Sunday, December 29, 2013

I have been thinking

Carolyn, the wonderful Carolyn, at Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, wrote something a few posts back I have been mulling over.

It was one of those posts that expressed exactly how I feel. 

In it Carolyn described, no defined, herself as a sewing blogger as opposed to a fashion blogger. What she clearly meant was that she was here to sew and to share what she sews with other sewists who get that. Period. This means her time and emphasis is on the sewing, not the styling, not the photography.

This is of course one of the reasons her blog is one of my favourites. Authentic bloggers like Carolyn stand out as more and more of my good old sewing bloggers are writing what sounds like ad copy and clearly now spending as much time with photography and presentation as sewing.

Listen good for them. 

They have interests and skills in areas I do not. Their blogs are beautiful and professional, but you know are no longer the ones I visit regularly. If the blog looks like a magazine, well that is fine, but I no longer can see the sewer, or the real woman in it with the kind of connection that feeds me as a sewer, and as a person. 

What is missing in the picture perfect blogs is the spirit.

You know what I mean.

I treasure most the spirit I see in shots of that latest outfit taken in offices early before the rest of the staff are in. 

I am proud of the finished product shots taken by some husband of his wife standing in the driveway, both pleased that she did this herself. 

I love the shots taken in bedroom and bathroom mirrors after the kids have finally gone to bed. 

I am touched by the pictures taken of, and by, women who have had to get back on in the saddle after one of life's many curve balls and had the, what do you call it, the gumption to make something new to wear when really they were feeling worry, heartbreak, or disappointment.

All the evidence of just showing up to life, of trying, of putting out the effort and of just displaying hope and optimism and spirit, just spirit, in all those family-snapped, taken in the mirror shots, is what really matters to me.

These are the sewers who inspire me.

And you can't style that.

45 comments:

Jodie said...

We'll said and very true! Love your New Year's Eve outfit and the idea about sewing the facing to check neckline fit. How did the Barbie house go over?

wendy said...

I love the sewing bloggers as well. In addition, I've learned SO much garment sewing from the sewing bloggers, who post pictures of the messy insides of their garments and share tips. Those are the blogs that I really love reading. :)

badmomgoodmom said...

Photography is on my list of things I would like to learn when I have more time. Right now, other priorities are higher on the list.

I did marry a spectroscopist and learn how to operate a variety of lasers though.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Thank you so much for writing that and understanding what I was trying to say. I just think we are losing sight of the sewing for the glossy pictures...and that's not why I blog.

I understand natural light and nice backgrounds but the highly stylized pictures that look more like models showing clothing rather than sewists promoting our artform is not the direction I'm headed in. Great if the sewist wants that but definitely not for me.

Thanks so much for your kind comments!

Bunny said...

You have spoken my sentiments as well. I like to watch and read about sewists, not sewists who want to be something else. Like you, I enjoy the process, the pride, and the journey. Wonderfully spoken, Barb.

Graca said...

Amen! Ummm, I mean me too. Well said.

MrsSmith said...

Oh Barbara I completely agree with this sentiment and appreciate you saying it. I was thinking it but don't always write so eloquently ;-)

Unknown said...

Well said. Well written. I say, "Ditto!"

SEWN said...

Wow, what a great and touching post. Thank you for writing it. I so appreciate it.

Lyndle said...

Thank you for this great post. I completely agree - these are the blogs I relate to, too. I don't think I've come across too many f the 'magazine' style ones but I probably filter them without thinking. You put it really well!

Lynn said...

I loveCarolyn for the same reasons. She is fun and truly loves her some sewing! I read your blog for the same reasons. You describe your sewing choices and how they suit you! You talk about your sewing and your choices in the context of your life. Pretty blogs are fun, seeing the variations among finished versions of popular patterns can be interesting, but I truly enjoy the blogs of sewers who are themselves and share their unique reasons for sewing.

Angela said...

You said it so well..... thank you. I feel the same way, I love her blog and for the same reasons. I will never be a fashionista - I just want to learn to sew better and see what others are doing.

Carole said...

What an excellent, thoughtful post! You have described exactly what many of us think, but lack the clarity to put into words. Bravo.

sewingkm said...

Amen sista! I totally agree with your well chosen words in this post.

Karen

Towanda said...

Well stated, this is a great post

gMarie said...

this is a wonderful post, touching and heartfelt. I sew to make clothes. I blog to share them. g

asisewit said...

I enjoy both, but blogs like Carolyn's are my meat and potatoes. One reason I read sewing blogs is to see what works, what doesn't and to learn more about sewing techniques.

Judith said...

Ditto from Down Under ... J

Anonymous said...

