Blog Biz

The Value of Switching it Up (Your Input Needed!)

Hi, you. I feel like it’s been a while since we had a real conversation. I surprised myself when I realized we released three full patterns and two pattern expansions in the last five months, which would probably account for the slight touch of burn-out I’m getting over. All those patterns meant a lot of pattern related content on the blog, so I’ve been feeling like a tutorial machine, and more than a little embarrassed I haven’t shared any of the many things I’ve personally made in the last few months.

As you may know, I just moved into my new place, and for now, we’re keeping my old apartment to use solely as a studio. I am on the lookout for something more “office” appropriate (ie. tons of natural light and an elevator so our delivery people stop giving us murder eyes every time they have to bring thousands of patterns up two flights of stairs), but for the moment it’s working out pretty great. We converted the former living room into packing central with a massive work table and industrial shelves, and Alexis danced for joy since we wouldn’t have to elbow each other on my old cutting table when we’re working on separate projects. We have so much surface space right now it feels practically obscene.

And me? I feel like I can breathe again. Working from home was lovely for the first few years, but as the business grew, it began to really encroach on my living space/soul/psyche. Essentially, I have been living in a non-fun box fort for the past year, too embarrassed to have people over or entertain, which used to be one of my major jams. I stopped cooking regularly because I didn’t feel domestic in my non-domestic home, and had a really hard time chilling out at the end of the day because I was literally surrounded by everything I had to do the next day.

Am I whining? I’m sorry. In many ways, the past year has been super exciting and fulfilling (at least professionally). We’re growing a lot, and I feel like I’m the conductor of a really smooth, super fun, sewing party train. Personally, I was just long overdue for a separation of church and state, and waking up in my new apartment every morning feels so. good. My mini kitchen renovation is almost done, and already the abundance of counter and cabinet space has me plotting some epic baking and preserving projects. Β I’ve already had two dinner parties, so excited to host again that I’ve been washing dishes in the bathtub since my sink hasn’t been hooked up yet. I can totally feel my little inner battery getting recharged every time I leave work and walk home, and I’m finding myself excited to get back to work again in the morning. Moving was an important reminder to me that change is really, really important, and that when something isn’t working you sometimes need to take drastic (mortgage, shudder) steps to fix it.

In the meantime, I’ve been spending a lot of time walking to and from work thinking about the blog. We had just wrapped up our Kalle Sewalong when we launched Charlie, so it’s been months since I shared any of my personal sewing projects. I love that we’ve been able to share so many helpful posts, but I really miss talking about my sewing practice and writing blog posts for pleasure rather than purpose. As a blog reader myself, I know it’s annoying when a blog you like gets taken over by a sewalong to a pattern you’re not interested in sewing, so I’ve been feeling for anyone who is like “ugh enough about this, show me a pretty dress!”

This is part of my love/hate relationship with sewalongs. I am so happy to help people learn; it’s a huge part of my personal and professional mission. I know sewalongs can be enormously helpful. But they really take over the blog for long stretches of time, and they can feel super repetitive, especially for the more basic steps. My preferred method is to break down the complicated parts into digestible blog post chunks rather than the enormous Thanksgiving meal of a whole sewalong, but I’m not sure what you prefer. Do you mind having your blog feed taken over with sewalongs when you’re not sewing along? Do you feel like you need sewalongs for every pattern you sew, or are you happy to just have the trickier bits broken down? Are there are any past patterns you’d like us to make sewalongs for, or film a class for? I love making online courses, and while we have some planned for next year, I’ve been considering filming one for one of our past patterns; is anyone interested in an online workshop for our Kelly Anorak, Clare Coat or Carolyn Pajamas?

And then there’s the fact that I’d like to sometimes blog about non-sewing related stuff too. I’ve been sharing some of my DIY projects in Instagram stories, and so many of you have requested posts and tutorials on what I’m up to in that sphere. Is that something you’d like to see in this space too, or should I just shut up and stick to sewing?

Finally, you may have noticed that my weekly round-up posts have stopped. I was feeling really overwhelmed with moving this month, so I took a break from my blog roll (and then had an anxiety attack when I checked my blog reader and saw 600+ unread sewing blog posts, yikes!) They’ll be back once I return from vacation (our annual summer trip to visit Guillaume’s family in France) but this time in a different form. Rather than a weekly blog post (which honestly, I was a little too lackadaisical about writing every weekend) we are going to start sending out a weekly newsletter. It will be in more or less the same format as our Sunday posts, with all my favourite links for that week from around the sewing blog world and beyond. We’ve been trying to brainstorm ways to make our mailing list a little more engaging and fun to read, and I had a kind of “Duh Heather” moment when I realized we could just send you this weekly dose of sewing inspiration directly, since it’s something I’ve already been doing for years and I know a lot of you look forward to it.

Otherwise, I am hoping to spend the rest of the summer finally sharing all the things I’ve made over the last few months. I am also dipping my toe in the guest post pool. My great friend Amy, who helps out around here when we need it, in addition, to being the best Monday night Bachelorette date of all time, is super crafty and has amazing taste. We’re planning a fun DIY post that is a bit different than what I normally do around here; I’m excited to mix things up a little.

So, how do you feel about all this? Hit me up with your thoughts! Everything we do is for you, so it would be great to hear what you actually think of this inner monologue I’ve been in having in my head lately.

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  • From my end as a customer and blog reader, I think you are doing great. My only comment would be not to stress out about trying to make constant improvements. It’s OK to just keep things the same for a while! Regarding sewalongs, I just skip over reading them if I’m not interested, and that doesn’t bother me, though I would prefer to have more steps included in each post, with fewer total posts for the sewalong. If you are actually sewing along in real time, it’s nice not to have to wait so long for the next step. If you are going through old blog posts looking for a sewalong, it’s fewer posts to have to find.

    • Ha ha, no stress, sure Leila! STRESS IS THE AIR I BREATHE! Which is actually garbage and bad for me so I am really going to try and take your advice and take it easy.

