Tuesday, 10 May 2011

This is not a tag, but consider yourselves tagged

Because it's interesting. Steph alerted me to Tilly's post where she asks several questions about the sewing community; and I think it's interesting enough on its own, even though she actually needs that for a paper she has to write.

Another thinking post; I don't have anything to show in the sewing department right now and I'm in a thinking mood. Considering I'm to write essays for school, I guess that's a good thing.

What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
Why do I participate? Well, a big reason is: because it got me started. I have always been creative in one way or another, but it was the online crafting and sewing community that helped me realise sewing is a good thing for me to do. Sewing involves several things I like doing… not just making itself, but thinking about the making, planning it, designing it, making it almost from scratch in a Robinson-like way (I’ve always found the pre-made nature of things like paper crafts boring after a short while), and there’s also the option of playing with geometry when I make my own patterns (I liked making geometrical bodies like cubes at school, turning a flat piece of paper into a 3D object - and making your own patterns is just that in essence). So, one reason is because the online sewing community helped me see that. And I kind of feel a duty to give back what I’ve been given.
One reason why I think many people nowadays are getting into the DIY thing - me included, although I've always liked it - is that so many people nowadays are doing things that are, frankly, non-productive. We need to feel what we're making with our own hands, not just stare into a computer screen making something largely virtual. And while I still stare into a computer screen a lot and sewing blogs don't help much there, they help in giving me ideas what to make in reality, or giving me hints as to how to make it. I like that.
It’s amazingly friendly, too. And fun. It’s great to converse with people from around the world (Tilly’s got it nailed down) and see how much you have in common. And how these things you have in common matter more than those you don’t.

What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
Wardrobe Refashion was one such thing. I even participated for a time. I’m still keeping the pledge; I can’t recall when I last bought myself a new RTW piece of clothing other than underwear or stockings – all of my new clothes now since I first took that pledge are thrifted or handmade (by me or other people, that is) or gifted. I stopped participating officially and posting on the blog, because there’s kind of a pressure to keep doing and making things to have something to post, and, frankly, I’m quite content not doing things most of the time. As Novita put it in one of her posts waaay back, „If not doing things makes me happy, than yeah, I’m not doing it. More if I can“. :-) But that was another great thing that challenge taught me, actually quite in line with its foundation idea, so I see no problem there.
Then there’s She Wears Shwe Shwe, a wonderful and, sadly, mostly obscure blog from JAR. (Reminded me to add it to my Blogger Reader, ha!) The lady who runs it loves the traditional South African fabric – shwe shwe – and started photographing other ladies who wear it in the streets. Thanks to that, she got to know lots of people in her neighbourhood and, as far as I can recall, started volunteering and helping out in a community. I think that’s amazing.

Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
I guess everyone is a leader… in a way. Everyone who keeps doing it and communicating with others. The communication is crucial. It seems to me, in blogosphere – certainly the crafty one - you can’t become a leader by assuming you are one. All the people I can think of that have become „leaders“ (Steph named Peter and The Dreamstress, I thought of Gertie or Anna) have become such as a by-product of their enthusiasm and friendliness. Some of them took the mantle of a leader, some have not, but the fact is neither of them started a sewing blog to become a leader; they started them to talk about sewing.

Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
Does preparing a youth magazine count? I guess for the purpose of this question, it will. There are things that are common – like the voluntary nature of both. No one makes you post online, no one forces you to share your knowledge – all the tutorials on blogs online I’ve learned so much from were shared from good will, and in the same manner we who make that Christian youth magazine do so mostly because of good will (I hope). And there’s the whole matter of making something out of nothing.
What’s unique to the sewing community is, I guess, the nature of sewing. :-) As I hinted in my first answer, it’s a complex thing. It can be as simple as sewing a felt case for your glasses without even finishing the seams, and as complicated as draping your own wedding gown and then sewing it and hand-embroidering it and making it its own inner corset structure and who knows what else. There are sub-communities, like quilters, and the whole sub-community of costumers, which itself has its own sub-communities... There’s something for almost anyone, it’s both very creative and very technical; and yet all these people have something in common and can find something of merit in someone otherwise completely different – at least I know I do.
That’s a fantastic thing. As far as I believe that Christianity is universal, too, fact is the magazine I help prepare is just the magazine of my own church (at least right now). Sewing community gives me that outreach on an everyday basis. It’s nice to have it, and it hopefully prepares me to find it elsewhere, too, like Anna from She Wears Shwe Shwe did...
(And, wow, I did not even know it would bring me to that.)


  1. I completely agree! We lack getting to reap the rewards of our labor and quite frankly, I believe this is a large reason many people are depressed these days.

    I could never sit around and not create something.

  2. I get antsy and deeply upset when I'm not creating. I can't help it.

  3. I'm with Steph-- if I have to go for an extended time of not making something, I become a miserable person to deal with. Hands-on creativity is essential.

  4. Thank you so much for your response! Like you, reading sewing blogs is what got me to sign up to a sewing class on a whim. And I'm so glad I did. Making something with my hands is so satisfying - I feel like a child again, in a good way!