What are your coping strategies?

First, thanks for all the positive comments on my last two garments. The yellow maxi is on it’s way to Queens and the brown dress is in the closet. My mom called and asked me to wait to cut it until she could try it on. My mom is quite a bit smaller than me in the lower body. I mean, really, who loses weight in retirement from the Army? The colonel. That’s who.

I tried to look at the pattern again and I think the A-line chorus is right. Just adding to the thighs won’t cut it. And, you’re right.  I’d be a fool to wear Spanx in the summer. Also, lining with a knit.  I also just want to clarify. I think the dress looks fine. Just not my best.

Moment of therapy: I remember being in 3rd or 4th grade and a new Aunt came to visit and made several comments to me in front of my family about the size of my rear. I mean really, who tells a not-fat/ healthy kid in elementary school they have a big butt?  So, yes. I’m sensitive, but not neurotic about my figure. Of course, this does not stop me from putting down a Five Guys burger and fries.

The last few weeks I’ve had several conversations with my online friends about the number of sewing blogs and pattern reviews out there. I think it’s great we’ve taken our craft public! But, I’ve been asked and am asking how we’re managing. Here’s what I’ve figured out for myself:

1. I read a lot of blogs on my Blackberry on Google Reader. My company has outgoing links blocked, so it’s difficult for me to go to blogs and leave a comment. Plus, blogs are not PDA friendly so Reader is the way I go.

2. On PR, I tend to comment / read just the BWOF/ Patrones / Knip Mode reviews. They are what I sew the most of and are more likely to appeal to me. And, honestly, it’s impossible to read every single review and blog.

3. I am a comment ho. I love them. It lets you know you’re not talking to yourself. But, I realize that I don’t always respond. I apologize for that. I am not ungrateful. I love to hear from people. I used to spend an hour once a week combing through and trying to answer questions or respond to certain  comments. But, I’ve gotten lax the last month. Imma get better!

4. I don’t blog as much as I used to. But, I’ve stopped feeling bad about it. Blogging is my therapy, but it doesn’t pay my oil bill. One twice-a-week class is sucking up a lot of my free time. I’m also not as prolific a sewist as I was because I’m working longer hours to make up for time in class.

There have to be some time management specialists out there. Tell me, what are you doing to not feel overwhelmed with all the sewing information out there? Continual lurking? Trimming your blog roll? Reading only once a day or once a week? Posting less to your blog? Do tell!


  1. I love that your Mom is a ret. Colonel. I bet you were the sweetest kid growing up – never stepping out of line even once! Hope the dress works for her, it really is pretty (like everything you make, *sigh*).

  2. I don’t have any-I just pedal along feeling guilty about all the stuff that isn’t getting done, like my carpet really needs cleaned. (Smells like dog!)

    I just want to find out how to get rid of the guilt. I’m pushing 60 and I’ve decided life is too short to only do the “have tos.”

  3. I am currently on a blogging break, mostly because my sewing has slowed way down in the last couple of years. (I used to sew every single day after work, now I’m lucky if I sew for few hours once a month.) I finally realized I do not have much to blog about.

    I’ve narrowed down most of my reading to blogs/boards/reviews that have to do with BWOF or fashion design or couture-type sewing. Or if I enjoy the person’s writing style, or their fashion sense.

    I am bad about not commenting but I’m trying to get better about it. The reason I don’t comment much is because I usually read blogs in the morning before work, or on my work computer during a break (and I can’t be writing blog comments on my work computer.)

  4. One, I basically gave up PatternReview, now only using it when I am researching a pattern or technique.

    Two, I have my blog roll divided into categories: Experts (those who skills are highly developed), Regulars (those who blog on a regular basis and who frequent my blog regularly), Infrequent (they don’t adhere to any kind of a schedule or frequency) and Everything Else (I’ll generally park a blog here until I know where to classify it). Experts and Regulars get most of my attention when it comes to blog reading and I try not to feel too guilty about neglecting the other categories. I keep Experts and Regulars to a manageable size.

