I was carefully re-reading Sherry’s post on collars, determined to “get it right” with my husband’s jacket. I sewed the under collar wrong on my own version of the WW2 jacket, though it turned out alright. My eye caught Tilly’s latest post –Are Sewing Bloggers Cultural Leaders?
I read her post, started to write a loooong reply, then decided to turn it into a blog post. My collar sits unfinished.
See how things get around in Blogworld?
What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
The online sewing community is a group of people all over the world who open the doors to their sewing rooms and invite us in. I love the variety of techniques, styles, and personal quirkiness this exposes me to. I started to blog as a way to contribute, and to keep track of my own sewing experiments and projects. I guess I blog mostly for selfish reasons- it’s really handy to have a journal of projects and ideas that I can easily search. It’s much simpler than my old method of keeping sketches and scraps in journals (though I still do that, too, on a smaller scale). It’s great to have the input of other artists, as well. I know many of my projects over the past year or so would have ended up as UFOs or wadded up and tossed in a corner without the help and encouragement I find online.
On top of that, I am a transplant. I find it hard to meet other people- I’m a new(ish) mom, an immigrant, and kind of shy around new people. We always planned to move away after my husband finishes his studies; the knowledge we won’t live here forever contributes to my social reticence.
Besides- ask anyone- it’s hard to meet people in Brisbane. If I build up a social network online, that’s a group I can take with me anywhere we move. Blogging cuts the solitude.
Finally, I blog to make myself write regularly. I didn’t write much after I moved here and had a kid, and I sorely missed words, I felt my mind locking up. Blogging allows me to write in manageable chunks and through blogging I found my writer’s “voice,” and acquired the habit of writing.
What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
Tilly mentioned Me-Made-March, which I think of as a month-long sewists’ convention. It’s great for meeting new people and finding style inspiration. Sherry’s RTW Jacket sewalong is the first sewalong I participated in, and I found it a great way to sharpen my skills.
On another level, I enjoy the collaboration of other individual sewing bloggers. I stole Mary Nanna’s VPL jean’s pocket idea, it’s so cool!
Recently, Tanit-Isis and I feverishly drafted and re-drafted an Anthropologie top. I think we have about six versions of the same top between the two of us. I would have probably stopped after the first one except, well, she was doing it too and that spurred me to keep trying. It was like an unofficial draft-off (she totally won). I worked on mine knowing she was working on hers at the same time. I also enjoy our gentle trash-talking.
Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
Oh, I don’t know. I read Peter, I like the way he approaches problems with humor and a great attitude, and he seems to be great at connecting people. His sewalongs look great, too, I send other people there as a reference guide. Debi is a great inspiration and she’s a crossroads, too. When I’m casting around for new blogs to read, I go through her blog roll. She knows everyone. I really enjoy The Dreamstress, she helps keep my mind on a type of sewing I don’t do much these days, and her historical posts are truly top-notch. Sherry schools the world, she’s worked so hard on her recent sewalong and I’m reaping the benefits in my own sewing. As a teacher, I have mad respect for teachers.
I don’t think everyone or anyone can be a leader, in the blogosphere or otherwise. I’m also not sure that someone can be called a leader purely through numbers of followers, either. Alan Keith puts it well:
“Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.”
In our blogosphere, it seems that the leaders are those who are decent at their craft, great at production (blogging neatly, good production values), but also those who possess an insightful way of looking at the world. Leaders aren’t afraid to take risks. Leaders work their butts off.
Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
I teach sewing and I work in a sewing shop, so 90% of the people I come into contact with sew in some way. I’m constantly sewing, teaching, or learning. I wouldn’t be the sewist I am today without the input of my co-workers and the lessons I learn through teaching. I appreciate the instruction on technique, the new-to-me materials I pick up from embroiderers or quilters, and the sharp but constructive criticism I receive at work.
Let me say I feel that’s a small thing lacking in our particular blog culture. I really appreciate constructive criticism, but I don’t know that it’s universally appreciated elsewhere. Sometimes it’s hard to admit I don’t know everything, but it’s realistic. No one knows everything; if someone knows more than I, then listening to them will improve my work.
That said, I think sewing blogs are unique in the huge variety of perspective and experiences represented. At work, we all share ideas and creativity so much that eventually we all kind of do the same things the same way. I discover wellsprings of ideas and techniques in the blogs, and it affects my own sewing, which in turn affects the sewing critiquing I do at work. I think it’s marvelous- a free flow of information and inspiration unhindered by geography.
Bloggin ain’t easy, but it’s a whole lot of fun.
(By the way, thanks for the interesting responses to tanning yesterday. I learned the meaning of the word zeitgeist and that Scandinavia also has depleted ozone levels. Don’t worry, they’ll close over by mid-century. Why isn’t that headline news?? Also, Tanit-Isis directed me to the gem Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out In the Midday Sun. Thank you for all the hilarious and insightful responses!)