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April 24

Blogger Meetup with Tilly

Over the weekend, well Friday really, I had my first ever blogger meetup with Ms. Tilly (& the buttons).

Tilly was as sweet as could be.  We chatted about sewing, blogs, her pattern-making workshop with creating a block,  the online sewing-blogger movement, other bloggers, etc. 

But I have a confession….  Being my first blogger meetup, I was incredibly nervous & shy throughout.  For me sewing is so solitary (or has been until recently) that I don’t find myself often chatting about blogging or sewing to others, in person.  Most people just don’t get it.

So when I blog, I’m talking you all of you internet pals and I have a lovely time doing so.  :)  But meeting another blogger, in person, I clammed up and was quite shy. 

I pushed myself to chat and when I did, it was fun.  Seriously… Tilly made me feel more and more comfortable talking the longer we were hanging out.       

The first fabric stop we made was to the mega-huge and crazy Textile Discount Warehouse.

This store is in Pilsen and it some hits & lots of misses as far as the fabric is concerned.  Tilly’s posing with one of the “misses” which was some gaudy red, silver, blue and black scratchy polyester fabric.  She took lots more photos than I did, but it’s hard to get the scale of this place.  The layout is nearly 1/2 city block long and has three levels (main floor, attic, and basement). 

Being a slight fabric snob, I shy away from un-natural fibers (plus I’m allergic to Poly) and this place is at least 80% unnatural fiber fabrics.  They do have some gems, but you have to hunt.  I’d recommend you go to this place at least once just to experience it, especially the zipper “room”.  And be sure to bring a buddy! 

Afterwards we went to Fishmans and then to Vogue across the street.  I think we both had better luck at Vogue Fabrics, which is a great place that has reasonably priced fabrics and a good selection of them.  

When I dropped Tilly off for the day, I felt a bit saddened.  I never felt 100% like myself throughout the visit and it was a shame.  I just had too many thoughts reeling in my head that I couldn’t fully relax.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wasn’t being me, which made me more conscious and shy… :|

As a result of all of this, I’m going to be pushing myself to get out of my sewing room and interact with more sewers/bloggers.  I think that’s the only way I’m going to be more comfortable and truly have the most fun.  I’d already been pondering doing a group meetup in the city over the spring/summer, but I think this has confirmed that it must happen!  heh

Do you guys have any blogger meetup stories to share?  Thoughts?  Or am I just being too hard on myself?

  1. Vicki / Apr 24 2012

    I’m coming to U. Michigan sometime over the summer for work, and Meg (the Grand) was asking if I planned to stop in Chicago and visit and do some crazy fabric shopping (among other things….) so I think it’s a great idea!
    I met Meg, Mena, Oona, Debi and a bunch of NYC based sewing bloggers last fall for a meetup and it was a total blast! Food, drinks, pattern exchange, fabric shopping….there wasn’t a dull moment.

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      You should come to the city for a whole weekend if you’ll be in Michigan for the summer! There’s loads of fun things to do here in the summer along with meeting up. :)

      • Vicki / Apr 24 2012

        I’ll be visiting U.M. for only a day or so, but there’s nothing stopping me from taking a few vacation days in Chicago before or after that. I can’t believe I’ve never been before, so I definitely have to make an effort, especially after watching that video link that Tilly posted about the Textile Discount Outlet. Holy cow – I’d book a whole afternoon for that place.

        (I have to admit feeling a bit like I was meeting celebrities when I went to the NYC meetup. I even got to meet Peter and talk about his identical cousin Cathy!!)

        • oonaballoona / Apr 27 2012

          i have to tell you liz, i saw your meetup over at tilly’s and i thought you looked like a martini shaker fulla fun.

          but i know what you mean, during the ny meetup vicki speaks of, i had to keep jolting back into myself… mainly because i thought as a co-host i should act more prim and proper, and less of a swearing roustabout.

          if you guys do chicago over the summer and i can get a cheap ticket, i promise to be the latter.

        • Meg / Apr 27 2012

          OMG YOU ARE COMING?! Yes, please – let’s all get together!!

  2. Melizza / Apr 24 2012

    Meeting up with other bloggers is super fun but initially it’s quite nerve-wracking. Especially if you’re meeting up with writers/sewists who inspire you. So don’t be hard on yourself. It gets easier. Next time meet up over cocktails or desserts. Those make everything more fun.

