Finding a new voice

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Quietness and contemplation during this last few months had me day dreaming. I have been writing this blog for 4 years now and together we been though small but constant evolution. It makes me incredibly happy to know so many of you have been with me all this time. Of how many friendships were made and keep building. To think I used to write it daily (so sorry face); never forgetting to write things down for later. I’m proud of what I achieved so far. It all got me in the mood to think about the future of my blog.

There is so much talk about the future lately, specially the effect of what’s happening to blogs. Do you have an opinion on the subject?

I don’t feel burn out from my blog thankfully. I do feel I need to develop and grow. To have a period of experimentation; of trying a new approach, explore new ways of communicate my love for the craft. I want to find where I fit into to the new blogging world.  I would really appreciate feedback ( good & bad). You can start by sharing what made you keep (or stop) reading me or other blogs.

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  • I think that article’s most important point was the reference to a passion or hobby becoming a profession or monetised, and this changing the nature of the blog’s content over time. We’ve seen that with a few sewing bloggers, but I think the small time sewing blogger who continues to write for pleasure, and only when there is actually something to say will always be enjoyed by their readers! I mostly follow sewing blogs, and it’s the nature of our craft to be trying new things, skills, patterns, whatever, so there will always be relevant content. As for monetising…. I have no issue if it’s a product that might be genuinely used by the writer. I do feel cynical reading a sponsored post or product is placed that is utterly irrelevant to the general theme of the blog (such as those wooden watches that seem to have popped up around in the last couple of months). I think the most exciting aspect of the evolution of sewing bloggers is seeing us improve our skills, become more fearless with techniques, and continue to make new beautiful things. It’s a wonderful thing to be inspirational (which I know you are to many of your readers). I’ll enjoy coming back and seeing what others have to say (sorry for gabbing on!).

    • Thank you so much Sarah, indeed I find myself trying to explain to people that what I do is for pure love. I would not change the trust and mutual affection with my readers for anything.

  • Hélène

    What keep me reading? Your happiness! Sewing seems so natural for you. You make colourful pieces and then wear it with aplomb. Very inspirational. Keep it real!

    • Hi Helene, thank you so much for the love. Indeed sewing makes me very happy and its a pleasure sharing with others.

  • kaitlynssimplyvintage

    For me, I enjoy sewing blogs with interesting makes, as well as posts about sewing, such as inspiration, techniques, musings etc. I don’t really like it when blogs go completely commercial. I like to get a sense of the blogger themselves. All my favourite blogs have a real personality that shines through.

    • Indeed, that’s is something I want to continue to growth and share. I want to put even more personality into my writing. thanks for sharing

  • Heh, exactly a year ago today (!!!), I shut down my old (far more popular) sewing blog and started a fresh new one. I did this because I felt like I’d outgrown my old blog. It was decidedly a sewing blog – with a title of ‘Sewing on Pins’, what else could it be about – and I found that I didn’t just want to blog about sewing. I felt bad when I’d post about my newest passions (knitting, gardening, life in the Yukon), and that started to restrict my blogging.

    My new blog doesn’t have nearly the amount of readers as my old, but I’m okay with that. Because the readers that I do have interact with me far more, and even more important than the readers, it feels like MY SPACE again (not…myspace – my own personal place on the web :D). I feel comfortable there, sharing whatever the heck I want to without feeling guilty about it. And I gave myself permission this past New Years to post that crummy photo, and not feel like every post is super professional – that’s helped me stop hesitating over posting because ‘my photos aren’t pretty enough’!

    But my blog is still a decidedly personal blog, rather than any sort of professional space. I’m not looking for more exposure, or sponsorship, or to sell my patterns or wares, and that take a lot of the pressure off. I really do feel for those who make it at least part of their income – the pressure to generate content must be crippling at times!

    I don’t really have any advice for you though. I’ve always enjoyed your blog (although I’ve been bad at commenting – something I need to work on more) because of your unique and interesting style and skill. I can understand the need to ‘find a new voice’ though, and I wish you the best of luck with it. I hope that you keep blogging, but understand if you need a ‘hiatus’ to redefine your blog direction. (If that is, indeed, what you’re considering – I might be off here.)

