As an aspiring sewist (I guess “seamstress” seems too old-fashioned, though I like it, and “sewer” clearly doesn’t work), I also read garment sewing blogs. Which are tremendously helpful fonts of advice and inspiration for sewing, but for thinking, offer an interesting counterpoint to discussions about pseudonymity and academic blogging.

Like academic blogs, there are many many women blogging about sewing (just one man I read regularly). Most of them have a bit of a persona, but also use a real first name, rarely last names. They post full-on pictures of themselves all the time, and sometimes their children—you have to, you can’t blog about garment sewing without posting pictures to show off, or ask for fitting advice as a garment is in progress. Garments might be shown on a dressform, but that is less common. (I might actually use my sewing blog if I had a good picture-posting workflow).

They are usually open about what city they are in, and sometimes people have meetups. (On the other hand, they are not findable as professors are—-that is, knowing a first name and city does not generally enable me to show up outside their office, as would be the case with most professors. A few people do specify their jobs.)

The content, unlike pseudonymous academic blogs, is pretty exclusively focused. The expectation is that blogs are dedicated to sewing—people will sometimes apologize for the occasional post that is not about sewing or clothes. A few of them have other blogs, but not very many.

Some other participant-observation notes:

  • The blog community seems to be an extension of the Pattern Review community, which does forums, classes, and contests as well as reviewing and selling patterns. A “pattern review” discusses making a garment in detail, and people often post their pattern reviews both on the PR site and as a blog post.
  • Garment sewing blogs also overlap and intermingle with the vintage clothing blogs, and general fashion/style blogs. They don’t overlap with the mommy bloggers that much, that I can tell.
  • The community is very international. Many more bloggers and commenters from England, Australia and New Zealand, but also continental Europe and Asia and a few people using Google Translate to automatically blog in two languages.
  • There’s also a significant number of black American women (a contrast with the mommy blogs, I believe).
  • Most of them are on Blogger—very few on WordPress—and they make heavy use of the Follower option in Blogger, tending to do giveaways when follower count hits 100, 200, etc, and keeping the widget in the sidebar.
  • Community interaction is pretty strong. Sometimes people just do random giveaways. Expert sewists often lead sew-alongs, where everyone buys the same pattern and works on the same project while the leader does instructional posts over a few weeks or months. Tutorials are common.
  • There are a lot of regular commenters with Blogger profiles who Follow blogs but do not have a blog themselves.
  • Comments are almost invariably positive compliments (this is difficult for me, as I tend to comment to debate rather than to agree).
  • I much more frequently run into blogs that disallow anonymous comments and have the name/url option turned off (which generally means I don’t comment much, especially since I don’t have a proper google account for my sewing identity, and thus don’t Follow any blogs).

PS. Sewing is going quite well. Just over a year after starting, I successfully made myself a flattering and attractive semi-formal silk dress for a gala weekend before last. I am very proud.

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