      And I hear you regarding sewalong posts, but generally the reason they’re broken up is because each one takes so long to produce (seriously, hours) that for my own sanity it’s nice to break it down, even if it might not be as convenient for whoever is following along. Alex and I were discussing the possibility of bulk writing them and dropping them all at once but then we both started crying at the idea so, yeah, probably not πŸ™‚

  • Nicole

    I find the sew aligns to be super helpful and if I’m not sewing the pattern, then I just scroll past them. I frequently go back and look at parts of a sew along as a refresher, especially sizing/adjustments, sourcing fabrics, and collars! I would purchase both a kelly anorak and Clare coat online class as those are both at the top of my must sew list but I find I’m a tad nervous about making bust adjustments to the Clare etc. thank you for all you do! I love everyone of your patterns πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Nicole! Maybe we should film both! I just need to make a time machine and make it happen, haha.

  • Erika

    I agree with Leila — don’t stress out too much about your content! I think it’s all great. I tend to skim through sewalong posts, because even if it’s a pattern I’m not actively sewing, there are always good skills to learn anyway. I do miss reading about your personal makes, though, and I would love to see more of that content again. I would also be very interested in a Kelly Anorak workshop as I’m hoping to make one for myself this fall! Congrats on your new place and keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Erika! Alex and I brainstormed for a while today and I think a Kelly course could be doable…

      • Andrea

        yes please

  • Lori

    I love your blog just as you are running it now. I like the sewalongs and as Nicole said if I’m not sewing along then I just skip past them. But I know they are there when I may need them. I love following along with your online classes so would be up for any of the three you suggested.

    • So nice to hear Lori! Thanks for chiming in.

  • Congratulations on the move! I bet that feels really good. Cooking and entertaining and indulging other hobbies will be awesome, too!. As far as sewalongs go, I prefer just the posts that tackle the tough parts of the pattern; the rest I just skip over.

    • I feel the same way! I think there is something about the consistent order of a the whole process that some people find comforting though… But since we’re not really a “beginner” pattern company, maybe it’s not really necessary for the brand to provide that kind of hand holding for each pattern.

  • kalimak

    The sewalongs are great, and I think really, really helpful. The blog round-up posts are great, too, but I definitely don’t mind it if they’re less regular than every Sunday. One of the things I actually particularly like about them is learning what you’re reading at the moment. I have missed posts on your personal sewing, but I figured you were probably swamped with sample sewing, so no complaints! But when it comes to personal sewing, I personally like a good WIP post — or trouble, or even sewing fail post — as much as admiring a finished garment.

    In other words, please continue at your own rhythm. I continue to enjoy the blog as it changes.

    • Thank you for the kind words! I should definitely write more WIP posts – especially if you catch me in a rage (ie. like when I got tipsy, broke a zipper and had to cut myself out of a new dress and then repair it, haha)

  • Jenn

    Yes to a Clare coat online workshop! I’ve seen so many beautiful Clare coats with impeccable finishing’s, but a coat with some of those kind of details would be better with some guidance along the way…especially for my first coat.

    • Consensus seems to be slit between Clare & Kelly…. decisions decisions!

  • I love sewalongs! And if I’m not sewing them at the time of publishing, I’ll probably be going back to look at them at some time in the future. I agree that super basic stuff isn’t needed.

    A Kelly Anorak online course would be amazing. I’ve loved the jeans course, and while I’ve gotten the hardware and picked out fabric for an anorak, it would be really nice to have an online course to hold my hand considering how much I’m spending on materials.

    I’ve really enjoyed hearing about your kitchen updates on Instagram – I’ll basically read anything you put out because I love hearing about your design choices in ever context.

    • That’s so nice to hear Miriam! And I am definitely leaning toward a Kelly class – there is SO much I could really explore in depth and Alex and I were talking about some pattern mods/hacks we could make happne for it. Now I just need to think about timing!

  • Linda (ACraftyScrivener)

    Lots of questions asked! I skip the sewalongs if I am not sewing that pattern at that moment, but love knowing they are there if/when I sew the pattern. I recently did the FBA on the Kalle ages after you had done the sewalong, and it was awesome to have it there to refer to. One other comment I wanted to make was that don’t feel responsible for having to write all the tutorials for all the things. Create to fuel your artists soul, share if you wish, people will be inspired because you are a name/brand that they trust, but you don’t have to hand feed them!

    • Oh Linda, I wish I could get that last part tattooed somewhere I had to look at it every day! I needed that little bit of encouragement. My biggets heart’s desire is to for people to be confident enough to sew ALL THE THINGS and that means providing lots of resources to make that happen, but I guess it’s not always a good long term strategy if it makes me really, really tired haha

  • Tammy

    I skip a lot of sew alongs myself. Perhaps you may consider having a tab on your blog just for sew alongs? I like seeing what you’re making and what inspires you. Congrats on separating your business and home. It’s very hard to do when you’re a small business owner.

    • Thanks Tammy! We’ve been brainstoriming ways to maybe separate out the sewalong stuff form the main blog feed but I haven’t figured out all the technical aspects of that yet…

  • Rachael_R

    I don’t follow along with sew-a-longs but because I read in a reader, it’s really easy to skip those posts. I do find them helpful, though, and sometimes go back to them at time when I’m stuck on a new skill or technique, whether I’m sewing your patterns or someone else’s, because your instructions are always very clear and well photographed and help me wrap my head around something I’m not comprehending from a line drawing and two lines of text in pattern notes. πŸ™‚

    I like personal project/inspiration posts too, and love your link roundups!

    • That’s a nice compliment regarding our instructions πŸ™‚ It’s funny though, sometimes no matter how clear and concise a direction is, nothing really beats a photo showing you EXACTLY what to do! If it wouldn’t cost a billion dollars to print the booklets with full colour pictures i could probably avoid sewalongs altogether, haha.

  • kellicousins

    I agree with a lot of the folks here that the sewalong content is good and even if I’m not making the pattern I’m not annoyed by it. I like that you will refer people to other SALs when the process is the same (like the Kalle/Charlie FBA) rather than reiterating the process. And I’m the kind of nerd who reads SALs just to learn new skills, so. Keep it up.

    I love the idea of you sharing your non-CCF sewing practice and non-sewing-related DIY stuff here. I feel like that the CCF brand has been about your personal interests, and I’ve definitely missed some of the things you used to write about more (recipe sharing, Halloween, etc.). None of that’s a read about what the blog looks like now; it’s just to say that if you wanted to open this space up for non-sewing posts I’d be into that, too. And that weekly newsletter sounds awesome.

    As for the older patterns, I’m not much of a workshop gal, but I freakin’ love hacks and pattern mashups. So if you wanted to show how to Frankenstein a Clare with a Kelly center zip or a woven jumpsuit using Carolyn pants and a Kalle top or whatever, I’m here for it.

