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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Sewing and Craft Blog Cliques: Where Do You Find Inspiration?

I spend a lot of time on sewing and craft blogs. 
I sew and create lots of things. I sew for myself, I sew for my toddler , my older girls, and our home. The last few days I haven't felt like making much. I spent a lot of energy getting all my paperwork and photos together for the Project Runway auditions and I also sent some 8x10's in to Altered Couture Magazine. Project Runway is a huge long shot but you'll never get anywhere if you don't try, right? I have to thank my hairdresser Kacey for giving me the casting information. Thanks, Kacey! 
So back to blogging...
The world of sewing blogs seems a bit like high school to me.

 Each sewing blog genre seems to have its own little clique!

Lately I am becoming really interested in Japanese fabric and design. Superbuzzy is a great American site that has a plethora of Japanese fabric and design books.  I am trying to discover some new French sewing blogs as I adore French design too. If any of you know of any cool French or Japanese blogs please let me know!

Since I started blogging almost two years ago, I have gone through lots of sewing "phases". The more I blog the more I realize I must have serious ADD because I am all over the map! Sometimes I wish I could stick to one thing, like making children's patterns, get really honed in on it and start a business.  Here are a few of the "crowds" I hang with or have hung out in since I started blogging. 

The Vintage Sewing Crowd
These are the kids who like Gertie and Peter from Male Pattern Boldness, love sewing with vintage patterns, love their cats, and seem to have a large amount of tattoos.  Ok, they dont all have tattoos, but you get my drift! There are some really first rate tutorials on Gertie's blog. I have spent  a lot of times posting on collective blogs like We Sew Retro. One of my favorite of these vintage blogs is Caseys Elegant Musings. I  also like to sew vintage patterns for my kids but I haven't really found any blogs focused on that. If you know of any, please let me know! Some really talented and nice vintage bloggers are Marie at A Sewing Odyssey, and Debi at My Happy Sewing place. I used to love visiting The Sew Weekly but lately their format has changed a lot and I don't really "get it" anymore. I missed the contributor deadline and there doesn't seem to be any page to post your projects if you aren't one of the chosen contributors anymore.
The Colette Pattern Clique
 This crowd spends a lot of time sewing and gushing about their favorite sewing guru, Sarai from Colette patterns. Their posts go into detail on patterns they are all on a first name basis with, like, "The Macaron" and the "Ceylon". Should they make the bottonholes on the Ginger in a contrasting color to go with their 4th version of their "Sorbettos"? Being featured on the Coletterie snippets blog is a major coup for this crowd! The Coletterie blog is an incredible sewing resource with lots of tutorials. Sarai really is a business and creative genius, and like Gertie, she is devoted to her cat. I happen to be allergic to cats!  This crowd overlaps with the vintage sewing crowd. I went through my own Colette pattern sewing phase and I have three different versions of the Oolong to prove it! Rhinestones and Telephones is having a group sew a long through the whole Colette patterns hand book, if that's your cup of tea. 
The Sewing  Through The BIG 4 Pattern Books Crowd
As in Vogue, McCall's, Simplicity, and Burda.
These amazing seamstresses sew mainly through the commercial pattern book catalogs and come up with some beautiful, original looking creations from what often look like hum drum patterns you might pass up at Joanne's. I like going to the Joann's 99 cent pattern sales and it's good to know you can actually make some of these patterns look awesome! You should check out the creations on Handmade by Carolyn , MushywearErica B's Do It Yourself Style,   These women really know how to rock a Vogue pattern! is another site for finding out what that pattern actually might look like when you are done. 
The Crafty Mommy Bloggers.
These blogs are some of the best photographed creative blogs out there. Some of these women are actually making serious money with their blogs with thousands of Followers like Tater Tots and Jello , Mod Podge Amy, and Grosgrain Fabulous.
These gals often look like models, and not only do they find time to make adorable creations for their latest photogenic offspring, but their homes always seem to be perfect, they are married to their best friend, and they are under 30! (hehe...) Be prepared for lots of Silhoutte projects and chevron fabric.  Mommy by Day Crafter By Night, and Family Ever After, are two more.
The  Kids Fashion Designers.
This crowd of bloggers design children's clothes and often sell their patterns in their own boutiques on their blogs. They come up with awesome tutorials on what seem to be a weekly basis, and they rarely use patterns. They are some very talented ladies, that's for sure. Most of their projects are made without patterns ot by tracing off clothing. Made by Rae, Me Sew Crazy, Simple Simon & co, and Schwin and Schwin, icandyhandmade,  and Scattered Thoughts of A Stay At Home Mom are some of my favorites in this crowd. 
The Thrift Shop Upcycling Crowd.
These thrifty gals are amazing at buying ugly things from the thrift shops and making them look like cute creations freshly bought from H&M!One of my favorite refashioners is Mongs at My Thrifty Closet. I also like Refashion Co-op a group blog I contribute at.
The Fashion Designers
I am still looking for more as I am creating more original designs and sewing less from patterns. Urbandon and lady danbury at Thinking In Shapes design some really nice things. I could add more but I am getting tired and need to go to bed!
The "Shabby and French Country" Home Decor and Sewing Crowd.
This crowd is obsessed with anything burlap, decoupaging old sheet music onto everything, painting furniture to look old, and making slipcovers and pillows out of grain sacks. I like this style too and get a lot of inspiration from my home sewing projects on blogs like Miss Mustard Seed and French Country Cottage. It's easy to go overboard on this theme. I recently made a ruffled pillow of burlap for my couch. My kids hate it because it is so itchy.