I took many of "fashion sewing" blogs from my blogroll, because I can't stand looking at aren't-i-cute-and-don't-you-want-to-see-me-in-twenty-differnt-poses posts. I stopped following Mood bloggers because of that. Maybe they have to put tons of pictures bc of their contract, but I don't have to read it. I'm not interested in seeing twirling on overpasses or street corners or whatever. I want to know about the ins and outs of sewing something. Good for Carolyn. I agree with both of you!

Anonymous said...

Well said !

Janice

Jacq C said...

Beautifully put and I agree entirely. :)
PS - am also keen to know how the Barbie house was received, I'm sure the girls were thrilled.

Kelley said...

Well said. I like to read a huge variety of blogs, but the bloggers I keep returning to are those with whom I feel a connection. Humility and a sense of authenticity allows me to do that. The ability to laugh at oneself also has huge appeal. That would be why both yours and Carolyn's blogs are in my 'Must Read' list. I love what you do, and your ability to focus on what matters.

T said...

I do understand what is being said here, and I too love to read about sewing successes and disasters. I write a sewing blog that I guess could tip into the class of "magaziney" so would like to add an alternative view to the mix.

I did study photography many moons ago at college, and as a graphic designer, I love colour and texture and form. These aspects drive me towards the kind of shots I feature on my blog. I wear my finished garments as I would wear them in real life and I guess that for many people it is a little extreme! ;-) But by taking time to find backdrops I like and having finished photos I am happy with, I have learned to accept how I look. In fact, it is only since I began posting photos of myself in my makes, rather than on my dress form, that I have gained huge confidence as a plus size sewer. Surely that can only be a good thing?

My husband has really encouraged me with developing my confidence, and he is the stalwart with the camera, running around our local village finding new spots he'd like to try for a finished shoot, making me feel that I too can look confident, lovely and inspiring in the clothes I make. He also loves picking spots to show off the new shirts I make him.

I have been sewing for almost thirty years, and I love the process. I sew to create clothes that match my personality and that fit, something that can be almost impossible in the plus size RTW choices. I love the online sewing community .... it is as diverse as any other on the Internet and it has taught me loads. I am sure there is a place for all styles of blog out there and I personally don't feel that just because something looks nice it necessarily lacks the 'spirit' you refer to. I like to think it can have both.

SewRuthie said...

yes absolutely!!!!

Janine said...

I totally understand what you are saying here - I still prefer the down to earth sewing blogs , not the commercialized , magazine looking ones but that is just me . But even as blogs are changing to this style I am happy to find new ones that I can relate to better.

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

Great post!

Summer Flies said...

Hear, hear! I love your thoughtful posts and how you can really get to the heart of a matter.

Janet said...

I think being able to relate to a blogger and feeling they are authentic makes reading about their sewing journey more enjoyable. One of the many reasons I took up sewing again was that I couldn't find beautiful clothes that fit a regular 50 year old body. The home sewing community has had a positive and profound effect on the feelings I have about dressing my body. Thanks.

Carmen Bouchard said...

There is a point in your blogging life where you have to make a choice. My choice was to have a sewing blog, where most of my picture are quickly taken in the driveway by an un-cooperating spouse because I have other things to do than invent a life that I don't have. I know just about enough about photography to wait for some good light.
I'm glad some people are talking about this because my blog roll does sometimes look like a magazine, but I say to each his own. If you have the time and the knowledge to also take good pictures, good for you.
If there is passion for all things sewing, I'll be there.

Kathie said...

Well put, Barbara! thank you. I, too, like the personal aspect of many of my favorite bloggers. I've recently realized I like to feel that I am getting to know there person and their personality. I look forward to seeing what they've made most recently as well as knowing something about who they are and what's going on in their lives. When I talk to folks about them, I frequently start by saying something like... "my friend Barbara in Nova Scotia recently made..." some of them get a great big kick out of that... one in particular grins and says "you talk as if you know these people" and, of course, I do!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Barb your thinking brought a lot of responses. I agree with all you said. I find the beautiful presentations intimidate this old woman. I sew ,I knit I cook, and lots of other things connected with keeping my creativity alive. Sometimes I nail it and I strut about for days feeling good. Other times I toss it and chalk it up to a bad day. The real life blogs make me know I'm not alone.So glad to have yours and others like yours as part of my life.
Donna

Cindy Ann said...

Great post. I wholly agree.

a little sewing said...

I loved reading this post and the comments, too.
You are so funny and so consistent with your thoughtfully written posts here. Having just a little exposure to the art of editing, I would love to work with you. Maybe when I finally start my own magazine, you know Rogue Patterns Magazine, you can be a contributor. It will be swell - kinda like the doll house you made :)

Tracy King said...

Just wanted to chime in and say thanks for this post. I have been struggling with this very issue for a while now and my blogging has totally stalled because of it At first I blogged just to blog. To share and show my creations but somehow that seems to have been replaced with wanting things to look perfect and now I feel that I can't blog because I am not perfect. Maybe I should just go back to being me and not worry about it at all. Thank you for making me think! :)

Louisa said...

