It’s a New Year, and though we all know that New Year’s Resolutions are not always the things you stick to, there’s something about wanting to revisit what’s working and what you’d like to change when January 1st strikes. I’ve personally been wracking my brain for months trying to figure out how to make Elizabeth Made This a more useful place for everyone who visits here. Writing about my own projects have served me well for a long time, but how can I reach more people–no, how can I HELP people learn to sew? Wow, long intro there, and this is going to be a way different post, but here’s how I’m shifting my blog focus in 2019.

standing on my head

“If I should suddenly start to sing or stand on my head or anything, don’t think that I’ve lost my senses, it’s just that my happiness finally commences…”

–Gershwin

Shifting my blog focus in 2019

A brief history

Before I tell you where I want to go, it’s useful to know where things began around here.  I wrote my first blog post in 2007? Who knows? It was so long ago, but the point is that I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I love sewing. A lot. And writing about it gave me a way to work out what I was learning. But I’ve had no clear direction for forever. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different things, but I’ve never consistently written about anything.  I’ve gone through times of total blog silence and frenzied productivity.  But as I’ve seen my own knowledge about sewing and my skills grow, I’ve come to this slow realization that I don’t want to keep on writing about only MY projects forever.  So now what? How do I even begin shifting my blog focus?

First comes teaching

kids' choir

Teaching is the first element when it comes to shifting my blog focus. I really loved my job as an elementary music teacher.  I taught 1st-6th graders for 7 years before my oldest son was born.  Teaching was so not natural to me.  In both my undergraduate and graduate music education programs, I felt like a total phony.  All of my peers seemed to have had private lesson studios since they were in high school.  I nearly passed out the first time I stood on the podium to conduct a rehearsal.  But I kept on.  I had WONDERFUL mentors in both programs who kept encouraging me to keep trying.  Direct quote from one of my teachers: “Elizabeth, if you can just break out of your shell, you’ll be a wonderful teacher.” 

And I plugged on at this thing that was so foreign to me and I got better at it.  To the point that I absolutely can’t see the world without looking through the eyes of a teacher.  And when I see a student connect the dots, wow.   Joy confetti everywhere in my head!  You can ask my kids, but after my violin students go home for the night, it takes me a while to come down off of Teacher Mountain.

ruffle sweatshirt

So yeah, teaching is going to become a big part of Elizabeth Made This.  I want to be that coach who comes alongside you and encourages you to keep working through a problem.  Keep an eye out for helpful sewing advice, pattern hacking tutorials like this ruffle sweatshirt, refashioning, DIY projects that you can make for yourself, and talk about creating a handmade wardrobe that makes sense for your everyday life.

Next comes writing

Writing is so at the heart of shifting my blog focus too! If I have a regret, it’s that I got into making videos on YouTube before I was really ready for it.  It did remind me that I love love love teaching, but it also split my focus and turned it away from writing.

So while blogging as a method of communication is not for everyone, I can’t let go of it simply because writing is something that’s always been a part of my life.  There’s probably a book deep down in me somewhere!

I won’t be saying no to video for forever, but any video work I do in the future is going to support all of the content that I’ll be creating here on Elizabeth Made This.

Creativity is the most important piece of the equation

slip dress from scarves
While not my favorite make of 2018, definitely a fun concept I went for

It’s taken me a long time to come to the tagline of “Sew something creative”, but that really is my goal.  I am a creative person with a capital C and truly want others to be able to see how that creativity comes about and how they can apply it to their own sewing.

DIY is so the core of everything I do.  I’ve had loooong conversations with friends about pattern hacking, refashioning, and fabric dye and blockprinting and applique and all the ways I otherwise abuse fabric in an effort to make something unique.  I want to show more of that process and demystify it for you.  If I can’t convince you that Rit DyeMore will change your life, I will have failed!!!!

colorblocked boiled wool coat
Colorblocked boiled wool coat made with Rit DyeMore

Story

I can’t forget about story in shifting my blog focus. Sewing your own garments is not an activity that exists in a box.  Those garments go somewhere–they live your life, they do what you do.  I want to hear those stories from other people.  I want to tell those stories in pictures and in writing.  Those pictures are the ones I want to take–not just the ones that show the finished product.

A New Year, a real focus

So with that in mind, I’m plowing into 2019.  I’m announcing The Day and Night Dress Challenge tomorrow, and I’m shaking it up massively this year.  I think it’ll be an interesting turn.  Perhaps it’s been too long that I’ve tried to be other people instead of just letting myself look at sewing the way that I see it.  If you’ve read this blog for a long time, I want to thank you for sticking with me through a lot of terrible pictures, stream of consciousness and general blog squirrels.  And if this is your first time here, all I can say is, let me prove this year that I can help you sew something creative!

What will your 2019 look like in your sewing life?

shifting my blog focus

22 Comments

    • Thank you Alethia! Thank you for being such a wonderful cheerleader–not just for me but for so many others in our awesome sewing family! I do love you to life, friend!

  1. Based on things you’ve shared in the past, this feels like a very natural next step for you. I don’t think I’ll be able to do the dress challenge this year, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the twist is and what grows out of this change in focus!

    • I think so too Becky! It’s taken a long time for me to get to this decision, and I really look forward to seeing how it develops. We’ll see how people respond to the new twist on The Day and Night Dress Challenge. I’ve had a possible easy button up my sleeve that I’m totally okay with people pressing if that works for them! This challenge has always been about me wanting to hang out with other sewing friends and just celebrate how differently we all interpret the same idea. And whatever it takes for someone to be able to be a part of that that’s easiest for them–I’m totally on board!

  2. This is great and so detailed. A new year often brings a fresh perspective. I am doing the same with my blog and YouTube (at least that’s the goal). I’m looking forward to seeing what you make and I’ve always enjoyed your posts in the SMT group!

    • Thank you Denise! I love seeing your work pop up too! It’s a joy when we can find some clarity and move forward. This one’s been a long time coming with a whole lotta detours, LOL!

  3. Elizabeth, I am so happy I read your blog post and more subscribed. I love the new focus and direction that you are taking. I am with you because I share some of your sentiments. This also encouraged me in my quest. Thanks for sharing with the sewing community. Congratulations!

    • Thank you Isabel! Wow, I wasn’t expecting to encourage anyone with this, so I’m so happy that you found that here. You work is truly wonderful and the wider sewing world needs your voice!

  4. What a fantastic approach to the New Year! I look forward to watching and seeing you blossom even more. I’m all about teaching others, too, especially sewing!!

    • Thank you Paula! It’s super fun, and perhaps I’m following my Dad’s adage that “If you do something you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

  5. Congratulations Elizabeth! You deserve to follow your dreams (and your heart!). I’m happy for you pushing yourself to do what you feel is right for you! I’m positive you’ll be great at whenever you do! BTW… I’m really interested in seeing what the twist is on the challenge!

    • Thanks Myra! It’s been a slow but what seems like a natural progression for me. I’m just about to post everything about the challenge! I hope it removes some entry barrier for a lot of people and again, I always look forward to this event as a way to hang out with all my sewing friends and make new ones too!

  6. What a nice fresh approach for 2019! I love following your sewing journey and the path you’re taking now seems as though it will be so rewarding for you while being fun for all of us to follow. Your creative energy is a constant source of inspiration for me…Can’t wait to watch the year unfold for you!

    • Thanks Linda! I’m really grateful for people like you that I’ve met through IG and PR and various challenges who have pushed me. I think inspiration is one of those things that doesn’t reside in a vacuum, and without seeing the cool things other people do, no doubt we’d never be challenged! Happy New Year to you!

  7. Since I discovered your blog it’s always has been a joy to read your posts. Your video’s are a great pleasure too. Just like anything else being creative in which form it may be it’s always a process that is in motion and where development and changes are taking place. Looking forward to see what 2019 brings you.

    • Thank you Sonja! You have always been such a wonderful encouragement to me! And you’re right about things shifting the deeper you get into them. I think sometimes you figure out where your strengths are and where you need to grow, and that’s just all part of the process. Thank you for being a part of my journey towards understanding all of this!

  8. Hi Elizabeth, just found your blog and I’m thrilled to find another violinist/music teacher who is also obsessed with sewing! Hi from Australia, and I look forward to reading your blogs this year.

  9. Oh Elizabeth, I have sew enjoyed you ever since I have found your vlog. I am a young 60 and have taught myself to sew in the past 2 years. You gave me the freedom to not try to fit a square peg into a round hole. I have always loved taking something and making it into something else. Mostly, I did that with yarn, cross stitch floss, etc. I always wanted to sew, just didn’t have anyone around me who did it. I lived in a rural area so no studio around to learn either. I look forward to the teacher aspect of your new direction. Thank you.

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