7 May 2011

Are Sewing Bloggers Cultural Leaders?


Readers, I’m calling on your input once more. Not with a sewing project this time, but with a paper I’m writing.

I usually keep my work life and sewing blog separate, but there’s an overlap here, so I should give you a bit of background. In my normal life I work for a support agency for independent cinemas and film festivals. For the past few months I’ve been on sabbatical as a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, a development scheme for emerging leaders working in arts and culture.

We have been asked to write a provocation paper – a paper to provoke thought - about cultural leadership.

So I’ve decided to write about you. About the world of sewing blogs.

What am I talking about?

As we well know, there has been a recent resurgence of DIY culture. People are increasingly turning their back on consumerism – whether for ethical, environmental or economic reasons – and are reengaging with the process of making things themselves, whether that’s editing a mash-up video or knitting a scarf.

At the same time, for the past few years web 2.0 or social media has been providing people with a platform to share their thoughts, interact with each other, and “curate” and distribute what they think is valuable.

For online networks of makers, social media provides a platform to showcase what they’ve made, but also to create in a collaborative way - to pool knowledge, share ideas and inspire each other.

Arts organisations, accustomed to being the experts and to curating “professional” artists, have been thinking about how to respond to this cultural shift. What can they do to remain relevant in an increasingly participatory culture where people expect to be involved in both creating and curating? If they are to continue to engage with the public, how should they adapt their traditional models of programming, marketing and audience development? There has been excitement and resistance, experimentation and debate, action and confusion.

What’s this got to do with sewing blogs?

I’ve been thinking about these questions a lot, and have attended and participated in various conferences, workshops and, okay, arguments about it. And while there is some brilliant work going on in the arts, the examples I kept returning to in my head are from the online sewing network.

Think about the structure of the sewing blogosphere for a moment. Thousands of people from all over the world, who’ve never met in person, come together to form a virtual sewing circle, to encourage each other with their projects, teach them new techniques, and form a self-led community to celebrate their passion for the craft. (Don’t you just love looking at your world map report in Google Analytics? Holler to my readers in Namibia!)

Think about the sew-alongs, where a geographically disparate collective of individuals agree to work on the same sewing project. The leader sets the schedule and offers tutorials on the construction techniques, wanting nothing in return but to know they’ve provided a support network and have empowered people to make something.

And then there are initiatives like A Common Thread, where a piece of vintage lace was divided up between eight women around the world, who each made a unique garment embellished with the same trimming. Or Me-Made-March, which celebrates the achievement and excellence of home stitchers’ work by challenging them to wear the fruit of their labours every day for a month.

The online sewing network epitomizes the spirit of collaboration and partnership. It is self-governed, communally organized, without a profit motive. It fosters dialogue, innovation and creativity in regular people, not professional artists. And it has a big impact on people’s lives, empowering them to become makers, to consume less, to feel connected to the world and to become part of a community.

In my paper I want to present a case study of the online sewing network as a microcosm of the user-led world and as a collaborative model of leadership. If arts organisations want to embrace participatory culture, what can they learn from sewing blogs?

“Online sewing circles – a leadership pattern to follow?”

How can you contribute?

Just as I write about a sewing project on my blog, I’m planning to post updates on how my paper is going, the questions, the obstacles, the lightbulb moments and (hopefully!) the progress. More crucially, I’d love to get your input.

  • What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
  • What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
  • Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
  • Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?

If you’d like to offer your thoughts on any of these questions (yay!), you can leave a comment below, drop me an email or, even better, write a post on your own blog. Thank you!

36 comments:

  1. Hi Tilly, Great paper and thought provoking questions! I have answered them for you on my blog, hope you find it useful. Good luck with the paper, I look forward to seeing what you discover.

    Sam xox

    http://hand-quilter.blogspot.com/2011/05/tillys-questions-and-my-answers.html

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  2. YES, absolutely. I was starting to write a really long reply, but if it's cool with you, I'll answer those questions in a blog post... Otherwise you'll have a looooong comment. :)

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  3. Hi Tilly! Thanks for something to really get our brains in gear this early on a weekend! I've put a reply on my blog and invited everyone to comment!

    http://magpiemimi.blogspot.com/2011/05/reply-to-are-sewing-bloggers-cultural.html

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  4. Great post...you're so eloquent!