    And congratulations on the changes and battery charging! I’m glad the home/work separation is providing some peace-of-mind.

    • You really just threw out some crazy good franken pattern ideas lady! I definitely have some ideas for pattern mods so I will keep those ones in mind πŸ™‚

  • Carolyn Norman

    I kinda ignore the sew-along posts knowing that they are important to the business and to sewists who need them. I just swing back by and start reading the blog again when new material appears. I do like to see what you’re sewing and I love your weekly round up posts. Especially since they’ve introduced me to some bloggers I was unaware of. I think the newsletter update is a great idea and will look forward to.

  • Nina Graham

    I just want to start out by saying that ever since I discovered CCP via the Bombshell Swimsuit this spring I’ve been 100% obsessed and you can really do no wrong in my book. <3

    The incredibly helpful sewalongs are one of the things I love about your patterns; it makes me feel much more confident in purchasing a pattern that scares me (swimsuit, jeans, coat, etc) to know that there is a super detailed and photo-heavy set of posts around to hold my virtual hand. I'm hoping to tackle Claire once my womb-invader has exited my body, so would love an online workshop on that one! For patterns like Charlie that are pretty basic aside from the one tricky bit, it is completely sufficient to just have that one tricky bit explained thoroughly.

    I love following your personal projects on Instagram, and wouldn't mind seeing them on the blog too! I'd be more interested in reading about the sewing-related ones.

    • Happy you found us Nina!! Hope you made a killer Bombshell πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely cook up some more fun, personal sewing projects around here going forward.

  • Andrea

    I agree with everyone else, you are doing an amazing job. I really enjoyed the Ginger Jean online class and have made many pairs of jeans that I love and have purchased the Kelly Anorak pattern and kit to start one day soon, I would really love an online class for that – but saying that, I do have the skills to sew it independently and the instructions are very clear so I know I will manage the project – I really love how you include your personal tips and seeing it being done is my preferred way of learning. You go girl! stick with what you are passionate about, if you find something is a chore then don’t do it – I would prefer you to be happy and having your mojo than plodding your way through something that doesn’t give you a kick! then you will be with us and share your soul longer than decide its all too much and shut up shop (not that you are thinking that).

    • Yeah, my biggest nightmare is the idea I might lose the energy to do what I’m doing. I don’t think it will happen (although you never know ie. Sewaholic πŸ™ but I will definitely take your advice and guard my sewjo with this in mind.

  • Cristina

    Firstly, you are a pattern qween no matter how overwhelmed you are…you do you and we will all be your sewing minions anyway! Second, I would be in first in line for a Kelly Anorak class! Third, your sewalongs are great as they are…loved what you did with Charlie since it was just one tricky bit but liked that Kalle we more detailed.

    • Aww thanks Christina! I appreciate the encouragement, big time πŸ™‚

  • jain1023 .

    I really love your patterns, they have that unique, nobody has like sense of filling, and I happy for you for the moving and finding the right balance between life and work. But what started bothering me the most is that the blog lost its personal touch “Everything we do is for you…” the sewalongs are great ( in the sidebar of the menu) promotions are natural ( you are selling patterns) but I don’t see Heather anymore, just the Closet case patterns… its your goal I guess, but I finding myself reading the blog less and less…

    • I feel the same way! Its been nagging at me, so I’ll be making more of an effort to put some more sass back in this space for ya πŸ™‚

  • Honest Amanda

    Generally, I just skim sew alongs for patterns I’m not excited about. Sometimes I find that a technique is one that I’ll use on something else. And sometimes a pattern I had no interest in just needs to age and I then I come back to the sew along and am so glad it’s there waiting for me from bygone years. I agree with others that the main attraction to sew alongs is the confidence it gives me to pursue a pattern. Even if it’s a placebo.

    As for online workshops – yes Clare sounds great. But, even better would be to take that class in person . I’d love to travel for a Clare class. My Ginger class with you is still a highlight of all my sewing classes.

    As for non-sewing blog content, yeah, sure…whatever floats your boat. I’ll just skip anything that doesn’t interest me and come back for everything else. But, most DIY (food, decor, whatever) will have at least a little appeal in my world.

    • I am thinking about hosting classes here in Montreal! I just need to figure out where we can set up for a weekend… Clare is so intense with all the block fusing it would definitely be a three day affair.

      • Honest Amanda

        Sounds perfect! Count me in;-)

  • I don’t have a problem with sewalongs. I don’t read them, just mark as read and move along. Even if I plan to make the pattern, I only read it when I use it. I would also say that only the trickier steps need to be explained. Again, if I use a sewalong, I’ll only go to the steps I require.

    I’ve never used an online sewing class, so have no real opinion on it, although I prefer blogs over vlogs, which I never watch.

    And yes to all the other stuff. All the sewing please, because I find your makes inspiring, but I’m also interested in other stuff because I’m nosey and like to see other stuff going on.

    • I’M NOSEY TOO! My favourite “brand” blogs have a good mix of personal stuff thrown in, so I’m gonna make sure I get back to my (oversharing) roots.

      • I like to think of it as rounding out what would otherwise be a 2 dimensional version of a person. But “nosey” sums it up! πŸ˜‰

  • Pace yourself, Heather! Do what brings you joy. Ask for help and take help when it is offered.

    • All great advice, thank you. I’ve always been a bite off more than I can chew sort of lady though. It’s part of my crazy charm! *high pitched stress laugh*

  • I love all of this. I don’t wear or sew “pretty dresses” very often (almost NEVER), I love that your patterns lean more on the real-clothes-for-real-days end of the spectrum, and I love technique posts – even if it’s nothing new to me or a pattern I’m not particularly interested in.

    I also love the newsletter plan! ALL HAIL THE RETURN OF THE NEWSLETTERS! I’m so over feedly/flipboard/whatever.

    • I love my Feedly but honestly, I read like 300+ sewing blogs so sometimes stuff gets lost in the mix. I have a few great newsletters I read every week and I think we could make something really fun and more personal, since it gets sent directly to our inbox. Glad I’m not alone in my love of a good newsletter πŸ™‚

      • dang. I should add more blogs to my feedly. I think I’ve got close to 100, but I’m slackin’!

  • Laura

    I like the cut up sew alongs the are great to pin for later. I don’t need the full sew along but I love to pop in on a complicated step. Sometimes the sew along will peek my interest in sewing the garment or when I made jeans and swim wear they give me the confidence.

