Life of a sewing blogger (I’m turning 10 this year!)

March 15, 2018 26 Comments

Life of a sewing blogger (I’m turning 10 this year!)

March 15, 2018 26 Comments

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of my blog (hooray!) so I figured I should do a little blog related post with some throwback pics. Having a blog does make you aware of how time passes and life changes.

Why I started blogging

I was an early adopter of the sewing interwebs (I began in 2003) and around 2005 it seemed like everyone was starting a sewing blog. But I held it off initially since I was spending my entire workday writing and taking photos (I was a newspaper journalist at the time) and I wasn’t sure I could muster doing even more of the same in my spare time. Instead, I was pretty active on sites like Pattern Review, Flickr and Artisan Square. But then in the fall of 2008, I got this massive itch to start blogging and that led to the birth of my blog.

 

The best part about blogging

There are so many!

First: For me, it’s a creative outlet where I can create content without any boundaries, in my day job I’m always giving voice to someone else’s messages so this is a space where I can be me. Also, I’ve always created content since I was a little child, like DIY magazines, “radio shows”, photo art, local tv-programs, short stories, etc. So having a blog is just another expression of that desire to always create tangible work and tell stories.

Second: It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. Both to document all the hard sewing work I do and secondly that I can share my knowledge with others and not let it stay inside my head.

Third: The community! I’ve made wonderful connections through the blog and I treat my blog as an ongoing conversation with my readers, I want it to feel like I’m chatting with you!

 

The worst

So.Much.Work. Which is also why I took a long and unplanned blog break when I broke my wrist in 2012. So when I returned to blogging I had a much more structured content plan and I also enlisted my daughter to take the outfit photos. Both things have helped a lot to make the blogging process smoother. But it’s still a lot of work and I sometimes think about if I will end up taking another blog break in the future.

 

My most read blog post

My Ultimate guide to coverstitching. I’m super proud of that blog post since it encompasses a lot of how I want my content to be like. It’s structured very different from most tutorials (that just tell you what to do). Instead, my blog post is like a journey of discovery, born out of my own frustrations with coverstitching. And I try to get to the bottom of what causes all these issues, especially when the machine is less than great. Also, I interviewed an expert in the post, since I don’t believe in trying to be the sole voice of wisdom (which is also why I let a bunch of other makers also share their knowledge in my book Sewing Activewear: How to sew professional-looking athletic wear).

 

Spoonflower sports fabric shorts

How many blog posts a week?

Three! This I’m also very proud of, especially in these times where there are so many other social channels to keep us busy. To be honest, these days not many sewing bloggers maintain such a regular publishing schedule, because it’s just too big of a time commitment. I credit my ability to be consistent as a side effect of the 10+ years I spent as a journalist. Also, I have a pretty strict schedule and I post on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Having this structure helps me to be consistent as well.

 

My best tips for budding sewing bloggers

Write about what you actually care about

You should focus on what you feel a burning desire to share with the world. Yes, it is important to be strategic in order to grow, but what you need is to be strategic with the content you are passionate about and not just strategic for the sake of it. Because if you just write for SEO or are trying to buck on trends that you don’t really care for, you will get bored quickly and readers can tell that you are not being genuine.

Be consistent

Being consistent will give you a huge advantage and if you want to grow, aim for at least one blog post a week. Plan ahead and batch create content to help you stay on track. And if you do struggle with consistency from time to time, a tip is to not start your posts apologising for your long absence and promise that you will be more frequent from now on (when in reality you might not be able to keep that promise). Unless someone is paying you to blog, you make your own rules so there is no need to apologise!

Keep the ideas coming!

I’ve done an entire video on how to never run out of ideas when creating sewing content that I think is pretty good 🙂

Repurpose your content

There are many ways to give new life and spins to old content. So if you have a popular post on a topic, there is nothing wrong with taking bits from that post and add some new info and create a brand new blog post. Most (well, probably all) of our readers will not have read every single post that we have written, so there is always a new audience for similar content!

 

The future of the sewing blog

I think the sewing blog heydays are over, but there is still a demand for the written word and having helpful sewing content that is easy to find (compared to Facebook and Instagram). Also having a blog makes me less dependent on algorithms and all that jazz (but I am still dependent on Google for sure). In fact, my blog readership is at an all-time high right now, even better than the heydays around 2009-2011. So I have not personally felt the death of the sewing blog.