    Three, I generally do not respond via email to individual comments unless the commenter asks a specific question. If readers email me directly, which I welcome, I get back to them right away.

    Four, it’s impossible to leave comments on every blog post I read, though I wish I could indicate somehow that I appreciate the time and thought the writer took. One feature of Facebook I like is that you can indicate “Like” on wall posts and just leave it at that; the writer at least knows you read it and liked it. Wish we could do something similar with blog posts.

  5. I primarily rely on my Google reader feeds. I’m like you – I used to get all sucked in for hours but I simply don’t have time. Like you, I love reading all the blogs and posting to my own, but it doesn’t pay the taxman. And the taxman is looming large next week. 😦

    PS, you have a great body. Don’t ever let anyone make you think otherwise!

  6. Oh, and as far as finding time to sew when you are dealing with a lot of “have-to’s”. What seems to be working for me right now is to schedule a block of time to sew and to let people know that I will be unavailable during that time. Usually this is a Saturday afternoon. The key is to plan it BEFORE everyone else starts talking about what needs to be done this weekend! 🙂

  7. Wow, Lindsay is really organized!

    Like you, I follow a lot of blogs on Google Reader on my phone, it’s a great way to pass time on the bus, but it’s inconvenient to leave comments that way. I also hone in on my favorite pattern companies on PR, or check the gallery in case anything else catches my eye.

    And I used to try to follow every single apparel sewing blog, but I just couldn’t. So overwhelming, and it’s hard to keep track of who’s who in Reader when you don’t have the unique blog ‘decor’ to jog your memory. So I cut down on the # of blogs that I follow in Reader, but I try to bookmark and still visit them every now and then.

    Also, I’m wondering if blogging software (i.e. MarsEdit for Mac) will help me to get posts done faster, I sometimes get bogged down formatting everything in the HTML editor, but I haven’t tried any of those yet.

  8. My opinion – I perfer you blog; because I really enjoy your sewing adventures; than put the time into responding to comments, unless of couse someone asks a specific question. I love your blog.
    How I manage blogs – I narrowed down my reading list from over 130 to 60 something. I know what I’m looking for in a blog and that’s what I stick to. Like others, I don’t respond to comments on my blog and I seldom leave comments. I prefer to read and see what other like minded people are up to.

  9. I love blog reading. I rely on Google Reader also. I read on my laptop and my Tmobile G1. I *use* to feel bad about not regularly blogging, but I don’t anymore. Blogging shouldn’t be stressful. I think it’s great that people enjoy reading what I have to say and seeing what I’ve made, but please don’t stress me out by sending me emails “demanding” that post something. Sorry to rant. I just scroll through PR. I’ll leave comments every now and then, especially if it’s something that I really like and would make myself.

  10. Cecille, I also wanted to add my 2cents regarding changing the skirt of your dress pattern to an A-line. Easy to do and such a flattering silouette. As I watch Stacy and Clinton on TLC’s WNTW I notice that this is the skirt and dress shape they favor for most figures.

    I do not have a blog, but subscribe to many that suit my needs, and not all are about sewing (The I Love My Bad Dog Blog, or Boobs, Injuries and Dr Pepper for example) and I often comment. I do not feel it is necessary for the blogger to write back. How could a person keep up with all that?


  11. I don’t blog about sewing (only my occassionaly beginner project) but I do use Google Reader (what did I do before it I don’t know) and I only post comments on posts where I actually have something to say. I work full time and I’m going back to grad school for a third degree but my blog started as a project for school so somehow I find the time to balance it all. I’m a bit on the anal retentive side – I post 2 to 3 times a day Monday through Friday and I’ve only taken a break once during the Christmas holiday – but my posts aren’t always as long as yours are.

    In terms of feeling guilty – don’t. You do this as your creative outlet. I know I don’t get paid for my blog and I get a few occassional perks so me doing this and shelling out my money is because it helps me do something creative every day and I enjoy it. Never feel guilty about doing it your own way. I don’t think there’s a system for bloggers, I think we’re all over the map!

