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Aug 30, 2011

Favorite Online Sewing Resources!


Readers, we all love sewing blogs.  In fact, if it weren't for sewing blogs like this one, I wouldn't be the Troy Donahue of men's sewing (with a 43.95% sexy index).  But today I want to focus on something else: the online sewing communities and organizations that serve us home sewers best.

An acquaintance recently told me of a volunteer-run sewing organization located in Ithaca, New York, Sew Green.  On their website, I stumbled upon this surprising statistic, from the Home Sewing Association:

Interest in personal sewing and clothing design has increased dramatically in the past few years. The Home Sewing Association estimates that the number of sewing enthusiasts in the U.S. has increased by 5 million since 2000, and annual sales of the leading brand of sewing machines has doubled since 1999.  

Of course I was intrigued by the numbers, but more than anything I wondered, What in the world is the Home Sewing Association??

It turns out that there is currently no Home Sewing Association as such: they closed their doors in 2007.  Or did they?

There is a site called Sewing.org and I've seen online references to the Home Sewing Association that now link there.  Does anybody know what the relationship is?   They both share a Monroeville, PA address.  But there's nothing on the Sewing.org site about who they are or what they do beyond "Sewing.org is part of the Sewing & Craft Alliance (SCA).  SCA provides education and creative resources to the sewing and craft enthusiast."  They do offer a free men's sewing tutorial for a cable cache -- "a gift for a special someone" -- however.

Of course, there is the non-profit American Sewing Guild, which operates out of Houston, Texas.  I know many MPB readers are members and are active on the ASG boards.  I'm not, for no other reason than that I only recently heard about ASG.   Are you a member?  I should probably join.

My online introduction to sewing was via Pattern Review, and it's a site I love.  It's not the most sophisticated-looking sewing site out there, but it works well, and it's a fantastic resource for those interested in learning sewing techniques, looking to purchase a new (or vintage) sewing machine, and most obviously, for anyone interested in reviews of new (and many vintage) patterns.  

There are many advanced sewers on PR with decades of experience who are active on their message boards -- a great place to go with sewing-related questions.  There are also contests and classes and much more.   As a man, I've found Pattern Review to be extremely helpful and tremendously supportive.  They even have a "Men Who Sew" section on their message board.  I've found membership to be well worth the nominal cost.



Undoubtedly hipper is BurdaStyle, another favorite sewing site.  BurdaStyle members seem to skew younger than sites like Pattern Review, but I've never felt unwelcome there and I'm no kid (wheeze...).  As a more commercial website, there's a slicker feel there than at Pattern Review, with a focus on BurdaStyle patterns.  But anyone can post photos of any sewing project, and it's also an excellent resource for those with sewing-related questions.   Male sewers are active there, too, albeit in relatively small numbers.

Readers, as far as online communities and sewing organizations for home sewers go, these are the ones I am familiar with.

What other sewing communities are you involved with, not including blogs?  Are there any you particularly recommend to others, especially new sewers? 

Is there any organization keeping statistics on the popularity of home sewing that you know of?  Where would one go to find the most recent information?

I cede the floor to you...

29 comments:

  1. i like craftster as well as sew mama sew !

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  2. I like the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle. Everyone there is very supportive!

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  3. Wow -- these are all new to me. Thanks!

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  4. No intention to nag (too much): but I'm puzzled to see that you don't mention threads magazine in your blog... ;)

    I learned a really fast way of attaching zippers in my pants there (see: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/3831/video-an-easy-flat-fly-front-zipper)

    Since I am man sewing for himself (and sometimes for his husband), you do need to do some mirrorring because most instruction vids are for female clothing.

    Before seeing that vid it took me the best part of two hours (ok, ok: it was my first zipper ever), after following the video I managed it in 10-15 minutes.

    BTW: Just started sewing for myself and I find your site very helpful. Esp. the humorous, sometimes a tiny bit cynical approach appeals to me a lot.

    Keep it going!

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  5. Oh yeah, for what it's worth: I'm from the Netherlands so please be forgiving for lingo-errors.

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  6. There's also the Stitcher's Guild message board/forum: Stitcher's Guild

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  7. I am a member of ASG and a member of my local sewing group. I didn't know ASG had an online forum? (I am a member of the local yahoo groups for ASG.)

    My favorite sewing forum is Stitcher's Guild (also called Artisan's Square), though I also use Pattern Review.

    Finally, for those who are in the San Francisco bay area, I love PenWAG (Peninsula Wearable Art Guild). They have a website (penwag.org), yahoo group, and a facebook page.

