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.  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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