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Forum > Web site Talk > Thinking about building a sewing blog/database ( Moderated by Deepika)

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Thinking about building a sewing blog/database
Looking for input on features for a sewing blog
Mrs. Cecil
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Mrs. Cecil
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Date: 12/24/12 9:57 AM

Hi everyone! As a web developer I do a lot of the right brain/left brain stuff and once an idea takes hold I kind of have to let it run its course. My latest inspiration is an online database to store all my pattern information (images, yardage, when it was used, alterations, etc...).

Building the database would be a relatively easy task, but once I started thinking I realized that I needed to think bigger.

If I'm going to the trouble of building a pattern database, I should probably add something for my fabric stash, notions and other related materials. My next thought was that it might be nice to incorporate some sort of blog platform. (This way of thinking is what generally takes me from “I need a pair of pants” to sewing a five piece travel ensemble...)

It might end up being pie-in-the-sky, but I would love to get some input on what other people think a fantasy sewing platform should do. Are there any specific features or applications that you would love to use but can't find in the mainstream blogging platforms? Would it be hosted or should it be an add on feature for an existing platform like Wordpress?

I've been thinking lately that as much as I enjoy the creative side of things, it might be time to move away from the front-end side of the business. I'm not really sure I'm ready to give up the design side of things for full-time coding, but I think that planning, and possibly doing, a project like this will help me decide. In the mean time, it doesn't hurt to think about it.

So, what do you think? If you were going to design a customized platform for sewing, what features would you include?
-- Edited on 12/24/12 10:02 AM --

LuceLu
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Date: 12/24/12 6:28 PM

There is a quilting one called Threadbias-www.threadbias.com
They have a place for you to post your projects, your stash and you can post a project as you start, put in multiple pics and update as you go along. There are groups you can join and a messageboard. There is also a couple other sewing centered ones that allow you to upload videos etc. that are more group oriented--you join groups and then post messages from within those groups-- sewwhatsnew.com
and then Google+ just came out with Communities that can be created.

a7yrstitch
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In reply to Mrs. Cecil <<
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Date: 12/24/12 7:02 PM

It would be interesting to have the database supply a column that pulls up the standard measurements for a pattern size. And then, have a column to list either deviations from the standard, or actual altered measurements.

My thought would be that the programming would analyze the deviations for each pattern company and then be able to supply a mean and a range of deviations typical to using patterns from that company.

Ideally the formulations would account for wovens, medium stretch farics and very stretchy fabrics. And there would be a method to code in for individual family members and/or customers.

Any potential for having a program that reads bar codes? Not just for patterns, but to assist with managing notion inventories. That sounds scary, doesn't it? Notions inventories Expanded machine capabilities and expanded fabric selections mean more notions. It helps to have the information organized when the big sales come up.

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Mrs. Cecil
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Date: 12/24/12 9:49 PM

Thanks for the info LuceLu! I wasn't really looking to create a community (we already have PR ), but the sites you mentioned sound like good places to look for possible features.

A7yrstitch, wow! You have put some thought into this.

It would be easy enough to write a function to determine the sizing deviations between pattern companies, ie: if company A uses 34” as a standard bust measurement for a size 12 compared to company B who uses 36”, it wouldn't be exact because there are always going to some patterns that run large or small within a particular pattern line, but I could load their printed size charts and add ease variables based on type of fit (fitted, semi-fitted, loose fitting, etc...)

I'm not sure what you mean by “formulations would account for wovens, medium stretch fabrics and very stretchy fabrics.” Best guess is that the pattern information in the database would note the fabric type and amount of stretch if applicable. My other idea is that you mean that there could be an algorithm to “convert” sizing/fabric needed for using woven fabric in place of stretch. Either way, it's a nice idea.

Bar codes could be a challenge. Not everyone is going to have a barcode/ocr reader. (Yes, some smart phones can do it, but not all.) I suppose that it would be possible to set it up so that the user could just type in the code and the database would pull the data from the universal barcode database and fill in the blanks, but I'd have to think about it. As for the rest, a basic database table can take care of family or client measurements, project notes, pattern alterations, historical data, client preferences, etc...