    …uh, sorry about the book. I guess I had things to say. 😀

    • Hi Heather, thank you for sharing your journey. So interesting. This is such a brave thing and so empowering because you got something out that makes you so happy. I really want to try to incorporate even more personality and engagement. I want to have more interaction with everyone. I Love ( really love) engaging with everyone.

  • You have a beautiful blog 🙂 I love your photos and personal style. It’s inspiring. I stop reading other blogs when they become too commercial (too many sponsored posts, product placement etc). I just want to see what others are making and know it’s because they love it and are genuine in it. When people feel bad about not posting for a while, it annoys me too. I’d rather read something once a month than have to sift through regular forced posts. Just blog what you want, when you want and to hell with everything else 🙂 You have a wonderful space here and if you have to change things up to take the pressure off yourself, then go for it.

    • Hi Katrina, Thank you. I’m so glad about the feedback you and the others been offering me. Its such a boost of confidence. When you want to keep working on something you been doing with loads of love for a while it somethings hard to see yourself in the future. I want to continue to be an active part of the sewing community and its so lovely to hear when people appreciate your work.

  • I read blogs for inspiration; to get me into the sewing room, to try new things, new looks, new patterns, new materials, tips, hints, tricks… I don’t care how often people post – I’m just grateful they do!! (And also sorry for not commenting more often – I think I feel I’m not qualified to comment… is that dumb?)

    • Hi Stacey, Thank you so much for giving me your feedback. I bet you aren’t alone on that feeling as It can be difficult commenting. Hopefully I will work on my writing to make it easy to continue engaging others. I love interactions. Please feel free to say hello even when you feel you have nothing to say. It will make my day!

  • I love your blog, your photos, techniques, style and I feel you are a sewing friend. I want to evaluate my blog, too, I think since IG the blog world has changed. I am not complaining as I love IG. It just is different.

    • Hi Lori, Its so nice when people feel the same sentiment of friendship. I love that closeness. Indeed I think lots of us are feeling spread thinly with all the different channels but what is important is that we are communicating our passion for sewing.

  • Mandi

    I like that you sew for yourself (mostly)! I don’t connect with all the women who sew almost exclusively for their kids (and blog about it). I also appreciate your European/South American aesthetic, which is much classier than that of so many sewing bloggers from the U.S.
    I also appreciate that you share how a pattern fit you, how you altered it, etc. That helps me feel more willing to alter patterns as necessary.
    So… I guess I really like the content of your blog.
    On a different note, your English is very good! Much better than my writing skills in any other language! However, sometimes, mistakes in your English are distracting when I’m reading the blog. I only say this because you asked for both positive and negative feedback.

    • Hi Mandi, Thanks for great honest feedback. I super appreciate it. One of the things I really want to improve is my writing. I confess its super hard to find the mistakes when no ones tells you made them. Last week i spend 3 hours looking at my writing and found that tend to repeat the same mistake ( like the badly use of “,” when the correct would be “;” ). If you spot something really wrong, please tell me because I will know how to fix it for next time. My biggest fear is not managing to communicate correctly so I will try to adjust my writing as I can until I find the place i’m comfortable and making less mistakes.

  • I’ve enjoyed your blog from the beginning. Your great outfits, sweet online personality and even your occasional grammar mistakes which are part of your charm. I make grammar mistakes too, and I’m a native English speaker, so I don’t mean it as an insult..You remain authentic while so many who have been blogging as long as we have, have gone too commercial and lost their voice,or started selling patterns so only blog about that, which is a bit dull. Plus, I love that your clothes are chic and fashionable.

    • Thanks Justine, Its so lovely having friends like yourself that been following my journey all this time.

  • I like reading blogs. Seeing what people think and say. With sewing in particular, that’s very important in my opinion.

  • I read blog posts from people who do what I do and inspire me. I sew a lot and I like to record the details. I like reading about other people’s journey too.

