Exploring the narratives, motivations and experiences of people engaging in an online sewalong: #fussycuttingsewalong

In January 2018 I started an English Paper Piecing (EPP) fussy-cutting sewalong on Instagram. Each month has an individual theme (themes so far have included love, animals, flowers, retro) and every Monday I share a photo of an EPP block and provide guidelines/challenges for others to create their EPP block based on that week’s fussy cutting challenge (such as fussy cutting a whole motif, a central motif, a section of a motif and so on). There are lots of photos available on Instagram by searching the hashtag #fussycuttingsewalong or clicking onto my own profile http://www.instagram.com/naomialicec

Within the sewalong, there is diversity in the location of participants (with women from the UK, Channel Islands, USA, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Germany, Norway), ages (ranging from 27 to 70+ years), religions, techniques, socio-economic status, careers, and styles yet there is also unity through that diversity as sewing has acted as a leveller. A supportive community has been created which has extended beyond social media (some people have met and become friends in real life). We have worked together to create a strong, encouraging, creative community which is built upon shared interests by using Instagram to create a digital version of the traditional quilting bees.

Often when sewing is researched it is done from a public health perspective with sewing being explored as a creative intervention for healthy ageing and/or for those struggling with mental health difficulties, disability and/or ill physical health.

I would like to explore sewing for sewing’s sake. To do so, I am focussing on the personal narratives and motivations of those taking part in the #fussycuttingsewalong as well as sewing more generally. I would also like to explore the role of social media in their sewing experiences.

Participant information sheet

Exploring the narratives, motivations and experiences of people engaging in an online sewalong: #fussycuttingsewalong

My name is Naomi Clarke and I am at the University of Bristol studying for a Social Work PhD.

“What is the research about?”

For my PhD I am doing a research project about people’s experiences of sewing in an online sewalong (the Instagram-led #fussycuttingsewalong), their experiences of sewing generally, and their motivations for both sewing and engaging in the #fussycuttingsewalong.

“What is involved?”

I would like to preserve the posts you have made as part of your #fussycuttingsewalong journey. This involves me taking a screenshot of the posts you have made on Instagram with the hashtag #fussycuttingsewalong which would include the photo, the written texts and the comments.

“What about privacy?”
I have to write a thesis about this project and I may write academic publications and give talks based on this project. I may use your words and the photos of your work but I will not use your name, your Instagram name, or any other identifying information. Everything you say will be private, unless you say something that makes me worry about your safety or the safety of others. If this happens, then I will need to talk about this to my supervisor but I would discuss this with you before doing so.
I can also provide you with copies of the screenshots so that you can see the anonymisation that has taken place.

All of the information will be stored on a password protected, backed-up University of Bristol network computer.

 “What next?”
If you are happy to take part in the project, please email me clearly confirming that:

  • you understand what I am doing with your data,
  • you understand what I have explained in the information sheet,
  • you agree to me screenshotting the posts for the information to be collected as part of the study to be used for the purpose of the PhD thesis, presentations and further academic publications.

If you do not wish to take part then that is okay and this will not go any further. You do not have to take part in this research to take part in the sewalong. Saying no to the research will not impact your participation in the #fussycuttingsewalong in any way.

Further information:

If you would like to know any more about the project I am more than happy to talk with you. My contact details and my PhD supervisor’s details (Professor Debbie Watson) are available on the bottom of this form. I have received DBS clearance and ethical approval from the School for Policy Studies Ethics Committee at the University of Bristol.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information.

You can also download and keep a copy of this letter by clicking on the following link:

Yours sincerely,

Naomi Clarke

Dissertation supervisor:
Professor Debbie Watson