I was first introduced to the sewing community on Instagram when I wanted to find finished examples of patterns I was interested in making. Smaller pattern companies often have lots of great examples of their garments in their feed. Many also include hashtags you can use to search Instagram for photos as well. I figured out pretty quickly that not only was there a ton of great inspiration on Instagram — there was a whole community of sewists, exchanging information, advice, and lots and lots of sweet compliments! I decided I wanted my own sewing Instagram, to keep track of what I was making, but also to get in on this community. But I wasn’t finding a lot of information on how to get involved, or how to make a sewing Instagram at all.
Sewing is a niche community — you’ve probably figured that out by now. And if I was going to join it, I wanted to do it right. I’m a researcher and a planner, you guys (it’s the librarian in me! It’s on allllll the time, folks). So I jumped in, and I figured it out. Now I feel totally at home in our little sewing Instagram circle, and I want to help you to feel that way, too! That’s why my first post in my new Sewing Blog 101 series is about my ground level: Instagram.
A lot of my readers are well-embedded into the Instagram sewing community. But if you’re not (or looking for some new tips and tricks!), let’s get into it!
How to Make A Sewing Instagram
I’m going to throw in a little PSA here — basically this entire series is going to assume that you’re looking to purposefully grow your social media presence. This post is going to be the least that way, but in general, I’m running with the idea that you’re looking to expand and maybe even monetize your blog. It’s one hundred percent okay if that’s not your gig! It’s also one hundred percent okay if it is! I think it’s a little taboo to say “hey, I want to make some $$$ off social media,” as though that’s an insincere thing to do, but it’s not. I have a lot of ~emotions~ about people (especially women) not wanting to broadcast their goals for fear of seeming greedy, but I’ll go into that another day. For now — a lot of this is oriented towards folks looking to learn about the money side of blogging, so know that going in.
Choose a good handle
Clearly, the first thing you do when you make a new sewing Instagram is choose a handle. I do recommend that you make a new Instagram, too, especially if you’re looking to monetize someday. I have two: my personal one that’s just used by my family and friends, and then my public @MaddieMadeThis account. There’s two really good reasons to make a sewing Instagram. First, it gives you a chance to select a name you can carry across all your social media channels — you’re establishing a brand. Secondly, it gives you an outlet to share more personal posts without disrupting the theme of your account. If you’re marketing yourself as a sewing Instagram, that’s what people expect to see. Posting a lot of off-topic things could frustrate your followers, and you may end up losing their interest.
Having a handle that alerts people to what kind of content people can count on you posting is a plus. You see a lot of punny names in the sewing community, especially plays on sewing. I like mine because it tells you that I post a lot about things that I’ve made. It’s not clear right off the bat what it is, which was also a plus for me: it left space for me to grow! Even though I’ve branched out into an Etsy shop, I don’t need to change my name or add a new account.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be a sewing name. But whatever it is, make sure it’s something you’d be cool calling your blog. Again, you want the same name in every place people might be looking for you, and people are far more likely to search for the name of your blog than your personal name.
After you’ve made your sewing Instagram, it’s time to start following people! Maybe you already have some accounts you check frequently, or blogs you read all the time. They’re a great place to start. Finding more accounts similar to ones you already know is pretty easy. After you follow someone on their profile, a small slider menu pops up with suggested accounts. You can also find this by pressing on the arrow next to the follow button on the profile.
After a while, Instagram will start to understand what you’re interested in. You’ll start to see suggested accounts in your home feed. Scrolling through the explore tab can also bring up some great accounts, since that takes into consideration what you’ve liked.
Besides bloggers you like, I suggest following pattern companies (big and small!) and fabric shops. They end up being a great source of inspiration, and can help keep your feed fresh while you’re still finding individuals to follow.
Don’t be concerned about follower counts on the accounts you follow — just start following whoever inspires you! A mix of big accounts and smaller ones will help bump up your follower accounts, too. I find that smaller accounts are more likely to follow you back. We’ll talk more about growing your own follower count in a few weeks.
Post some photos!
The final step – throwing up some nice photos. As a general rule, I never post more than one photo in a row — which is way easier to avoid now with Instagram’s multiple photo feature. The one exception to this as an individual (not as a company or product provider) is when you’ve just started your account. People looking at your profile like to have a few examples of the kind of thing you’re doing! I’d say have five to seven nicely edited images ready to post soon after you’ve made your account. We’ll talk more next time about how to get those gorgeous images!