Reality Check

Mary  recently wrote a thoughtful post about censorship and controversy. The background was a thread on Sewing Pattern Review, which slid near spat level. The owner decided to revise the rules, proscribing discussion of sensitive issues.

When I started this blog, I decided to ring fence it to discussion of sewing and making patterns, and leave out private life, recipes, gardening, reading, music, art, politics, religion. It seemed like a sensible decision for me, to keep this activity in its own little bubble. Sewing is pretty much where I go to escape reality.

It seemed realistic a few years ago to compartmentalise, and it has advantages. People opening a blog might prefer to know what they’re likely to be getting. It keeps all the projects tidily in one place. There are few disagreements or misunderstandings. There’s zero opportunity to get shocked by finding out that views you find uncivilised or ill informed are held by people you imagined were on the same page, almost old friends .

Recent events illuminate the downside to this strategy. My long blogging lapse can’t all be laid at the door of that adorable Springer puppy. It seemed so incredibly trivial to write about making clothes when barbarity seems to be rising inexorably in so many ways. This of course.


But also the callous disregard for the rising levels of homelessness and intentionally created poverty in my native land and so many other places. The extreme criminality of abuse and trafficking. The displacement of persons fleeing war.

We expect our online communities to be like our real life associations and friendships, where we get a rounded picture of who we are talking to. Yet is this really possible? Or even desirable?

What do you think? .




About jay

I design and draft patterns
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16 Responses to Reality Check

  1. mrsmole says:

    I guess it all depends on whether in our personal relationships we discuss these concerns as well. Sometimes these subjects are so touchy that we don’t even bring them up in conversation face to face let alone see them on blogs. On Facebook, I am shocked at some of the radical crap some of my own neighbors are promoting. It is that same mentality of, “I’m alright, Jack” with no care for others. While I want write back to them, “are you kidding me?”, I still have to work with them on ASG sewing projects in my community. While they feel perfectly comfortable promoting their religious and righteous political views, I don’t want to start a shouting match…it seems the same with blogs. I think after a while you get to know your blogging friends and are comfortable but with public forums, you never know what garbage will be thrown and when to duck.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jay says:

      “you never know what garbage will be thrown and when to duck.” Too true. There’s a lot of misunderstanding too. Words don’t always convey the same meaning to everyone.


  2. Aunt Mayme says:

    I wish I learned French in school, as I could fully understand your stance. But that being said, I much prefer sewing sites to be about sewing. I so much appreciate the way you have managed to keep your website clean of viewpoints, etc., and look forward to your blogs, no matter how long of a lapse between them. True, it’s hard to be that puppy in a world of hate and discontent, but I think that’s what keeps some of us sane.

    After watching the political, religious, socio-economic, etc., “fires” that constantly burn on Sewing Pattern Review, none of which have to do with sewing, I became tired of battling through posts of vitriol when I wanted a sewing question answered, only to have threads shut down because of that, and left PR.


    • jay says:

      This hobby is a bit of a refuge isn’t it? It feels like a privilege to be able to batten down the hatches and just get on with a simple project.


  3. fabrickated says:

    Hmm. I was unaware of the PR debate, and thankful for that. I have views on politics and religion and I try to be open, tolerant and understanding. I also dislike censorship on principle. But while I don’t come to sewing blogs for politics/religion etc I do think we tend to like (or not) those we follow. This is in part due to their world view, their empathy, kindness, humour, insight etc, as well as their sewing skills. A bit like Mrs Mole I often avoid contentious topics because so many people are touchy and inflamed and any reasonable exchange of views goes out the window.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Morgan says:

    “We expect our on-line communities to be like our real life associations and friendships, where we get a rounded picture of who we are talking to. Yet is this really possible? Or even desirable?”
    In a nutshell, no to both. However, that’s a simplistic response because in RL people tend to share what they want others to see and hear, dependent on context, mood, motivation, role at the time, the day of the week, time of life and so on. Of course we ‘leak’ all sorts of other information and the mood and perceptions of the listener or reader mix it all up anyway.
    There’s enough material for many more undergraduate essays to explore and analyse for years to come.

    “It seemed so incredibly trivial to write about making clothes when barbarity seems to be rising inexorably in so many ways.”
    Another interpretation could be – writing about making clothes and sharing the sewing love, creativity, insight and know-how despite the troubles of the world. Whether aesthetic or intellectual, creativity, self-expression and sharing are part of being human. Living in a democratic society (albeit flawed) with a broad degree of freedom of opinion and speech, ‘use it or lose it’ applies equally to self-expression and internet access as the vote if we look towards more limited activities in alternative systems in some countries.