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      Thanks Melizza! :)

  3. Sue / Apr 24 2012

    I’m SO with you. When I read Tilly’s post about her meetup with you in Chicago my first reaction was: wow, even if I was in Chicago, I could NEVER do that. I just know I’d clam up and become overly shy and self-conscious. At the same time, though, I LOVE the idea of a meetup. I think if there was a whole group of bloggers involved, it’d be a lot easier for everyone to just be themselves. ;)

    I live near Washington, DC, but I have been wanting to visit Chicago for some time now…

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      Thanks Sue! You should come to Chicago to visit and we can clam up together… heheh It would be fun though.

      Even though I was nervous while meeting Tilly, it was always fun.

      I’m due to visit DC later this year as I have a friend there… Perhaps I’ll come to visit you. :)

      • Sue / Apr 24 2012

        sounds great!! :)

  4. K-Line / Apr 24 2012

    I think you are being hard on yourself. I’ve met many blog friends (bloggers and non-bloggers who read mine) and it’s basically a blind date every first time you meet someone. I’m very outgoing (my husband says I can talk to a wall and get feedback – and occasionally I feel like he’s acting like one :-)) but still it’s strange to meet people you’ve known in one context in an entirely different context. I think that meeting with more bloggers – and talking about sewing more in real life – will help you to move past these feelings in the future. BTW, Tilly seemed to have a great time!

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      Thanks Ms. K. :)

  5. Qui / Apr 24 2012

    seems a little bit like a blind date, no?
    I met a friend of my sister’s last winter who is a sewing blogger, and we had a great time talking about all the blogs that we both read–it was so fun to have someone to talk to about sewing stuff and the new patterns and community sewing challenges, etc. She encouraged me to start my blog :)

    I am very shy, and I think I would be quite nervous to meet someone in person for the first time too! I was actually a bit nervous to even blog and interact with people via comments. But my motto is “growing through sewing,” and what I mean is to push myself beyond my comfort zone to grow socially (and of course become a better seamstress too!)

    Go Liz!

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      I’ve never been on a blind date actually. heh

      What an excellent motto… Blogging has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but now I’m finding I have more. Meeting up with Tilly was a great first step, and I know it will get easier with the more people I meet.

  6. Clare S / Apr 24 2012

    No, I don’t think you’re on your own on this one and yes you probably are being too hard on yourself :)

    But then, I’m the same! When I meet new people socially (not at work, at work I’m fine – comes from teaching new students all the time!) I can get quite self-conscious and that makes me feel like I’m boring and don’t have anything interesting to say, which, of course, makes me unable to think of anything interesting to say! In particular, I feel awkward if I kinda know someone from a distance (like blogging), but haven’t met before in real life. I fear I scared off my one sewing friend in that very way!

    If I were in the area (or even the country!) I’d be up for your meet-up – you should definitely go ahead and arrange one! I really want to go to one over here, but kinda feel like I’m not one of the ‘cool kids’ and would be inviting myself and everyone would be ‘who’s she?’ Which I know is very silly because all the sewing bloggers here seem really lovely (like Tilly), but that’s my silly insecurity that I’m not interesting! So, if you get the guts to plan a meet up, maybe I’ll get the guts to go to one!

    • Liz / Apr 24 2012

      I’m slowly working up to doing a larger meetup. Everyone has been very encouraging and supportive, I just have to get over my initial shyness.

      You’re so silly… I have no idea who even the “cool kids” are. hehehe You should definitely go and hang out with some blogger peeps and tell me all about it. :)

      • Clare S / Apr 26 2012

        Lol, I am a bit silly, I know. I think the ‘cool kids’ are basically everyone else?

        I will endeavour to try!

  7. Sassy T / Apr 24 2012

    I think it’s normal to feel like that. Perhaps if there were a few of you it wouldn’t be as nerve wrecking. I think next time I go to London for a wander I will see if any London sewing Bloggers want to meet up. Sounds really fun.

  8. Stephanie / Apr 24 2012

    I’ve never been to a blogger meet up but they look like so much fun! There’s not been one close enough for me to go, but I am going to Costume College this summer and can’t wait to meet loads of people. :)

  9. Amanda D. / Apr 24 2012

    You’re not alone on that one! I’d be nervous too, especially a one-on-one meetup. Now that I’m back in NYC I thought it would be fun to organize a meetup, but I don’t know…it seems hard to do! I worry I’ll suggest something and no one will think it’s a good idea. And also I don’t post enough on my blog to have any kind of online presence anyway :) I’m very in my own world when it comes to sewing and fabric shopping. Anyway, I say good for you and I’m sure you did better than you think!