But who knows what the future holds? For me, my YouTube-sewing channel is the area where I see the most growth, so an educated guess is that video is gradually replacing the blog for more and more people.  Instagram and Facebook also have a strong pull on the sewing community, but I’m still a big believer in also creating evergreen, and easy to find, content that can help and inspire people for many years to come.

 

Jumping for joy, since I’m so grateful for having you reading and commenting on my blog!

So what are your thoughts on sewing blogs? Do you still think they have a place or do you believe that they are soon to be replaced by other forms of sewing media?

Johanna Lundström

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26 Comments

  • PsychicSewerKathleen March 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    You do create a lot of content Johanna! 3 times a week is stunning 🙂 I’ve been sending out an ezine monthly since 2003, and been operating web sites since ’97 (not sewing related) so I KNOW what you’re talking about in terms of creating content, writing regularly and consistently… and sometimes feeling as though it’s a burden. I just started a sewing blog last year which means I’m writing in that once a month too…3 times a week would definitely be too much for me! I’ve been considering a youtube sewing video series – I have a youtube channel already which features some lectures I’ve given or media appearances etc. – because I enjoy watching them so much! I think there is a huge following and sewists are hungry for more sewing youtube videos for sure. I’m just hesitant because creating video is whole new level of responsibility, equipment etc. but it’s the EDITING that stops me to be honest. Editing videos can take up enormous gulps of time – unless a person has actually done this, they have NO IDEA :))

    I love the work you do and I’ve learned so much from you. You inspire me and have given me some really helpful guidance on working with knits 🙂

    • Johanna March 16, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Wow, doing an ezine for 15 years! You deserve a big pat on the back! I guess at this point it gets kinda like a matter of principle to keep that consistency, you wouldn’t want to mess with such a long streak! And yes videos can a be a huge undertaking, that said I see sewing vloggers that do very minimal editing and still get plenty of views. Makes me wonder if I’m focusing on the right things 🙂 But once we get bitten by editing bug it’s hard to do lazy work, so I can understand your trepidation about devoting so much time to the editing. And it makes me very happy to hear that you learned from my content, that has been my biggest driving force from the beginning with the blog, so it gives me a huge sense of validation hearing this <3

  • Faye Lewis March 15, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve read, been inspired by and have learned here for a loooong time, and truly missed you when you were gone. Wishing you many more blogging years!

    • Johanna March 16, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thank you Faye and yay to you for being such a consistent blogger! You have been doing this for longer than I have! So many from that time has kinda stopped so I love that you are still blogging so much and so regularly still! Plus your skills blows my mind!

  • Kathy March 16, 2018 at 2:00 am

    I LOVE sewing blogs! I just plain love reading. And I especially love yours for some reason. 😁 I think it’s partly your genuineness and partly because you live and sew in a different country and it’s so fascinating to be connected this way. ( I’m in the US.) I don’t sew the kinds of things you do and I’m a lot older, but you have great tips and explain things well. I like your video conversations too, of course, because it’s lovely to put a voice and face together, but they’ll never take the place of a written blog post for me. It’s just so nice to meet you, Johanna, and I hope you keep right on blogging!

    • Johanna March 16, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Thank you Kathy! I agree I too like to follow people from around the world, it’s just to fascinating to think that we all do it, but each country has its own conditions that influence what we sew. I too am a big believer in the written word and I think we will see a mix of media forms in the future, since our preferences when it comes to content are so different.

  • Kathy March 16, 2018 at 3:36 am

    Congratulations on your blogiversary!! I love your blog, and have your book. I appreciate all your hard work!

    • Johanna March 16, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Thank you so much Kathy, that means a lot to hear <3

  • Adrianne March 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Happy “blog” birthday! I really enjoy reading your blog, watching your videos and participating in your live chats. I have learned so much from you. You have saved me from much frustration and many failures with your helpful tips!!

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 7:53 am

      Thank you, Adrianne! That is my biggest motivator, to help others and by sharing what I have learned from my own mistakes and experimentation. Sewing can be hard sometimes, so I think it is important to share with the community so that we can all improve!

  • Sara March 16, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    what a great summation of the advantages of blogs for disseminating sewing information. I really appreciate the hard work and dedication that you have to put in, in addition to the talent both with being a blogger and being a sewing “teacher”. I am grateful for all I learn and all the inspiration. Can I just say that I love your photos too? Thank you!