    * What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
    I participate because I have only one other sewing friend and she sews Anime, not vintage-inspired. I can learn, find inspiration and just make friends.
    * What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
    Definitely Me-Made-Months (So, Zo) and The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle (Mena) have changed my life!
    * Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
    I feel like the leaders are the blogs that everyone reads and turns to for inspiration, like Casey (Elegant Musings). I think most of us don't have the time to be leaders in the blogosphere because it is very time-consuming to have a truly great blog.
    * Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
    I use Burdastyle but not as much anymore because it doesn't seem to promote a lot of interaction the way the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle does. Craftster was also better at that, but they're not so much about the clothing making that I don't post there anymore. Pattern Review and Vintage Pattern Wiki are great community-made tools that I contribute to as much as I can. But I think blogs are the best because it feels like you are actually talking to someone!

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  5. Cool! I've also been thinking about these questions a lot, but from a slightly different angle. I'm doing an MA in Gender Studies right now and I am looking at the online sewing community from a gendered perspective for my thesis. I look forward to following the discussion and reading your paper!

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  6. I'd have to say, that, in general, sewing bloggers are not cultural leaders, or that they often work to reinforce the negative status quo.

    To give just a few examples:

    --People, usually women, who refer to themselves as "girls."

    (What the */!& do you think the feminist movement was about? If you think you deserve equal pay for equal work and other fundamental rights enjoyed by men, then Honey, you are a feminist.)

    --Continued use of outdated, sexist terms, such as "seamstress."

    --Continued nostalgic reference to a past that never existed, and that oppressed women and many racial, religious, and cultural groups.

    --Embrace of the latest trend such as being "Green," in the most superficial manner without any real understanding.

    --Failure ever to consider the larger political, social, and economic aspects of sewing.

    --Reliance on the attitude of "I'm just a little ole sewing blogger, I don't have to think."

    --Inability to consider intelligent, civil, negative criticism.

    --Constant apology for having opinions, i.e., "Sorry for the rant; "Let me get off my soapbox."


    None of the above criticisms is directed at you. I've been reading your blog for a relatively short time and enjoy it.

    Best of luck with your paper.

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  7. Great post Tilly! Definitely food for thought!

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  8. Tilly, this is a powerful post. It is sure to generate thinking and discussion, and perhaps even some cultural shift! I need time to think it through before answering in depth but can quickly say that I enjoy the collaboration of blogs, and the fact that leadership is fluid.

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  9. Well I've answered and made some comments in a rambling fashion that you might be able to extract something meaningful from!!!

    http://hereswhatididtoday.blogspot.com/2011/05/tilly-asks-some-questions.html

    great questions and a very thought provoking topic that has wider implications than just sewing IMO.

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  10. @ Anonymous: I'm interested specifically in those gendered questions (while Tilly is perhaps taking a more cultural approach) and I would love to talk to you in the context of my research for my thesis. Please contact me through my blog!

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  11. I commented on Steph's blog, thanks for opening up this subject. I blog on sewing but other things also and I only follow a few sewing blogs (I keep hearing about ones I haven't seen before but there are only so many hours in the day!) It is an historically social activity and the internet has made it possible to extend this sociability to a global level, to the benefit of all. I get from it a huge inspiration: to put more care into the clothes I make for myself, to make more for myself, and to take more pride in what I do for others. I can share 30 years experience with a wider group of sewists, and learn so much from them. If there are leaders, they are like the witches in Terry Pratchett (Witches didn't go in for having leaders, and Granny Weatherwax was the most respected leader they didn't have). It's the whole wisdom of folk thing I guess.

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  13. Anonymous, I think your criticisms are valid and add an interesting dimension to the discussion. Your words got inside my head, thank you!

    I still agree that sewing bloggers are cultural leaders, in that sewing blogs are part of the larger cultural shift toward social networking, a shift which is changing cultures worldwide.

    As for Feminists, I'm surprised you'd say that. There's plenty of second-wave feminist *ahem* discussion to be found in sewing blogs. Plenty. I'd consider myself more of a first waver.

    I refer to myself as a "sewist" or an "artisan." If someone likes "seamstresss," well, that's her choice. Isn't feminism about choices?

