Response to Tilly and the Buttons’ research questions

18 May
Tilly and the Buttons is doing what promises to be some very interesting research into the online sewing community. She requested people answer the following questions. Here are my answers.
  • What does the online sewing community mean to you? Why do you participate?
I feel totally Normal when I am reading sewing blogs of people who can’t resist a new pattern, or have a huge fabric stash, whose idea of a great weekend is being able to sew most of it away. Ok, so I have friends like this irl, but not many! Most people find it a bit of an odd (if endearing!) obsession.
My sewing technical skills have increased markedly from the freely shared information, tutes, techniques. My creativity was never lacking, but my willingness to give new ideas a go has increased when I see others giving it a go too. The increased skills mean I can bring my ideas into physical fruition just that bit better. (YAY!)
Above all, though, I love how supportive of each other people are. So much skill and experience freely and good-naturedly shared. It is so inspiring, it really is. I also love how so many of these sewing people sew for the people around them. Children, partners, wider family and friends. It shows how their sewing brings so much to the people they love, too.
Why do I participate? Well, I had been getting so much out of simply reading blogs, pattern reviews, tutes etc, that I wanted to give something back in exactly the same spirit of good-natured, positive, free sharing of skills. Just what and how, I don’t know, but I am working on it – on what I personally can contribute to the sewing community.
  • What are your favourite examples of projects initiated by sewing bloggers that capture this spirit of collaboration, creativity and innovation?
The sew-alongs are wonderful. I tried to participate in one, but couldn’t manage it sadly. But they sit there for anyone to follow at any time, full of information and collaboration and examples of where it took other sewists.
I love the tutorials! I just love them! I learn so much. I love how there are so many versions of what can often be the same underlying concept, but they show the different approaches of different people, their creativity, and as you say, innovation. It also shows how different people can come up with many different but all perfectly effective solutions to the same problem.
I also love the “Me made [month]”, again it reveals how different people all approach a similar theme in their own individual style. These examples help me feel more confident about my OWN approaches and solutions etc.
  • Who are the “leaders” in the sewing blogosphere? Is everyone / can anyone be a leader?
Not sure who the “leaders” are per se (ie can’t think of names much) but seems to me there are leaders of different areas – technical expertise, children’s sewing, vintage or retro sewing, sewing as a wardrobe/lifestyle/fashion statement, accessory sewing.
I have no idea if anyone can be a leader, or if, underneath the surface this part of it is really cliquey. However the “leaders” that are there are leaders because they are offering themselves, their skill, and their encouragement, rather than taking. I would think anyone who had the time (most of all as it is very time-heavy, as they are not just writing blogs but doing the sewing used as material for the blog. (no pun intended :-P)) and confidence and vision – and leadership skills as well as sewing skills, could become a leader, perhaps in their own little niche.
  • Are you involved in any other network of makers, whether online or offline? What makes sewing blogs unique?
I am involved with other networks of makers and other non-maker networks online. To me sewing blogs are unique in the positiveness towards each other that is displayed. It really isn’t a very negative place. Sure you get the odd negative comment, but it doesn’t usually devolve into dirt-flinging, it usually ends up creating a forum for people to swamp them with positivity and some very informative and thought-provoking responses. (or maybe I just steer clear of online drama, but I do think it is an unusually positive community atmosphere)
I think it certainly helps that we are all focused on sewing and the creativity of it, more than the individual people in the community. There is an air of “The reason we are all here is a love of sewing.” The focus is that, more than on people’s personalities, per se.
Honestly though, I think the community is this way because the people within it are this way. I have been in other communities with that encouragement and free-sharing of skill and expertise too, and it comes down to the leaders of the community setting the tone to be a positive one. But leaders aren’t leaders if people don’t follow. People in a positive community choose to follow positive leaders, not negative ones. It is all of our community. Each of us contribute to it, and it is what we have made it. And that is awesome!

2 Responses to “Response to Tilly and the Buttons’ research questions”

  1. Tilly May 24, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    Wow, thank you so much for writing such a thoughtful response. You’re right about how positive and good-natured the network is – it really blows me away sometimes. I like what you say about tutorials showing that there are lots of different approaches to tackling the same thing – the sense that there isn’t one “right” way of doing things is so encouraging when it comes to creating. We need to keep reiterating this to encourage people who are scared of trying to make things that it’s okay, they’re free to play and experiment, that they’re not going to get it “wrong”.


    • Tropical Threads May 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Tilly, thanks for checking it out 🙂 I found your project a really interesting one, and hope I have contributed something helpful to it! I very much enjoy reading your blog, and so many others who share their skills and enthusiasm so freely and positively. It is pretty awesome, isn’t it?



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