    • They’re so good when you’re feeling a little nervous, for sure….

  • I love your blog! I also love sewalongs, but like you say, only for things I’m actually sewing. When a blog gets taken over by one, I just stop reading it in my feed til it’s over. I do really dig your approach to sewing and personal style, so I miss the posting about your projects and whatnot. Also, this reminds me: those EARRINGS! I could probably put on my thinking cap and make those awesome fringe earrings you posted a while ago, but good god I’m lazy and would love to hear how you did it!

    • Yes I forgot I was going to do a tutorial post on them! I’m going to add thatt to my list….

  • Nadeen Coursen

    Sewalongs for complicated steps and techniques are always appreciated. I enjoy weekly round-up posts and newsletters. I’m most interested in personal projects/makes, and welcome their return to the blog.

    • I hear you Nadeen! More fun stuff coming your way!

  • Dana Bultje

    I really, really, REALLY miss the personal wardrobe posts. I mean, Closet Case Patterns is obviously a business and brand that you are building, but I love when brands still remain personal, and a sneak peak into the life of the owner definitely gives the feel of, “Yeah, this is a person like me.”

    As far as the sewalongs, I think the one you did with the Charlie Caftan was great. Obviously the pattern isn’t super crazy as far as techniques, so a sewalong with the usual dress details (sides, hems, etc.) would probably get a little stale, but it’s nice to have the trickier bits covered. For something like the Clare Coat, and patterns that are definitely more technical and out of the “normal” sewing world, I think a full sewalong is great.

    Perhaps interspersed among the sewalong posts there could be a more personal one… Maybe after every 2 or 3 sewalong posts a personal one gets put in, so that people who don’t need a sewalong, or are not working on that pattern at the time, still feel like there’s something they can browse.

    • That’s a really great suggestion. For some reason I felt like it was weird to break up the flow of a sewalong with a more personal post (and often the sewalongs take up SO much energy I’m like, ugh, no more blogging!) but I think that’s kinda silly when I really think about it. It might actually be the perfect solution since it’s the best of both worlds. Alex has also started taking over some of the sewalong posts (she shot all the Charlie stuff) so it might be easier for me to manage both types of blog content going forward. Thanks Dana!

  • Brenda

    I read sewing blogs for ideas of what to sew myself, and to see the great things others are making. So I skip sewalongs and usually avoid blogs associated with pattern companies, actually. I’ve enjoyed this one though because of the Sunday links, the peeks at what Heather is making for herself, and other fun posts–trips to France! I’m puzzled about the push to newsletters generally though…isn’t this just extra work for the blogger? Why not just post to the site? I assume you can track readers just as easily. So all this is to say I like the blend of interesting content that has always been here.

    • Hi Brenda. Thanks for chiming in! I’ve been toying with the idea of re-jigging the wrap up post for a while. I like the idea of it being a consistent email since I have a few newsletters I LOVE getting and read every week; it feels more personal than just clicking links on a blog post somehow. But I will definitely try to post more personal stuff in the future…

  • Pam

    I love your blog, Heather! I’ve particularly enjoyed the recent inspiration posts that you shared for the Kalle and Charlie. Of course, I love when you share what you’ve made for yourself, but I really haven’t minded the recent sew a longs either. I totally geek out on the technical aspects of sewing, so even though I already know perfectly well how to assemble a collar, I still like looking at photos of how it’s done! I definitely appreciate the hard work that you put into the tutorials. I’ve also enjoyed your instagram stories, so if some of that non sewing related content wound up on the blog, it wouldn’t bother me a bit! Non sewing diy stuff would be cool too. I think that if you share the things on your blog that make you happy, then your readers will be happy as well.

  • Catherine Daze

    Glad to hear you’re in a good place now and congrats on the move! I like the sewalongs; I dip into them to pick up tips about things like sewing collars even if I’m not sewing the garment you’re covering. I’ll really miss the weekly roundup posts though, and it’s for a slightly strange reason. Email (even my personal account) is full of stuff that’s a chore to deal with so I don’t risk opening my inbox when I’m relaxing, and when I am dealing with email it’s ‘work’ time so I don’t read the fun stuff then either. So sadly I doubt I’ll read them much if they go to email. Yeah I’m weird.

    • I get it! Email is stressful! Have you tried Inbox Zero? GAME CHANGER! My inbox is way less stressful now. If you use gmail, i also suggest turning on keyboard shortcuts. Then when you press “E” you can automatically archive emails super quickly.

      • Catherine Daze

        Inbox Zero is brilliant! But email is fundamentally a work activity for me πŸ™‚

  • Sandra BRAIDA

    Hello Heather !
    I totally understand how you felt before moving, I’m just in the same situation right now. And I’m ‘suffocating’ (I don’t know if it’s the correct word ;)). I early feel the need to separate private and professional things, I have 2 Instagram accounts, 2 blogs (one for my shop L’Γ©chappΓ©e Laine, talking about knitting and shop news, tutorials…. Only. A little formal maybe ?) And one second for sewing and other things.
    Now, I can’t wait to find a place for work. Working at Home seems to be a dream but you don’t authorize yourself tout do anything else than working. I have a heavy mental charge especially during summer when the activity is low… I don’t authorize myself to sew ans I’m really sad about this. (I want to finish my floral Kalle πŸ˜‰ )
    So, maybe you could create a second blog, more personal, as you have your private apartment and your professional studio ?
    Anyway, you’re doing an Amazing job ans I’m really admiring of this ! So I hope this will last 😊 Don’t hesitate to contact if you Come back to Lille ! Cheers 😊

    • Sandra BRAIDA

      Sorry for the spelling and typing errors, damn corrector !

    • Hi Sandra! I thought about splitting up the IG accounts, but ugggghh. More accounts to manage just stresses me out. Maybe eventually? But for now I’m happy to mix personal and professional. Emily Henderson is a great designer/blogger who manages to tread that line really well and I’m taking the lead from her πŸ˜‰

  • I like the monday morning round-ups as there is a lot of stuff I miss and you feature some gorgeous links, I am the same as Lelia, I tend not to read sew-a-longs but then I assume other people find them motivational…. I also think its important to change things up and let any growth go a bit organic (especially blogs as I think its their nature) congratulations on your new sewing space and best of luck with new kitchen….. (we are getting our kitchen and bathroom done here soon, and I am nervously getting the camping toilet out of stoarge…)

    • AH HAHAHA! I am scared to google camping toilet. Is it just a bucket with a hole on top? πŸ˜‰

      One of my sewing buds was in kitchen reno hell for like two years and they set up a crazy camp kitchen in the spare room. She washed dishes in the bathtub for two years. YOU CAN DO THIS QWEEN!