    As for nostalgic references to a past that never existed- well, I know it didn't. I know the "past" we look to as an ideal is the same ideal striven for in the past. I know other eras had their own sets of social ills, and I can recognize the progress which has been made since then. I think many of us choose to look to historical ideals of how to live because so many of aspects of modern culture leave us cold and without a moral compass. Obviously, white male patriarchy was only working for the white males, and led to problems of sexism and racism. But that doesn't mean we have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. What about courtesy, attainable beauty standards, community, and shared domestic knowledge? That's something I get from the sewing blogs.

    Disparaging women who choose more "traditional" roles or activities is something of a "modern feminist" activity. I don't have a problem with a woman chasing a career, why should she have a problem with me sewing and keeping my house for my husband? Your words imply this attitude, though you don't directly condemn us. I repeat that feminism was meant to allow women choices. These are my choices.

    Green-washing is rife everywhere. I don't take issue with that comment, though I will say that many sewing bloggers also offer genuine ways to make a difference through sustainability, self-sufficiency and reduction of consumption.

    In reference to the failure to "consider the larger political, social, and economic aspects of sewing."- Again, that's a symptom of our society and not unique to sewing bloggers. How many people in or out of the blogosphere actually consider these aspects of the world in relation to themselves? Not many, though intelligent, thoughtful sewing bloggers exist. They don't get as much readership as bloggers who delve into pop culture and intermediate techniques. Bell curve and all that.

    Your last three objections are also very common to the larger society and not specific to the online sewing community. That's just the way most people function, and I doubt that will change. That doesn't mean we can't have a community of shared artistic inspiration. Some people prefer to think more than others, and that's ok.

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  14. Hi Tilly, I'd love to answer the questions for you! I'll answer them in a post/email soon :)

    PS) Great questions!

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  15. What a great project and so interesting that you want to include the sewing blog community. I need to think about this a while. Current comments are so interesting. I will follow to see how this evolves, a great conversation.

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  16. Hi Tilly

    Great questions. Certainly got me thinking! I have answered them on my blog. Looking forward to hearing how your paper goes.

    http://debbie-sewdebbie.blogspot.com/

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  17. I answered your questions on my blog, too.

    http://www.sewinguptheneighbourhood.com/2011/05/are-sewing-bloggers-cultural-leaders.html

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  18. dawn s in texas8 May 2011 at 08:25

    @Anonymous
    Steph was very generous towards you. You are what is called a "hater" these days or what I would call a malingering malcontent. You're sweeping over-generalizations and holier-than-thou judgments are ironically hypocritical. Why don't you take a break from reading the sewing blogs for a while since they upset you so.

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  19. Hi Anonymous,
    Interesting comment. Just wondered why you left it as 'anonymous'?
    I think the first thing that needs to be considered is what the purpose of any blog you are reading is for? And for that matter why you are reading it? I think you may find most bloggers (in the sewing genre anyway) write as a way to journal their hobby, share ideas with others, and just generally show off their work. Not every sewer is lucky enough to have a group of sewers physically near them to bounce ideas off.
    In response to your first point, I never realized the feminist movement prevented women from calling themselves girls? And by you then calling those women ‘Honey’, well isn’t that just as bad? I think every person has the freedom to choose the language they use in their blogs, and if they want to call themselves a seamstress then that should be fine with their readers.
    Most of the vintage sewing blogs I read refer to the past, yes, but admiring the styles/fabrics/homewares. As a sewer I look to the past for inspiration because the fashion back then was so very different to what is available both in stores or printed patterns now.
    The following few points you make, regarding political, social, economic understandings I think are misguided. I am surprised that you want sewing bloggers to share their views on these topics, when sewing is a hobby activity that most people choose to do to relax and enjoy themselves. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not someone who doesn’t have these views. I work a fulltime job in community services as a support worker for those living with a mental illness. I work alongside people living with schizophrenia and bi-polar and witness daily all the social, economic, and political stigma the illness comes with. I advocate for (and with) them in areas of government pension and social housing. I work with other organizations to promote understanding. But at the end of a long week I come home, turn on my computer and choose to read sewing blogs that do not discuss any of these topics. It is my hobby and the way I relax. Just like any magazine you buy, you know the genre and you know what to expect.
    I know as a reader I am only interested in reading about sewing. Sewing is my hobby, and activity I do for enjoyment and leisure, and as such I am not at all interested in it being coupled with those topics. Not to mention most of the blogs I read are from America, a country I am not from nor have ever visited, I would not interested at all in reading about American politics and economy.
    Again, as a sewing blogger I am not expected to discuss these sorts of topics. Sorry if that disappoints some of my readers but that’s the scope for my blog.
    Completely agree with the criticism comment. But really it should come as feedback, not negative criticism (what is positive criticism?).
    Hope this is more food for thought. Love the discussion!

