A sharing community

After blogging for 11 years, there are people I’ve kept in contact with and over the years though sharing our sewing experiences and this has given me a sharing group of friends I truly treasure.

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#sewover50 @sewover50

The #sewover50 @sewover50 team asked me to write this post to encourage you to blog if you’re not sure about blogging about your sewing life. If you haven’t seen the #sewover50 @sewover50 team, have a look at their hashtag on instagram. There are now over 24,000 posts for this international team of 3 ladies who started this hashtag and the group now has over 12,000 followers.

About blogging

Going back to the reason for this post about blogging.

Blogging for me is about documenting my sewing experience so I can go back to the post and make sure I do a better job on the next version of the same project. Readers have the benefit of looking at my blog posts and possibly gaining my insights to make their future project better that I’ve created. My most embarrassing posts were the first ones. ‘You gotta start somewhere.’

All the opinions for each of my blog posts are my own and I’ll always show you what I did to make the project work for me. A pattern or project idea are a starting point.

Sponsored posts

Yes I am sponsored by Minerva Crafts every month. Prym consumer have generously provide me with their sewing tools to use and test. From time to time other online fabric companies and indie designers will contact me to collaborate with them. I’ll do this when their projects fit in with what I’ll realistically use and when I have the time to fit them in. I love pretty things but I have to be able to wear them more than once.

Pattern testing

I’ve pattern tested for Fehr Trade, Pauline Alice patterns and sometimes for Tuesday Stitches and I check the English translations for Sacotin patterns. Overtime, Melissa, Pauline, Vero and Erin have become friends that I enjoy supporting.

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I approach every pattern as a new experience and read all the instructions as a sew. When I pattern test I don’t assume any prior knowledge because I’m being asked to pattern test as a newbie. To be honest, through testing patterns I can give my feedback so that the pattern is the best it can be for others who actually pay for the pattern. You don’t want to pay for a pattern that is poorly drafted or poorly written, so I use this opportunity to be constructive.

On Pattern Review I’ve reviewed over 480 patterns and have been a contest manager four times. I try to use the review template so that if you’re looking for a specific piece of information, you can quickly scan the review and find what you’re looking for. Sometimes I’ve added different subheadings because the pattern had something more that I want to tell readers about. Other times, I’ve removed the template subheadings because I’ve already covered that point.

This year I’ve started to co-host That Sewing Blab, and it’s been a good learning curve for me. I’ve never seen myself being a live interviewer but sewing is my hobby/focus so I’ve enjoyed working with Dawn on the show.

Why blog

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Blogging can be a bit overwhelming when you first start out. I was sewing with local sewing friends when I started blogging so I had people to soundboard with as I developed my blog. There are a bunch of questions you might struggle with when you start blogging:

Do I have anything to contribute?
Is my post worth reading?
Does this post read well?
Are my photos helpful?
Is this blog post just a piece of fluff and not worth reading?
Have I missed anything out?

If technology isn’t your friend and you want to start blogging, ask people you follow about starting a blog. I’ve gone from a decent blog on Blogger and then had to move my blog to WordPress because of the Google glitch I just couldn’t figure out.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out how to make the most of WordPress without dipping into my pocket.

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There’s the issue of disclosing any affiliate links you include on any recommendations you suggest to people who follow you. The Fair Trade Commission have lots of good information that you need to be aware of and practice. These rules apply across any social media platform including Instagram, Pinterest, facebook, twitter…etc.

There are also rules about protecting people’s privacy.

Within Australia there are a few issues that are on the horizon, so keep an eye on how the ATO will start to treat ‘income’ earned through social media.

Influencers, sportspeople and celebrities to be slugged by ‘Instagram tax’

Taxation of income for an individual’s fame or image paper:

Remember that sharing on anything on a social media platform is a record so be mindful of what you’re saying/writing.

Blogging was huge up until twitter/Instagram started to grow a few years and I know the sewing community has become a bigger group with all aspects of sewing covered through these platforms.

What I love about blogging

Now for the fun stuff about the benefits of blogging, if you still want to create a blog.

Through blogging, I know that I have patterns that I can go back to again and again and they get adjusted as I put on weight or take off the weight. My blog is my library of sewing notes that you have access to.
Through blogging, I have friends globally and I can meet up with them when I’m away from home. When I’m home, I can still talk to a good handful of people globally and have a laugh.

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Through blogging, I send out reference material to people from time to time to people who ask about ‘xyz’ adjustment for their sewing projects. I’m happy to share the resources I’ve bought and continue to use.

My general rule of thumb about blogging technology is, if I’m stuck with a technology issue, there will be someone out there who has already resolved the issue I’m struggling with. You are not alone when it comes to technology issues. There are also online communities that have already documented the technology challenges you’re dealing with.

