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4 Tips for Sewing Bloggers

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There are fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, food bloggers, health and wellness bloggers – I could run the gamut – and then there are sewing bloggers. For all other types of bloggers, there are rules, guidelines, and standard operating procedures to good blogging, one example being that all pictures fill the entire width of the blog post column and another being to post consistently, or on a schedule. We stitching bloggers are a different breed and the things that keep our blogs running are unique. Since shifting the focus of my blog to pattern making and sewing (I started as a fashion blogger about six years ago), I have noticed and learned the idiosyncrasies of our ways. This isn’t just a helpful hints or tip post – it is also a commentary on our habits, myself included.

5 lessons image 2okay not to postIn the land of normal blogging, post consistency is very important. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how often a blogger posts, what matters is that the posting is consistent and high quality. Some of my favorite blogs don’t post every day or every other day. When I first started following Emily Shuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, she only posted three times a week and never posted on weekends. That is what I liked about her blog – there wasn’t a pressure to keep up with her and when she posted, it was always a well written and photographed post, as if she spent her day off from blogging shooting and editing.

We seamstresses are the exception to this rule. For a sewing blogger, not posting consistently or not posting for weeks is okay. A silence from the web usually means that you are in front your sewing machine, making your next masterpiece. And sometimes, the longer the silence, the better. Dixie just admitted that she hasn’t been blogging as often as she normally does because she’s working on a pattern. That preview of what’s to come has me, and I’m sure you, checking her blog every day in anticipation of its release. Hurry up Dixie!

stitch-are-your-own-paceI’m the tortoise in the race to complete projects, I don’t come close Marcy or Lauren’s scorecard, and that’s okay. I take months to perfect patterns, sew muslins, construct final garments, and then organize photo shoots but that’s my pace and that’s the way I work best. When I try to speed up, I mess up, like I did a couple of weeks ago when I rushed to cut and start sewing a red taffeta dress and neglected to research the fabric. I ended up using the wrong needle and not underlining the fabric like every book and blog suggests. I threw away what I had begun and started from scratch. You know what helps though? When I look at my What I’ve Made page and see all the garments I’ve made over the years and remind myself that the reason those projects came out the way they did was because I worked at my pace.

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learn-from-othersThe online sewing community is also unique when it comes to relationships. Like Sallie wrote, internet friends are sometimes the best friends. Browse through the comments on any sewing blog and you’ll notice that the same people write every day (you’ll also notice that a seamstress’s comments are longer than the usual fashion bloggers comment “love that” or “gorgeous!”). In most cases, the blogger and the commenter are friends and they’re helping each other out by giving tips, tricks, or links to helpful resources. We’re a close knit community but also a welcoming one. Don’t be shy and reach out to us!
okay-to-copyI’m a copycat but at least I admit that I am one. When Mandi launched her new blog, Making Nice In The Midwest, she wrote a great post about her tips for bloggers and one of them was that it is okay to copy others. It is! In the post, she wrote that when a blogger is first starting out, it is okay to take ideas or content from other blogs as long as credit is given. How do you think Picasso and other great artists like him learned how to paint? By copying or replicating paintings from the great masters. This is necessary – in order to develop the skills, techniques, and aesthetic that will become your own, you have to work in the ways of those you admire. I copy Amy’s methods of bra patterning and construction but I do so because I am trying to find my own method.

37 Comments

  1. Reply

    anto

    I cannot express how much I like everything about this post! sewing bloggers truly are a different breed and I think one of the things that most will appreciate reading is that it’s ok not to post really often. Worrying about releasing content every day or so can amount to extra and unnecessary pressure. I always rather go for quality over quantity.
    I have noticed how warm, friendly and tight-knit the sewing community online is and it is one of my favorite things!

  2. Reply

    Amy of Sew Well

    Bravo! It’s fun to think about how each sewing blogger is unique yet similar to many others. I commend you for finding your stride and making a giant splash!

