Survey Results: Answering Sewing Questions

Happy Monday, everyone! It was a beautiful weekend here in Vancouver even though I spent most of it working, indoors. I really can’t complain though, when the view from my window is this gorgeous. Blue skies! Mountains! Not a cloud in sight!

What did I do, instead of enjoying the lovely weather? I worked mostly on my business plan, as it’s due this week. I have to hand it in on Thursday, but before that I need to get two people to review it first, so the deadline is sooner than expected. Yikes!  I’ve also been working on a couple of other exciting things for Sewaholic Patterns. I’m a busy, busy girl these days but loving every minute of it! Thought I’d share some more survey results today. This time, I’ll share some responses to where you find answers to sewing questions.

Here’s the original question:

Where do you look to solve sewing problems: books, websites, friends, instructors?

Now this one would have been a great multiple choice question, except then I’d miss lovely comments on the Sewtionary and my tutorials. Especially all of the ones who said I write your favourite tutorials – yay!  I enjoy putting them together, so it’s awesome that you find them helpful.

Why is this relevant? Besides offering sewing patterns and Sew-Alongs, I’m working to build a resource of tips and tutorials to help answer your sewing questions. One day I’d love to write a book, but in the meantime, the blog IS my book. Sewing can be frustrating when you get stuck, or confused, and don’t know where to turn. Especially if you don’t have people nearby who sew! My not-so-secret dream is to inspire more people around the world to sew, and if I can help people get through their frustrations, then that’s a step!

Online – 96%

Wow! Ninety-six percent of people go online to solve their sewing problems. We’re so lucky to live in the age of the internet, where you can Google just about anything! It’s no longer important to be a walking encyclopedia, as you can find so much information freely online. And most of you do use the internet as your main sewing resource. Whether it’s YouTube, Gertie’s blog, Casey’s blog, PatternReview, Burdastyle or my own Sewtionary – some of your go-to places mentioned in the survey – there’s an amazing amount of great (and free!) information online.

I loved this response, and not just because I got a mention:

The internet! It has COMPLETELY re-injected the itch for sewing. 5 years ago I couldn’t have found the amazing communities that I have discovered in the last few months. Sewaholic has majorly inspired me, and has lead to so many great discoveries for projects, tips, tutorials, and general inspiration.

So true! I say this all the time, but the online sewing community is fabulous – full of cool, helpful, friendly people that love to sew. Community sites like Burdastyle and Pattern Review are great for bringing together sewists from around the world. If we could all hang out and sew together, think how much fun that would be!

Sewing by the Book – 73%

It was interesting to see if people still buy and refer to books now that we have the internet. Good news, we still read! I love sewing books, as you can see by the books I got for Christmas! I like both, I feel like there’s no such thing as too much information. And there will be tidbits in books that you can’t find online, I’m sure! Think about Gertie’s upcoming book – she writes a fabulous blog and shares a ton of information online for free, but I’m still going to buy her book!

Hello, Mom! 14%

While the majority of people solve sewing problems from books and online resources, I wondered how many of you called your Mom for sewing help. I know I do! My mother is a fantastic resource for sewing questions and second opinions. Some of you also mentioned calling your grandmother, too. (I counted mothers and grandmothers in the same category for this survey.) Isn’t it awesome to have the wisdom of many years of sewing experience available?

A little help from my friends – 12%

Lucky you, to have friends that sew! Several of you have friends that sew, or friends that teach sewing or have their own sewing companies. Fantastic! On the other hand, a lot of you mentioned you are the only one that sews. How many of you are the only one you know in real life that sews?

Instructors, classes and fabric stores? 8%

Only eight percent of you look to instructors for sewing answers, or take sewing classes to further your knowledge. Some of you visit your local fabric store! You must have awesome fabric stores in your area, if you can bring your sewing questions to your local shop! Some of you are currently taking sewing classes, or refer to notes and memories from high school or college courses. I was surprised to read that your sewing machine dealers help with your sewing questions! Although now that I think of it, the place I bought my serger does offer classes, so that makes sense.