    Once a blog is monetised, I do lose interest, even too much test sewing is lame and often it is clear that the writer sugar coats the finished produce.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I hope you continue. If you enjoy it, just keep doing it 🙂

    • Hi Christy, thanks for sharing your views. I really love blogging. Sewing is the most enjoyable group activity because everyone is genuinely interested in sharing knowledge and helping each other. Last year when I was offered a “change of a lifetime” to write a book (aka put my face on a beginners book) I wasn’t interested because I never intended to monetise my blog. I do enjoy having the opportunity to try things but its always been clear to me that what I get from readers, like yourself, is a lot more than what I would gain monetising.

  • Kitkatkrispie

    I love your blog! Why? Your enthusiasm, very personal style, use of colour and completely unique spin on patterns. Your interpretation of patterns sewn by others is very individual and stylish. Personally, most of my blog connection is with sewing blogs, I follow three fashion blogs and one make up blog. What annoys me and stops me reading? Product placement and an excess of advertising. Once it takes ages for a blog to load, due to the excess junk, I stop reading! What do I want from a blog? Spins on patterns, sewing and fitting tips. Best of all what were the problems when constructing the garments. Most of all the personality of the blogger and their enthusiasm which clearly come across in your writing. I am more than twice your age and yet I still love to read your page! Stay true to yourself, as you evolve so should your blog, remember it is your blog, your on line journal of your hobby and interests. The extra bonus with you is we get a taste of South America and the odd recipe thrown in for good luck! Thank you for sharing your lifestyle and your skills.

    • Hi Kitkat ( what a cute name) Thank you so much for the love. Your lovely comment is such a boost of confidence and just make me give a big virtual hug. Its so lovely to hear when people appreciate your work and even nicer when you can give them something back.

  • I love blogs! I like IG too and appreciate that it is more ‘instant’ , but I like that blog posts are more in-depth, although I don’t like a long blog post! I really hope that we don’t lose blogging in all this social media. My favourite blogs post once or twice per week, and have the writer’s personality shining through. (Your persoanlity definately shines through Rachel!) I like to hear something of the sewing process and see lots of good photos. I have been blogging for years but have just started a new sewing blog http://sewlindylou.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Hi Linda. Thank you for commenting and sharing your new home. I just added to my reader. I love that interaction and having you and the others giving a little talk just makes me want to keep going. Adding value and inspiration will always be part of my goal here, and off course make friendships.

  • Dear Rachel, I think I have made my opinions known rather too well, ahem, and what I love in every blog is variety – lovely sewing things made that make the writer happy, techniques discovered, styles and skills and fabrics, the lot. I tire quickly of the inevitable taking over of many blogs by the latest pattern release by Tilly or Tasia or whoever, and I just scroll past in my blog reader.
    But I want you to write about what makes you happy. Because that will always be interesting even if not every post interests me. I am, after all, a fat, fifty year old lady down under who isn’t going to share many patterns with your gorgeous self xoxo

    • You are a lively gorgeous friend which opinions I respect very much. Thanks for the peep talk xx

  • Morag

    Rachel, you only need to change the tone of your blog if YOU want to. I stopped reading other blogs because they started to fell very forced and/or commercial. Yours still feels enthusiastic, honest and above-all genuine. Go with your instincts, they have worked wonderfully to date. X

    • Hi Morac, I don’t want to change necessary but I want to try new ways of being myself and hopefully continue to feel happy and be relevant. Thank you for the love and advice xx

  • Froggy

    I subscribe to your blog (amongst about 25 or so others) because of your style and expertise. I feel that there are far too many bloggers who are just starting out sewing and while it’s great for them, I’m simply not interested. Sounds harsh but I want to be inspired and taught new things – your blog does just that. Plus, I think you’re beautiful 🙂

    • Hi Froggy, Thank you so much for sharing why you enjoy my space. I’m glad i been able to not only inspire by share tips and new approaches. Thats why I love sewing so much.. you have always something new to learn

  • I enjoy reading your blog because it feels like it’s very genuine, and I really like your style (even if mine is quite different!) and your positivity. Like most people, I tend to get bored of blogs that just promote their own products or do sponsored posts – I have no problem with a bit of that because it can be a good way to find out about new products/patterns/books etc, but if someone only ever posts as part of a blog tour then I lose interest. The blogs I like most tend to really reflect the personality of the person writing them, and I thimk yours does that really well!

    • Hi Ruth, I completely understand and I too stop reading some blogs when they lost their spark. Its so nice to know that you can get to know me because I am really interested in getting to know my readers and have a conversation. Thanks for your feedback and happy sewing

  • Wendy

    The variety, your obvious enthusiasm for whatever you are doing and an honest voice is what keeps me reading your blog. There have been blogs I’ve moved on from, those that are all same-same, likewise there are bloggers who have stopped writing that I miss very much.

    • Hi Wendy, oh me too… I still sometimes visit their space just in case they decided to be back. Life is so unpredictable. I really love my online space and having the opportunity to be sharing sewing love is just too great. I want to continue to build this relationship with you ( and all my readers) so we can openly say to each other when things are bad ( and good too.. i love a bit of encouragement)

  • like the first comment, i tend to follow sewing blogs, where sew-ers just make things as, I like their pattern reviews, I like to read about sewing obstacles, sewing tips and also the sewing style chit chat. I dont know as many sew-ers as I used to, and very few I know sew (although I am teaching two friends so that could change!!) so its great to read sewing blogs as I feel a bit connected or something as odd as that, and its also motivating when you are flumoxed, or frustrated by breaking threads on machines and uneven gathers to know there is a sew-er out there with either advice or has been there done that………….. I love the content in your blog, I dont know where you get the time or patience for the photo shoots (i rely on a manequin ….)

    • Hi Eimear ( being an Irish name does it have a meaning? sounds so pretty, Thank you for your feedback and love. I feel like comments for this post working almost like a big hug encouraging me to continue to follow my passion. What I wish mostly its to engage with my readers because our love for sewing its such a treasure. About the pictures, I enjoy the creative part of creating a story though them. I do get bored of my face and taking them but I think the extra bit of effort its just a way to show appreciation for everyone that visit me here.

  • I agree with a lot of the comments above, too many blogs I used to follow have become commercial and I no longer read them. The reason I still enjoy your blog is that you have a genuine passion for sewing, you sew what you want without jumping on the latest pattern and you have a very distinct voice. You also respond to comments and have a genuine interest in your readers views. The sewing blogging world has changed so much over the past couple of years but I really respect that you have stayed true to your voice and personality. I don’t think you need to change a thing!

    • Giving you a big hug. Thank you so much for the blog love and encouragement. I treasure so much my relationship with my readers and its so lovely to hear whats working and what doesn’t. happy sewing

  • sab

    Passion, authenticity and simplicity.I need to feel the passion behind each post, the excitement for a new dress, a special occasion or a bunch of patterns just bought. The problem with blogs becoming more commercial is that because of partnerships, bloggers find it hard to express their true feelings (good or bad) and unknowingly, their writing becomes bland. No more excitement or disappointment, just “i tried this thanks to my partner, isn’t it nice”.

    Also with time I tend to consider bloggers a bit like an acquaintance or a friend that shares the same passion. So I admit I also like more personal posts and updates, trips, weddings, etc. I like to know about important things happening in their lives.

    It happened recently with one of my favorite blogs. I knew who she was, what she liked and her values on life etc. Therefore I could relate to her. Then she hired a lot of people to better take care of the blog and add content. The blog became huge, but I didn’t know anyone who posted anymore, the main blogger didn’t show up much and mostly on sponsored content. So I quickly lost interest. The blog had become a big advertisment.

    However, whatever you decide, do what makes you happy and we’ll be happy too. Hugs !

    • Hi Sab, im just about to write my wedding posts so i hope you enjoy it. Thanks so for your feedback. Its so nice to hear from readers whats interesting and whats not because i feel its a partnership here. We all share a passion for sewing and we learn from each other.

  • You are one of only a handful of blogs that if I haven’t been on my blog reader for a day or two, I will go and actually search for. For me you have a unique voice, you come across warm and friendly but above all you are inspirational with your own sense of style and that’s why I continue to read!
    I think it’s natural after a period of time to evaluate what you do (we can also be our own worst critic to) I sometimes think that life is all about risks, sometimes they pay off sometimes they don’t, but unless you try you’ll never know! I love your blog the way it is, but whatever you do keep your personality and your own unique voice and I don’t think you’ll go far wrong 🙂 xx

    • Thank you so much Sarah, you have been always so supportive and i really appreciate your feedback. I want to infuse even more personality over the blog.

  • sarahj

    I enjoy reading your sewing blog. You show a variety of patterns and comment on them honestly. At the end of the day you must go with your instincts on whether to carry on or not. Maybe a compromise could be reached such as a balance between the blog and other forms of media.

    • Hi Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your views. Its so important for me that people feel they can say what they want over the comments. I want to improve interaction. I want to write better that my writing goes beyond inspiration and I continue to build relationships.

  • Rachel, I met you during Sew Weekly [quiet a long while ago]. I have followed your blog , because I so enjoy your sewing and the kindness you share , through your blog.
    I love that you not only sew beautiful clothes, but also make and sew crafty things. I love your adding in the cooking .. You ,my sweet friend, are such a talented young
    lady. You are not only beautiful but oh so sweet ..
    do what ever you feel is right for your blog.. because , I just know, it will be just as fun , as it has been.

    • Nancy

      Rachel, you have a most wonderful website! It is so inspiring and fresh and exciting. I love your style and flare for fabric. You never disappoint. It is just amazing how on target you are. A lot of sew blogs showcase their garments but just don’t have that extra spark that can inspire one to want to “replicate that dress” ! You should be very proud! Please continue to inspire us all! I know your life will be changing ever so much but I have so enjoyed your choice of fabrics and sewing techniques. Good luck in your future endeavors.

      • dear Nancy, Can i start this comment by giving you a big hug. Thank you so much for the kindest and Inspiring words. It just make me want to continue sharing forever. happy sewing

    • Judy, my dear friend, you have been following me since my first post and your encouragement and friendship means the world to me. I feel i follow your grandchildren grow by their lovely dresses and outfits made by yourself and once in a while I think its time to send you more tea so we can have a virtual tea party.

  • Debbie Bullingham

    Hi I have followed you for the last 3 years or so now. I mostly follow sewing bloggers and many have come and gone over the years. For me it is an interest in people and their lives that keep me following a blogger. So much as it’s about the sewing, I’m really interested in the other stuff too. Bloggers I have stopped following have been those that have made their hobby into their business and therefore only sew or blog about their own patterns-that is soo boring, especially if you don’t like their patterns that much or their style is far from your own. I love that you write about things other than sewing like your recipes and about Brazil. Some bloggers develop their own patterns and I still follow them because they keep talk of their own pattern to a minimum and make other patterns too and also share other things in their lives. (Fehr trade/river runner is coming to mind) You don’t need to change a thing in my mind because I think you’ve got your blog just right but obviously you need to do what’s right for you and your life.

    • Hi Debbie, You are so kind and your words really encouraging. I love sewing and this space gives me the chance to share it with you and others who likewise have a passion for all things creative. I want to continue to grow my space but mostly enjoy growing friendships. For a while as my blog suddenly grown i felt the diminish of feedback and interaction. Two things I value as part of the exchange. I want to keep sharing my passion and infuse even more personality. I want to explore other creative activities too so I hope you enjoy that part of the journey. Thanks for been here and sharing my journey all this time. Happy sewing

  • Well done on four years of blogging! Like someone has said here, you are always happy showing your creations and your process and your carefreeness with sewing is very inspiring. Of course it takes a lot to be creative though… and for me, I blog when I am inspired or creating or have something to share. I stop reading blogs if the posts are too long, if they become too annoying with sponsored content, evolve into businessy blogs with not enough finished projects. I also don’t really like sewing bloggers evolving into lifestyle bloggers, because while it might seem an obvious direction… I don’t feel their passions all the time outside of sewing.

    Anyways! Trying to be frank… I love blogging (have been doing it on and off since 2001) and sewing is always a constant… so I try to keep on track, but often feel inspired by other things too. As my life evolves, so does my sewing passion to different degrees of love. I hope you settle on some ideas to grow and evolve your blog and your passions!

    • Hi sweetie, Thanks for your feedback and your experience. I love blogging and don’t want to take my blog to professional level because what i love the most is the interaction and trust we build as reader and writer. I feel i want to share a little more about my life and i think will tie nicely with sewing so I hope you enjoy it too.

