I’m Willing To Admit It: Martha Brought DIY Back

If there’s one do-it-yourself modern mogul out there who just drives me into a confused tizzy over whether or not I like her, it’s this woman.  When it comes to being well versed in basically every DIY category, she’s got it all sewn up.  Sometimes I love her, some times I hate her, (maybe I envy her?).  Either way, she’s incredibly successful and her project ideas are pretty much genius.

I’m talking about Martha!

Yes she was born in Jersey, but I’ve forgiven her for that (I’m even willing to look past her insider trading conviction because, honestly, I’m more upset that she hasn’t shared a how-to on jail cell decor).  Martha Stewart, now 72, built an empire on her ability to cook, sew and craft for literally any occasion.  And then she taught people how to do it too.  Much like JT brought sexy back, Martha seemingly brought back the core idea of DIY — making it yourself is exciting!  (You may be asking, where had DIY gone?  I’m not sure.  All I know is I didn’t realize it existed until I came across an AM television show in which Martha was making a center piece out of pine cones.)  She might be the ultimate DIY maven. Who’s going to challenge me?

One of the most unique aspects of Martha’s empire is that, through it, she has opened herself up to invite readers and followers into her home and business.  Whether she’s discussing the stone stable built for her horses on her blog, talking about the adventures of her prize-winning lap dogs on their own blog, or sharing sewing patterns on her official website, she’s inspiring millions of people while also marketing herself to them.  Or maybe she’s just bragging?  Maybe.  Either way, Martha created a multi-million dollar business and I can’t fault her for that.  I particularly like her sewing projects that add flair to home décor.  Her projects for children, especially ones that let the little ones join in, are great too.

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Selling By Sharing Gives These Seamstresses A Business Edge

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These days it doesn’t necessarily matter if you have a storefront on a main street, a spiffy sewing studio or a clothing line deal with Nordstrom, with DIY-inspired market websites, today’s seamstresses can sell their products using the power of online technologies and actually turn a profit.  What’s better is that online DIYers can interact with their clients in a unique learning style that not only helps open a means of communications but also offers the customers a lending hand.

In this unique market, some times traditional consumer retail values, such as quality and competitive pricing, just doesn’t cut it.  Since do-it-yourself sewing lovers clearly enjoy constructing garments and other items on their own, online market venders who share tips of their trade and answer questions offer a unique client-seller experience that isn’t available in most stores.  Some of the best places for these how-to-sew and learn-to-sew interactions include on the vendor’s website or blog, social media sites, and via YouTube videos.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite DIY sewing vendors/helpers:

1- See Kate Sew’s pattern shop has really cute patterns for kids clothing (her tutorials can be found, here)

2- Sew-Fantastic’s Etsy shop also has a great variety of cute sewn items (she also gives sewing tutorials on her blog, here)

3- Sewaholic’s pattern shop is filled with awesome patterns (she gives sewing tips on her blog, here)

4- Alida Makes’s shop doesn’t currently have any items for sale, but her blog is worth checking out anyway (her tutorials are here)

5- Eric the Quilter’s Etsy shop has a variety of beautiful quilts (he goes into detail about his quilt projects on his blog, here)

6- Made by Rae’s pattern shop has another wonderful variety of clothing patterns for children and adults (she offers tutorials, here)

7- Collette Patterns has some wonderful vintage-inspired clothing items for sale (for tutorials, click here)

8- Dana Made It’s pattern shop is also filled with beautiful kids clothing patterns (she also offers tutorials, here)

9- Sew Mama Sew has a fantastic assortment of sewing books available (and tutorials, here)

10- Meshalo’s Etsy store is filled with amazing vintage-style clothing (her tutorials are here)

‘Follow You, Follow Me’

No longer just the lyrics to everyone’s favorite Genesis song, if you follow me I will follow you in return!

Please like DIY Pins & Needles on Facebook.

And I’m on Twitter too! Please follow me to we can be friends in the Twitterverse.

