Welcome! The coffee is brewing, and we’re chatting this morning with Betz White: author, pattern-designer, and upcycler extraordinaire!
New to Morning Coffee? Monday mornings we sit down with some of my favorite writers & creative people, and get to know a little bit about their blogs and why they do what they do.
Once in a while I also interview Polka Dot Cottage readers, so if you write a creative blog and would like to participate some future week, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!
Ready for today’s interview? Let’s go 🙂
How I found Betz White
I think you may get tired of hearing this same thing over and over again, but I’m pretty sure I first heard of Betz via a podcast. (Yes, I spent a lot of time listening to CraftyPod and CraftSanity in 2007.) I spent the summer of 2009 enamored with Betz’ second book, Sewing Green, after being completely un-subtle to my family about what a great Mother’s Day gift it would be.
These days, Betz keeps my attention with her fabulous bag patterns. The attention to detail is so impressive. As someone who is not the most adventurous seamstress, I keep admiring the bags from afar, but one of these days, I am going to pull that trigger, buy myself a pattern, and force myself to make it. I already know it can’t be as complicated as I think – it never is! The Metro Hipster looks like a great everyday bag, and the new Smile and Wave tote makes me want to stitch one up and head right to the beach.
Q&A with Betz White
I’m thrilled to have Betz here today to talk a little bit about her blog. Read on!
Welcome, Betz! When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in 2006 shortly after participating in my first indie craft fair. I had been making crafts from felted wool sweaters and needed an outlet for sharing my work. It was my sister-in-law that first urged me to start a blog after I had sent her photos and how-to instructions for a shibori scarf I had made. At the time I had left my children’s apparel design job to freelance and stay home with my young kids. I craved creative input/output and general adult conversation. Blogging back then was the perfect way for me to “have it all”.
Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?
My blog has definitely changed a lot in the past 8 years. Early on my blog shifted from a purely creative outlet to a showcase for the work that would become my business. I evolved from selling my handmade items to writing craft /sewing books and producing a line of sewing patterns and teaching workshops. I still share tutorials, DIY projects, tips and techniques, book reviews, etc, on the blog. I’ve recently added video tutorials showing bag making tips and plan to build on those to create a resource for my customers. In my earlier blog years I shared a bit about my family and more personal topics. I’ve moved away from that somewhat as the blogging world has gotten more crowded and readers seem to have less time and interest in those kinds of posts. I won’t abandon that type of conversation completely because I think it makes us all feel more connected and human. Much of that type of daily life conversation happens on Twitter and Instagram where I’m finding more interaction.
How does your blog fit in to your daily life?
The beginning of this year was the first time I ever made a blogging calendar. I had just launched a long overdue blog redesign and I was turning over a new blogging leaf. I mapped out topics for 3 posts a week and stuck to it for a short time before realizing that to keep up with my other business goals, 3 posts a week wasn’t always possible. So now I’ve shifted a bit. Instead of a weekly blogging calendar I have monthly blogging goals (i.e.: one book review, one video tutorial, one tips and techniques post, etc). I prefer the flexibility of flying by the seat of my pants while trying to post regularly and frequently. It’s a tough balance!
Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?
My family and friends pretty much get it, at least on the surface. Although they never comment on the blog, I know my parents are regular readers.
How important are reader comments to you?
My stats tell me that people are still very interested in my blog but my comments don’t tell the same story. I gotta say, that’s tough. What I loved in my early days of blogging was the conversation. I’m making a concerted effort this year to re-engage with my readers but due to many factors, such as the use of mobile devices and other social media, the comments just aren’t there. I’ll continue to blog as it is my primary means of communicating news about my business but I’m also interacting regularly on Twitter and Instagram.
In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?
The blogging world has provided me with a whole community of like-minded makers and I’m grateful for it. I love getting to meet other bloggers in real life that’d I’ve followed for years. Writing my own blog has given me a platform to say and do what I want to do, and that is so liberating.
Do you have any big projects happening this year?
I’m currently hosting a fun collaboration between myself and 4 other pattern designers called the Road Trip Pattern Club. Members receive 5 exclusive sewing patterns that are revealed every few weeks throughout the summer. You can read more about it here.
And coming this fall, my 3rd book, Present Perfect: 25 Gifts to Sew and Bestow will be released. I’m very excited about this book and can’t wait to share it!
Thank you, Betz, for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use your photos to illustrate our conversation. It’s been a pleasure!