  12. I too rely on Google reader to browse the blogs I like.
    I try to keep only the ones I like (I supposed you have understood yours is one of them).
    As I’m rather new to sewing, I do not comment a lot in sewing blogs. I feel very “beginner” when I see how gifted you all are. But I do read your blogs because they are eye candies, and I learn so much from you. Or simply because they inspire me.
    I’m working rather long hours, but I have only myself to take care of, so I can find the time to browse the blogs. Even at work, when I need a break, I read a few posts to relax. But still, I’m always behind the reading.
    Like Marty, I don’t fell guilty about the time spent blogging, or sewing, or whatever. I’m hurting nobody doing so, so why should I care?
    Continue telling us of your adventures!

  13. I am not as amazingly organized as Lindsay T but I have my strategies:
    I set aside time a couple times a week for reading about sewing, it is calming. I do not feel guilty about taking time to read blogs about sewing, but I set aside time for it. When it is that time that’s what I do. A cup of tea and 30 minutes of reading lowers my blood pressure
    I work two jobs plus run a household, so I plan my sewing time just as if it were work time. Only I am paying me. It’s my time. Even if I just sort patterns or wash fabric or cut something out, it relaxes me.
    My family reads my blog so they nag me about updating when I haven’t written in a couple days. (Does your mom do the same?) We even argue about topics. Whose blog is it, anyway?

  14. I’m a scientist so I spend my day running experiments. The thing about experiments is: they take a lot of time and concentration to set up, but once they are running they just need to be “babysat.” I’ve tried for years to figure out how to spend my time productively while babysitting an experiment—analyzing data, reading papers, etc— but have come to accept the fact that I can’t do anything that requires too much concentration or I’ll miss the fact that my experiment has stopped working and I needed to restart it an hour ago. And that that means I spend a lot of time on the internet. I love reading blogs—political blogs, sewing blogs, art blogs— because they can be read in small bites and they keep me inspired with new ideas, new color combinations, new shapes, etc. I add to my own blog during the same time, although I’m pretty sure my parents are the only ones reading it—and they almost never leave a comment!

    I think part of what drew me to sewing was the community aspect. I’ve always done a lot of art, and I used to go to a printmaking studio once a week where I got to see what other artists were up to and chat with people who had different jobs and were at different stages of life from me. When I moved away from San Francisco I had to leave that behind and I think I’ve been looking for a replacement. I think of PatternReview (and the sewing blogosphere in general) as a kind of on-line studio, where I can spy on people who are much much better than me, ask stupid questions, and get a little encouragement for my beginner’s efforts. There’s something cool about posting a review before bed and waking up to comments from Australia and New Zealand. Oh yeah, and I work in a lab full of guys so its nice to have somewhere to talk to other women 🙂

    I guess I just follow a few blogs that I enjoy reading and leave comments when I feel inspired. No need to feel guilty—I save that for buying fabric.

  15. I probably blog more than others but that’s because LindseyT taught me how to schedule posts…so when I’m in the mood I write several pull the pictures and post. It has made my life much easier when it comes to blogging.

    Reading…I am lucky I can read a little bit during the day almost every day. I read some evenings when I come home but not as often. I have cut my list down tremendously probably using the same categories that LindseyT uses. And when I’m overwhelmed by it all or just need time, I just shut it all down.

    It’s a hobby…it’s suppose to be calming and easy not fraught with stress…my day job is like that…I don’t need the rest of my life to be that way!

  16. It’s funny — since switching to Google Reader about a month ago, my blog reading has EXPLODED. I’ve started reading decorating blogs, food blogs, and even more craft/sewing blogs than I ever did before. Part of it might have to do with my current job situation and my propensity to avoid work. At any rate, I seriously need help coping. 🙂

  17. I have no strategies to offer. Thanks for asking the question Cidell because I needed some of those tips – bad!

  18. As a new blogger I am trying to post frequently. I spend way too much time reading blogs and posting and reading PR. If I sewed as much as I read and posted on pr, I might actually get some sewing done. I need to turn off my computer during the day I think. I work at home, so nobody is standing over me about my computer use. It is sucking up too much time. I think that Lindsay is right. I need to give up PR. I use Lindsay’s blogroll to see if my favorites have posted lately, so that is a timesaver.