  10. didyoumakethat / Apr 24 2012

    Here are my thoughts: shyness is a vastly under-appreciated quality. Yes, quality – NOT weakness. All the best people have a streak of shyness in them, myself included. Indeed, I often use it as a benchmark of decency. If I meet someone who is a bit shy, I know they must have a good soul – you need self-awareness to feel self-conscious. And, personally, I love finding the way to bring someone out of themselves. Blogger meet-ups can be nerve-wracking but I’ve never met a Sewist I didn’t like, plus – you know – you don’t ever have to see these people again if you don’t want to. I think I’ve become quite brazen over the years about chatting to strangers, which is odd – because, as said above, I can still be quite obviously shy in certain situations. Someone above suggested a group meet up, rather than one-on-one and that might be easier. But having met Tilly several times, I know she’s a sweetheart and would have loved being with you, so no need to worry on that front!

  11. Tasha / Apr 24 2012

    Well we’re in the same city, so we should definitely meetup! We have no excuses, and now I’m even on the same general end of town as you! :)

    I had my own Blogger meetup this weekend with an Australian vintage blogger, Bex from Subversive Femme, and it was awesome. And I’m sad she lives so far away. Of course perhaps it’s easy to not feel quite as uncomfortable chatting over beers than shopping. lol But in general I always feel like I come across as an awkward weirdo when I meet new people. So I know the feeling you’re talking about. I too am shy and it’s hard to break out and worse when you feel self-conscious. My friends don’t really share a lot of my interests (sewing, knitting, vintage stuff), and my 2 closest friends here are about to move out of the country as it is. I need to overcome all that and meet new people that -do- share some similar interests. :)

  12. Emma / Apr 24 2012

    Meeting people like that can be terrifying. Not that it stops me from doing it, it just means that I feel sick to my stomach and try to come up with a good excuse to cancel at the last minute (which I never do, because honestly if you have to think to come up with one the excuse is never good enough to stand someone up like that).

    Most recently I met up with a whole group of people who knew each other well, and not only was I “the odd one out”, I was also the only foreigner and with just barely passable French. I was definitely not “myself”, unless you count the last minute attempts to come up with a good excuse to cancel…

  13. Gillian / Apr 24 2012

    It’s pretty awesome that a blog post about being shy has brought so many shy bloggers out of the woodwork! I guess we share more than just a hobby! ;) I’m impressed with you for being so honest about it… and I’m sure I would have felt the same, especially with a blogger as well know as Tilly!
    Sounds like you have all kinds of potential meet-up plans over the next few months – I’m a little jealous! Enjoy the great company! :)

  14. Meli / Apr 24 2012

    Meeting people that you respect is always a little challenging, because you want them to like you as much as you like them. You’ll get’em next time!

    Please, let’s do a chicago blogger meetup this summer!!

  15. Amy / Apr 24 2012

    All I know is that you looked like you were laughing and having a great time in the photos I saw on Tilly’s blog. I bet in a few days all you’ll remember is the laughs you had over tea and crazy fabrics.

  16. Cation Designs / Apr 25 2012

    It’s so funny that you should read this right after meeting up with Oonaballoona for the first time ever! I, too, was super nervous since I am usually super shy with new people, and I have always had a bit of a sewing celebrity crush on her, but like you said of Tilly, she was perfectly nice! I think more sewing bloggers should meet up, as we are a rare breed!

  17. Tilly / Apr 26 2012

    Oh Liz! I’m so surprised to read you felt shy – you came across as really confident (but not overly so). Maybe it’s just that I’m naturally a little shy too so just felt comfortable with you :) In any case, I had a great time with you. It’s definitely strange meeting internet friends for the first time though – I think I told you how I nearly ran away before my first blogger meet-up with Debi, but I’m so glad I didn’t as we had a brilliant time!

    Ooh by the way, my brother asked if you go to Hackspace? He goes to meet techie people but he says there are lots of craft people there too. He goes to the one in (or near?) Clybourn I think.

    xx

  18. Meg / Apr 27 2012

    I think if you are serious about getting together with other bloggers, then we should definitely make some more plans to hang out :) While I’ve been to the Textile Discount Outlet before, I have never been to the other stores you have mentioned and I would love a guide (if you don’t mind, of course). I think you are terrific and look forward to meeting you in person! Though I plan on giving you a huge hug – again, I hope you don’t mind…

  19. Kelli / May 6 2012

    OK I want in on this. I live in Evanston and have never tried most of the stores you talked about. I totally know what you mean about being sewing blog shy. A blog is a good way for me to put my best self out there and so sometimes I think it’s hard to say – hey this is the real everyday me.
    That being said I would be all over a sewing blogger meetup. I love to talk shop. I would be happy to help with the planning if you want too.

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