I promise to follow you and like your page in return.

Thanks DIY readers!

*DIY Pins & Needles must reach 30 likes on Facebook in order for me to view my Facebook Page’s analytics… this is a requirement for my grad school social media course.  Please help me out!  Thank you again.

Stitching With Love: Mommy Bloggers Get Their Craft On

It’s a really good thing mommy blogs weren’t a thing when I was little! I say this because of all the embarrassing things about me that my mom could have shared.  Then again, the DIY mommy blogging industry is loaded with great sewing, cooking and decorating ideas for frugal and creative moms. It’s definitely worth a look.

According to TopMommyBlogs.com, a directory network of mommy blogs, most of the Top 25 Crafts & DIY blogs include moms who sew with, and for, their children.

We’ve seen it before and we see it here — saving money is a major theme in the DIY community.  For these women, blogging is also about finding ways to get kids off the couch to make fun and inspiring projects with their moms.

Here are TopMommyBlogs.com‘s Top 6 Crafts & DIY blogs:

#1: DIY Home Sweet Home

“Crafting, Cooking, Organizing, Repairing, Re-purposing, and just plain LIVING. Because it’s the little things that make a house a home”

#2: Make It Or Fix It Yourself

“A simple person that’s trying to make life easier by making and fixing things myself”

#3: The Crafty Mummy

“My Blog About The Crafts I Do – Sewing, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Knitting, Crochet And More”

#4: Smashed Peas And Carrots

“A mommy blog that shares DIY craft and sewing tutorials, family friendly recipes, projects for your little ones and life with kids”

#5: Play Momma Play

“My goal is to find enriching activities that would engage my child and expand her mind without sacrificing fun. We also do sewing tuts, and diy projects”

#6: TVdesigns

“Crafts and hobbies of all varieties squeezed into the spare time of this working mother of four”

Move Over “Real Housewives” These New Domestic Are Bringing Back The Basics

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I certainly wouldn’t call them feminists, but a trending movement of so-called “Hipster Housewives” who are interested in self-sustainability is certainly on the rise since even before the 2008 recession, as journalist Emily Matchar points out.

It seems the Carrie Bradshows of the world are now combining with a group of women who worry more about knowing where their clothing and food came from than hunting down the newest pair of Manolo Blahniks.  In a recent interview with The National Post, Matchar talked about this trend and the women who she called “The New Domestics.”

If you’re new to this blog, let me remind you that part of the DIY sewing community is derived on a concern for saving money, as well as the sense of empowerment and inspiration people get from “doing it themselves.”

Matchar agrees, adding that another aspect of the movement lies in a desire to be environmentally conscious.  The movement, she said, also unifies people on both sides of the political spectrum and of most economic classes.   “New Domesticity is definitely unifying in some odd and unexpected ways,” she said in the interview.  “It’s certainly true that New Domesticity types are bringing respect to the kind of work that was once de-valued because it was “women’s work” — baking, sewing, etc. — and that’s awesome.”

Check out the full interview here on The National Post’s website.

Seamstresses Who Run A Blog Brand You Should Be Following

The number of blogs that have gained large followings and spun into marketable brands is impressive.  These days, sometimes a simple blog or YouTube channel that develops an audience can turn into book deals, labels, storefronts, television spots and runway shows.

Check out these three fabulous blogs that I can’t get enough of:

1 – “Tilly and the Buttons

The ultimate “learn to sew” blog, in my opinion, Tilly embraces the idea that sewing can be as easy or difficult as you like, as long as you feel inspiration and empowerment from doing it yourself.  Her blog is full of sewing tips of the trade for every skill level — and with lots of beginner tutorials, Tilly could literally teach you how to follow sewing patters and how to begin making your first stitches.  This Londoner has appeared on the BBC TV’s “The Great British Sewing Bee” and she’s been the subject of numerous publications like “Crafty,” “Telegraph Magazine,” “Enterprise Nation” and “The Guardian,” and she also appeared in “I Am Other: ‘Style Hunt,’” a feature produced by Pharrel Williams.  In interviews, she has declared independence from the fashion industry, saying it’s a shame more people don’t make their own clothing and style themselves without being told how they should dress by commercial designers.  This seamstress’ name stands as a huge business unto itself and she is hugely respected in the industry.

