Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Experiment...are you game?


I thought I would give something a shot. It may or may not work but I am game. It's here for you if you are game. In the sewing blogosphere certain themes appear to repeat themselves. Certain topics have been an issue since the beginning of sewing blogs and still are. One of the quandaries I see over and over is the question of do you tell someone if you know an easier, "better", faster technique to accomplish something in the sewing world. Can you tell them with kindness and best intentions and does that make it OK? Inevitably when this discussion comes up the majority say they have no problem with being told how to do something differently. But in reality, when I have seen it done, panties can get in a bunch and do. There are those who do not like to be told in public on their blog if something can be done differently, better, or more easily. And you know what? THAT'S OK! I respect that all the way. It's your blog and you can control it how you would like. It is totally OK with me and probably OK with most folks if you feel that way.

This has been bugging the heck out of me. How can we know who is open to friendly critique or instruction and who isn't. I don't think anyone wants to hurt anyone's feelings. I sure don't. Then the light came on, A BADGE. So I messed with some photos and font and built myself a badge and will post it in the sidebar.

It means that if I am doing something one way and you know how to do it a "better" way for my situation, you can feel free to offer kind, positive critique of technique. And I do stress the kind, positive here. I will not tolerate any who think this is an opening to be negative and nasty. I would love to know easier, or more professional, or quicker, or cheaper, or whatever ways to do things in my sewing. I am always open to learning. If you are a kindred spirit, I have the grab code under the widget in the sidebar. You are welcome to grab it, use the badge and give this a try along with me.

I don't know if it will work or not. Time will tell. But the badge is yours for the grabbing. Just please let me know how it works out for you . I would really appreciate it. Fingers crossed here...it's a brave new sewing world out there.........Bunny

47 comments:

  1. Nice. I like it. I often do not offer suggestions unless they are requested for fear of upsetting someone. Life is too short for that. When I wonder about giving a critique in general, I ask myself if I would rather be right or would I rather be happy. Happy wins out most of the time :) Your idea seems helpful.

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  2. i will be interested to see how your idea develops, Bunny! Goodness knows it's easy enough to get 'crossed wires' in real life, the internet makes it that much easier. As far as i'm concerned, if someone asks for advice and you do your level best to give it in a kind, respectful manner you are at no fault if the person takes offense. You are only human :)

    I feel it's a bit trickier when the person hasn't asked and has stated they are thrilled with how they are doing things....just because you know a way that's better, easier, and faster *for you* doesn't mean that the other person will find it so. I personally like to do a lot of hand sewing in my garment construction. I prefer the way it makes things hang, and i find it much more comfortable physically (i have severe neuropathy in one leg). I know for a fact there are quicker ways to get things done, but i enjoy the process and the finished result of hand sewing. I'm not under any deadlines, no one else is going to be wearing what i make.

    So it is pure personal preference. I enjoy learning about new techniques just on principle and also because you never know when something might be just the thing! At the same time, on occasion i've found it a bit tedious when someone wants me to defend my own approach to sewing, partially because i don't like to type and after a while the arthritis kicks in - i'd rather use my hands for - you guessed it! sewing!

    Again, as you say it's a whole new world out there and everybody has different reasons for doing what they do. I hope your idea encourages more people to share what they know - i certainly appreciate all the people who have done so quite generously! steph

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    1. No one should have to defend their methods. We all have our reasons. But if a kind critique is offered I think a thank you should suffice. Thanks for your input.

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  3. I think my "regular readers" (hahaha!) know that I am completely open to feedback. I have gotten insanely helpful hints, tips and links on my blog that has made my sewing life easier.

    I think the kindness is key.

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    1. I've gotten some great tips in the comments here as well and they are appreciated.

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  4. I too look forward to seeing how this plays out! I'm 100% open to constructive criticism, and I'll use your button. I think that, as Steph mentioned, it's good to ask for advice if you want it, but sometimes I don't think to put it out there. Which gives me an idea for a whole new post....