  • Welcome back! I have missed your charming posts, your roundups etc. I can’t be bothered with sewalongs, they remind me of the reason I refused to study literature at A level- I don’t like anyone telling me what I should sew/read at any given time! I know new sewists these days like having their hands held, but it is all very repetitive as you say. Perhaps just a YouTube channel where you post the various tutes and leave people to access them as they wish? Now, let’s make some priddy things!

    • I don’t use YouTube frequently so I never gravitated towards it but maybe I should experiment! I do like making my instastories….

  • I love reading your “real content” posts and usually skip the sewalongs. However, when I actually make a garment I find googeling instructions faster and easier than opening the instructions file, mostly because I don’t have my computer close to my sewing table, and files don’t work that well on my phone. With easier or familiar patterns, all I need is easy access to basic information such as seam allowance and basic reminder of order of construction. If you can include this, even on pattern pieces, than I’d skip the sewalong altogether.

    I’d be happy to read more content about DIY projects, how you manage the buiseness, and any real-people stuff such as handling ‘stressure’ (stress+pressure)as a growing small business.

    Your sanity and well being are more important than patterns and sewing, if you don’t like writing something, don’t do it… You are your own boss!

    • We started including seam allowances on pattern pieces. We have it written a few times in the instructions but a lot of people skip reading them so we’re trying to make it more obvious πŸ™‚

      STRESSURE! Best word ever hahaha

  • Joke (The Needle Of Choice)

    Hi Heather! I’m a very new reader here, basically since I discovered the Charlie Caftan <3 . I used to sew mostly for my boys, and I hope to change that soon, so I will be reading here more often. I hop you don't mind me already sharing my thoughts…
    When there's a sew-along that I'm not participating in, I just skip it. There, that's that :-D. For your own blog, my personal opinion is that it should be fun for you. I know it's also work, of course, but if you "have to" write that next post, where's the fun, where's the soul in it? Write with love, write with passion and it will be perfect!

  • Robyn Fogler

    I agree. Change is really, really important. And I am glad that your changes feel like an improvement. I am currently working on changing my sewing areas as well. As far as the sew-alongs go, I really don’t follow along as I feel I can’t always commit the time to them. They are however available for reference if I need them but, I usually just skip reading them. I do love videos and am willing to pay for them so I have them as a reference to fit around my schedules. I am looking forward to seeing all that comes from your creative corner.

    • Thanks Robyn! Hope your sewing space turns out awesome. Now I have to think about what to do with my little sewing corner in the new place too πŸ™‚

  • I have loved reading your blog for years, it’s always been a refreshing mix of your makes, your patterns and “what you are loving at the moment”. I tend to skip over the sewalongs for patterns I’m not making, but I can’t tell you enough how much I value the time you put into them-because I know one day I will need them! I read over the Ginger Jeans tutorials so many times- I think you’ve actually spoiled me because now I want the same treatment from other companies! Your personal makes are always great, and I would love to see DIY’s for other projects!

    Also, it is awesome to hear that I’m not just a bad girlfriend because I don’t want to cook dinner in the same apartment I work in. I live where I work and I hate when people say how great it must be to work from home. It’s hard because you never leave work! I am so happy for you that you found a place to call home, separate from work.

    Thanks for the constant inspiration (and the amazing patterns). I have plans for two more Kelly’s and there are so many more Ginger’s in my future.

    • You’re not a bad girlfriend! Thankfully my partner has his own place so whenever i needed to escape I could go to his apartment. Hopefully you’ll find a way to get work out of the house too one day πŸ™‚

      • Connie Turner

        Partner has own place is the best way to do things if you can afford it. You both have plenty of alone time that way.

        • We were planning on moving in together this spring but we both really like having our own space and we live 2 minutes away from each other by foot, so decided to enjoy our own spaces for another year or so. Thankfully Montreal has a very low cost of living so we can still afford to do so.

  • Connie Turner

    I always enjoy your blog, have been following for years through Peter Lappin’s blog roll. I signed up for your newsletter and look forward to the weekly round up you do whenever you can get it going again. I enjoy seeing the things you make for yourself so continue that as soon as you can. I’m glad your business is growing and you are able to make a living doing what you love to do.

    • Thank you Connie, your presence has been much appreciated around her over the years! Do you mind me asking how you follow through Peter’s blog roll? Google analytics tells me Peter sends me tons of traffic but I’ve never figured out how!

      • Connie Turner

        When I found Peter’s blog I found a list of other sewists on the side of his page, I clicked on all of them and found lots of interesting blogs and kept following them that way. I found Marcy Harriell and Carolyn of Sewing Fanatic, lots of others that I have been following for years. I’ve learned so much from them all.

  • I don’t sew along with sewalongs but sometimes I skim the blog posts to see if there’s any general tips to be gleaned from the content. Otherwise I just ignore them. I do like being able to go back to sewalong posts if there’s a tricky step that I want spelled out more than what’s in the pattern booklet.

    And I’m looking forward to getting the Weekly blog roll updates in my email – I read blogs in Feedly on my iPad and it’s not easy to open a bunch of tabs from all the links, and I end up letting those blog posts pile up and I often never actually read them. If it’s sent to my email I’ll look at them on my computer during a break at work πŸ™‚

    • I’m the same way! I am way more likely to click on links in newsletter i subscribe to than blogs I follow, maybe because when i’m in blog reader zone I’m already reading like 500 blogs at a time haha

  • First, can we address the fact that buying a house is stressful? And renovating a house is stressful? Even though it’s fun to build/decorate/fill a new space, that is still a huge weight. So I’m giving you permission to feel burn-out as much as you need for the rest of this calendar year. Or longer! (I bought my first house in February and friends had to keep reminding me why I was so tired/emotional/overwhelmed.)