So these are the blogging crowds I spend most of my time in.
There are aspects about all of the blogs above I love and I thank all these people for taking the time to write on their blogs regularly, helping to make the world a little more creative.
Why do I love them ?
Because they are all trying to Live Handmade In A Modern World!
I hope I haven't offended anyone by summing up their blogs into categories because I know each person is unique. 

 How about you? Where do you like to "hang out"?
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  1. I loved how you divided the blogs.. i read most of them and I can see what you talk about making them into groups.. Then I started thinking.. where I would sit it all that? I sew a lot commercial patterns, India patterns like Colette.. make my own patterns like some of the designers blogs, refashion items with the refashion coop.. maybe Im in the "all categories above besides kids/vintage" lol
    Good lucky for project runaway audition. fingers cross for you !

  2. Thanks for the overview. I think I have at one time or another followed blogs from several of these categories, only to find out that it produced inspiration overload! I have to pick a category according to what my interestests/needs are right now. This would be at the moment sewing some clothes for myself and my girls. So, I am looking for blogs that would have more fitting information and construction techniques.

  3. Great compilation! I guess I fit in all of the categories except the kids categories, as my kids are "all grown up". Though, come to think of it, I still talk about them on my own blog. I guess once a mommy, always a mommy, but I do spend less time reading about kid projects. Anyway, I really appreciated the round up. I even found a couple of "new to me" blogs to love and follow!

  4. Thank you for this great post. I've mostly been hanging with the Vintage sewing crowd (although I don't have any tatoes) but call in on lots of mummy sewing too. I am hoping to expand my horizons a bit and this is a huge help.

  5. First off, thanks for mentioning me!!! But on another note, this is really a great post! I love that you categorized them, and there are a lot on here that I have never heard of and must now check out. And PS - the lots of chevron cracked me up.

  6. @Rachel,
    Im the same as you! I should make a category for us dabblers and include you and a few others but then I just got too sleepy. I wanted to add you but I couldn't figure out where.

  7. Justine! You're so right about different groups within the massive pile of "sewing blogs." I think you narrowed it down like a professional.

  8. These divisions you came up with are awesome-yes, cliques like high school, but without the snark, usually. I would put myself in the Big 4 category as I sew mainly Vogue and Butterick designs. My goal is to produce capsules, with pieces that compliment each other. I occasionally dip into the indie patterns for a shot at wearable art, then scurry back over to the plain jane Big 4. PR was a wonderful inspiration for awhile, but I now visit in quick bursts and depend more upon my own intuition.

    I love reading a variety of sewing blogs, and seeing designs made up by a variety of ages of women.

    Good luck with Project Runway. !!

  9. My blogroll is spread pretty evenly across most of those categories, but in doing so - it actually helped me reach back to my original roots of traditional Japanese textile love. I'm guessing you are more interested in modern Japanese fabrics, patterns and crafts - but if you find the traditional aspect interesting - please feel free to check out my other blog:

    Ultimately, my personal sewing goal is to combine my love of vintage Western fashion with my love of vintage kimono fabric. Hopefully I'll have time to focus on that aspect more in the near future.