  • Interesting topic! When people talk about blogger burnout, I’m never surprised that it happens… I’m just surprised that it doesn’t happen more! Honestly, this is the longest I’ve ever had a hobby and I’m kind of surprised it’s lasted this long! So it doesn’t surprise me that some people start to lose their passion for sewing and blogging, especially once they’ve turned it into a job. I am excited to hear that you’re exploring new possibilities- I know that whatever you do, I’ll still be really interested in what you’re up to! You have a clear personality and a unique aesthetic, and I really enjoy that about your blog.

  • Catarina Alexandra

    Faz 2 anos que acompanho o blog, não comento muito é verdade..normalmente leio nos intervalos (pausa do trabalho) ou no final do dia.
    E também porque o meu caminho pela costura é muito curtinho (1 vestido feito) e umas aulas de fazer moldes, não estou capacitada a comentar.
    Mas Adoro o blog! As idéias, as novidades do que existe no mercado, (livro, material, tecidos ), Adoro o teu estilo e a maneira como falas dos assuntos, com simpática e detalhe.

  • Even though I don’t comment very often, I am a faithful reader of your blog. Because I like your take on the patterns you choose, the fabrics you combine, they way you style your me-mades, it’s very fresh and unique. I feel like you always stay true to yourself with the things you make. I also love it that from time to time, I see a burdastyle pattern here, as I buy that magazine regularly, and I love to see what you do with the patterns. So I am happy that you will continue blogging, because I would miss your blog very much. Good luck with figuring out how you want to keep doing things, but I think you already have a voice.

  • I completely understand that you may want to move to another chapter of your blogging adventure, and I would suggest you the following: focus on what your passion is and what you are good at, and develop it 🙂

  • juls

    I am new to the world of sewing and sewing blogs and I have found it an enlightening and educational experience reading it all. I really should spend more time sewing than reading but I am the same with other hobbies I have; I will start “when I have enough knowledge” though 10 hours of sewing will be far more beneficial than 10 hours of reading… though pretty pictures are fun!!

    I love reading your blog and all your sewing projects, though I am intimidated by it all. I guess, being at the stage of where I am with sewing, I can relate to beginner projects but I love to aspire to your standards, and also knowing that you’re not always happy with every item and can make mistakes too.

    Your writing is authentic. Those who are compelled to do it for monetary reasons may lose that authenticity in the long run and it will show eventually.

    I look forward to meeting you on your Laurel class next week!!! 😀

  • Kathy

    I started following your blog fairly recently. I was immediately drawn to your enthusiasm for what you’re doing and the pleasant way you project yourself in your blog. I love your projects too and find your comments very helpful.

  • Hi Rachel, I started to sew my own dresses last summer and I’m new in the sewing world (my blog’s turning one next week). So I’ve been following your blog for one year only. I like it because I love reading about stories and personal experiences, it’s so inspiring! I like your posts about sewing tips also. I totally agree with your blog’s philosophy: a free space for sharing your own love for sewing and life. Generally I tend to prefer this kind of blog instead of a sponsored one. It’s been so interesting reading your post and the comments above (and the New York Times article too)…

  • Zuzana

    Hi Rachel, I’ve known about your blog for about a year. The reason I keep coming back here is, well, because you are tall and you give good tips about how to modify patterns to suit your body type. I’m tall as well, which is the reason I turned to sewing, so it’s nice to see what looks good on tall ladies, what I need to be aware of when sewing from patterns, etc. Thank you!

  • Thank you for your lovely blog! It is very enjoyable! I usually like blogs that are made with love and that show the character of the writer. That’s the reason I like your blog. 🙂 Some blogs are too “perfect” in a way that they are too neutral and sometimes too commercial to be interesting anymore. I’ve been thinking about this issue quite a lot lately. There are so many blogs now days that I think it is quite hard to get loyal readers: people surf around the net and watch the pictures here and there: like having fast food. And I think that blogging can make one mad in a way. If it is not your profession but takes the whole time and you don’t think anything else than your blog: your family becomes like a portrait: nice material for blog etc. Did I have some point? Hmm… there would be so much to talk about this, but I have to go now. Life outside net is calling… 🙂 P.S. I also have a sewing blog (in Finnish) kototeko.blogspot.com