Talking with Kate from The Fold Line!

Helen —  October 20, 2015 — Leave a comment
We’ve got a little over a week left of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge. There’s been so much sewing talk over the past few months, and it’s been fabulous to stretch those creative muscles.

 

As we’ve shared our projects in progress and our finished objects over on Ravelry in the Curious Handmade Group, I know that more than one person has wished that there was a similar site for sewists. It’s been a big gap in the internet for years. Two brilliant women have recently stepped up to try to fill that gap.

 

Kate and Rachel launched The Fold Line on the first of October, and the community is growing rapidly. Obviously comparisons to a well-established and beloved place like Ravelry are huge pressure for a newborn website, but The Fold Line is off to an amazing start. Those of us who were there in the early days of Ravelry remember the joy of watching it develop, the celebration over each new feature, and the growing sense of community over time.

 

It’s so exciting to watch The Fold Line beginning their journey. I’m absolutely thrilled to see the progress they’re making, and I wanted to invite them over to Curious Handmade to introduce themselves, as a part of the CHW Challenge. I interviewed Kate to find our more about the dream that turned into The Foldline, how things are going for them, and what’s in store for the future. Welcome, Kate!
*****
katerachelWhy did you decide to build The Fold Line?
We wanted to set something up where sewists could come together and chat about what they were up to. We don’t know about you but we found trying to keep up with all the latest pattern releases and news was really difficult as you had to go to so many places to get it. We thought if we have all the sewing news in once place, with a option to chat to like minded people and a database of patterns to peruse we would want to use it! It started out as a idea and we spoke about it for months and then we decided to go for it. We did a lot of research and planning into what people would want but it’s hard to know what would be popular. “e decided to build a very simple social part of the site to start with with the idea to build on the features everyone wanted. 

What are the now 2500 “early adopters” most excited about?
I think everyone is really excited about hanging out with lots of people who are also sewing mad! My favourite thing has been chatting about everyone’s sewing stash: it’s hilarious and every sewist’s guilty secret. We set up a group called sell your stash which people have started selling off fabric they don’t want to other users which is really popular!

 

Are you knitters?
I used to be a knitwear designer so although I know quite a lot about yarn and the different blends I could probably only knit you a scarf! I’d really like to get into it, I like the fact you can take it with you and do it anywhere, unlike sewing. Rachel does a bit of knitting but is also a keen crocheter. She is making a lot of the animals from the Toft book at the moment, which are so cute and I keep asking her to make me one!

 

Do you have a sense of what sewists (who are not knitters) are looking for? And what about sewists-who-are-also-knitters? Do these 2 groups of members seem similar/different? 
I am pretty sure all the sewists/knitters have come from Ravelry, as they knew the format and got stuck into the groups and started chatting with everyone straight away! We were worried that because we don’t have all the features that Ravelry has that they would all be a bit disappointed but it’s been great because they told us what features they wanted which is what we’d hoped. We’ve booked in our developers to start on stage two next week which is really exciting.
The pure sewists have arrived and are really excited – having all the patterns in one place alone seems to be really exciting and a place to ask for help on fitting issues and a platform to share their makes with like minded people. 

Are efforts underway to recruit more designers and/or invite members to help build the databases? 
Yes we are starting to chase up all the designers that didn’t get back to us about being featured, we spent a long time making a pretty comprehensive list of everyone so this will be easy enough to do. I think how the site us up and running it’s much easier to show them what’s its all about! In terms of members we are hoping this to grow organically. We’d far rather have a smaller amount of really interactive users than lots of dormant ones!

 

What are the features you’re looking to add? Do you have a timeline? Is there a way for members to provide input?
Because of the way we planned it we have got a build starting next week and we are getting the following features added:
Pattern keyword search
Pattern wishlist to store patterns to like
Review Library  – to store all your reviews
Review page – so you can see all the latest reviews in once place
Reviews – featured on the homepage
We have a group on the site called ‘website wishlist’ and this is where everyone had been putting in their suggestions, pretty much the entire second build has come from members ideas – it’s been great! We are thinking about adding a voting poll for ideas too so members can add ideas and other members vote on it. Finally we really want to build an app as we think it will make it so much easier to talk to everyone, but we need to think about how we can do this: but it is on the cards!

Coming from the Ravelry experience (sorry, you’ll never get knitters to not use that as a reference)—I think one of the single most desired thing we’re looking for is a place to store our projects. For instance to be able to document that I started the “Washi” pattern by Made by Rae on 10/1/15 using “this fabric” (picture). I made the following adaptations, and had this specific kind of success or failure. I’d do these 3 things the same, but would definitely make an adjustment to narrow the scoop neck. If someone liked what I make (followed me), they’d be able to see over time what I’m making. On the other hand, if I were looking at the Washi pattern-they could see a link to all who had made this (to their projects). Do you have something like this in the works? 
Ravelry is SUCH and amazing site and you can’t find anyone with a bad word to say about it. A bit like them we are going to build gradually! We want to add all the features you are after but unfortunately neither Rachel and I are coders, so we have to build in stages because adding new features is really expensive. We really want to get everything in there but it will take time. The idea of a project store is great!

Do you plan to add the ability to search for a pattern by name of the pattern?
Yes we are adding this in the next couple of weeks!

How can we help you? We want this to be a great site that supports the great sewing community! 
I think it’s spreading the word! Although we have had an amazing response we have only dipped our toes into the amount of sewing enthusiasts out there. Also a bit more chatting in the groups. I think the Ravelry crowd know what to do but the newbies need a bit of warming up!

A huge thanks to Kate for visiting us, and most of all, to both her and Rachel for starting The Fold Line! It’s a wonderful gift to the sewing community, and I’m really looking forward to watching them grow.

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