    Second, I’ve definitely missed the more personal content over here. (I didn’t miss the link round-ups, partially because other bloggers do them as well, and mostly because I tend to start following people you link, which means most of what you share isn’t fresh. This is perhaps only a problem for us internet collector/gatherer types, but I do feel like the longer someone does a link roundup, the pressure to find fresh content increases. You may have reached the point of diminishing returns, which is okay to admit.) Back to personal content: I love seeing things you’ve made, I love hearing about business decisions you make, and I’m not going to be mad if you throw in a recipe for a good cocktail or pickled vegetable. Not that you SHOULD move in the direction of a Lifestyle Brand, but I think adding a sprinkling of that type of thing can add a lot of personality/approachability as your business becomes more and more profesh.

    Third, what about finding creative ways to recycle old content? I suspect you have a LOT of new readers, and they might enjoy seeing some more of the archives. (Heck, even long-time readers might have forgotten things.) I don’t think it’s wise to simply repost, but to repackage or link to old content that could be useful can increase our engagement without overburdening your output. (BHL is great at linking to old tutorials, and a non-sewing blog that’s REALLY GREAT at leading people down rabbit trails to old content is Young House Love.)

    But really, I want you to do whatever is sustainable. Because we benefit from having your work in the world.

    • Omg, SO. STRESSFUL. I’m not gonna lie. The last few months have probably taken years off my life, especially since at the last moment I realized I screwed up and couldn’t use some of my retirement savings for a big chunk of the downpayment and had to resort to my Line of Credit (cue barfing emoji). Moving is ESPECIALLY stressful for me since i moved like 20 times when I was a kid and it’s tied up with a lot of anxiety and instability from that time. I’m a major nester and like really digging in and staying put for this exact reason so I’m hoping I won’t need to move again for a loooooong time. Although the decorating has been fun, it’s also super stressful because i’m a crazy perfectionist control freak who second guesses every single decision and I’m always worried I am making a huge mistake i’ll regret forever after. It’s crazy how much harder it is to make these decisions for myself than it was when I made them for other people as an interior designer.

      So many great suggestions here! Grainline is also great at reposting older content – I need to get more organized about doing that, and I will definitely dream up some pickle recipes for you hahaha. I HAVE SO MUCH ROOM TO CAN!

  • I’m with the “thedementedfairy” πŸ™‚ A youtube (like the Fold Line) channel with updates might be easier and it would bring in a host of new followers. I don’t know time-wise if it would be less than writing and editing a long blog post? It would be a great way to promote your online classes which are fabulous by the way πŸ™‚ I always enjoyed your round-ups and just skip over your posts on sew-a-longs like everyone else.

    • I’ve thought about Youtube, but since i’m not really a youtube watcher except for the occasional thing, it’s never really struck me since i’m not a devoted user if that makes sense. Maybe something to experiment with!

  • Kerry

    Well Heather you’ve earned yourself quite a fan club, and surely I must be one of your oldest groupies. I so enjoy the whole process of making your patterns right from the cutting to the wearing. As for the sewalongs, I think they are brilliant for those that need more of a hand holding, and for me too during those “Whaaaaa?” moments. I must admit that I google the tricky steps, as I find it’s faster than trying to find them on the blog. I get that they only dole out 24 hours in a day and you need to maintain a personal life too or you will indeed burn out. Woman, you’re only human like the rest of us fergawdssake. I remember you did a podcast where you spoke about your journey, and I really enjoyed listening to that. Nice to see the pictures of your pups thrown in there too. Instagram is my go-to for inspiration.

    • I swear, if i could choose a superpower it would be to add MORE HOURS IN THE DAY! I could get EVERYTHING DONE FINALLY!

  • Val M

    I like tutorials and sew alongs when I’m working on something – I absolutely always reference them before I start sewing. But, I really do love knowing about your personal sewing too – that’s why I read the blog on a regular basis, to be honest. So, to me, a mix of both is the best way to go to keep me reading each day. Re: your questions about sew alongs, I don’t think they’re fully necessary for every pattern, especially if they’re simple. But I like the idea of having tutorials on difficult bits of patterns, and perhaps full “courses” on items like the Kelly Anorak – that could be a way to maintain the “how to” content without hijacking the blog with it. Just my two cents!

    • Thanks for the advice Val! The tutorials/courses thing is basically where I want to go going forward (I love making workshops waaaaaaayyyy more than sewalongs, what a slog!) so I’m happy to hear you’re down with that.

  • Julianne Sharer

    Might I suggest a separation of church and state with the sewalongs? That is, post them some other way, perhaps in a different feed, and periodically point to them from this blog. Like many others, I skip the sewalongs for garments I’m not making right away, but truly appreciate their existence when I’m ready (as in, I’m gearing up to make jeans…)

    I devour all your other content, and especially enjoy your writing voice there, which is different from the instructional, professional one in the sewalongs. I may owe you royalties for my use of the phrase “unicorn eyelashes”.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of mailing lists. They’ve turned me off since I began to hear “create a mailing list!” as canned advice for internet entrepreneurs to market to people. I don’t mind you marketing to me, but don’t enjoy consuming content in two different channels just so a company can do who knows what with my email address. Not that I think that you will personally abuse it, but this is how I have come to perceive mailing lists in general now, and that would unfortunately spill over onto yours.

    • Yeah, I’m discussing with my web lady how we could separate the streams of sewalong and regular content. I think there’s a way, I just need to tinker with it.

      I hear what you’re saying about mailing lists, but honestly I love them! I have a few I follow devotedly and it’s like having a good friend email me once a week with treats. I’m working on a template right now for ours and the format let’s me be a little more creative, like creating boxes for reader-suggested sewing tips and things like that. I’m ready to change up the format a bit if it helps me get my round-up juices flowing again πŸ˜‰

  • April Berlanga

    Hey Heather πŸ™‚ I always enjoy your posts whatever they may be. I’m sure the ones you enjoy writing are more enjoyable for us as readers, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Love & appreciate what you do for the sewing community!
    xo April

  • Chicmamainedh

    I was drawn to your blog years ago, before you started making patterns and I truly miss that personal aspect of it. Since redoing the website format, my opinion is that it’s become much more business oriented and lost that fun, personal touch. Ummm, I don’t mean that as a criticism, I mean you have to make money :). I actually just bought my first pattern from you after all these years! I purchase Charlie because it is so, so cute, perfect for summer, and I love a caftan. I do not think a sew a long is necessary for most patterns, that’s what the directions are for, but I do love the styling ideas and that you made the tutorials for the trickiest bits, like the center panel (I am on my second and have yet to perfect it, but don’t care that much ;)). Anyway, I would love to hear more from YOU. I love living vicariously through you as a single entrepreneur who reads great books and prepares sardine dishes, (I am a teacher and a mom, who loves fashion). I miss that from you. It was special.

