photo courtesy edgetech.com
Blogging started for me with the discovery of sewing bloggers back around 2007. I had belonged to sewing forums for some time and it was natural curiosity that made me click on that first link to a blog. I am 99% sure it was The Sewing Divas. I was hooked. I found women who, like myself, were passionate about sewing garments. Living in much isolation in the Northern Adirondacks in NY state gave me lots of time to sew and lots of time to read. These blogs were the human connection to my passion and pastime. I searched for more blogs and eventually started writing my own. Back then they were of great substance, being written out of a driving desire to share one's passion. There was no monetization, no Indie pattern makers, no fangurls, just those seeking to share their most favorite pastime. It was the era of The Sewing Divas, Gigi Sews, Summerset Banks and Lindsay T. You got quality information, high level tutorials and a place to comment, communicate and be part of an ardent community. (I've given you links, where possible, to these blogs so you can see just what I mean. Enjoy. ) While blogging was in it's infancy, it was also in it prime. Bloggers gained commenting followers. Those commentors started their own blogs. We communicated our sewing love and techniques to each other.
As more and more sewists began to read blogs, they began to write their own and the platform proliferated. There were "blogrolls" to connect each other and to not let anyone go unnoticed. Skills, fails, fabric photos and successes were shared generously and sewing blogging grew. Everyone wanted to blog. Looked easy enough, right? That bandwagon was getting jumped on!
The sewing blogging world started to change. Not a good or bad thing, just evolving. With the promise and ability to use one's blog to sell to other sewists, it grew so quickly that it became the Wild, Wild West. Now I have no problem with monetization. I say go for it. However, what developed was blogging whose prime reason for existence was making money, not to share a passion, a skill, or a technique photo or even enjoy doing such. This was not confined to just the sewing blogosphere. The substance of content of those early years became watered down. The experienced sewing bloggers continued to blog. Sewing blogs grew beyond experienced sewists sharing. It was now cool to be blogging and a new demographic started publishing sewing blogs. Some were written by people just beginning to sew who were passionate about their new found hobby and impressive with their drive to learn. Others were written by new sewists as well but were highly monetized, lacked text and substance, usually had beautiful photos and lots of very misinformed tutorials. Many newbie bloggers stressed themselves with set schedules of posts to keep their followers coming. Many the conversation I read about "I don't know what to put on my blog". For other sewing bloggers it was "I don't have enough time to blog. This is a lot of work and my husband wants to know where the money is. " It was a round robin Ponzi effort to get clicks with blog tours, and other gimmicks because the belief was that if you did it right digitally, you would be making six figures off your blog in no time. I really think if the passion came through on these blogs, getting clicks would not have been an issue.
This growth of blogs for money invited inevitable criticism which gave rise to forums such as GOMI (GetOffMy Internet). Sites like GOMI were fed by the fangurl phenomenon, loyal followers of a blog who would defend with their last ounce of energy the greatness of a particular faux designer and her patterns and writings. Thankfully , Father Time has done his job and these sorts of blogs are dying out. The good news is that all of that ruckus did bring a new generation into sewing and I have seen some amazing things being made, particularly in the bag making arena. Newer sewists are really succeeding in that niche and have a really fresh, inspiring vision.
As often happens in a flooded market, the cream rose to the top and out of this phenomenon came many solid designers of patterns. Not surprisingly, they were the ones with either industry experience, design school credentials or even both. Seven Pines Design is my favorite of this genre. I've learned much about pattern drafting and design from her blog. Sewing Adventures is another great blog for children's heirloom clothing and Kathy D is an expert and very popular teacher in the heirloom sewing world. There are many more designers who are experienced, credentialed and have survived. Those who did not have the sewing chops but did sport great ambition often found as time went on that they either had to step up their skill game or buhbye. And that is what many have done. But their are other reasons some of those initial indie blogger/designers have moved on.