  19. I’m a new blogger, and still trying to figure out how to make it work efficiently. I’ve been sewing many years, and have a lot of experience–schooling, hands-on, teaching. I find I read blogs of those who post regularly and have something to say–about sewing. Still I like to try to encourage new sewers–they need it the most.

    It’s a difficult balancing act.

  20. I obviously have no coping skills because I am way behind in my blog reading. I don’t comment as much as I’d like because I just plain and simple run out of time. I work a 50 hour week and do all the other things that women do these days, so I am always running to catch up. I try and do at least one post a week, mainly for myself because I find if I have a commitment of posting my sewing each week, I actually use my sewing time very efficiently.

  21. Dear Cidell:

    There’s so much out there to see and learn, that it can get very overwhelming. That’s how it felt to me when I started blogging last year. There’s so many blogs, there’s so much info.

    You shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t post as often as you’d like or are able to. I know that in the time that I’ve been blogging I’ve had to take several breaks (for personal reasons). And although I’ve felt pretty crummy for neglecting my blog for those times, I had to take care of things in my life. My only hope has been that I can just return to it and still have the friends I’ve made…which I have. And so those friends that you’ve made here will still be here when you are ready to post things. Whether that’s in a day or two, or a week or two. We all understand that each of us has a lot of things to take care of outside our blogging community.

    I personally, don’t even read PR anymore. If I’m looking for a review of a pattern, then yeah, but otherwise no. It can consume a lot more time that you realize.

    For me, what I do is comment on the blogs that I’ve linked to. I’m interested in establishing friendships with the ladies (and Paco) more than anything. Once a week I’ll click on their links which take me to other blogs, and leave a comment there if I choose to. It’s nice to discover new people and their work, but time doesn’t always allow. So mostly I stick to my blogroll.

    As for comments, isn’t it cool to get them? I love them too! Something that’s worked for me in the past, is to write a “Thank you” at the end of the comments to acknowledge everyone. With your blog and all the comments you get, it would not be realistic to think that you can answer every single one. When will you sleep? lol.


  22. I used to be addicted to PR but I quit reading it a couple of years ago. There is just too much info, and frankly, I tend to make the same patterns over and over again OR I make up vintage patterns where it is a good bet no one has reviewed them. I don’t know how to use Google Reader, so my blog reading is really about 20 blogs of people I know or I feel like I know. I read what I enjoy and that is enough. As for blogging myself, I tell myself I’m not getting paid, so I blog when I have something to show or something to say. Folks can read it or not, whatever they like. And I treat comments the same way; I comment when I want to say something, and not just because. But I sure do enjoy lurking!

  23. Wow, sounds like everybody’s in the same boat! My blogging has been neglected because my day job is getting more demanding – in a good way. I read as many as I can, blog and comment when I’m inspired and have the time. Seems like PR has exploded. I too spend very little time there now. It would be nice if you could sort the reviews to separate the garments from the crafts, decorator, kids clothes, etc. (Maybe you can and I just don’t know about it.)

    I feel bad about not leaving as many comments as I would like, but knowning that everyone is feeling the same guilt, I don’t feel so bad if I don’t receive many comments.

  24. I personally check your blog, ravelry a few times a week. I check PR about once a month to research projects. I check other blogs about once a week, usually on the weekend. I usually dont leave comments unless I think they will be helpful, or if it is a project I absolutely love!
    I sew and knit and want to try embroidery this summer. The flip side is I had to narrow the blog reading down, because I would look at all the wonderful projects for HOURS and not actually work on my own projects. 😦
    So to get anything done I have to actually craft not read.

  25. I have so many sites that I read and communities that I visit (both daily) that I don’t comment as much as what I used too. I regret that because I love to let people know what I like about their projects, etc. I’m trying to do that more, but it takes quite a bit of time. I also don’t respond to comments on my blog as much either… I feel like a bad host!

