For generations familiar materials have been used to protest, activate, subvert and tell disavowed truths. At public gatherings, sheets or towels have been flown as banners, signs or flags, agitating for change. In homes, handicraft and embroidery too, despite their 'genteel' appearance, have offered a private outlet for activism. The rising traditions of subversive stitching - of rebelling against expectations - has given a voice to the marginalised. In these ways textiles can be reshaped to campaign for urgent change.