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  8. I love www.thesewingforum.co.uk , a UK-based forum (which enables and welcomes international members). It has an absolute WEALTH of information, is aesthetically appealing and user-friendly (unlike PR, it has to be said), and is small enough to have a community feel to it.

    lucygoose

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  9. I just joined ASG this year. Haven't made it to a neighborhood meeting, though.... They have a charitable component, which I like, but you should know about that before you join.

    I keep hoping Deepika will redesign pattern review. Maybe if we band together?...

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  10. Where is Colette Patterns blog, and Sew Weekly, and Theads! How could you forget Threads?

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  11. I am a big fan of The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle

    http://circle.sewweekly.com/

    and the Colette Patterns' Forum

    http://forum.colettepatterns.com/

    You would be warmly welcomed at both, Peter! :)

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  12. there is also mysewingcircle.com

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  13. I've been a member of ASG for more than a year now. I like the opportunity to sew for a good cause and the exposure to lots of facets of sewing. The ASG ladies have been very open to me as a young, relatively inexperienced sewing enthusiast. I'll always be partial to the tons of blogs and on-line resources that got me started, but it's nice to have a sewing group in real life. I just posted about it last week: http://chronicallyuncool.blogspot.com/2011/08/finding-off-line-sewing-community.html

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  14. I used to take part in the Threads Magazine forums but I prefer Pattern review, though not as much as I used to. I've participated in the Stitchers Guild too, but not on a regular basis. I do like all the online features of the Threads magazine site. There are some wonderful videos and tutorials by contributors. For the old fashioned I'd highly recommend subscribing to the magazine. I have many years of it and copy the year end indexes so that I can browse for articles pertinent to what I am sewing.

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  15. I guess I was unaware Threads had forums, which is why I didn't include it. Thanks, Nancy, and everybody -- great info.

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  16. Love Colette Patterns' "snippets" - a weekly sewing tip delivered to your inbox.

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  17. I love Threads and Craft Stylish and I also joined Craftsy. It is interesting to see what other people sew and it is nice to show some of my projects. I am also a member of BurdaStyle and tonight I purchased my first pattern with Clotilde. For a beginner I recommend Craftsy because there are lots of inspiration.

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  18. I am past president and enthusiastic member of Peninsula Wearable Arts Guild. We are over 150 members and meet on the second Saturday of the month. If you are in the San Francisco south bay area, come visit. http://www.penwag.org/

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  19. A really good industrial resource is Fashion Incubator http://www.fashion-incubator.com/

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  20. I admit that I go over to the Martha Pullen Forums for questions about more esoteric and specialized sewing stuff--like smocking, embroidery, heirloom, and hand sewing. You Tube is also a great resource for learning how to do things.

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  21. I love the Threads site. They have a great selection of sewing tutorials to download. I also love Marcy Tilton's newsletter. She doesn't have a forum, that I know of, but there are fabulous tutorials on her website.

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  22. Pattern Review is my fave by far, but I do love reading lots of blogs.

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  23. I just attended the ASG national convention in Los Angeles. Had a wonderful time, took some really good classes and went shopping. Next year is Houston.

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  24. So all that keeps going through my head it the line from A Chorus Line, "if Troy Donahue can be a movie star, then I can be a movie star."

    I just joined the UK based Sewing Forum today, after meeting a bunch of it's members last week at a sewing seminar in Vegas. Nice people from The US, Australia, Canada and the UK.

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  25. Most of what I learned is from youtube. However, I am looking for a site that is more about how to sew things rather than fashion related. Thanks for some of these blogs/sites, I will check them out.

    I have checked out pattern review, and that is also helpful.

    Thanks

    Josette

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  26. It's more for people in or aspiring to be in the fashion industry, but www.fashion-incubator.com is brilliant for all kinds of discussions: technical,industrial relations, industry inside information, philosophical, and heaps more.

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  27. Hm. I'm surprised that noone knows the Cutter and Tailor.

    www.cutterandtailor.com

    mici

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  28. I am so happy I joined the ASG two weekend ago - the ASG came to LA. I did a short blog - wow! The wealth of talent was amazing.

    So, I finally got my package and what did I find - free online resources meetings on Couture Sewing and Garment Sewing in my area. I love it and am thrilled to finally join.

    I would dare to say that you would find more in NYC (even more than LA) - in addition at the conference I met some amazing people I would not have met online. So, I'll let you know!

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