I've been thinking lately about the various sewing communities that exist around the internet. In my opinion, I would label Pattern Review, The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, and BurdaStyle to be the " big players" in the online sewing community. I would consider group blogs, such as SewRetro, and various flick groups to be sewing groups, not exactly sewing communities.
Personally, I am a member of Pattern Review, BurdaStyle, and The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, but I must admit that I have yet to post anything on Burdasttyle. So, why choose one over the other, or two and not the third? What makes a sewing community a place that one wants to visit and participate in?
I happen to really like Pattern Review. First, I find that Pattern Review is the best site to find information about a specific pattern, if that pattern has been released in the recent past (i.e. not true vintage). I find that most all of the reviews that I have read are informative and are beneficial to me when I begin my journey into a new pattern. The only downside is that most people, myself included, are only going to post a successful project, leaving the patterns that are total flops to strike another unknowing seamstress. I also like the message board feature on Pattern Review. Whether you have a sewing related question or a moral dilemma, someone there is bound to have an answer or some advice for you. There are a lot of really talented people on Pattern Review, who are generally willing and eager to share their wealth of knowledge with you.
Next, we have The Sew Weekly Sewing Circle, which if you haven't visited, is part of The Sew Weekly. I also happen to like this site, but for entirely different reasons than Pattern Review. I believe the point of the site is to be a "social network" of sorts for those who sew, as you can add people to your "friends" and maintain your own page. I haven't really explored all of the capabilities of the site though and have yet to "friend" anyone. ( Will you be my friend?) I enjoy posting photos of my sewing on the site as people seem to be quite friendly and generous with comments. The downside to this site is that usually the information provided about the pattern is slim to none (sometimes no pattern number is even given), and, unless those who post their work apply a tag to it, there is no way to search through the archives.
Next up we have BurdaStyle, the site that I have yet to post anything on. I do enjoy looking through the projects on BurdaStyle, but I have just never felt compelled to post my own work. Like the Sewing Circle, it lacks a good way to search for meaty information about a pattern. There also seems to be quite a few sewing minimal crafts that pop up in the picture feed from time to time. I have looked at the discussion tab on the site a few times, but it seemed to be a bit confusing to me. I suppose I could simply post pictures of my work on BurdaStyle and link back to my blog, but I am not 100% sure about it yet. I am in no way trying to make BurdaStyle seem like any less of a site than the other two, because that is not true, I simply do not know all the ins and outs of BurdaStyle since I am not a regular user.
I think one other thing to consider when looking at sewing communities is what demographic each sewing site is attempting to cater to. I would say that Pattern Review caters to those who want lots of details about specific patterns, are sewing mainly from modern patterns, and, generally, are probably a bit older than myself.
I think the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle caters to anyone who likes to sew vintage specifically.The Sewing Circle also seems to be designed, unsurprisingly,for those who participate in The Sew Weekly challenges. I don't think the point of the site, at least in its present form, is to be a gathering place for technical sewing information. There seems to be a wide range of age groups and skill levels that participate in the site.
Lastly, we have Burdastyle, which seems to cater to new seamstresses and a younger age group. This site also serves the purpose of selling downloadable patterns from BurdaStyle. I have downloaded two free patterns from the site but it's not something I enjoy doing. ( For one thing, I don't have a printer, so I have to print them off at school where it costs four and a half cents a page, still a better deal than ink though.) Overall, however, BurdaStyle is still a wonderful place to go to find lovely garments for inspiration.
So, readers, I want to hear from you! Which online sewing communities do you participate in, if any? What qualities and characteristics make you want to be an active part of a sewing community? Will you be my friend on The Sew Weekly? Should I give BurdaStyle another try?
P.S. Have you tried oatmeal cookie chunk ice cream from Ben And Jerry's? If you haven't, you should, and that's an order from the wannabe seamstress herself.