    BTW, thank you for mentioning on my last post that you found inspiration there - it means a lot to think that I can inspire someone of your caliber! :)

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    1. Loved that incredible vest, Jilly.

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  5. I like this idea very much and I'll add the badge to my sidebar. I am open to constructive criticism and hope I can offer it to someone in a kind and helpful way if asked. The sniping that takes place in blogs and forums leads me to become quieter and I am pretty thick skinned. (This is bringing up a topic for later so I will stop here). Anyway, I am self taught for the most part and need all of you out there to tell me No, that's a mistake...or Yes, you are on the right track.

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    1. Most of my learning is self taught as well. I feel the same way as you. Thanks for your input.

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  6. Great idea Bunny! I need to figure out how to add things to the side bar - it hasn't worked for me yet. LOL!

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    1. Kathy, if you go into your dashboard on the write will be three options, One is a pen which you click to write a post. The middle one is a clipboard and the far right onw is to view blog. Click on the middle one and go to layout. You will see in blue "add a gadget". Click on that. Scroll down to the one that says HTML/java script and click on that. In a separate window open La Sewista. Go to the badge and copy the code that is underneath the badge, aka, grab the code. Now past that into the "content" box that shows in the widget. You have the option of adding a title. I put "Its OK" in mine. On the top right of the page click "save arrangement". It is now on your blog. If you don't like where you placed it go back to "layout" and just drag it down to where you want it to be in the sidebar.

      Hope this helps everyone. Let me know if there are any questions. Wordpress is a bit different and sometimes limits and controls type on widgets and you have to pay to do more. Would someone like to explain the WP method.

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    2. Kathy, I just realized yours is a WP blog. I will try to get that info to you in a bit. It's not much different. You go into the dashboard, click on appearance, then widgets, and pretty much do the same copy/paste thing. HTHs

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  7. Helpful hints and ideas are how we learn from one another. Sometimes we have been doing a task a certain way for years, we see someone else do the same task differently, easier and wonder why didn't I think of that!

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  8. Awesome idea! I can't say I often get much feedback but I would definitely welcome it. I want to hear everything about sewing. I'm only self taught so I know there are other ways and better ways of doing things that I do.

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  9. I think you are a little hung up on other people's blogs. I don't have a blog, but always thought that they were for publishing the thoughts and projects of the blogger. If there is a blog I no longer enjoy or agree with I simply stop visiting it. It seems that life is too short to be concerned with policing other's blogs; it is just not that important of a cause in this day and world.

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    1. I don't go to blogs I don't like either. Life is too short. Why do you think this is policing? This is an experiment on my blog, emphasis on the "my". The badge says "I" welcome positive critique on technique. What does that have to do with policing other people's blogs? I don't see the connection. I am simply telling you, by way of the badge, that I welcome your positive criticism as I know I have lots to learn and am open to the experience.

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    2. It's so tricky to know whether comments would be welcome or unwelcome--I think a badge is an interesting idea. I would recommend something less elegant and subtle, though. "Don't be shy--tell me what you really think." Well, maybe more subtle than that.

      I follow a number of open source software forums, and those people are quick to offer undiplomatic critiques, and to take offense where none is intended; however, I don't think they are as easy to offend as the sewing community seems to be. I was really shocked to see the response you drew from a very gentle observation on indie pattern "designers" who confused the open market with a hobby support group. In fact, you didn't say anything critical at all, and the comments were mostly diplomatic.

      Evidently the clothes we make are somehow more personal than code we write. Odd, because the products of our hands are no more "us" than the products of our minds.

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  10. While I love the idea, I don't have thick enough skin to participate. However, I am happy to cheer you on from the sidelines!

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    1. I think that is totally fine and respect that. These blogs are ours and are free to express ourselves any way we want to. That's one of the great things about blogging. I totally get that others feel differently. That is fine with me. I really appreciate your input and your cheering on. Thanks so much.