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2 – “Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing

Gertie’s retro style-designs and funky fabrics catch your eye the moment you scroll down the page (and did I mention her awesome pink hair?).  Apparently Gertie began the “Better Sewing” blog as a way for readers to follow her progress while she stitched her way through all 14 fashions of the 1950s book “Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing” (a la the Julie & Julia cooking blog). Gertie has expanded her brand by selling fabric via her online Etsy shop and shows off her latest sewing creations on her blog.  She is also the author of “Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing” and as a sewing teacher she travels to New York City and around the country for workshops and classes.

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3 – “Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria keeps another bright and cheery blog that seems to perfectly represent her brand.  She began making a name for herself when she opened her own boutique, where she sold her own clothing line that she designed and produced with her mother.  After the label was sold to a wholesale market, Anna Maria expanded her name brand to designing housewares, gift items and textiles.  She is the author of two sewing books – “Seams to Me” and “Handmade Beginnings” – and has published a line of sewing and needlework patterns, which are available online with the rest of her various products.

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(courtesy o annamariahorner.com)

If you know of a great DIY sewing blog that I should visit or want me to take a look at yours, please let me know in the comments section below.

Sewing enthusiasts of the Internet: You are seriously talented!

One of the hardest things about coming up with content for this DIY sewing blog is the volume of ingenious and eye-catching work that I stumble upon while searching this online community, which causes me to be constantly distracted and, yet, engaged.  While perusing blogs like “Sew Deputy,” “Yellow Spool,” “Sew Country Chick,” and “Me Sew Crazy” I constantly find myself thinking, “How on earth did they do that?” and “Woah! That (dress/skirt/top) is adorable!” There’s a never-ending supply of inspiration and excitement on DIY sewing blogs, and it shows with every new project post.

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It’s pretty incredible that just about anyone could potentially follow a tutorial – like this one, for example, on “The Professor’s Blog” about creating a tote bag – and end up making something that could be found on a store shelf.  I think this gives the community, and the world of DIY as a whole, a huge sense of empowerment.

What’s more is the ability to then share with others about experiences, like working with certain fabrics or sewing machines, via blogs or social media sites.  Often times while reading DIY sewing blogs, I see bloggers who share step-by-step instructions for their projects, and if there’s something they’re not happy with or would like advice on, they ask.  It’s a simple concept but it goes a long way.  Sure enough, readers often comment on these blogs to offer support or alternative techniques and opinions to help their fellow blogger.  Perhaps DIY sewing blogs bring us one step closer to world peace?

DIY Seamstress Tamisha Glashen And How This All Began

Tamisha Glashen might be the queen of online DIY seamstresses – the woman and her sewing machine are on fire.  Haven’t heard of her?  She’s a fashion designer who sews modern- and vintage-style garments from scratch who made a name for herself on Etsy and then moved to her own online market.

What’s more, Tamisha has a viral following on YouTube, where her “Learn To Sew Easy” channel, which has about 63,000 subscribers, guides her online audience through step-by-step how-to videos for various sewing lessons.  I credit her video, “DIY How to Make a Vintage Style Apron Easy,” with the reason I became interested in the DIY sewing community.  It was uploaded about a year ago and has been viewed nearly 27,000 times.

I should also mention I’ve made six of her “vintage-style aprons” by following her instructions.  They absolutely make the perfect homemade gift for new weddings and housewarmings (or just about any holiday, as well).  Not to mention, the garment tutorials offered on her YouTube channels cover a huge variety of DIY-sewn items.  I’m serious when I say I honestly wish I could try at least half of them.  I’d have a new wardrobe and would never have to go to the mall, to say the least.