  26. Such a great discussion going on here. When I started blogging six month ago I actually set up some posting “rules” for myself (I guess my dayjob as journalist rubs off a bit on my leisure time pursuits). At least 1 post a week (to keep some momentum) and no more than 3 (to avoid a blog burnout). Like several of the other commenters I have my ebb and flows and use that to my advantage by writing several posts during my “flow time” that I spread out during the week. But sometimes I just publish them all in a lot, because it’s my blog and I should do what I feel like!

    As for commenting it’s the one thing that I don’t always find the time doing, I’m a big time lurker and sometimes feel a little guilty about not telling more people how much I appreciate their stuff. But thats just the way it is, and as others have said it’s nothing to fret about when you really think about it.

  27. In WordPress you can draft a couple of blog posts at a time and then schedule them to publish, so I try to do that to save time. Also, using Youtube vidoes as posts is a great way to keep the content pipeline filled with no effort!

  28. I love your blog and I know you are a busy woman, so don’t feel bad. Everyone is so busy that any blog post is appreciated and you do not have to feel bad about commenting back! You do enough of that in your weekly posts. I only have so much time to read blogs and I only go to PR when I need to see advanced info on a particular pattern or notion, etc. So I say take in stride and do what you can! The sewing blogsphere is so varied and big that if one person doesn’t post another person will.

  29. I almost never blog because I don’t have time. I think up all these great ideas while I’m stuck in traffic or something and when I have a few minutes, I forget what I wanted to write about.

    Also, I used to read lots and lots of blogs but that sucks up way too much time so I’ve culled it down to a handful.

    Another thing is giving up PR unless I need to research a pattern or technique. PR can suck you in for HOURSSSSS.

    Oh and I wear Spanx in the summer for chub rub; I wouldn’t wear skirts in the summer otherwise. You wouldn’t be crazy or the only one if you did it!!

  30. I have a really hard time keeping up with all the sewing media, and I wish I could claim some sort of coping strategy. Work and just daily life currently limits my online forays, but in general I visit Pattern Review and other forum-y sites less often. I gravitate more toward my favorite blogs, and subscribe to their RSS feeds when available. BTW, you have a body for dresses, and the brown one is no exception. But it seems like a tricky design to wear overall–those poof sleeves at boob level would make me look dowright lumpen.

  31. Since I’m attempting to get my own ‘purse’ business going, I’m trying to structure my on-line time too! Not an easy thing to do. And I so identify with you about the negative comment thing. When I was about 14, fat, and acne ridden, a friend’s aunt came to visit. With her was a box of chocolate that she proceeded to hand out to everyone until she got to me. “Oh, YOU better not have any”, she declared. “Not with your skin.” And then she went on ad naseum about her son, ‘Marvin The Dermatologist.’ I could have crawled under a rock and to this day it still pisses me off that my friend’s mother didn’t call her on the carpet. Some comments stick with us forever!

  32. I rarely comment, and have really cut back on the number of blogs I read regularly. There just isn’t enough time. I do feel bad about the comments, since I know people like them, and that’s part of the fun. I sneak them in when I can, but that seems to be less and less often. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the blogs, though!

    PR is just too frustrating; there’s no way to select just what I want to see, and plowing through pages of stuff that’s way out of my size range or for kids or home decorating just chews up time. The search function has always been terrible, and it’s just gotten more and more aggravating over time. Like many others, though, I do use it to check for specific patterns. (And I still post reviews there, too, so that I’m helping to build the library.)

  33. Thanks for all the mentions of Google Readers everyone. I had not heard of it (was reading them in Outlook, clogging up my mail considerably), but I’ve set up all the blogs I follow on it. Very nice!

  34. See I am so behind I am only commenting now! I have my google reader separated into Favourites, Favs2, sewing, houses and other. Only the first two get regular reading and comments. And I no longer visit Stitches Guild and rarely Pattern Review. I always read your posts but don’t always comment. Depends what I am also doing at the time :))

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