I first "met" Allison through her podcast, Within a Quarter Inch, and fell in love with her twin stories, retail therapy, and adventures with the GPS. I also follow her blog so I can see the pictures to go along with everything from her latest project to her new house. Allison has big dreams about an online quilting community to rival what Ravelry has provided for knitters and crocheters, so she got together with some of my other favorite podcasters to create the ultimate quilting site, SeamedUP.
“‘Where is the Ravlery for quilters?’ I kept hearing that over and over,” explains Allison. “But I didn’t know how to build a website. Brye [of Sew ~ Stitch ~ Create] was my first phone call.”
Although Brye didn’t know how to program either, her podcast format is one in which she chooses a topic she’d like to know more about and researches it thoroughly. Allison was sure that Brye could do the same thing with building a website. And she has. Brye taught herself programming just for the site, which is incredible when you realize what they’ve already done and the long list of what is planned for the future.
Allison says that trying to build this large, dynamic website with absolutely no programming experience has been one of the biggest challenges. The other? “Prioritizing,” she says, without hesitating.
“The future of SeamedUP is vast,” says Allison. While there are many features that the team wants to add or improve, it’s still just the two of them plus a few volunteers. The next feature was originally scheduled to be adding book, notion, and sewing machine databases to the incredible fabric listing, but that has been temporarily put on hold so they can focus on the social aspect.
“What I love the most is, as the person who manages the social media right now, seeing the SeamedUP logo everywhere, engaging and conversing with people online.”
The Facebook-style feed they are working on will include updates about what your friends on SeamedUP are up to, who added which fabric to their stash, or which quilter is using the same pattern you are. Allison’s obsession with Google Analytics tells her that there is plenty of traffic to the site, but the social side is what she hopes will cause quilters to linger longer.
I asked Allison what unexpected benefit has come from building the site. For her, it has been seeing this dream become a reality. “Listen,” she says, “I have come up with a number of fabulous ideas over the years, but they don’t go anywhere. So I’m actually surprised that we’re still working on this.” She attributes that to the partners. “We keep each other excited. There have been so many roadblocks where we could have said, ‘forget it.’” She’s proud of herself and Brye for sticking with it through some really challenging times. And, although they haven’t met in person yet, she hopes to have a face-to-face board meeting with Brye within the year.
Aside from the cohesive team, “acceptance by the industry as a whole” has given Allison and Brye a determination to see the dream become a reality. “It’s really gratifying and it fuels the fire,” says Allison. The key difference between SeamedUP and some of the other sewing and quilting sites is having fabric manufacturers on board so there is a pre-populated database of fabrics. Moda was the first early adopter - SeamedUP has already received over 50,000 lines of their data! - but now virtually all of the fabric manufacturers are participating. This is a critical component for building your stash, trading with other members, and finding projects made with fabric you already own.
Allison explains that a lot of the information asked for when you enter your own stash or projects - How much was that fabric? What machine do you use? - will help build and interconnect the pattern, book, notion, and machine databases for the future.
Some of the other capabilities that they hope to see live on the site soon:
- My Crafty Space - sharing workspaces and how they’re set up
- Addicts - people on the site, friending, communication, and a Facebook-style feed
- Events - quilt shows, classes, etc.
- Quilt shop database from around the world - plan a driving trip and use Google Maps to find shops on the way!
- UP for Trade - if you have older fabrics in your stash, you might be out of it and need more. You’ll be able to search to find who has some they might be willing to sell. You will also be able to sell your de-stash and your handmade items on SeamedUP. While Etsy is all about the handmade, Allison and Brye hope that SeamedUP will be all about the handmade for the fabric crafting niche. It should be an excellent source for both buyers and sellers. You'll be able to link to any Etsy shop or other online personality you may have, and use all avenues to increase traffic.
If you’d like to cushion your fabric budget and love sales, contact Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org to help spread the word about advertising space on SeamedUP on a commission basis. She’s also happy to speak with other bloggers, guild newsletter editors, and anyone else who would like to shout about SeamedUP.
Go set up your sewing room, add your latest project, and be sure to friend me - I’m QuiltinJenny there too - and help build the ultimate quilting website from the ground up!
Thanks, Allison, for a wonderful interview and for all the work you and Brye have put into this incredible site!