Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Finding My Place In The Sewing Blog Community

I haven't been blogging long, a couple of months at the most. So far I have tried to be like the popular sewing bloggers, I have tried to find a place with them but it isn't making me happy, it isn't giving me what I want from my blog.

I think what I want is out there though, recently I noticed that one of my posts, the Megan Dress one, had been linked to on Mumsnet, I have had lots of views come from over there so I clicked back through to see what they were saying, now only one lady had actually commented on that dress and it was to say I hadn't done it very well. Do you know what though? I was pleased to read that because no, I hadn't done it very well and that is what I want from my blog - constructive criticism, I want to be told when something isn't good, so I can take advice and make it better. There doesn't seem to be a lot of  any type of criticism about though.

I am not a beginner sewer compared to a lot of even the more established blogs, I have been sewing since I was a child and even if most of that in the early days was  bed sheets and curtains with a few sleeveless sundresses I know my way around a sewing machine and there is not much it does that I don't know or know how to fix when it throws a strop. Even so, I threw myself into trying to grab the attention of popular bloggers seemingly dying to get into the 'in crowd'.  That just isn't me, I have never bought in to 'in crowds' before, I didn't care at school and I don't care as a parent at the school gate (oh yes, those of you who don't have school aged children yet, the school gates are just as cliquey as the playground was when you were a teenager).  So why was I desperate to fit in here online? when the only responses I see on popular blogs are 'oh you are so fabulous' fawning ones, i am even guilty of leaving them in my hunt for acceptance. that isn't what I want, I want people to tell me where I am going wrong, I want people to say 'that would have looked better if...' and 'have you though of...' I want to offer the same sort of advice to others but people don't want that.

So with the help of Google, I set out to find people who wanted the same thing from there sewing blogs and came across GOMI (Get off my internets), on their forums I saw lots of people who seem to feel similar to me. I was more than happy to find that it isn't just me who thinks that maybe independent patterns aren't always all that and that other people are also quite happy to use big 4 patterns because they are for the most part good value and well drafted.

That's not to say that bloggers haven't played a role in the upsurge in dressmaking as a hobby, I am sure they have, just that for me the patterns they produce aren't what I want and the hand-holding baby stepping instructions aren't necessary.  I don't want to do things what appears to be the modern way either, I don't want to trace patterns and mark with a pen. I was bought another book, written by Alison Smith, and while she isn't a super popular sewing blogger (that I know of) she is a very experienced sewing teacher  and do you know what when I read through that book, every technique from layouts and cutting out, to stitches for hems, they were all the way my mum taught me to sew. This week I started a skirt from that book, it is almost finished, I shall post it when I am finished and shall show it next to a skirt made following the instructions of a sewing blogger. I would like to think that you will agree with me when you see the difference between doing something you have learned a book and something you have been physically taught how to do. I still have another blogger's book to work through, which I will but I shall sew things up my way and not hers. Then I am straight back to the big four and will probably buy myself that copy of 'Fit for Real People' that has been languishing in my Amazon basket.

So where is my place in the sewing blog community? well at the moment I don't have one, do I? but I would like to, maybe a little fringe group where we aren't afraid to tell each other something is a bit crap, where we can make each other better. If that sounds good to you please follow me, comment and keep commenting ,be honest with me and if you want the same in return I shall do so.  It doesn't matter to me if hardly anybody does though, I would rather have a handful of honest and helpful followers than hundreds of, to borrow a GOMI word 'fangurrrlls'.


  1. Yes, these feelings sound familiar. After hopping over from twitter, I'm adding your blog to my reader :)

  2. Ha! The Flirties and the Sillies of the sewing blogosphere have a lot to answer for. They annoy the hell out of me with their posing and their misleading marketing of themselves and their substandard products.

    Most of those who monetise their blogs by claiming to be designers and sewing experts couldn't - IMO - design, draft or sew themselves out of a cardboard box.

    The proliferation of baby-steps tutorials for sub-standard products and the twee exclamations of "oh! how confusing traditional patterns are! they make me feel so 'nervous'!" (hey, lady, you're sewing a cotton print, not flying a bloomin' spaceship for the very first time, when you might have good reason to feel 'nervous' ...) infantilise the beginner sewer, serving only to hinder them in their progress and discourage them from advancing their skills.

    Alison Smith's books are very good - I have both of them. Did you know she was awarded the MBE for services to sewing (the first one ever!) and runs a wonderful School in Leicestershire?

    I also have Vogue 'Sewing' - a very old copy - and rely on that a great deal. None of the 'trendy' sewing books that I've seen and read actually *teach* and guide you in essential techniques, as Alison Smith's books, the Vogue book, and even the old Reader's Digest and Singer books do.