My one qualm about this DIY sewing maven’s online social presence is that she has so many different brands and her name and brand exist on so many different sites, it is unclear what her central hub is for her business, and which is the most up-to-date.  According to one of her Facebook accounts, Tamisha and her partner’s fashion business, Meshalo Fashion, does not have its own website that bares its namesake, but instead can be sold on another website that is far from user-friendly.  Some of Tamisha’s related social media platforms also link to her Etsy account, which does not appear to exist anymore.  (I won’t confuse you with the hyperlinks for these aforementioned sites.)

Still, Tamisha’s videos – she also dabbles in food and other DIY projects – are extremely helpful and easy to follow.  And I know firsthand that having them available on YouTube only enhances the sewing experience because you can go back and watch the tutorials as many times as needed.

Besides her obvious sewing skills, I would credit her online marketing successes to her cute and friendly personality.  When you watch her how-to videos, it’s obvious she knows what she’s talking about and she’s fun to watch.  She also responds to comments left on her YouTube channels, which is obviously another great quality to have as an online and professional brand since it lets her audience know she’s approachable and available.

Check her out at:

How To Sew Easy (YouTube)
Meshalo Glashen (Facebook)

Introducing DIY Pins & Needles

Do-It-Yourself projects are some of the most exciting trends that have taken off in recent years, due in large part to the downturn of the economy.  With saving money on the brain and a desire to create projects by hand, DIYers are further enabled and accelerated by the unlimited potential of online technologies.

The Internet provides the perfect outlet for DIY sewing projects – from how-to instructions and shopping tips for supplies, to fabric reviews and stitching techniques.  Everything you need to know about learning to sew is a YouTube search or Twitter post away.

Right now is an exciting time for the DIY sewing community because social platforms are continuously evolving, which gives DIY sewing enthusiastic – at every skill level – the ability to reach just about anyone to facilitate discussion between people who are willing to share their knowledge with such a captive audience.  Not only is the audience willing to learn, it is motivated to share its knowledge and the knowledge of others through social media.

There’s something exceptionally rewarding about being able to make something by hand, rather than purchase it from a store where others can get the same thing with little regard for individuality or cost-savings.  I would know!  Although I’m still a novice seamstress, I’m continuing to learn through online how-to videos and beginning to interact with others in the DIY sewing community.  The leaders of this community find clothing, accessory and decorative fabric items and come up with ways to make them at home – usually at a cheaper price than the original’s retail price.  Not a bad alternative to shopping, huh?

This blog was established with the intention of enlightening and energizing the online world of DIY sewing so that it can continue to expand and develop more innovative ideas and practices while heightening communications within the group.  By interacting with members of the community via this blog and other social media platforms – especially Twitter since that seems to be the platform of choice for this community as a means of conversing and advertising ideas – I plan to reach further into the DIY sewing world and make its members feel inclined to join in on the discussion.

Welcome to DIY Pins and Needles!

Gone are the days when quality-sewn items needed to be purchased at a store or created by a professional.  Today’s do-it-yourself culture puts the power of creation into the hands of anyone with an Internet connection and willingness to learn a new craft.

I stumbled into this DIY world about a year ago while trying to find a heartfelt wedding gift for my best friend. The perfect idea came in the form of a YouTube video that instructed novice seamstresses how to make a handmade vintage-style apron.  Did I mention it cost about $20 in supplies?  Needless to say, the sense of accomplishment I felt from completing this task for the first time was immensely gratifying – not to mention, the sense of wonder I felt from discovering such an interesting and unique DIY community.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

This blog exists as a way for me to share my thoughts and experiences with the people who make up the DIY sewing community.  By connecting with the community’s most innovative and inspirational online members, I hope to help sewing enthusiasts feel inclined to participate and share their experiences with all things fabric, thread, styles and techniques, etc.  Please join me in continuing to discover the DIY sewing world and share your experiences by participating and interacting with the online sewing world.