    The purpose, focus and content of your blog is yours to choose and whether you think of sewing and talking about sewing as creative expression and sharing or consider it an indulgence or a respite from RL (all are valid perspectives), it’s one of the few blogs I choose to read it exactly because the focus is sewing and you have something credible and worthwhile to share about that.

    As for the troubles in the world, whilst raising awareness of issues and influencing opinion has a place, all the words in a dictionary or bristling indignation or becoming a keyboard warrior on forums or social media doesn’t get as much done as, enablers and actions do.
    If I want to find out about or take a position on a social or world issue I know where I’d go to find that information and it wouldn’t be to a sewing blog, forum or a general or journalistic style blog.
    Having spent 32 years of my professional life dealing (over and over) with the nasty stuff some people do, I’ve handed on that baton for others to do their bit and now can choose other areas and other ways to contribute and make a difference. I know how fortunate I am to have a choice.
    There’s no purpose for me to talk about that stuff on-line and believe me, there’s nothing remarkable I could say that could dazzle the world or be recorded for posterity so I don’t run a personal blog or journal.
    However, all things sewing is a big part of my 2nd career and I am thankful and delighted that there are blogs like yours, Mrs Mole’s, Laura Mae’s, Studio Faro and the like because you all say it so much better that I could.

    … Or I could have just said, Please do keep writing about making clothes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jay says:

      Thank you so much for such a brilliant analysis Morgan. This ” believe me, there’s nothing remarkable I could say that could dazzle the world or be recorded for posterity ” puts it in a nutshell – what can be said that hasn’t been said better than I could elsewhere.


  5. STH says:

    I personally like to get to know the people I read online, so I do include lots about my life and my views in my blog. I’m open about it so that people can choose to read or not; readers know quickly where I stand on things so there are no unpleasant surprises. If you do that, though, you have to be ready to moderate comments. If my blog ever becomes popular and widely-read, you can bet that it will start attracting trolls. If that happens, I’m going to keep my place safe for readers and free of abuse. I completely understand, though, that lots of people don’t have the time and energy to deal with that, so it works better for them to just stay away from controversial things. You have to do what works for you in your own space.


  6. I don’t mind talking politics, religion, current events, whatever with friends and family. But I don’t think FB or IG or a sewing blog is place for such discussions. FB and some of the other social media sites are too shallow and brief to have a proper meaningful discussion. I doubt the world is going to be changed by a FB post. Try voting, supporting your political candidate, attending a place or places of worship you choose (try them all!). Volunteer. Learn about the world around you. People come to photography blogs for photography, and sewing for sewing. If you want to talk politics, religion or current events go follow such blogs and get involved in the discussion. Sorry if I offended anyone, but that is my opinion!


  7. Like you, I started my blog concentrating solely on sewing, but I have strayed and now my by-line is “what interests me”. TBH I find blogs that concentrate only on one thing, to be somewhat irritating, I am not asking to have a relationship with the blogger, but I would rather follow someone with whom I am on the same page. As an armchair left-winger, greenie, social liberal but also a committed Christian, I find the narrow-mindedness of some bloggers I have followed, enough to unfollow them. I am not interested in spending my time reading someone’s posts who may be a gun-carrying right-wing redneck! Yes, it is a judgement call, but it is my time and I think I am happy to make it when I have enough other people with whom to share it knowing we have similar views! This may offend you and some of your readers (who knows?), but I take that risk. I have written about stuff that inflames me, or about which I have an opinion; I try to be discreet in my language so as not to offend and the wonderful thing is, no-one has to read it if they don’t want to!


  8. sewruth says:

    We are such “nice” people in the sewing community that when someone speaks up we are shocked! But of course we are as a diverse group as mainline society. We will all have differing views and sometimes we just want to express them. Sewing blogs for sewing – I agree with Linda above – there are many more and different outlets for politics.


  9. It’s your blog=it’s your space. Talk about whatever you want to talk about. Those that agree with your opinions will stick around, the rest will find somewhere more agreeable to move to. I personally avoid all blogs with even a hint of religious fanaticism irrespective of the level of sewing, photography or other general awesomeness. Pretty much anything else goes. And if you want an outlet for discussing politics and all that ails civilization (;) Whatever Scalzi is a good place to start.


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