Fascinating responses to a well-expressed post, Barbara! I think I know what you mean when a blog is just TOO slick and their true personality is hiding somewhere below the seemingly perfect surface. When self-promotion is the goal rather than sharing successes, failures, techniques and life-in-general with their readers it just feels like another marketing ploy to me. Luckily we have the option to read what we want, huh?

However I find myself totally envious of good photos! Just about ANY crafty blog is better than I am with the photos. Oy. I'm not particularly photogenic and neither I nor my DH are any good at capturing me wearing my garments in a reasonably attractive way. Truthfully, photography is another whole skill set and I just can't be bothered to spend the time to do it properly. I'd rather be sewing or knitting or just about anything else instead!

Debbie Cook said...

I enjoyed this post and all the comments it garnered. I'm pretty sure I don't fall into the magazine category ... hahaha ... but the truth is, if I *could* do those kind of photos without spending every waking moment doing so, I would love to have them on my blog. The other truth is, I just can't make myself spend the time to compose photos and work on the bones of my blog like that. I spend too much time on the computer as it is. The last truth is ... I often wish I had this online medium when I was in my 20s and close-ups didn't show all my wrinkles, rolls, and grays. Hahaha.

That being said, I enjoy pretty much ANY sewing blog that has some sort of narrative. Some *are* just like magazines to me. Which is fine, especially since I subscribe to exactly zero magazines anymore and I get to read these pretty blogs for free (and don't have to fret about what to do with the old issues).

Some blogs have pretty and just a bit of substance. Some are evenly pretty and substance. And some have more substance than pretty. But they all have a place on my reading list.

Shirley Ann said...

Thank you for stating this! Something I have been struggling with. My talent is not photography but sewing. I'm just happy with my iPad ap where I can write my name on my pics!

LinB said...

Agreed. Authenticity is the most attractive thing in the world.

twotoast said...

Great post - and fantastic responses! I do feel somewhat intimidated by the presentation of some blogs and wonder whether the writers are more concerned about sponsorship etc., than readers. Having said that, I do try to get good, clear photos (not always possible of course) - as I am sure that we all do. After all I, for one, kind of like showing off what I have learned!

Vanessa said...

I love this post for so many reasons, but mostly because of its truth. Amen, and amen.

prttynpnk said...

oh bless you and Carolyn! I'll never be Twiggy and I knows it! My pics are foolish and occasionally unflattering, but it's me, I can't get fancier and still feel like the person I am. More sewing, less hair flipping is an excellent idea!

ladykatza said...

Katie pointed me to this post. I'd already read Carolyn's and its made me pause a bit. Photography is one of my hobby interests so I like to get nice photos but for the most part those photos are taken in my back yard in late afternoon for best light. That is, when I get around to it. Otherwise its selfies in the mirror or with my webcam. WOO, ain't that glamorous. But I've been NOT writing blog stuff because I've been feeling intimidated. So these were timely posts. Thank you.

sewbusylizzy.com said...

I'm not sure where I fall in the sewing blog world. I sew like a woman possessed and think/read/dream about sewing all the time.
I do make am effort to take nice shots. I live in a beautiful place and many love to see the beautiful backdrops - I suspect my eternal sunshine is blissful to those trapped in drifts of snow. I also frequently make clothes to wear on holidays and photograph them in situ. My lifestyle inspires me to sew and that's what I create & blog about.
Like anyone's life, I have my share of struggles. Do I blog about them? No. Often those stories are shared stories and not mine to tell. I also cannot blog about my work. It's forbidden. My blog is about my joy of sewing, it's my happy place.
I often think I should blog about my techniques, my details, however I once read blogger posts about this & it put me off doing so.
If I'm less of a sewer because I'm thin, live by the beach, and make clothes that I love so be it...
It's not less, it's different.

poppykettle said...

Interesting and thought-provoking. But to be fair - I'm with Debbie Cook. And I think we all need to remember that the world would be such a boring place if we all liked the same things!
That said, my blog roll only has room for people who talk and blog about sewing (and the occasional foodie blog, too), because I can see nice pictures of clothing anywhere I go. I don't think that nice pictures necessarily mean it's all about the look and not the sewing, though.
One is not less than the other for me - just different. And like food - I like to try different things :)

emadethis said...

What beautiful words. Thank you. Running after 3 boys, it's usually a miracle if I have 5 minutes to take a photograph, and really, I've been a picture taker. It makes me sad that we live in such a visually overloaded world where good quality things are overlooked if they're not professional quality. I want to read about people's processes, and I tire of perfect garments made that cannot be worn in practical life. I am grateful for the online sewing community which I've always found to be warm and encouraging and interested in the craft. Thanks for being a part of that!