I am so greedy for posts where people share their thoughts on sewing, creativity, and blogging. SunnyGal Studio’s Random Threads are always interesting and Kristy at Lower Your Presser Foot had a great post recently that had me all, “OMG ME TOO!!” And did you see the Me Made May infographic over at Scared Stitchless? Gold! Yet, when it comes to me, I’m like, “Dude, Self, nobody wants to read that shit. Stick to the finished garments!”
But Me Made May and the recent chatter about whether sewing blogging is dying have got me all stirred up. I have to dive (er, insert myself awkwardly) into the conversation!
First, let’s chat about Instagram versus blogging. It’s a thing. I have to admit, even though I’m a short-timer in the world of sewing blogs, it makes me bristle a bit. (I mean, if blogs are dying, how will I ever become internet famous? Who will peel my grapes for me?) The consensus I’ve read from other blog writers reflects my own thoughts: that kind of sucks, but really, I do this for myself. If I never had another reader, I would probably still blog, because it serves as a record and a reflective space for me.
Also, I think there’s a certain population that is just really comfortable writing and reading, and I suspect that people in that community will continue to find each other, even as some people fade out and new voices show up. And to be real, I don’t think anyone is making a killing in sponsorships. Less than a handful that I suspect, at least. That leaves a bunch of intrinsically motivated people — in other words, people who probably aren’t going anywhere, but will probably be around on both a blog and on Instagram.
The real change seems to be a drop in engagement, in blog comments specifically. I totally get that. I mean, I’m stoked off one or two comments and consider that a rousing success. Is it that we all prefer to click a heart or a like button to show our appreciation? If so, I don’t think that’s a problem. My guess is that folks read blogs and scroll their Insta feeds and check out Snapchat, which means that our time for non-IRL stuff is being split in ways it wasn’t before.
I know I have good intentions about commenting on posts I read, but never get around to it. Seriously, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a post, marked it “unread” so that I would remember to go back and comment because I loved their garment or wanted to contribute to an interesting conversation and then NEVER EVER WENT BACK because dinner/laundry/actual sewing/etc.
If blogs posts all had simple “like” features like Instagram, I’m guessing they’d be getting a lot of love that way.
TL; DR: Sewing blogging is dead. Long live sewing blogging.
Now, about Me Made May: what a rollercoaster! I’d never participated in the social media aspect before. I did not expect it to be so draining to take a damn selfie and post it every day. About halfway through, I was so over it (as, I’m sure, were nearly all my non-sewing friends). Still, there’s something about posting pics that made me value my garments and see them with fresh eyes. (And some garments I realized that need to move on and out of my closet! #byefelicia)
And checking out the #MMMay16 tag! Dude! So many people out there sewing! I pretty much wasn’t able to stay on top of that hashtag, and it was another area of my life where I started to feel like it was adding stress and eating time in a way I wasn’t totally comfortable with. It was definitely my least productive month in terms of actual sewing in over a year — by far! But how can you not get out there and see what folks are making and support them? I definitely think I’m not cut out to be a super-active Instagrammer, and I’m a bit relieved to find that out.
That said, I really did love seeing how diverse the community is, and found some great new peeps to follow. I also found out that indie patterns rule on Instagram. If you didn’t know otherwise, you would think that Butterick and McCall’s were some obscure, hard-to-find brands based on their representation. That definitely makes me an outlier, since I use Big 4 patterns almost exclusively. I’m waiting for one of the Big 4 to become cool in a Pabst Blue Ribbon kind of way, and then I will get to out-hipster everyone and be like, “I was sewing Simplicity before they were cool.”
And to wind down, what did I actually learn about my handmade wardrobe by only wearing me-mades for a month? I learned how much I appreciate some of my RTW garments, to be honest! By the second week, I was wishing for my super-comfy stretch jeans and my flannel and my favorite blazer! Basically, I learned the opposite of what I expected: that there isn’t some great virtue in handmade, and that my best bet for having a satisfying wardrobe is by not placing weird, arbitrary rules around things.
It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of sewing: “I’m a craftsman and a creative!” “Everything I made is a custom one-of-a-kind masterpiece!” “I’m not a mindless consumer! I’m practically saving the world!” Okay; all exaggerations. No one actually thinks these things. But there is an ethos that can seep into the whole sewing experience that can make things… unbalanced. Me Made May encouraged me to take things to an extreme in one direction, and it was super useful in seeing whether my life was better, more stylish, more creative, more ANYTHING by going 100% handmade. From my perspective, that answer was a hard no, and now I can relax a little knowing that.
So, having destroyed the goodwill of my limited readership by blathering, I’ll sign off. If you have any thoughts you’d like to add, please share in the comments — I always read and respond. On the other hand, if your dinner needs to get in the oven or you need an extra 90 seconds just to breathe, by all means go for it. I promise I’ll still be around whether you comment or not.