting we see a rise in, say say, re-implemented home economics classes, that offer a more in the way of hands-on tutorials than, say, loads of reality TV.

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