  3. Reply

    annabelvita

    My blog is moving from more of a home decor blog into a sewing blog and my blog reading is making the same move. I’ve noticed a lot of the things you posted about above about the sewing blogging community, everyone is just sooo nice – I look forward to getting to know more bloggers!

  4. Reply

    Truly Myrtle

    I love this! You’re right, sewing bloggers (and knitting bloggers too) can take their time – I know I cab’t post every day, I’m too busy making stuff! I love how we make great friends online and I’m constantly inspired by my bloggy friends 🙂

  5. Reply

    poppykettle

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a copy cat. “How can you have fashion without copying” or something along those lines was said by Coco Chanel… I’m sure of it! And you wont brook any arguments from me on the pure awesomeness of the sewing blogosphere. It rocks, and I’ve made so many new real life friends from catching up with other bloggers, it’s awesome. I realised I had got to a point in my life where I thought I’d never make any new, really amazing friends. Then I started sewing and blogging. Hello, new world!

  6. Reply

    Linda74Sews

    good post. As a former food blogger becoming a sewing blogger is ten times harder so your tips are quite relevant. I am a new sewing blogger trying hard to find my niche so I appreciate all the advise I can get.

  7. Reply

    Heather Lou

    Oh god, if I had to stick to a posting schedule I would shoot myself. TOO MUCH PRESSURE! (Which is why I always admire your ability to post interesting posts as frequently as you do). I think it really is just a hobby for most of us… I think it’s a lot easier to post when you feel like it when you’re not trying to monetize.

    • Reply

      Nicole Tarpey

      Totally. I have to remind myself weekly that it’s about sharing my work, not getting advertisers. It means more to me when the people visiting are friends who leave comments – so why do I always forget that and try to follow the “rules”?!

  8. Reply

    sallieforrer

    This was such a great reflection on the ways sewing blogs differ from other blogs. I have to admit when I saw the title of this post a part of me was like, “eeekk!! She’s going to tell me I need to start posting more!!” But I agree with Heather, I couldn’t handle the pressure! I mean, one of the BIG differences in sewing blogs is that we are HANDMAKING our clothing. That shit takes time!! I also think that copying is going to be difficult to avoid in a world where we work from patterns. Even when you draft your own pattern it’s okay to gather inspiration from someplace else. Great post Maddie!

  9. Reply

    oonaballoona

    love this post! spot on, on everything. it’s so interesting how the rules are totally different in our blogging corner. and also, i think everyone embraces the different rates at which we sew, y’know?

    we’re awesome. group hug.

    and those full body UO forms look like an arrest waiting to happen. everyone takes office supplies now and then…

  10. Reply

    Maggie Smith

    Thanks for the reassuring words about copying! I seen so many things made by other sewing bloggers that I would love to do, but have hesitated because being a “copy cat” has always had such a bad connotation. This is a great post, thanks so much for sharing!

  11. Reply

    Angela

    Great post, I totally agree with your tips! I think going at your own pace is essential. Your work looks like a great creative environment!

  12. Reply

    P. (zrucniprace.blogspot.com)

    So true! Took me a while to figure it out and to stop feeling “insufficient” as a blogger because I’m a slow sewist and do not post very often. Thank you for this.

  13. Reply

    Amy

    Thoughtful post! I love that by their very nature, blogs have no real rules. It’s such an evolving medium! And your point about copying–it’s the way of creativity. When I was young I used to be pretty angsty about not being original (especially as a writer), but have realized in any craft or art, emulating the style of others is pretty basic to the learning process. Eventually you find your own rhythm, style and personal statement.

  14. Reply

    Miss Crayola Creepy

    Thanks for this Maddie! I definitely feel the pressure to post more/sew more and I need to understand that that isn’t the way it works for sewing bloggers.

  15. Reply

    kelli

    this is great. ive never really thought about it but you are right. we are a rare breed of bloggers and we do have our own unique set of rules.