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  20. Interesting questions and comments! Steph, I liked your comments a lot.

    Now for Tilly's questions -

    What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
    I'm lucky enough to work in a sewing shop and teach sewing classes, but even so, the sewing blogs provide MORE inspiration, personalities, action, ideas and a place to find kindred-design spirits! I know a few people in real life who are as all-consumed with sewing stuff as me, but I'd like to know more!! You're all online!

    What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
    As far as collaboration, the #1 project for me are Zoe's me-made months. There's something about those months of posting and interacting that feels like a slower-paced month long convention! It feels lonely when it's over! Close second are the sewalongs - 'specially the ones led by the bloggers with larger followers - Peter, Gertie, Tasia, Sunni, Casey and others. For creativity and innovation the only projects that I can think of are the sew weekly challenges and stuff like the 30x30 challenges, although that's not specifically sewing related. Collaboration lends itself to projects, but creativity and innovation seem to pop up independently of projects.

    Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
    Hmmm... The bloggers that I think of as leaders seem to have one of these traits (or a mix!)
    Professional sewing ties - there's a bit of the chicken or the egg with this, but a lot of the leaders are involved with sewing in some sort of professional way (teaching or other), such as Gretchen, Zoe, Sarai, Peter
    Crossover appeal, the main example I'm thinking of is Casey who has more of a lifestyle/style vibe with a lot of her posts than straight up sewing
    Great photography and/or writing - Shall we just mention Peter again with his awesome reveal posts? Or our much missed selfish seamstress's super cutting writing style - both of whom got sewing 'gigs' after their blogs had been underway for a bit... also Sunni, Casey and Debi with excellent photography.
    Niche appeal - Debi and Gretchen's awesome vintage vibe for instance, sewing for a certain body type, etc.
    Technical blogs - Amanda (Amandas Adventures in Sewing), Carolyn (Diary of a sewing fanatic) and Trena (slapdash sewist) all have large followers and great style, but they really focus on techniques in their posts which is why I love them and I'm guessing others feel the same!
    Prolific - lots of posts = lots of followers.
    NOT 'personal' blogs - most of the bloggers with large following keep on point with their posts and don't veer into the dear-diary type of personal blogging or stray too far into other craft areas.
    I think like anything else the 'leaders' in the blogging world are the ones who can train and entertain.

    Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
    Like I said, I work in a sewing shop, so I suppose I'm involved! Minneapolis has a strong, edgy, talented, crafting community and some of them shop where I work so I chat with them, although I haven't jumped into the craft-fair world. Blogging is a bit of a fantasy world - you all see what I want you to see and fine writing, great pictures and interesting projects will get positive feedback. In the real world we have to deal with personalities and other factors (competition?) which can make it a bit less supportive. This is totally reminding me of college french literary theory right now. A little Derrida with our mother's day brunch, anyone?

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  21. It's really interesting to read your responses to Anonymous. Steph did have some good points. Thanks Tilly for sparking this discussion!

    Now, here are my reponses to Tilly's questions.

    1) Discovering the world of sewing blogs (yours was actually the first one I discovered) and starting my own blog has changed the place sewing has in my life. It’s made my private-sphere activity public and my sewing has become more relevant because of it. I participate because seeing what other people make inspires me, and I hope that my creations will in turn inspire others. Also, I see parallels with what visual artists say: being surrounded with other artists and being part of an artistic community is really important to your production. Your peers will give you feedback and new ideas. They are your “food.” Non-artists (people who don’t know the craft) can’t do that. I think it’s the same with sewing. Basically, anything becomes more powerful and meaningful if it’s turned into a social activity because we are social beings. Although I am hoping that the sewing community will lead to face-to-face contacts, it hasn’t yet. So I can’t say that it really has a social meaning for me or has led to new friendships. The online sewing community has recently taken on an additional significance as it is my object of study for my MA thesis.

