What is a Sew-along? Quilt-along?

Ok so I’ve had the question ‘What is a sewalong?’ and ‘How does it work?’ So i thought I’d pop on here to give a bit more detail about what they are and how my sewalongs or quiltalongs are going to work.

What is a quiltalong.png

So first up they are a fun way to get more people to engage with a sewing pattern. The benefits to the participant are:

  • To get a project finished within a given time frame without it being relegated to the UFO pile (Unfinished Object!).

  • To see lots of other variations of the same pattern to get inspiration from

  • To get encouragement and handy pointers or questions answered from the designer and or other participants

  • To receive lots of nice comments on their efforts

  • Sometimes there are prizes awarded!

The benefits of them to the designer are:

  • To engage with their followers

  • To sell more patterns

  • To reach new people

  • To join forces with other designers or companies working within the industry to provide prizes or help promote the pattern

  • To see lots of different variations of the same pattern

People running the sewalongs, the host, generally decide how they work. Generally participants purchase the pattern, sometimes the pattern might be free. The host will specify a schedule of what steps need to be achieved and by when. For example it could be to make a block every month or every week. The host will specify what platform the sewalong will run on. Instagram lends itself really well to this kind of thing as most people have their profiles set to public so it’s easy to see the photos.

Instagram also works well with hashtags. So a sewalong would normally have a hashtag assigned to it. For example the hashtag for the upcoming Tumbling Spools Quiltalong will be #tumblingspoolsqal. Everyone participating will add that tag when they post a picture of the item to their post. That way other participants can choose to search or follow that hashtag and see all the other photos related to the quiltalong. It’s also an easy way for the host to find all people participating to comment on them and make sure they get entered into any prize draws.

As already mentioned, sometimes there are prizes. So it is common for there to be a prize draw for all people who posted a picture of the finished item. Some sewalongs might have prizes for each step to encourage you to participate at each step. This is a great way for the designer to showcase and help promote other great businesses within the quilting or sewing industry. It helps form great relationships between businesses and introduces participants to companies they may not have heard of yet but are very relevant to their interests.

So in a nutshell:

  • Buy the pattern

  • Make the item

  • Post pictures of it at the steps detailed in the schedule, add the hashtag

  • Look at all the other items on the hashtag

  • Encourage other joining in

  • Maybe win a prize

  • Have a lovely time sewing at home but sewing along with others on the same project online!

Hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments.