In sewing news this week, The Sewing Party has relaunched.
You might remember last November when The Sewing Party was a daylong online craft conference. 30 teachers conducted online workshops and the event was sponsored by Etsy, BurdaStyle, Joann Fabric, Pellon, Coats, McCalls, Simplicity, Singer, Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff.
The Sewing Party is owned by SVP Worldwide, whose brands include Singer, Pfaff, and Husqavarna Viking, and organized by Devon Iott, Creative Eduction Director for SVP Worldwide (Devon blogs at MissMake).
When the conference ended the site went quiet for nearly a year. Then a month and a half ago several prominent sewing bloggers began using #thesewingparty hashtag on Instagram posts showing images of their new, high end sewing machines. I wondered if the event was going to return this November so in early June reached out to Paige Hutchens, the account coordinator at the public relations firm in Nashville that handles SVP Wordlwide’s PR, to ask. She wasn’t aware of the hashtag or that there was any news about the site, although when I followed up a few weeks later she said indeed something new was coming soon.
This week The Sewing Party site has new content. An announcement reads, “This year, we’re doing something a little different. The Sewing Party is transitioning into the collaborative blog of Singer, Husqvarna Viking, and Pfaff brand sewing machines.” There are eight contributing bloggers. Devon stated in the contributor recruitment email that the new blog will include things like “tutorials, project journals, and general sewing interest articles, to be mixed in with column-based content that we will provide (like sewing tool roundups etc.).” The Sewing Party site has forums now as well, conveying a hopefulness for community involvement.
Contributing bloggers are given a new sewing machine up front that is theirs to keep after they’ve contributed a certain number of posts the site. The more the machine is worth the more they need to contribute. Some will write 12 posts a year and others six.
The program has resonances with those of two other major sewing machine manufacturers: Bernina and Janome. Bernina’s Ambassador program loans bloggers a machine for a year in exchange for posts on Bernina’s We All Sew site. The Janome On-Loan Ambassador program works in a similar way. SVP’s stands out, then, in that bloggers will keep their machines at the end of their service.
It makes sense for most major companies today to have a blog where they can post useful articles that build a community to whom they can then sell their products. As Devon wrote in an email to a potential contributor, “SVP will be behind the site, but it won’t contain aggressive marketing content. The idea is to attract readers to the site with the content, and in the process expose them to our brands.” Instead of starting a blog from scratch they’re capitalizing on the name recognition of an event they threw last year and using that as a foundation to build upon.
I think the messaging could be somewhat clearer overall. The Sewing Party’s Instagram profile reads, “Community-centered blogger collective celebrating all things sewing. You’ve found your people. Join the party!” with no mention of a connection to the brands it represents. A descriptive name for the blogger program that clues readers in to how it works would also be a positive step toward greater transparency.
Lola with her new machine.
The bloggers involved seem thrilled with the deal. Marcy Harriel of the blog oonaballoona was excited enough about her new Pfaff Creative 4.5 to give it a name when it arrived. “Celebrating an excellent historic day with rainbow thread and the start of an excellent week with my new guy!! His name: Gorgeous. Surname, George,” she exclaimed and blogger Lola of Love Lola described her new Husqavarna as her “boyfriend.”
Edited August 7: The Sewing Party has updated their Instagram profile. It now reads, “The Sewing Party is the community-centered blogger collective of Singer®, Husqvarna Viking® and Pfaff®. We celebrate all things sewing. Join the party!”
Edited August 11: The Sewing Party has changed the theme they’re using on their site, adding the logos for the brands it represents above the fold.