    2) The Crafty Christmas Club is one. The sew-alongs. To a certain extent Burda Style’s free patterns because anyone can download them and make their own version (e.g.: the coffee-date dress).

    3) I’ve been thinking about that question… Why are some blogs so much more popular than others (i.e.: Not mine!)? Is it because they invest more time on their blogs? Are their authors more inspiring? Do they offer more resources and tutorials? Do they write better? Are they just lucky? Are they more fun to read, more funny? I don’t know.

    I certainly don’t think everyone is a leader. When I think of leaders I think of Casey’s Elegant Musings, I think of Gertie’s blog for better sewing, I think of Tasia’s Sewaholic and I think of Tilly and the Buttons. These are the blogs pretty much every sewing blogger knows. They are basically the pillars of the online sewing community. How did they get into this position? I’m not sure. What I know is that most of them have an attitude of collaboration and free circulation of information in the sense that they will have tutorials, and videos, and they GIVE a lot.

    4) I don’t think the sewing community is unique. I’m not part of any other community at the moment. My housemate is part of an online miniature models community and it seems to be pretty similar. They have websites where they show what they make and inspire each other. They host yearly gatherings or conferences and they often go to trade shows together. (I suppose they are more organised than us in that sense and they seem to have more face-to-face contact.) As a predominantly male community, I would be curious to see if it is as supportive and collaborative as our community. This may be worth investigating…

    I hope this helps!!

    Adrienne
    allstyleandallsubstance.blogspot.com

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  22. Hi Tilly, some thought provoking questions raised in your current post, I'm still mulling them over, so if it's OK with you I'll take them one or two at a time and respond in posts over at my blog http://stitchwitch-chris.blogspot.com/.
    Chris

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  23. Anonymous does raise some very good and valid points. I completely get why he/she felt the need to post anonymously. Already, the accusations of being a hater have started coming up. The blogging culture makes it difficult have and more importantly voice a minority view. This isn't to say that Tilly has done anything towards limiting discussions--in fact, I admire that she's initiated such a wonderful discussion. My comment is an observation of bloggers and blog commenters in general.

    Anonymous raises the point about romanticising the past. I'm a great fan of styles from 1940s-1960s, much like Tilly is. But I do sometimes worry about what I means to love a body aesthetic from a period that left women trapped in their houses. Body type aesthetics were largely driven by men (and still is, of course--but do females get more input these days?) and when we buy into a certain look, are we buying into the sentiments that popularised that look?

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  24. Hi Tilly, I will answer your questions on my blog. Any social and cultural issues regarding sewing blogs (or any blogs) are worth considered and my point of view may be slightly different to some.
    I've read those comments made by Anonymous; they have encouraged debate. Following the 'green' resurgence amuses me at times, especially when I hear certain terminology used time and time again. For me recycling fabrics and wool has always been a necessity, not a fad or current trend. Refashioning is not a term I was familiar with until recently, even though I have been remaking garments for years. Whatever you wish to call it; sewing is a pastime that is necessary and enjoyable.

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  25. I consider anyone who inspires others to be a leader. So I know that sewing bloggers inspire each other and their readers. This is an easy sell!

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  26. The most interesting online sewing collaboration I've followed was the "Go Chanel or go home" Chanel jacket sew along. I've also been very interested in Peter's shirt and jeans sew alongs. The detailed instruction and true collaboration in supporting participants' resolution of difficulties that I see in sew alongs is awesome. I also appreciate the "Failure ever to consider the larger political, social, and economic aspects of sewing" that is an important feature of a good sew along.

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  27. Hi Tilly,
    I've posted my responses to your questions under Inspirational sewing bloggers over at Stitch-Witch Chris
    http://stitchwitch-chris.blogspot.com/2011/05/inspirational-sewing-bloggers.html
    Please get in touch if you wish to discuss socio-cultural aspects of sewing blogs/bloggers further its fascinating territory.
    Chris

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  28. I read Steph's answers, and came here; my answers are on my blog: http://marmota-b.blogspot.com/2011/05/this-is-not-tag-but-consider-yourselves.html

    It's VERY interesting, and I wonder what you'll make out of it. :-)

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  29. I've added my two penny's worth on my blog. Once I started writing I started to think even more about the questions. It's strange how the process of putting thoughts down in writing makes you think more about your initial responses! Good luck with the paper - it sounds fascinating!

