Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why Write a Sewing Blog?

I volunteered to speak to one of the Maryland neighborhood groups of the American Sewing Guild and Andi suggested I talk about being a sewing blogger.  Hmmmmm, there are hundreds of you out there who would be better at giving this talk than I am but I guess I'm closer to Rockville, MD than most of you are.  So I thought I'd write my random thoughts about why I blog as a way to gather the random threads in my mind and try to weave them into something coherent.

1.  Friendship
I was the odd person in a room of beginning bloggers at an adult ed class a few years ago.  I didn't really care about statistics or Google searches.  When I told the instructor that my goal was "to make friends" she smiled wanly and moved on to the topic of analytics and site optimization.  She never did answer of my questions.....how do I segment my blogroll into categories, how can I use a different font such as a sewing stitch design for my title, how come my reader list isn't the same as what shows up on my blogroll?  We were not on the same wave length at all.  But wave length and a common interest are exactly what prompted me to start blogging three years ago.  
I've always enjoyed the internet for its strictly passive fun.  I love to read and what could be more enjoyable that a 24 hour a day open library of all the information I'd ever want to know on any subject in the world.  But one thing I noticed over the decade was that people were so enormously generous with their time and talents.  I was inspired by early sewing bulletin board posting people and then by those same people who became bloggers.  Before there were "blog readers" to gather daily posts together, I had a huge list of bookmarks of those sites.  I admired their sewing projects, their energy (with jobs, families, responsibilities they still found/find time to blog.....and I can barely get the bathrooms cleaned.) So when Google made blogging readily available for someone as non-techy as I am (trust me, we just got a family cell phone plan and smart phones after more than a decade on a flip phone and pay as you go wannabe) I wanted a way to give back for all those hours of fun and to "meet" some of you via this funny WWW.  I just enjoy finding kindred souls who love sewing, patterns, fabric, techniques and clothes as much as I do.  And who find detailed discussions, (with pictures!) on bound buttonholes and interfaced hems equally enthralling.  I'd love to meet all the readers and bloggers out there but since that's not possible, here's the way to enjoy one an other's company virtually.

2. Inspiration  I don't mean that my garments or my design talents are going to inspire a younger generation.  I'm not that gal.  But I am a 62 year woman who still enjoys clothes and being a girl and I want to motivate other women of my generation not to fade into the sunset.....not that there's anything wrong with that, if it's your choice, not your default.  I've have many decades behind me of disliking my body, my proportions, my weight, my whatever.  But I've done a lot of work on my inner self in the last decade and a half and I have put a stop to that madness.  Sewing a fun, varied, appropriate wardrobe is a way to reflect my happiness and that's what I'd like to inspire others to do.  It does take more time than shopping to test a pattern, fit it and adjust it and then sew it up.  But I think the final product always looks better than anything I could buy in a store.  Let's not settle, ladies.  Most of the women of my generation know how to operate a sewing machine.  Find a sewing/fitting friend, get some fabric and a few patterns and give it a go.  

3. Record-keeping  My mother always said I'd forget my head if it weren't attached.  Blogging forces me to slow down and put on a page just what I did sew, imagine, read, buy, create.  I like that.  On days when I feel totally unaccomplished and incompetent, my blog reassures me that I am not those things.  And my mom was right, I will forget so much unless I put it right there in front of me.  This visual record is a great internet gift to myself.

4. Anti-aging  These are not my middle years....unless I'm going to live to 115.  I like that blogging in its own little way forces me to learn something new and certainly puts me in touch with a generation of sewists previously unavailable to me.  One of the reasons I loved moving back from southwest Florida to Baltimore is that I love being around the energy of all generations and blogging links me to that same type of energy.  So I think blogging is one of the things I do to keep mentally young.  I love being older and more accepting of myself and others but without continually learning I've seen how people become mentally stuck.  This is a time in my life to celebrate the blessings of time and energy in my sewing space but also to connect to an ever changing world outside.  Blogging helps me do that.

5. Comments  I may feel the freedom to create and wear what I like with less regard for others' opinions at this stage in life..... but I also love the comments that we share among one another.  I know that the blogging world has grown larger and larger and therefore commenting time becomes scarce when there are so many great blogs to read.  But I fell on the floor laughing in recognition when Carolyn wrote her "Comment Ho" post a few years back.  http://sewingfantaticdiary.blogspot.com/2011/04/value-of-good-comment.html
I'm a small blog presence in the sewing blog world and seldom have to deal with s p a m, thankfully.  So if you comment, I say thanks, and if you don't, I sure do understand. 

6. Pictures  I hate taking pictures but I love what the pictures tell me about a particular garment or outfit.  Well, I don't loooove it but I so appreciate the value of those photos.  No more kidding myself about how that item looks in real life.  Pictures have made it easier for me to quit a project early, make some needed adjustments the next time around or better accessorize an outfit.

7. Friends and family  I reluctantly joined Facebook a few years back and ended up being very glad that I did.  Not so that I can connect with lost acquaintances from my past but because it gives me more info and insight into the daily lives of my not local family and friends.  One of my cousins lives across the country and his wife posts a picture each day of their almost 1-year old first child.  That's a treat to see.  My blog does something similar for my small but scattered family and friends.  

8. No Guilt, No Pressure  I get to blog about my hobbies not to try to earn a living in this struggling economy which does make me one the very luckiest people on the planet.  I love the fact that people have found a way to reach new audiences for their services and products.  I am fascinated by this whole new area of commerce.  I once worked very happily for more than ten years in the check printing industry (told you I was a dinosaur) and only twenty years ago it was revolutionary to think that consumers could order their own supply of checks directly without the bank middleman (some of you may have to stop and ask your parents what a "check" is)  The internet has changed all of that.  But that's not my situation.  I don't have ads or a product to sell and so my blogging is as erratic and scattered as I am.  I'm a terrible typist so I have many more blog post ideas than I will ever get to in reality.  That keeps me interested in blogging but also puts it in perspective for me.  My sewing, reading and sometimes cooking blog gets to be on my schedule and that's a freedom I celebrate as well.

Well, I am not going to change any minds about whether or not to take up blogging but I've clarified better for myself why I enjoy this new world.  And to those of you who were pathfinders long before me, thank you.  If you have stopped writing, I miss you.  If you are still writing, I admire you.  If you have just started, I'd like to cheer you on.  Happy blogging and happy blog reading.

22 comments:

  1. What a great post! I enjoy your blog very much and it's nice to read why you do too. :-)

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  2. As a person who is currently on the fence about whether to begin a blog, your post sure was timely. Thanks for your thoughts. I'm so glad you took the plunge and started your blog!

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  3. I feel like I flew to Maryland, sat in a room with other sewists and enjoyed a generous heart-filled chat! Very articulate and so openly YOU! Thanks for sharing!

    Brenda
    (from another one who can barely keep the bathroom clean!)

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  4. Your very thoughtful post has echoed what many of us of a certain age feel about why we publish a sewing blog. Bravo. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to seeing what you're up to.

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  5. Always happy when I see there is a new post from you. My favorite sewing blogs are friends that I check in with everyday. You've inspired me to step up my sewing but most importantly how fun and stylish over 60 can be!
    many thanks
    Pam

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  6. Great post. I love reading your blog.

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  7. A great post, Jane! I definitely relate to some of these.

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  8. I've really enjoyed this post. As a casual sewer I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading this, and other sewing blogs. Having turned 50 I find I really enjoy seeing and being inspired by what others are doing. I love seeing what younger sewists are doing. I love where they are taking the newer things and really enjoy seeing their take on retro stuff. I also need and appreciate that there are bloggers near my age and older showing fun, fashionable clothes. I also totally agree with the friends aspect of blogging. I've met such great, warm friendly people.

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  9. I also enjoyed this blog -- I am retired and searching for a style that fits into my wonderful life of sewing and tole painting. I enjoy both the blogs of the young sewists (and admire their trim figures) and the blogs of people more my age as both groups have so much to offer.

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  10. Sewing bloggers are such a nice corner of the internet. The (mostly) women are so smart, plucky, yet generous with their knowledge. It reminds me of the usenet alt.sewing group, which I checked 2-3x/day when I was (avoiding) writing my PhD thesis.

    I remember one post in alt.sewing where a woman wanted a reminder of which Unix command did this particular task, and I was just about to reply to her when I noticed someone had already done so within 10 minutes of her post.

    She wrote a thanks on the thread and said that she didn't post her Q on the Unix forum because she knew she would get a quick and non-snarky reply on alt.sewing. (We all have brain farts and I don't think that momentarily forgetting Unix syntax is any indication of your smarts or lack of smarts.)

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  11. So - when are you doing the presentation? Will it be open to any one or just for the AGS members.
    Lynn

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  12. Very well put. I started my blog as a means to express myself and was pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie and also the real life friendships that I have made.

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  13. Thank you for blogging. I love the clothes you sew and you come across as a lovely warm non judgmental person as well .i hope you continue to blog for many years to come. Our weather is the complete opposite to yours. We have just experienced our worst heatwave in over 100 years. Temps from 105 to 112 Fahrenheit .yuk.

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  14. Thanks for this post. It pretty much sums up why I blog too. Mostly for the journal part though. But I also keep a paper journal but it's not as pretty & doesn't have photos. :)

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  15. Lovely post, You blog for many of the same reasons I do. #2 really hit home as a reason I enjoy your blog. I wanted to let you know that you have indeed inspired me in the way you described. I am only few years younger than you with impending retirement and lifestyle changes. I do a lot of thinking about what my sewing will be like in the near future when I no longer need clothes for work. You are a wonderful example of how I want to be sewing in a few years. Thanks so much.

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  16. while the focus of our blogs is fairly different, you capture much of why I keep blogging as well. I can't imagine ever wanting to monetize (although never say never, right?) -- for me, it's about community and a chance to try out my writing on a surprisingly wonderful group of generous readers. Thanks for summing it up!

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  17. Lovely post, Jane...you speak for many of us!

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  18. That was a fantastic post! You summed up so many of my feelings about why I blog as well as why I sew! Thanks also for the shout out. I've written so many blog posts that it's always a thrill for me when someone links to one that I wrote years ago and it's still pertinent to them today. Yeah for ALL sewing bloggers!

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  19. I can relate to so much of this post. I was a sewing blog lurker for years before I hit out with my own blog, and I'm glad I did. The main reason I blog is to connect with other sewists, as no one in my real life (after from my dear mother) has the slightest interest in sewing. I like to record what I make, and if someone comments, that's great. And I love being inspired by all the talented sewists out there.

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  20. You said it for me! I'm coming up to my 8th year of blogging and it's all that you say and more. I have a fairly small readership and although I love them (even if I don't know who they all are!), I think I really write for myself as much as for them. And of course I love reading what everyone else is up to so I spend way too much time on my blog reader. It's a community that I wouldn't be without.

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  21. Thank you for making the time and energy investment to blog - altho I rarely/never comment I enjoy your posts and projects and feel close to you because of our shared interests (even Mary Poppins!).

    Ceci

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  22. What a thoughtful post -- I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I am always amazed at the creativity, generosity and support out there. Until I started blogging and reading blogs, I really didn't know many people who liked to sew, which is one reason why it has been enriching for me to be a part of the online sewing community.

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Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."