Trial and error: 4%

A few confident ones will work through sewing difficulties on your own, testing on scrap fabric or on paper. Several people sleep on it, when they’re having troubles with a sewing project, and wake up with the right answer. It makes sense – sometimes all you need is a little time away from the problem to be able to see the solution. I’ve come up with great ideas in that moment just as you fall asleep, or as you’re waking up in the morning. I wonder if there’s any scientific explanation for that – sleep equals clearer thinking? Practice makes perfect, some of you mentioned, as many of you are self-taught!

Thanks again for all of the survey feedback! I can’t even express how useful this information is for me, for future business planning, and of course, I’ll look like a star student!

PS. On a completely different note, want to know what the next pattern from Sewaholic Patterns will be? Mailing list members already know. Check your inbox, or sign up for the mailing list here!

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18 Responses to Survey Results: Answering Sewing Questions

  1. Angela February 21, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    What IS the new pattern going to be??? I signed up but there’s no link for the latest mailer…Can’t wait! :)

  2. Amanda February 21, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    I got the new pattern email this morning, very exciting! Can’t wait to see photos of it all made up! A great item for spring :)

    To answer your question, I’m the only one around me that sews so I do get tons of use out of the internet/books. For inspiration, the online sewing community is invaluable! And I love the fact an activity like home sewing could be so international. I had no idea when I started that I’d be meeting talented ladies from all over the world. My grandmother is an expert seamstress, but it’s not always easy to get together and English isn’t her native language so some sewing terms are difficult to explain over the phone!

    That would be so cool if you came out with a book, your tutorials/photos are terrific! And I look forward to Gertie’s book too!

  3. K-Line February 21, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    The new pattern (it’s a fantastic skirt, Angela, that you will totally want to make as soon as you see it) is GORGEOUS! Is there a sew along coming up, T?

  4. Sabrina Clementine February 21, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I wish I could go to my fabric store for tips….usually I’m the one helping others, and I still consider myself a beginner! lol. And its funny, now that I read your responses I remembered that it was a BLOG that finally motivated me to get my sewing machine. My mom has had a machine for years, but it’s hard for her to take time from her schedule to teach me. When I finally discovered there were blogs with tutorials available to me to access on my own it led me to pull the trigger and order my machine! Oh, how I love the internet….

  5. Karen in VA February 21, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    It was sewing blogs that got me sewing again – esp. Carolyn’s Diary of a Sewing Fanatic as I am plus size myself. Her blog keeps me inspired and made me realize that us plus-size women could dress fashionably and look fabulous in spite of RTW!

    I love your blog and am going to go check my email for your newsletter!

  6. Casey February 21, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Oooh! Just checked my email and saw the one about the new pattern–so exciting!!!

    I have loved reading over these responses to your sewing poll–it’s been very interesting to read how other sewers approach things. It’s so funny though that such a large majority rely on the internet–and it’s great! I think that is one of the things I have really enjoyed the past several years; watching the sewing community grow and start to share a lot more information on sewing (both basics and specialty) for everyone. I think it’s really helped contribute to the resurgence of sewing since it’s no longer a knowledge that is hidden away in books or only learned by someone showing you how.

    Thanks so much for the lovely mention of my blog, btw–you are so kind! :)

    ‚ô• Casey

  7. sallyann February 21, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    The Internet and all the sources for vintage patterns has inspired me to make some Jackie Kennedy style two piece dresses in a variety of fabrics along with some sleeveless aline shift dresses. I love the fact that the Internet lets us see how so many patterns, both old and new, look on “real” figures.

  8. gina February 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    I am one of those girls who doesn’t know anyone who sews garments. I do go on line often to find things out. Lastly, the fabric shops we have here are just chains and I find the classes are things like, make a tote bag or sew a quilt. Nothing about garment construction. I have asked questions there but generally speaking no one could answer them. that’s why I love your blog full of information on sewing! Hooray!