Being over 50

Since sewover50 started, I never thought much about being this age and the challenges many people face and are facing. As I’ve already mentioned, I watch my weight fluctuate and sewing allows me to ensure I have clothes that fit, no matter what weight I’m at. The sewover50 team have written a lot about the lack of visibility ‘after 50’ but being a short person, I’ve always been ‘invisible’ so I’m used to making myself seen and heard, when I want to.

The hot flashes are a daily challenge but I make it a fun 60 seconds of sweating. Yes I do make it fun because I never know when it will happen or how long it will last.

For instance, I have a pink cd cover on my desk that I used as a fan when my body temp skyrockets. When I’m on a plane, I fan myself with the airline magazine. If I’m at a restaurant, I fan myself with the menu.

While I’m going through this crazy period of life, I really love running in the cold even though I use a puffer to breath properly when the air is less than 8C. When I’m running in hot, humid conditions, I look like I’m workout harder than anyone else.

The other symptom I’m enjoying is waking up during the night. This becomes my time to plan new projects, cut out fabrics, hand sew or simply chat to you all who are awake when I really should be asleep.

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Want to try it?

If you simply want to document your sewing projects and allow others to share what you’ve learnt, have a look at blogging as a starting point. Some people love Vlogging more once they try it.

I recommend you try blogging or vlogging and see if you enjoy it.

Once it becomes a chore, rethink what makes you happiest and follow that.

Technical blogger problem

My domain was renewed but the steps to attach it to blogger don’t match with the advice from GSuite.
If anyone knows how to reestablish my domain name to my blogger account, please let me know. Blogger settings seem to not work.
I hope I can fix this problem soon. It’s not simple or I’m missing the obvious☹️

12 hours later: still not getting anywhere even though I paid for my domain names 2 days ago…
Commenting has also disappeared.

another 24 hours later: G suite account and blogger account aren’t linked but domain is paid for. Commenting is back.
I’ve been getting more help through GSuite twitter than anywhere else.

Ya gotta laugh by this time.

Another 12 hours later: Domain name is paid for. Comments have disappeared again. Now to wait until I can link the name to the blog again.

Now that everything has been resolved, GoDaddy sorted the issues out 5 days after this whole saga began.
Fini.

Pattern drafting basics

For 6 weeks on Thursday nights after work I attended a pattern-making workshop and loved it. Yep. Local community colleges are gems for learning from industry experts.
Can you tell that I’ve finished my work studies yet? Got the certificates in their frames.

Below is a simple cowl neckline top drafted using a basic block bodice. I drafted every aspect of this top. Bodice, cap sleeves and peplum.

Dear niece #1 took these photos for me (big hug). The fabric was bought in Vanuatu a few years ago and it’s pure cotton so it’s a bit stiff. Inside the cowl neckline I’ve sewn in a big button so the cowl neck fold nicely to form a V. Littlest niece #2 was gobsmacked when I told her about the button inside the top. She refers to as the creative Aunty. And she gave me her Christmas make wish – make her a toy puppy. Who could say No to her? Not me.

The shorts are RTW but I now have a trouser block and the knowledge to draft shorts. Any shorts. Summer is here too so I’ll plunge into the stash and find an appropriate piece of fabric soon enough to test out a me-made shorts pattern (she says breathing deeply).

This is my second test top placing the front piece on bias. This time I sewed the cowl to the centre front seam.

The cowl forms a soft v-neckline and it’s cool to wear. Kirsty, I’m wearing RTW jeans too:)
Scary side view above. This pattern works well with an invisible zip down the centre back seam, so I have the self-drafted cowl top with the shaping I wanted. I wore it at our Melbourne meet up and didn’t catch any food crumbs.

I love commercial pattern as much as Peter of MPB. Confession: I caved and bought Grainline’s Maritime shorts pattern at Jen’s recent sale 🙂

What I am finding is more confidence to use any pattern knowing I can redraft pattern parts if I need to make it fit better. That’s what it’s all about for me. If I can make a pattern fit me, I can do the same for my family.

A much better trouser drafting write up
Cation Designs recently did a much more extensive trouser pattern drafting and a trouser fitting workshop at Canada’s College Fashion department. Go and read about her full-on learning experience. Her posts are extensive and worth reading if you’re in the midst of your own trouser making journey.

Thank you
… for continuing reading my blog posts.
I know there’s a problem with blogger comments on mobile phone. I’ve tested a few blogger blog comments and experienced the same problem.
The solution on blogger hasn’t worked and I’ve failed twice to install disqus. I’m planning to move across to wordpress – when I have done plenty more research and get enough courage and patience to press the ‘go’ button. Fingers crossed!
 I would have said ‘wish me luck but … oh blogger 😦