    • I hear you! I’ve been missing the more personal aspect too, so I’m glad that is being confirmed – more from me coming yoru way!

  • Jenna Sprague

    Real talk for a second? Your blog and patterns were one of the top reasons I started sewing. Then I went tumbling down the rabbit hole of sewing blogs and amazing pattern designers and now I have this bad ass new skill that brings some serious happiness into my life. So for all the amazing patterns, blog posts, pictures, and inspiration you give to all of your readers I feel it is COMPLETELY cool you do whatever you want to do that makes you happy! Buying, moving, renovating? Girl, just thinking about that made me what to mix up a cocktail…I love your personal makes. For newbies like me it always provides a lighten bolt of inspiration for SOMETHING and that is always awesome. And workshops for some coats sound great! They would absolutely help get over some of the intimidation factor of the patterns (I mean, I could get through them, but a workshop would most likely cut down on tears and expletives and it’s all about that inner peace, right??)

    • Jenna, that is the best compliment ever. I’m so happy if I’ve been any help at all on your sewing journey! It makes me get a little weepy just thinking about it!

  • Quinn May

    I have been missing your sewing round up posts as I really do enjoy them, but I know sometimes it’s good to put something on the shelf for a time in order to focus on other things. I’m a big fan of eliminating stress in life, and doing what you want/like to do… and sometimes you just can’t do everything you want/like to because there is just to much, you gotta pick and choose.

    I have taken your Sophie Swimsuit and Ginger Jeans classes and LOVE them. They are SO comprehensive, answering so many questions, it’s almost like you’re in the room with me… except I can pause you and take more time doing certain things if I need to πŸ˜‰ So I think offering more classes is a fantastic idea! I would love to add a water resistant Kelly Anorak to my wardrobe, as well as a Clare coat with that exposed zipper, so I could see me purchasing those classes.

    As for the newsletter, I’m excited to see what you do with it.

    • I am so thrilled to hear you liked the classes! And aAlex and I were talking about doing a waterproof Kelly in the class, complete with waterproof seams and everything…

  • A total YES to DIY posts. Especially anything interior related. About to move into a house myself and am on an interior-obsessed Pintrest quest, spending all my money on sales in intererior shops. Luckily I live in Sweden so they are EVERYWHERE. Anyway, yes. DIY posts are a yay. Secondly, I love your sewalongs and the fact that they are split up. Makes it a bit more pedagogical, and it’s a natural way of me to split my sewing up according to the steps in the posts. I rarely spend more than a few hours at a time. Working on Charlie right now! Finally – your new place looks brilliant. Would love to see a guided tour on here! And don’t worry about it looking puuurfect. None of us are, and really it’s just such a f-ing RELIEF to see that other people aren’t either.

    • Is Sweden the greatest country ever for furniture shopping? The fantasy I have in my head is perfect; I’m trying to do a kinda California/Scandinavian thing in my house right now.

      • Swedes are obsessed with interiors, IKEA being the main proof of this, but I think the Dane’s may actually have (and it pains me to say this as a Swede) better style. Just all their kitchen stuff…. *drool*. Check out this wonderful haven of Danish design for proof https://www.illumsbolighus.com/

  • First off, I have been seriously impressed by how many amazing patterns you’ve put out this spring and summer, and even more so that you’ve done it while buying a house, fixing it up, and moving! Serious props, and I hope you are able to really relax while you’re in France. I also bought my first house earlier this year with my partner, and omg it was insanity. Exhausting, exciting insanity.

    As for the blog: I mostly skim over sewalongs and don’t need them to sew patterns, but I will say that your tips and tricks (things like the different ways to turn a collar with sharp points) are really useful even if I’m not making the current pattern. I’m happy to skip over sewalong posts that aren’t relevant to me, but I’m also ok with you doing fewer of them if you have other places you’d rather spend your time and energy. As for non-sewing content, I have been seriously enjoying your instagram stories and would love to see more updates about your condo, studio, and behind the scenes business stuff on the blog. Those sorts of posts are always some of my favs πŸ™‚

    But to echo other commenters – you are doing amazing work, and I’m a huge fan no matter what direction things go in. You do you (as much as you can!) and we’ll be here cheering you on. And please give yourself a break if/when you need it (as hard as that is) <3

    • Thank you Caitlin! It’s been a totally crazy year so far. Super ready to just chill at my inlaws house and do NOTHING for two weeks.

  • Good to hear from you, Heather! Re: your questions:
    I don’t *love* seeing a bunch of sewalong posts for something I’m not sewing, but it’s easy enough to click “mark as read” and not have to worry about seeing them again, so don’t worry about it being a huge bother. As a sewer, I generally only want some hand-holding with the trickier steps.

    I would *love* to see your DIY projects here, too! I’m an avid DIY-er myself, and need to get better about blogging my home decoration/home renovation projects. I always love seeing what other people are into in that sphere, but tend not to subscribe to blogs that focus solely on those projects because all the photos are *too* picture-perfect for my liking (they make me feel inadequate!).

    As wonderful as your patterns are, I really do love hearing about all of your personal stuff, too – personal sewing projects, personal travels, whatever you feel like sharing. Though I’ve never met you, I feel like I know you, because your writing is very intimate and real. Thank you for that!

    I hope you get some time to recharge, and have fun in France! (I miss my good-old-days over there – I lived in Aix-en-Provence for a while and dream of going back someday.)

    • Gotcha. Definitely have some more personal/DIY plans coming up!

  • Mindy

    Seems that I’m in the minority, but I would love to have an online course for the Carolyn pajamas. Also, like everyone else has already mentioned, take however much time you need during your moving transition. I can’t imagine how stressful that would’ve been to have personal and business overlap in a physical space. Glad you now have space to feel like your old self again.

    • We’re talking about doing a full sewalong for that pattern rather than a class….

  • Late but sincere : I’m going to tell you what You Already Know: You gotta do what matters to you, and we will come along or not. But frankly, us people, we can smell dis-ingeniousness a mile away. Or a kilometer or two. Continual rebranding (or:moving the deck chairs) rather than adding new content always seems suspicious, even if it’s a popular activity these days.