  16. Reply

    Helen McFadyen

    Great post, Maddie! I do get stressed/jealous when I see how often others are posting and how prolific they are at sewing, and I have to remind myself that this is a hobby. I do it for pleasure. And it only matters to me how many garments I sew and how many posts I publish! Thank you for the gentle reminder! 🙂

  17. Reply

    Jo

    Yay, I love hearing that it’s okay not to post for weeks, haha. Sometimes I feel guilty about how infrequent I am at that! Very nice thoughts on sewing blogging, an interesting read 🙂

  18. Reply

    Jill Amanda Clark

    I always considered myself a terrible blogger because I might post 3 in one week and then not do anything for weeks….this is a great article and really did make me feel better about myself/blogging.

  19. Reply

    Nicole Tarpey

    This is perfect. I’ve been feeling so guilty with the advice “create an editorial calendar” and “post consistently.” Sometimes my projects are big and sometimes small and always they need a few days to get the light just right to photograph it – because who can really tell how something fits that was shot in the dark? It made me feel like I should create a feature or something, but that doesn’t feel natural – I want to be sewing, not trolling the interwebs to create lists of the best whatevers and whatnots!

  20. Reply

    Kelly

    Thank you so much for this. I’m so close to launching a blog (hopefully later this week!), and I’ve been kind of worrying about all this. I first wanted to start a blog way back in 2009, but felt if I were to do it, I should “do it right,” and I knew I couldn’t post enough, my projects weren’t interesting enough, and my photography was nowhere near good enough. I’m still pretty nervous, but I really want my own corner of the internet so I can really participate in the sewing community, and hopefully make some internet friends. Your post and all these comments are really encouraging!

  21. Reply

    Ginger

    Great post! I’m not involved in any other online communities, but I really do think ours is unique. Like you said, if there’s radio silence for a while, it usually means that something awesome is on the way!

  22. Reply

    Caila

    What a fantastic post! Thank you so much! I’m constantly feeling guilty because I only post 2-3 times a week, but that’s because I spend all my other time sewing! The set-up for each post takes quite a while and I want it all to be perfect. I’m so glad I found your post!

  23. Reply

    foursquarewalls

    Not sure how I’m just now seeing this post, but I just wanna jump in and also say this is great advice. When I saw the title, I was worried that it would be something like, “Only take your project photos in ethereally-lit woodlands with the best quality DSLR on the market,” but your tips are much more practical and speak to the true nature of sewing bloggers. The nature of our craft makes us slower to produce content, and the main reason we blog is to show off our creations and inspire others to tackle certain techniques. There’s no real way to have a curated-style sewing blog like you can with home decor or fashion, which can just grab images from the internet of pretty women in J Crew clothes and throw together 5 blog posts a day. We’re also (mostly) protected from corporate sponsorships, which keeps our sector of the blogosphere relatively clean and honest.

  24. Reply

    Pauline Guillet

    Thanks for the post, it’s great! You’ve nailed the most common fears sewing bloggers have: posting regularly, copying ideas… As for myself, sometimes I try to push myself to publish more often but eventually I need to work at my own pace, and I do get inspiration (or call it copy…) from a lot of places (blogs, shops, catwalks…). The online sewing comunity is amazing and has been a great support, thanks to all the amazing seamstresses out there!

  25. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    I love that you wrote this because for me, when I start feeling pressured to blog, I no longer want to do it. Sometimes life happens and I create slower; sometimes I work like wildfire. It’s nice to hear from a professional that it’s ok to go at my own pace, whatever that is at the time 🙂

  26. Reply

    Pam

    Thank you so much for this post. I started a blog a month ago and I feel like it was a big mistake. Way over my head. Thanks

  27. Reply

    Trollemor

    What a great post! I suddenly dont feel so guilty….