  9. Angel February 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    I’m completely self taught just from lots of research on the internet and some books from the library. Our fabric store girl are no good for advice and the sewing classes cost an arm and a leg. My mom is a fantastic seamstress but was never willing to teach me. She’s so busy i really don’t consider her much of a resource.
    Blogs are my favorite resource because they usually have pictures. I learn so much better seeing it then I do from just a typed or written description of what I’m supposed to do.

  10. Rachel February 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    The new pattern is gorgeous (and most importantly, POCKETS!). I can’t wait to see finished garment photos.

  11. KathleenS February 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    I put “friends” as my first source of information, *but* all of my sewing friends are people I met online, with the exception of my mother. In my answer when I talked about “online” as a source of information I meant tutorials etc posted on the internet, and messageboards, but without the internet my sewing world would be a lot different.

  12. Amelyn February 22, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    Re sewing advice, I’ve recently gone to at least 3 different fabric stores/sewing centers and asked about tailor’s hams… the shop assistants give me this stupified look and say they’ve never heard of them! And I’m supposed to be the beginner here!
    I did manage to find one really helpful shop owner today though who not only normally stocks them but was so happy to help with other questions I had. If you’re in Melbourne, it’s kate’s sewing centre in Bundoora. I’m so happy to have finally found someone in the flesh that can help me! :)

  13. Rachel February 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    @Amelyn: Wow that’s terrible? Which shops did you try amelyn? I find the staff at “the fabric store” and Tessuti are great. I’ve only asked them fabric selection related questions, but they’ve been very helpful. I know the girls at Tessuti all sew and I think the fabric store girls do too.

  14. Amelyn February 23, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    @Rachel: Firstly the usual suspects – Spotlight and Lincraft, the majority of their staff are either too busy chatting to help, or just have no idea (but I have found one friendly girl at Spotlight, so thanks to her for smiling!), then I tried Statewide Sewing Center in Greensborough, the shop assistant there had never heard of a tailor’s ham, and upon describing it to her said “well why don’t you just make one yourself?”…

    I then went to The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe, the assistant there suggested The Fabric Store, so I went there, and you’re right, the girl there was helpful and knowledgeable (I think she’s a design student), she knew what a tailor’s ham was but they didn’t stock them.

    I have also been to Tessuti once awhile ago, but I find it harder to get to as it’s in the city. I absolutely loved the store, but I don’t think my finances could handle many trips there… :)

  15. Rachel February 23, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    @Amelyn: That’s not surprising about spotlight and lincraft. Clegs in the city aren’t too bad either. They once called me up after i’d left the store to say they’d accidentally sold me the wrong interfacing and did i want to come back and get the right stuff.

  16. zoe May 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Hi, my name is zoe and I am also a sewaholic. I am 24 years old and sewing is my passion

  17. Nan Hillyer May 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    Question. I wanted to make some little pedal pushers for my 18 mo old granddaughter. I was so excited a picked out a pattern, material, etc., got it home and the pattern is for knit, I bought seersucker and 100 0/0 cotton fabric. Can you tell me if I can make adjustments to be able to use the fabric I purchased. So much for hurrying and not paying attention to the pattern. Can you help?

  18. mason June 29, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    I have a question about my sewing machine.
    I have been very happy with a Singer Touch and Sew 626. The machine was built around 1966. I have not had any problems with it until just recently. The bobbin thread was all gnarled. I took it in for service and was told I would need a new ‘bobbin winder drive’ . The part would have to be ordered and it would cost $65. Labor would cost $150.
    I could buy a new machine for around $100 – but should I? I’m not inclined – but am I being impractical? I do household sewing – I want something practical and durable. I really want to keep my old machine, but is that practical?
    I would really like your opinion.