    And glad you didn’t bleach the shelves. It doesn’t really work, and whitewashing them looks tres shabby beach chic. As long as they aren’t fir, they will stay that sweet soft color.

  • Liz

    I think it’s great that you are asking for input from readers. I’ve been reading for a while (since before I was sewing really) and I’ve watched the blog change over the years. I like your current format and, as a novice sewist, I really appreciate your sewalongs, even when I’m not making the garment. I usually learn something, and if I’m really not interested, it’s easy to scroll past.

    That said, I’d also love more diy and personal sewing. I remember referring to your Coco posts religiously when making my first one. Also, I’d love a Clare coat class. It’s at the top of my list, but coats seem so overwhelming.

    • So happy to have you chime in Liz. And also that you’re well on your way to sewing ninja level πŸ™‚

  • Catherine

    Please keep the tutorials! I often refer to them, especially for trickiest steps. You truly have a knack for breaking things in chewable bites. I just finished my first Charlie and the posts on the front insert helped tremendously. I very much enjoy the round-ups – discovered many other sewing blogs thanks to you. And I * love * it whenever you share your personal makes – these posts are great source of inspiration. Your blog is one I look forward to read and I’ll follow you wherever you want to take us next. Cheers!

  • Tomasa

    I think you are doing a great job! You have had lots of good things happening but they also contribute to the stress level. Hope you enjoy your time in France and can take a much needed breather. Enjoy the rest of the summer!

  • Another suggestion- take a look at the tutorials on the Style Arc site. I adore Style Arc, they are my 2nd most-used company, closely following Vogue. They have a lot of tutorials on specific aspects that relate to various patterns. Not the whole thing, just mayve a special zip insertion, welt pocket or other detail. Some only relate to one pattern, some to many. It is simple to find, simple to use, and doesn’t get boring!

  • Maybe put the sewalong in separate section and upload all the posts at once? That way, people who follow along can choose their own speed of reading?

    • I think we might do that s an experiment with an older pattern and see how it goes. Getting them all ready before the pattern launches would be a Herculean job though – sewalongs are like two full time weeks of work.

  • Donna Emberson

    Hi Heather – Love your blog, love your tutorials and sew alongs, and would really like to see the Kelly Anorak as a tutorial, as it’s a little more technical than some of your other patterns. I have always found that your pattern instructions are complete, educational, informative and cohesive enough to complete your designs with no problems; however, I have been sewing for over 40 years! I love that you share your personal sewing as well as bits and pieces of your personal life because it makes it seem like we are sharing – sewing, experiences, DIYs and life “stuff’. Change and growth are all part of life and your year has been super busy – enjoy your holiday, and come back refreshed and ready to Rock the Canadian Sewing World! Cheers – Donna

  • Caroline

    In the immortal words of Billy Joel, don’t go changing (except for the bits that are stressing you out, and also let’s just agree to forget that he wrote that song about the wife he left for Christie Brinkley).

    Everything you post makes me happy. I just flip through sewalong stuff or patiently wait for a non-sewalong post if I’m not into it. I would LOVE to see DIY posts, and I love rando musings and posts about your personal makes a ton. I’m totally into getting a fun and link-y newsletter. Do/post what makes you happy and keeps you from burning out. Your instincts are great, so follow them. You’ve got a total “If you build it, they will come” set up right now, so do what keeps you happy and engaged. We’re here because we already like you and what you do, and the same will be true for new folks that discover you. Unless they suck, and you don’t need to cater to sucky people, right?

    And yes, more video classes would be awesome.

    • Quoting Billy Joel? A GIRL AFTER MY OWN HEART. Thanks for the encouragement Caroline! Means a lot.

  • Emily

    As a relatively new (and unconfident) sewer, I say – I’m not super fussed with the sewalongs per se (because I don’t have a huge amount of free time so I’m inevitably not sewing along at the same time as you!) but the tutorial posts are really helpful. I recently made the Carolyn pyjamas and would definitely have struggled with the collar without a post to reference. Youtube is an interesting idea but I worry I’d spend ages trying to freeze it and rewind it to check stuff? Not so fussed about the fabric inspiration posts though, if only because it’s really hard to visualise the fabrics on a monitor anyway. More of the stuff you have been making would be great though, it really inspires me with new makes – and I also vote yes please to the odd DIY piece!

  • Kristin

    Heather, I start my week with a read of Canadian and British sewing bloggers, beginning with yours. (I confess I even hit the sewing blogs before my work email and the news!) I see by the thoughtful and plentiful (!) commentary that I am not alone. I have never followed a sew-a-long but don’t mind seeing them. I love the blog round up you have done and marvel at the wonderful things others have made…and that you have shared them. I can see you wanting to switch it up with a newsletter but I am disinclined to read those. I would be interested in hearing more about the “after” part of what you and others have sewn. How have items performed? How have the pockets of a Kelly Anorak been a lifesaver? Or the breeziness of a Charlie caftan turned a beach day from lovely enjoyment into sublime bliss? I’m interested in what it means to wear these things, because that’s why we sew, right? And I’d like to know more about the pattern namesakes. Why Charlie? Because her stories about sewing wedding attire and wearing said wedding attire are fall-off-the-chair funny? Or because she wears dresses so well? Finally, I totally miss the dog stories. I am not a dog person, but yours are quite sweet.

    • After posts are a great idea! Something to think about going forward.

      As for dog stories… they are on my IG stories almost daily, the ling ding dongs. And I chose Charlie because I fell in love with her when I listened to her Seamwork episode, and even more as a I got to know her on the blog. Sewing kinship!

  • Mary in AZ

    Heather, we all go through stressful periods in life. Take out your calendar. Pick a date in the future and write in the box: NEW DAY, STRESS OVER. Whether it happens on that day or not, it gives you something to look at and look forward to. In the meantime, move the dishes out of the bathtub (been there, done that!) and fill it up with bubble bath. Take a nice long soak while listening to soothing music of your choice. For some reason, I always feel better after a long soak and washing my hair! Cheers!

    • I love this idea! The house stress is *mostly* over (my dishwasher works!!) but you know, I live in a daily mild stress ball so its basically back to business as usual haha.

  • also_amandabee

    I’m legit wishing that at least some of your new apartment projects were blogged. I think it was you, but I don’t even know, who chronicled your shelving in Instagram Stories. I want to look back at those posts but they’ve all evaporated!