Do you sew along with sewalongs?

Partially made shorts with waistband still to attach and hems to finish

I love a good sewalong. I think it’s one reason indie pattern companies have been so successful since 2009. It’s one of the key advantages they have over the Big 4.

A good sewalong really makes the most of all the things you can do on the internet that you can’t do in printed instructions. So I’d expect to see:

  • Fabric suggestions that include links to retailers in different continents
  • Tips on choosing good-quality notions, and substitutes
  • Many more images of the garment in different fabrics than you get on the pattern envelope
  • Advice on altering for common fitting problems like a full bust or sloping shoulders
  • Additional tips, pictures or even videos for difficult construction steps
  • Ideas for hacking the pattern
  • An opportunity to ask the designer or the host questions – this could be in the comments under a sewalong post, or in a live social media event

For the pattern company, a sewalong can generate buzz about a design and enthuse people to buy the pattern when it’s released. It can encourage people to take on (and finish) more difficult patterns. And the designer gets direct and immediate feedback on the pattern and the instructions.

I appreciate they’re not cheap or quick to put together, but I really enjoy them. It’s often what convinces me to spend more on a new indie pattern than I would pay for a Big 4 pattern. I’ll confess I also haunt older sewalongs to find out how to do techniques that I’m planning to use on a completely different garment!

The one thing I never manage to do is follow the schedule for a sewalong. There must be people who have all their supplies ready to go, and are champing at the bit for the next post, but I’m invariably at least a week behind – like some kind of sewing tortoise.

Do you sew along or could you do without sewalongs in your blog feed?

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