Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are blog tutorials to be trusted?

Just recently, I have stumbled upon a comment on one sewing blog that made me think about the quality of sewing tutorials, so abundant in the sewing blogosphere.

But first, the disclaimer: I realize, I may upset a few people by quoting a part of the comment here, but I hope the majority of you will agree that it is actually a positive thing because it triggers interesting debates on relevant issues.

Anyway, here is the quote:
It only annoys me because of the many examples of tutorials that are really popular but frankly really ill-informed. And it guts me that people searching for a tutorial on how to do something may latch onto one of these - and think it is a good way to do it when it is harder, less accurate, or otherwise flawed - simply because of who wrote it or how many hits it had had.
So, on the one hand, I agree - there are a few not-so-great tutorials, on the other hand, I think, blog readers should be aware that blog tutorials are nothing else but the author’s way to do it – try it or leave it.

Here are some clues that help me use blog tutorials successfully:

1. Check out the final result

Honestly, I have never had a problem with online tutorials. For example, I saw several ones on hand-worked buttonholes – some had more information, others were basic… But what really counted for me was the final result. Did I like the buttonhole? If yes – I tried to follow the writer’s instructions. It didn’t work out even after some practice? I did more research. 

2. Compare several tutorials, on blogs or in books

One thing I always do is look at several tutorials on the same topic and compare. With my buttonholes, I achieved the best results combining three sources, Jeffery D.’s video tutorial, Cutter & Tailor forum info, and Paco Peralta’s tutorial on his blog (the links)

3. Look for personal experience

I also feel that even if the tutorial is less accurate, you will very likely find some invaluable personal experience that makes blog tutorials so different from sewing books instructions. 

4. Look for references.

References to additional resources are always a good sign - for me, it is an indication that the writer made a research and compared different ways to do something.  

Finally, we are all learning by doing, right? I appreciate the time bloggers invest into tutorial writing, whether good or bad. So, even if I didn't like something, I would always come back and check new tutorials by the same person. 

Post factum edit :-) I also wanted to add that, sometimes, it is the blogger personality, his or her wit, or the garment they made, that inspire a reader to try out a technique - I think this makes blogs a very educative medium that helps spread the word about the craft we all love!

So, readers, what do you think about blog tutorials? Are they to be trusted? What makes a good tutorial for you? Which bloggers out there would you recommend for well-written and thoroughly researched tutorials? 

Ok, having said all of that, there is a tutorial in making on Chanel faux bound buttonholes :-) It is actually more of a review of Claire Shaeffer's technique... I will try to post it tonight, kids permitting ;-)


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