Last week on a FB group of blogging sewists that I follow, much was said about traffic to these blogs having dwindled to near nothing. Clicks weren't getting clicked. A whole industry has developed of email marketing, SEO skill development and other digital techniques to drive those "customers" (not necessarily passionate sewists) to one's blog to make money. It appears the concept of blogging to make money and using just enough of a topic to make that palatable is failing. While it appears that way, I think if a blog has great content backed with passion, people will click. However, many are now using the quick hit of Instagram to share the love, instead. Blogging takes a lot more time. It is work. The blogging world is evolving once again. Influencers are using Instagram. Those who are passionate on any subject, from D.C. Politics to couture sewing use blogs. Some use both as they are not exclusive of each other but they are different animals. Blogging conventions seem to be on the decline. I remember when so many were jumping on that crazy bandwagon, such a bubble.
About the same time as the FB blogettes, Look At Me Blogs arrived on the scene. Sewing blogs that had strong content became more personality centered. I think as sewists the majority of us love fashion. Didn't we all love playing dress up or sewing for our Barbies? Sewing bloggers have learned to be our own models and with DSLRs and a few lessons we're pretty good at making our new constructions look quite fashionable. But some of us really want to be models/sewing personalities as well! Some ache to be downright famous. I love looking at sewists, all styled up, in their completed garments. I like to compliment them on how great they look and the amazing sewing they have just completed. They inspire me all the time to try what they just did. I get blown away by the challenges faced and overcome. But a whole segment of sewing bloggers traded text of sewing content for blogs with twenty photos of themselves in the same garment against 5 different bushes. It became boring after a bit. Beautiful women with great sewing skills that didn't show much sewing anymore. Sigh.....I get that these more fashion oriented and less sewing oriented blogs appeal to some, maybe many. They are just not my cup of tea. We all have limited time and pick how we spend it. I would rather read Carolyn of Diary of Sewing Fanatic explain how she made her latest garment fit or how she struggled over a certain detail. I prefer not to watch Jane Doe twirl in front of the same grafitti covered cement wall 20 times in the same outfit and say nothing about construction. Just me..........boring.
I think at this point in sew blogging evolution, it's a case of the strong have survived. A lot of people have stopped blogging completely. I get that. Life surely happens. Kids grow up and now want to wear what their friends wear, tees and jeans from Target. Mom gets a job. People move, retire, even some dear bloggers pass away. Priorities re-prioritize. That is all good and normal. I am seeing many newer sewing bloggers who are so full of passion for their craft and write generously about it. Seven Pines Design , Star's Threads, Dressmaking Debacles, Sew Help Me, Cashmerette are all wonderful, informative, filled with youthful personality and sewing substance. Two of the original four blogs quoted in the first paragraph, through the magic of the internet, are still here for your reading pleasure and sewing inspiration and I hope you take a moment to read them and be inspired. We know Meg of Lindsay T Sews is now working for Vogue and Summerset Banks has left sewing and blogging about it to enjoy a life filled with MUCH hiking with her family, which she blogs about a lot. I applaud all those who have stuck through it all or have gone and come back, bloggers like Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, Tany's Couture et Tricot, Girls in the Garden, Rhonda Buss, the Mahogany Stylist and so so many more, far too many to mention. You bring such joy to my day. Thank you. You are the passionate sewists out there that inspire me daily. I know you inspire thousands of others. Your love of the self made garment comes through your blogs and you continue to inspire month after month, year after year.
I do think this platform has survived and will be all the stronger for it. We need to share with each other what is working. Sewists need to have a place, unlike FB and IG, as fun as they are, that has substance, camaraderie, and inspiration. Blogs can do that. Any thoughts on the matter? Any great new blogs you would like to share? I am always looking for new sewists to either inspire or help along. This is my convo for the month of January. How do you currently feel about Insta now that it has been around for awhile? Does it make you feel inadequate with it's incredible fashion photos of sewn garments as it does many I have seen share on PR and FB? Inquiring minds want to know!
I have finished my woolen boucle top. It is a very interesting garment. I got lots of compliments when I wore it. It's not 100% ready for primetime as I was not getting lucky finding closures for the pockets to match the rose gold zip which worked out nicely, BTW. But I got a great idea from a sewing friend and went down a different rabbit hole. As soon as my closures arrive and get installed I will get it modeled for you all and reviewed. It was a very interesting sew and I will definitely wear it a lot. Next, a blanket skirt to wear with my fleece leggings and boots. Happy Sewing......Bunny