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  30. "Anonymous" - you raise some important questions (albeit questions not relevant to this post about collective collaboration and self-led networks), so it's a shame you don't give your name or a link to your online space if you have one so we can have a discussion.

    The relationship between feminism and sewing, ecological concerns, the terminology we use to describe ourselves, and what it means to appreciate fashion from the past are all questions that are regularly discussed and debated amongst sewing bloggers. We could talk about these issues forever but as we've discussed them elsewhere (see, for example, Gertie's blog, Zoe's blog, Wardrobe Refashion etc), and as they aren't directly relevant to the theme of this blog post, I'm not going to go into them in much depth now. But to briefly summarise my personal position on some of the issues you raise:

    - As a feminist, personally I find the term "honey" more offensive than "seamstress". I do appreciate, however, that different words resonate differently with different people according to their experience, background and preferences.

    - I don't believe that an abhorrence towards prejudices from a particular era precludes an appreciation of design aesthetics from that era. In a similar way, I can take issue with some contemporary attitudes and behaviours and don't feel this is a direct contradiction with wearing a new pair of socks.

    - I would be extremely surprised if any of the sewing bloggers I read aren't distinctly aware of the political, economic and social implications of the life choice they have taken by making their own clothes. Whether they talk about these issues explicitly (as many regularly do) or choose to live their values instead of using their blog to (arguably) "preach to the converted" is their choice. What I find constantly inspiring - a positive force for change - is the fact that these people have chosen to make their own clothes, to react against consumerism and corporate culture, to upcycle instead of throw away, to celebrate self-reliance, to form a positive and constructive community of like-minded people who have never met, to empower others to make life changes by leading by example. This is SUCH a big political, social and economic action - and active choice - that it blows me away, and it doesn't always need to be spelled out in words to have an impact.

    - I don't think it's negative criticism that people take issue with, rather it's that when comments are left anonymously, like shouting an insult and running away, there's no opportunity to engage in a proper, constructive discussion.

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  31. That's a really interesting topic and I wish you lots of luck writing it. I'd love to help if poss, I think I'll write a blog post this week answering the questions and points you raised and send you the link. xxx

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  32. I responded here. Interesting research, I look forward to hearing what you draw from it.
    http://tropicalthreads.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/447/

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  33. Hey there Tilly, I responded on my blog here: http://crazyncrafty.blogspot.com/2011/05/are-sewing-bloggers-cultural-leaders.html

    I hope my ramblings are useful for your work and good luck on your paper.

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  34. What a great idea for a paper! Have you discussed sewing blogs specifically in conferences and workshops? I'd be interested to hear more about that. As a beginning, um, seamster, I've been impressed by wide range of knowledge and skill one needs to master in order to be competent -- the characteristics of various fabrics and threads; the interplay of form and color; the transformation of 2 dimensional patterns to 3 dimensional garments that must be flexible enough to allow for a full ranger of motion of the wearer; the operation of various complex machines. Just this morning, I was delighted to find that following the instructions included with a Vogue pattern yielded a Möbius strip that could be cut along a continuous line to produce a long bias strip. According to a book my husband wrote several years ago (The Spike: How Our Lives Are Being Transformed By Rapidly Advancing Technologies by Damien Broderick), we are moving toward a time when all routine jobs will be done by machines. There will no longer be jobs, as we know them. All work done by humans will be creative work, done for the love of it. I've actually argued with my husband that this will probably not be the case, at least not without a long, drawn-out transitional period during which people continue to engage in relatively non-productive busy-work. I hope I'm wrong and he's right. Blogs focused on creative pursuits such as sewing are encouraging.

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  35. Hi Tilly, I found your site as I am working on a sewing project and need to track down some cotton tape by the metre... anyhoo I read about your paper.

    I own a gardening community site called Shoot. Check it out here http://www.shootgardening.co.uk/ We do similar with gardening as we have an active forum, members can share their gardens and plants lists. We also have software to allow members to design or re-create their gardens and a what to do reminder each month for all the plants in your garden.

    By the way you and your members may like Pinterest if you haven't tried it yet. Here is our garden and plant inspired one http://pinterest.com/shootgardening/

    It is really nice to connect with someone doing similar in another hobby area. All the best, Nicola

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