Saturday, 31 December 2011

Sewing Blogger of The Year awards 2011


Sewing Blogger of the year 2011
We have teamed up with online fabric store Backstitch to bring some recognition to all those hardworking sewing bloggers out there.  We would like you to vote for your favourite sewing blog of 2011, and we will reward the winner with £50 credit for Backstitch so they can stock up on lovely fabrics.
There will also be 2 runners up prizes plus one voter will be picked at random to win a prize too.
How to vote
You can send your nomination using this entry form or you can put your nomination on The Sewing Directory Blog or the Backstitch blog in the comments below our posts about the awards.  Please do let us know why you love your chosen blog.  We know you may have many sewing blogs that you love but I’m afraid we have to limit to 1 nomination per person.  You have until midnight 31st January 2012 to get your vote in.  
Bloggers please do feel free to post about these awards on your blog to encourage your followers to vote for you.  You can grab the code for the Sewing blogger awards button (left) below: 



 
Prizes
1st - £50 voucher for Backstitch
2nd & 3rd – Prize bundle which includes a fabric sample pack from Makower, a sewing book & handmade ceramic buttons.
Voter prize - £15 voucher for Backstitch
Terms & Conditions
One vote per person, multiple votes will result in all of that person’s votes being removed.  All nominations must be received by midnight GMT on Tuesday 31st January 2012; winners will be announced on the 1st of February 2012.  There is no geographical limit, you can enter from anywhere in the world, and vote for a blogger based anywhere in the world too.  Postage costs for your order on Backstitch will be taken out of your voucher credit.   The nominated blog doesn’t have to purely focus on sewing so long as at least 25% of the posts relate to sewing.  In the event of a tie break we will use a random number generator to pick the winner.  A voter will be selected at random to win the voter prize.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Top blog posts of 2011

I thought a great way to end the year would be to revisit some of our most popular blog posts this year.   I have to admit our blog has been a little neglected this year whilst we've been concentrating on the main site but I have great plans for 2012.  If there is anything in particular you would like to see more of on the blog do let me know.

1) M for Muslin - Our A-Z of sewing guest blog posts proved very popular with 4 of our top 5 being part of that series. This particular post by Aileen McKenna was our most popular blog post this year.  Click the link to find out more about how and when to make a muslin.

C is for Corset
2) Where to Sell your Crafts - Another popular theme, with so many of us creating many wonder where is the best place to sell your crafts this great guest post by Viv Smith of Poppy Sparkles will get you started.  

3) I is for Interfacing - Another popular post from the A-Z of sewing, this post discusses the different types of interfacing and when to use them.  Written by Leah Taylor, the ex-owner of Sewbox.

4) C is for Corset - One of my personal favourites this post by Julia Bremble of Sew Curvy Corset Kits explores the history of corsets.

5) U is for Underwear - Some great tips & tutorials for making your own underwear, from Kerrie Curzon of Kerrie Curzon creations.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas from The Sewing Directory

Merry Christmas Everyone


Everyone at The Sewing Directory would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you all for your support during 2011.  We will still be here over the Christmas & New Year period both on e-mail and social networks, although we may be updating a little less than usual.

2011 has been a year of big changes for The Sewing Directory, we have gone from 1 person to a team of 3 (thank you Beth & Juliet for your help) and we now get 10,000 more monthly visitors than we did this time last year!  The site has evolved too with several new features such as our workshops page, sales page and the splitting of our articles section into projects, interviews, how to guides etc.

In 2012 we plan to continue expanding the site, introducing new features and building on those we already have.  We are working on a plan for an exciting new summer design competition to replace our Christmas Creativity Competition, we know there are only so many Christmas ideas you can come up with!
We'd like to thank you all for visiting the site, using the directory and participating throughout the last year.  Hopefully our big advent giveaway has given many of you an extra Christmas treat.  A big thank you to our sponsors, advertisers & customers who enable us to keep the site running, do pop over to their sites and check out their wonder products, fabrics & classes.

Here's wishing you all a successful 2012.   Merry Christmas everyone  - From Fiona, Beth & Juliet xxx

Friday, 16 December 2011

Are standards dropping?

Last week I had 3 complaints outstanding against 3 different large multi million pound companies.  One complaint about awful service, 1 about being over charged and 1 about damaged goods (the 3rd lot of damaged itemse i've had from that company in 3 orders!). 

I started to wonder why are we having to complain so much more, is it just because we are all so much shorter of money now that we expect more for our money?  Or are companies starting to drop their standards?

The notebooks I ordered from Peony and Thistle
I think that it's not only us smaller businesses who are being affected by credit crunch but the large companies too.  They are finding costs are rising but they are still expected to be competitive, especially as people are buying less and being a lot more price conscious.  We are now starting to see the effects in the service and quality of goods we receive.

The company that I received damaged items in 3 seperate orders from told me some of their usual suppliers had gone into administration so they were having to use a supplier they haven't used before and haven't had chance to quality check their work as much as they normally would.  Hence, an increase in damaged products being sent out and more complaints being received.  Others are just trying to cut corners to save money hoping that we won't notice.

When I posted a link to this post on Twitter Zoe Grant from Zoe & Drew said she'd been having problems with a well known supermarket and their customer service she tweeted ' The reason big high street & supermarket brands are losing profits is because they have forgotten how to look after their customers.'


However,  for us the good news is that we can really make our small businesses stand out by ensuring that our customer service and the quality of our goods is as good as possible.  Smaller businesses often compete with the larger ones on price, but we can more than make up for it with customer service.  We can deliver that personal touch, and leave our customers with quality goods/services and a happy shopping experience.

The fabrics I received from Dragonfly Fabrics
I recently purchased the pictured set of notebooks from Peony & Thistle on Folksy as a treat for myself on my 30th birthday. Not only did they come beautifully wrapped in a handmade enveloppe but Dorothy, the shop owner, had included a beautiful birthday card inside too.  It was the first order I have ever placed with her and I was so touched by her thoughtfulness.  That is the kind of personal touch that small businesses give that larger ones don't, and it pays off, a few weeks later I them ordered 6 more of these notebooks as Christmas presents.

Many of the fabric stores I have received fabrics from recently Celtic Fusion FabricsDragonfly Fabrics and Ecotale not only wrap their fabrics in delicate tissue paper but they wrap them with free ribbons, or include little extras like buttons or postcards with a personal message on ensuring that every customer is happy and will order again.  So much nicer than just something wrapped in plastic with a printed receipt or thank you note that every customer gets.

Now is the time to make sure that the service and quality of products we provide keeps people buying handmade and from smaller businesses whilst the larger businesses learn the hard way that they can't continue to cut costs and expect the same level of customer satisfaction. 

What do you think?  Have you noticed a change in standards lately?  Are you having to complain more?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Prizes every day until Christmas....

Advent giveaway now live

Just a quick update to let you know that our advent giveaway with Abakhan Fabrics is now live. We are giving away prizes every day from now to the 25th of December, no limit to the number of times you can win so why not enter every day?

Full details can be found here: http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/advent-giveaway/
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