We can easily spend hours scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook on the hunt for sewing inspiration, so imagine our delight when we found an online community that combines elements of each of these social networks (and more), just for us sewists!
It’s called The Fold Line, and is fast becoming the go-to site for sewing fans to find inspiration, read pattern reviews and meet like-minded crafters. We caught up with The Fold Line co-founder Rachel Walker to find out more.
Tell us about The Fold Line and its features – how can sewists get involved?
The Fold Line is a community for sewists and the place to get inspiration for your next sewing project. We’ve got a pattern database where you can search thousands of patterns using our sewing-specific search function. We’ve also got a thriving forum where you can chat with other sewists, ask advice or organise a local meet-up. You can also browse sewing pattern reviews to see what other people are making. Every member also has their own profile (it’s free to join!) and you can save patterns using the wishlist and library features.
We recently launched a whole new section of the website called Sewing Resources and this is packed full of useful sewing tips and information including pattern hacks and sew-alongs from your favourite designers, a world map of fabric shops and supplies pages for popular trends such as sewing with jersey or making your own lingerie. We also have a sewing blog where we post interviews, reviews and Look Book features. Each week we also post the Sew Reporter, a round up of sewing news including blogger makes, new pattern releases, podcasts and lots more. What sparked the idea for The Fold Line?
We are both enthusiastic about sewing but we found keeping up to date with all the new pattern releases overwhelming – we ended up calling it pattern fatigue! We love seeing what the sewing community is up to, but we spent a lot of time going to different websites to get our information and always worried we were missing out.
We also thought that sewing could be quite a solitary hobby and we didn’t have many friends that liked to sew. Unless you’ve caught the bug people just don’t ‘get it’. From this, The Fold Line was born, somewhere where you can share your makes, be social and get inspired.
What have been your biggest challenges and successes so far?
I think the biggest challenge was initially launching the website. We had spent months working on it and it was quite overwhelming when we went live. We had so much support from the sewing community, which was great. The expectations were really high though. When you look at community websites like Ravelry (for knitters and crocheters), they have been building their community for years.
It was a challenge for us to try and meet everyone’s expectations at the start. Our proudest success so far has been how big our community of members has grown – we now have over 6,500. The support sewists give each other in the forum is amazing and we continue to be so inspired by all the wonderful garments they sew and share on the site.
Tell us a bit about your sewing background?
I learnt to sew when I young from my mother and have been making ever since. I have learnt so much from other peoples’ blogs and after taking a pattern-cutting course a few years ago I decided I wanted to make it my full time job. I now manage all the pattern development at Sew Over It, taking the patterns from the design stage to the finished product.
Kate has a background in Fashion Design and was a knitwear designer as well as a milliner. She had always made things as a child but it wasn’t until she arrived at university and started pattern cutting that she really caught the sewing bug. Kate now works freelance as a creative social media consultant for small businesses. We met each other whilst working at Sew Over It in London.
Do you have any top tips on the sewing trends and patterns to look out for in 2016?
We definitely think indie designers are going to produce a lot more add-on pattern packs for their designs this year. Versatile patterns are so useful and having options to create different looks is great. So far this year we’ve already seen examples of this from Seamwork and Grainline Studio.
We also think there will be a move towards using Instagram as more of a blogging platform rather than bloggers writing as many longer posts. The trend continues for some subtle 1970s inspired designs this year, and as sewists become more experienced and want new challenges we think there will be more people making shirts and jackets, exploring tailoring techniques.
What’s next for you and The Fold Line?
This year we have big plans for the website including some new features being built now that will allow you to create more detailed pattern reviews and also your own projects. We’ll be expanding the pattern database to include books and magazines and you’ll be able to review these too. Later in the year we are hoping to release our first app. We’ll also be adding lots more supplies pages to our new Sewing Resources section on the site, so watch this space!