  10. Brilliant post and thanks for the shout out! I'm a bit like you in that I read all sorts of blogs!! It's great to get creative inspiration from lots of different spheres!

  11. I laughed so hard at the chevrons! I think I read at least a couple blogs from each category, even the kids ones, just for inspiration. And because I like dressing childishly, apparently! Like a lot of the other commenters, I don't think I fit in any category, especially once you throw in geekery as well. I do like how your blog is all sorts of different things, so I am always surprised by what you do!

  12. Thanks for mentioning us! It's funny how things change and evolve. Up until we got the blog going, I mainly sewed with the big 4 patterns and hadn't even thought about sewing without using someone else's pattern. I also used to sew more for me than for my daughter...Trying to get more in balance!

  13. Wonderful entertaining and informative post! I connect mostly with the Thrift Shop Upcycling Crowd since everything I make is out of thrift shop sweaters. I'm not so much into fashion although I've been leaning more than way recently. I make accessories--personal and home--more than anything, which is a big reason why I follow Kris is so imaginative and isn't afraid to try to make just about anything. She gives me courage and inspiration! I've spent SO many of my years following directions and rules, and it's refreshing to be free from the exactness of patterns.

  14. I feel the same as you, I love all of these categories at one time or another. Sometimes I wonder if I am hurting my blog by not fitting more solidly in one of them, but hey my blog my choice!

  15. I guess I'm in "an other" category - blogs about sewing when not blogging about food, health, garden, etc.

  16. That would be really cool if you made it on Project Runway. You are right, you won't know till you try...and regardless of the outcome, you CAN say that you auditioned to be on the show :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  17. This is such a wonderful post! I am not sure which clique I fall into. I suppose the big four perhaps, but my vintage pattern stash begs to say otherwise. i definitely don't fit with the "indie pattern" crowd. Colette has adorable patterns, but I can't justify spending more than $2 on a pattern, lol.

  18. Thank for stopping by my blog, I'll keep in mind the Saturday sew and tell to post the dress I finished, thanks!

    And, thanks for mentioning the blog and in categories, I'm off to go check them out, always looking for blogs to read and inspiration or just plain good entertainment.

    How exciting to prepare for an entry to Project Runway, I do hope you make it in, even though it would take you away from your family for a while.

  19. Oooh, thanks so much for the mention! I really enjoyed this blog post, it's so interesting to read about all these categories...some of which I didn't even know about. I take my inspiration from far and wide, so I tend to follow anyone who takes my fancy!

  20. Yep, you got it about right. And I enjoy reading from most of those categories, as well. How fun if you made it on PR. You would have a huge fan club from the start.

  21. Thank you for mentioning my blog, Justine! I think you summed up the cliques very well, although you are right that we all have our own distinct flavours within those groups too, for sure. Like yourself I am hugely interested in Japanese patterns and design too, and am slowly working my way through the Pattern Magic books, so this is a large part of my own output... ... Like my top in this week's Saturday linky party!
    Good luck with your Project Runway work!

  22. Oh I forgot to add, my favourite French sewing and knitting blog is Helene, at, and my two favourite Japanese gals are of course Yoshimi (the Flying Squirrel) and Novita (very purple person)!

  23. This is a very interesting post. I too follow most of these blogs. I had a bad experience at Sew Weekly and have not returned. I know why I follow these blogs but I still haven't figured out where I fit in. As in high school, sometimes you just don't belong to the clique and you circle around watching everyone. I always enjoy your projects and your posts.

  24. I can' wait to check out all the blogs you've mentioned in this post. I'm still relatively new to this sport, so it's nice to find a good list of inspiration blogs.

  25. Somewhere you mentioned wanting to find French couture sewing blogs. If you find them, I so hope you will post the links. As far as Project Runway is concerned - go for it. I would love to be on there and watch the show faithfully. For whom as you rooting this season? I like Christopher.

  26. Hi!

    I tried to publish a comment but is seems it did not work..oh well.
    here it is again:

    I know your post is old but I found it today because I am looking myself for japanese sewing blogs (more likre collective blogs) in english.

    As I found your post and you were looking for french sewing blogs, here is mine ! at the bottom of it, you'll find a lot of other fine blogs links (mostly french). Wish you fun'

  27. Quite dissapointed with Urbandon; the current page is basically pornography!


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