I'm already committed to a couple major projects next year, both of which will require a lot of work in the first quarter, so I don't expect to really do much with this for a while. It's basically a personal project to see if I am ready to make the jump from front-end design to back-end development. Worst case scenario I end up with an add-on that will work with Wordpress, best case is that I find out I know more than I think I do and end up with a sewing/blogging platform that people can use with their own host. In the mean time I am hoping to put together a list of possible features so that I can start planning.

Thanks again for the input ladies!

TamNearPDX
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Date: 12/25/12 0:17 AM

Let me add that it must be accessible from multiple devices... I have to be able to 'see' my stash from the store :)

The idea of swap (sewing with a purpose) is very intriguing to me... They have a swap on another community... (stitchers guild). Maybe different statices for future projects - ranging from I have everything to someday I'll make a formal gown for some future event...

Tailypo
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Date: 12/26/12 3:07 AM

I have long held that an excellent sewing blog platform would be indexed by reviewer/blogger characteristics. That is, I want to be able to limit reviews to tall, pear-shaped reviewers. I want to sometimes limit reviews to women between 40-50 years old. Sometimes I want to limit to people who live near me.

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petro
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Date: 12/26/12 12:57 PM

I don't know if this is relevant to your idea, but I'd like a way of classifying stuff kept for inspiration - the scrappy lace collar rescued from a vintage piece, the nice button, the bit of applique which ought to be the start of something big.
On commercial patterns, it occurs to me that knowing how much ease over figure measurements there is would be a time saver, as would knowing where the bottom of the neckline hits (how far below the base of the neck).

DebbyS

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Date: 12/26/12 4:46 PM

Check out Ravelry. It is for knitters and crocheters, but I always wished for something similar for sewing.

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LuceLu
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In reply to Mrs. Cecil <<
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Date: 12/26/12 5:26 PM

Yes, I love PR community too however, it is very limited. There is no way to upload video and the interface is very dated. That said, I do appreciate it and have met many lovely people here.

Mrs. Cecil
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Date: 12/26/12 8:15 PM

Not to be redundant, but Wow!!! You guys have some great ideas! The one thing that I want to make clear is that I am developing a website template that anyone can use as a regular self-hosted blog or website, not create an online sewing community. My goal is to create a better way for me, and anyone else who wants to use it, to store and access pattern, fabric and notion stash info, store ideas and blog about projects. My intention is to eventually release the code as open source, freely available to anyone who wants to use it on their own hosting account. From some of the comments it sounds like there might be an interest in a hosted platform that offers all these features as a service. It's something to think about in the future, or perhaps Deepika will evolve PR to do this, but at this point I am just looking at developing a database driven website template for use as a sewing blog/repository to be hosted on the user's own hosting account.

Tallypo, I agree about the need for expanded sort criteria, have you posted your idea in the feature request thread? The only thing I would point out is that a lot of us sew for other people, it might make more sense to sort by the recipient rather than the person doing the sewing. Also age is a good indicator, but it's not foolproof. My grandmother was very fashionable until her late eighties when other people started buying her clothes for her, whereas my mother has always been ultra conservative.

LuceLu, I imagine that the main reason PR doesn't offer a video upload option is because a hundred people uploading videos would put a significant strain on system resources as well as being cost prohibitive. Remember, PR provides an exceptional level of service for what is essentially a free product. If you would like to be able to add videos you might want to post a message in the new feature request thread. If there is enough interest it's possible that Deepika might consider offering another paid membership level to accommodate the extra cost and use of resources. You don't know until you ask and the worst she can say is no.

Thanks to TamNearPDX and Petra for your great suggestions. This is exactly the kind of input I need before I sit down to write code. It's easy enough to add searchable tags, but it's nice to start out with specific criteria that would remain constant no matter what was being sewn or purchased. Thanks to all your great suggestions I am getting a better idea how to set up different forms or pages for patterns, fabric stash, notions and project ideas.

I'm on a deadline for a big project right now, but am hoping that I will have time to start actively working on this in the next few weeks. Please keep posting your suggestions, I really appreciate everybody's help.

Thanks!

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