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    2. Checked out your blog and really like it. Your post about being the boss of your own sewing really rang a bell. It took me years to learn to follow my gut and sometimes I still don't. Cutting down those recent jeans legs is a perfect example. Thanks for posting.

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    3. Thank you, Bunny! I'm touched!

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  11. The last time I offered friendly positive advice to someone, I was deleted and unfollowed. I promise I was not harsh.
    I thought blogging was about community and sharing knowledge, advice, success and failure. I soon learnt that it really about making money, getting free stuff, and having the most followers. They don't want honesty, they want compliments. I stopped blogging after that incident.
    I always enjoy reading your blog and appreciate the knowledge that you share. I think your badge is a great idea. I may even start blogging again.

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    1. Janlynn, I am so sorry someone took the joy out of your blogging and hope you get back into it. I can honestly say not all bloggers are into it for the money although I have learned there is an entire culture dedicated to that option. The real pros at selling a great product have their business websites and their blogs separate. Just an observation. Thanks for your input and I hope you get back to it if you think you will enjoy it.

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  12. I assume that if critique is not solicited, I shouldn't offer. If I see something that warrants a "better" way and I feel strongly, then I prefer to write a blog post about that technique and be done. My blog, my rules. Same for everyone else's blog. :-) I won't be using your badge ... not that I think it's a bad idea ... but I already receive much unsolicited advice and don't really want to openly invite any more. Maybe I need a badge for the inverse thought? lol Now, having said that ... unsolicited advice in my blog's comments doesn't bother me. It just amuses me that I didn't ask and yet there it is. But I read and move on. (With one glaring exception about a certain indie review. hehehe But that was a trainwreck of gargantuan proportions that took on a life of its own.) I've been online for far too long and have had too many birthdays to not have developed really thick skin.

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    1. Debbie, I love your blog and the information you put out is wonderful. Where was I before your fish eye dart? I like your idea of doing a blogpost about a technique that could be done in a different way. I will keep that in mind and hope you don't mind if I borrow that some day. Lots of skin thickening birthdays here, too.

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  14. Sorry ...deleted for a better link and then lost the whole thing. lol

    Thanks Bunny. I enjoy your blog very much too.

    To give credit where its due, the FED is Kenneth King's brainchild ... just my experimenting with it. And since blogging a technique isn't my original thought, you can certainly "borrow" at will. :-)

    Did you see http://upsewlate.blogspot.com/2014/07/blue-danni.html ? Wish I could be so diplomatic. Feel free to email me at dcook100 at gmail dot com if you want to comment privately. :-)

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  15. Love this idea! It is sometimes a delicate situation, but when I have gotten constructive and kind criticism, I have been able to incorporate some of it and improve.

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  16. I really appreciate the way you put your time and talent into practice -- and share it with us. This little experiment might prove interesting; I'll stay tuned. Thanks!

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  17. Sounds like a positive idea. I hope it works for you and others as well.

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  18. I like the idea in theory, but everyone has such different ideas about criticism. I have a fine arts degree and constructive criticism was an integral part of class. We used to have weekly 'crits'; you learn to have a thick skin but you also learn how to criticize and it's not always what the person wants to hear. I went on a garden tour with an artist friend recently and we laughed about how critical we both were about the gardens, but so often people without this kind of an education really have a hard time with it.

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  19. Tricky one! Who's to say the proffered advice is better, easier? more appropriate? I think critiques are great if they are asked for but if I've slaved over something and used the techniques I researched and wanted, I don't think I would want someone else to suggest I should have done it differently. We're artists and artists should be free to create -- no right or wrong way to do something unless one asks for it.

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  20. Very interesting that this dichotomy exists! I would have expected that any seamstress with enough interest in her craft to go to the trouble of writing a blog would also have a deep curiosity about alternative construction methods and would therefore always welcome input in the form of alternative techniques and constructive criticism. Certainly class critique was a weekly feature of our design course, as it is impossible to know everything, especially how something looks to others, without getting their opinion. The designer decides whether to use the advice or not, but the gift of free opinion is to be cherished: it's gold dust and I for one am always grateful to hear it. But then, I'm continually surprised by humans and their sensitivities! I think I understand dogs better! Anyway, great solution to the problem, Bunny. Good luck with it.