    I startet blogging about 2,5 years ago, only sewing whit hand-me-dowmn-fabrics, and making clothes for my own two children. Then I startet selling a little, as I continued blogging. It was great fun, alldo the post, pictures NOR the products were all that great.. But I was on a learnig curve. And when I see what I have learned in these allmost three years, BY MY SELF! whit no other help then reading my way up and taking inspirations from other bloggers, I am proud of my self and where I have gotten. BUT, the “competition” is big, and as you mention in this post, it is much better that we sewers help eachother on the way, may that be copying, or reaching out for tips and advise! I have so mutch to learn still, as there are soooo many great sewing-bloggers out there! An other thing about these blogging-breaks….for many of us, including me, we have a family that needs out time, so to exept from our self to post everyday, making great clothes/patterns AND super pictures, are from me out of this world! But still, these heroes do exist, and I admire them! Therefor it can take weeks before I post pictures of any thing new. In the meantime, I go on the net to get inspiration and great conversations whit other seamstresses:)

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      You have accomplished a lot. I look back on how bad I was when I first started and it’s amazing to see the progress. Keep up the good work girl!

  28. Reply

    Stacy

    Useful tips for sewing bloggers. Thanks for sharing. I just recently started a blog about sewing and DIY projects. Before, I tried to write in blog about fashion and beauty. But I realized a lot of similar blogs and I’m not interested in this theme. I removed all the old messages. Then I decided to write about their hobbies sewing, recipes and life styles. So I updated the design of my blog and start anew.

    Stacy from http://www.stacyco.blogspot.com

  29. Reply

    Sharonraggyrobin

    Thanks for helping to ease the guilt I feel when 2 or 3 weeks have slipped by and I haven’t managed to add anything, but I am writing patterns as well as running a sewing school, so I shouldn’t beat myself up.

  30. Reply

    Nedoux

    Hello Maddie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    I’ve found a way around the times that I’m front of my sewing machine, I have posts that I like to call “Fillers”, these are witty non-sewing related posts that keep my readers amused until I am able to finish the project in progress.

    I am a very slow sewer too, I’d rather not rush as I like to share all the details of my sewing, especially the tidy finishing. Readers appreciate the nice details. 🙂

    Have a great week! 🙂

  31. Reply

    Kaine

    Hi, as someone who is attempting to start a sewing/hobby blog for third time, this has really helped, because \i really want a forum to share and communicate with other sewing enthusiasts, but I’m just entering the sewing world again and wasn’t sure what exactly to post. Your tips have given the confidence to just go ahead with it and not worry about it being perfect. Thanks alot.

  32. Reply

    Natalie Beusekom

    Thank you so much for this post. I’m just starting out and lots of the blogging advice doesn’t seem to work for me. So thank you for sharing advice from a sewing blogger. It hard to find now a days.

  33. Reply

    Angelica

    Hello there! Just found this blog post by accident as I’ve been in the research phase of starting up a sewing blog for quite some time now, and EVERYTHING you’ve said has mirrored all my doubts fears and insecurities about how often to post, not feeling somehow ‘good enough’ or qualified to post and then the crippling sense of isolation that sometimes goes along with it. I love sewing, drawing and designing and studied fashion but was just not impressed with the state of the industry. I struggled a lot thinking I’d chosen the wrong career before realising I did love it but for me it was more about the art of slow fashion not fast fashion that appealed to me… I could go on, but in short am so grateful and relieved to know am not alone!! Thank you for restoring my faith in starting up my blog and reminding us that it’s not a race, it’s a learning process that we should allow ourselves to enjoy, respect and appreciate along the way and hopefully inspire others to do the same… Would love to connect and network more with the sewing blogging community… My Facebook page is http://www.facebook/featherandsparrow.com and my blogsite will be launching soon!! xx

  34. Reply

    Amy P

    I just found your site this morning searching ‘create a sewing blog’. I know generic specifics of making a website but am looking for more ‘sewing’ specific sites to help me out. I love this article! I was feeling stressed that I wasn’t creating fast enough! Thanks SO much for this article. I have just created a pinterest board specifically for ‘sewing’ blog help, and your article will be the first on my board!

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