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

      Thank you Sara! Yes, I still think blogs are one of the best ways to teach sewing on-line and it’s what I prefer myself when I’m looking to learn a new technique. And thank you for your lovely comment about my photos! That has been my aim from pretty much the start to have good photos, which is also why blogging has been exhausting at times! But now my daughter helps which makes it a little easier 🙂

  • LinB March 16, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    Congratulations on your tenth anniversary!

    Sometimes what you feel compelled to write about is exactly what the world feels compelled to read about. Keep up the good work.

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 7:59 am

      Thank you! I really resonate with your thinking, being true to what you want to write about and the audience will find you!

  • Anna March 16, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    I just want to thank your for all the love, passion and knowledge that you continue to do. Obviously come from your heat. I had pulled away from my sewing passion a bit but you have encouraged me to keep going and learn anew.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 8:01 am

      Wow, Anna thank you so much! It makes me very happy to be a small part of your rekindled passion for sewing! It can feel daunting at times, but as you say if we keep going we will be rewarded plenty!

  • Sew Old Fashioned March 17, 2018 at 5:03 am

    Congratulations on your ten year anniversary! I’ve had a blog of one type or another since the end of 2003 and I can honestly say I don’t think blogging is even close to being over. It changes and evolves, but it remains – possibly because they’re enjoyable to read, they’re helpful, and they often feature lovely photographs. Sewing blogs are still going strong and they have something different to offer from sewing vlogs. For my part, I love both: sometimes I want to read, other times I want to watch or listen.

    As you mentioned, though, blogging can be a lot of work when you’re committed to it!

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 8:04 am

      Thank you! I agree that blogs have their own unique place and that they complement vlogs and other forms of sewing content nicely. But as you say it is a lot of work, which I suspect is why many sewing bloggers have scaled back and switched to Instagram and such. I just wish that Instagram was better organised for sewing info, and that is one of the reasons I’m still a believer in the blog!

  • Alex March 17, 2018 at 9:21 am

    Congratulations on the anniversary! I don’t think I have even been sewing for 10 years yet!! I listened to your episode on Love to Sew and I love your attitude and personality! Many congratulations on the book as well, it was incredibly inspiring to see what can be done through hard work and determination. These are all very good points re blogging, very solid advice. And I sure hope blogs are not dead, as I just cannot get on this vlog trend! Here’s to many many more anniversaries!!

  • Sam March 17, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Congratulations! Happy anniversary! 🙂

    I really enjoy youtube, also because I can just put on a video while doing the dishes 😉 It is also relaxing to listen to someone speaking about sewing and such things. But I have noticed that I always turn to blogs when I am seriously doing research into a pattern or a technique. I can just click on a website, quickly scroll through and will see nearly instantly if it offers the content I am in need of. Flipping through a video until I have (maybe) found what I am looking for is far more time consuming and frustrating. For this reason I think that sewing blogs will always have their space.

    Best wishes!!

    • Johanna March 19, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Thank you Sam! Yes, I agree videos add a personal, conversational touch that is very nice to consume. And just like you I often prefer blogs for learning new techniques, even though I have done my fair share of video sewing tutorials. But as you say, they can be a hit or miss and often takes too long to get to the point, so it’s hard to quickly gauge if the info is worthwhile

  • Alex March 19, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Congratulations, here’s to many more! I listened to your interview on Love to Sew and I absolutely loved your no frills, practical and generous approach to sewing. I am super impressed that you managed to produce and self-publish your book! Well done once more and looking forward to new projects.

    • Johanna March 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

      Ahh, thank you so much 🙂 It was a lot of work for sure and I’m still a little baffled that I managed to pull it off! But I do want to make more sewing books now that I have been bitten by the bug, just need to recoup for a bit first!

  • Kate March 20, 2018 at 4:53 am

    Happy Birthday to your blog! I noticed your videos on YouTube and have come to appreciate the depth of your knowledge and experience as a maker. Since I am most likely about 3 years older than you and learned to sew from my family, the old-fashioned way, I especially value the shared experiences we have… even though we never met! Some of the books you read as a young sewer remind me of those days. When the internet started, it was so incredible to finally see many other cool sewers my age and younger. Thank you so much for being you!

    • Johanna March 22, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Thank you! I love hearing from other sewists in my generation, we have so many common experiences and as you say, the sewing internet changed a lot for us, it really opened up a new world and I think it made sewing even more rewarding!

  • Sarah Gunn March 25, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! I agree with everything you say about the benefits of blogging, and love, love,love the many people I’ve met and connections I’ve made through the process.

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