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  21. Mega Ditto what Tupppi just said! Wish she had a blog, as I love her way of expressing herself!

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  22. I think its a very good idea. Sometimes its hard to tell if someone will be receptive to a bit of help. Maybe I need a white flag- 'i surrender, this patternhas beaten me, send in the suggestion cavalry' badge for my sidebar....

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  23. I think I fall somewhere in between. If someone presents it thoughtfully and politely, I'll take it. I would not, however, choose to offer unsolicited advice to others in the blog world. And for me it doesn't matter if it's sewing, choice of men or child rearing. We are all different and unique. What works for one may not work for someone else. The other thing I think is important is that it's very difficult to judge "tone" in print. Something meant perfectly harmless may not be taken as such. You could offer the same critique in person and be taken differently.

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  24. Great idea. Don't know if I am ready to participate but I love to learn ways to do things better - there are so many more knowledgeable people out there.

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  25. If I understand this right, you are inviting instructive criticism which is something I welcome and with gratitude. That said, when we open ourselves up this way (by blogging for example) to so many different kinds of people there will always be a few who take this opportunity to offer more than helpful hints ; ). Talking about this reminds me of an instance when a picture of something I had made was posted on a blog (Bunny...you may remember my bonnet pattern I tested for Lisa) and one unkind person's only comment was "This is a choking hazard because the ties are too long!". Not only was this comment not a helpful sewing tip, it was meant to be cruel. My wish for you is that you don't encounter many such unkind comments and instead will be adding to your very talented sewing skills.

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  26. Dear Bunny, you are such an inspiration! I've always followed your blog as a place to learn alternatives to my own techniques, not a place where I would have any critique to offer. :) But it makes perfect sense that your open attitude allows your wonderful talent and workmanship to blossom! Thanks for reminding us how helpful it can be to accept others' views of our work.

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    1. It's all a question of whether the criticism is valuable. Some people might be knowledgeable, others might be clueless yet quite confident in their opinions. As a writer, I've learned to seek feedback only from people whose opinion I respect. If I had a blog, I think I'd have to monitor the comments and only accept the reasonable contributions. As part of me believes that having a blog means everyone's voice should be heard (except for the uncivil and irrelevant), I'm torn about this. Guess I won't start my blog today.

      P. :-)

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  27. The internet is confusing and some sewing bloggers seem to be especially tetchy. While no expert, I do actually know a lot of techniques, which were not picked up ad hoc on the web, but taught by teachers with good training and reliable books. These days. I usually limit the giving of advice to the "Sewing" and "Sew Help" subreddits on www.reddit.com in response to specific questions. I always present what I believe is the best way, especially for beginners or people who are not naturally skillful. Sometimes even those comments are criticized. What can you do?

    The other case in which I'll comment is when I see a technique or a tool used and I know another method or implement. I'll discuss them, not to contradict the blog writer, but to supplement the post. Different things work for different people and projects. The more you know...

    What I really need to do is read less and sew more. :-)

    P.

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  28. Excellent idea - I'm going to put that badge on my severely neglected blog, at some stage I may post again and it could come in handy.

    I'm always surprised that some people get so bent out of shape over advice given, even when it's asked for. Of course there are different needs, constraints and parameters in different situations and one technique is not always going to work for every situation but you're always free to ignore it.

    if anyone has tips on how to get a beautifully fitted dress with sleeves from an enormous stash of patterns and fabric in an hour or less, I'm all ears ... staring at it from the sewing room door clearly isn't working.

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  29. I added it to my blog. I am a total beginner. All kind help is greatly appreciated! I just made something that I feel was a complete disaster. Lol. I will get better though. Thank you for a wonderful blog! It is very helpful.

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