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Saturday, 3 November 2018

Would You Subscribe to a Sewing Club?

image courtesy of SewersClub (Facebook)...
Today's post is about whether the sewing community — or at least the minuscule part of it that can be reached via this blog — is the sort of marketplace that would support a monthly subscription service.

I'm not talking about Craftsy, or — as its unlimited buffet is now called — bluprint. The subscription service that I'm referring to is one where you sign up to receive a mystery box every month, filled with everything that you need to sew up a small project.

Before I go any further, let me say that I have NO AFFILIATION WHATSOEVER with this company. (As such, you will not encounter any active outbound links for it in this post; if this service interests you, you can "go there" yourself.) It was something that I came across while browsing online, piquing my curiosity.

Details — though not many — can be found at SewersClub.ca (and its US counterpart, SewersClub.com). The company is based in Ontario, but ships free to both Canada and the US. The unfortunate thing for those of us who live north of the border, however, is the fact that the pricing is in USD.

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...
After seeing two vloggers unboxing their packages (which were given to them for promotional purposes), I searched for other reviews and found none. I then guessed that the club/company was relatively new, which a domain search revealed that it was; the two domains were registered as recently as July 23rd of this year.

It's obvious from their Facebook and Instagram accounts that they are quite fresh.

As I'm always eager to get behind a new venture that's also Canadian, I decided to investigate and write a post about them.

But let's go back to my original question: would you subscribe to a monthly service like this?

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What's the price, I hear you asking.

It's a penny short of $24 USD per month. To those of us in Canada, that's over $31 at current exchange rates. And while there is no contracted obligation to be subscribed for any length of time, if you were to participate for a whole year, that would be $288 US or in the neighbourhood of $375 CDN. (Does that affect your answer as to whether or not you would subscribe to such a service?)

Hmmm, what sort of projects would I be making, I hear you asking.

Well, something where the materials would fit into a (my best guess) 9" x 5.5" x 2.5" box. (By the way, the packaging is quite nice.)

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...

This project is, of course, the ubiquitous zippered pouch (it has some slip pockets inside). I have also seen a table runner.

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...

It does appear as though — almost — everything that you need to make the project is included, right down to fusible fleece, zipper (but not the cute zipper charms), and buttons. (No thread, though, despite the fact that their photos show thread alongside the boxes.)

The relative completeness of the box is already a huge plus, because there are many negative reviews of Craftsy project kits (which consist of just fabric and PDF pattern), mainly because recipients complained about having to supply their own interfacing and notions despite having paid a "project kit" price.

I must also admit that the fabrics seem nice. From what I could gather from the videos that I saw, they are also generous with their cuts of fabric.

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...

My main concern would be how good the instructions are. For one thing, they simply consist of a set of step by step instructions with no accompanying pictures.

For the table runner project that I saw, the instructions were on a postcard. While it may have been printed on both sides, that might still be an adjustment for anyone used to online tutorials that are illustrated at every step.

That said, given the size of the container and the cost, I will make another assumption and say that "simple to execute" projects will be the norm for these boxes. So I'm guessing more pouches, basic bags, mug rugs, aprons, pot holders, etc.; i.e., nothing too terribly difficult to make.

Hopefully, it's not a steady diet of table runners, as none of the ones shown in these photos was the table runner project that I saw made in a video.

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...

If you combine no photos with beginner projects, are you going to succeed? The ironic thing about giving out free sample boxes to established sewing vloggers for evaluation is that they will usually find these projects well below their normal difficulty grade. Whether or not they follow the actual instructions explicitly all the way through is up for debate. If they come across an oddly worded instruction, they will likely make an (experienced) assumption and power through, while a beginner may be stumped.

I suppose that's what the Facebook platform will ultimately help out with, as they build up a customer base.

From the photos, you can see that a couple of established pattern design companies are contributors to this new business: Pieced Tree and Atkinson Designs. (For what it's worth, both have a quilting focus.) I discovered, however, that the company may be looking for new sources of creativity from among its customers.

In an intriguing on-going competition, you receive your box and make something other than the supplied pattern. You then post pictures of your finished item to Facebook or Instagram and tag SewersClub. By doing so, you'll be entered into a draw to receive a Super Box — which is described as being a box of sewing goodies with a $60 value — the following month.

Wanna bet that some of those winning projects will be candidates for inclusion in future monthly boxes?

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With Christmas and other holiday seasons around the corner, I can see where this would make a good gift for someone who is a casual sewer. A short one to three month subscription could be just what someone needs to get a bit more hooked on the hobby. (Six years ago, I would have enjoyed receiving this as a gift. When I got back into sewing again, just finding the proper supplies required for certain projects was a mind-bender. Having it all inside a box and ready to go would have been extremely helpful!)

image courtesy of SewersClub.ca...

This subscription service may also be a good option for busy sewers who don't have the time or inclination to go out and search for fabrics and notions. (Not everyone likes to do that.) They can just sit down with a box and make something without having a fabric stash. (LOL... maybe this idea could actually save money for some people!) If the projects themselves can consistently hit a high mark in terms of broad appeal — and that's a huge factor in the overall equation — this new company may be able to find itself a niche.

Okay, if you've read this far and are interested — and to reiterate, I have no skin in the game — here are some money saving tips for you. If you subscribe for three months right off the bat and commit to being billed every three months, you'll save a couple of bucks ($69.99 each time versus $71.97 for three charges of $23.99). If you check out the unboxing videos on YouTube, you'll also find coupon codes for $6 off the first month. Obviously, credit cards would be the primary form of payment; I couldn't get far enough to find out if PayPal is accepted.

During the checkout process, there's an attempt at an up-sell of "get an extra notion for $5.95". (Might that be thread?) That, however, seems to me a significant amount (25%) to add to the monthly cost, so I don't know how much uptake they'll get on that.

But back to my question, would you subscribe to a service like this? Would you consider it for gift giving?


  1. I find this very interesting. It might be fun to try.
    Being more of an experienced sewer/quilter it may be a little simple but fun to see what you would receive. The price is more a factor for me. I would really have to think it over and decide whether it was worth it just for the unknown, excitement factor.

    1. Yes, I agree that while getting a surprise in the mail is fun, the price required to get that is the big deterrent (even if it had been in Canadian dollars).

      Thanks for taking the time to join the discussion, Janice.

  2. The price is something to consider. The 'postcard' instructions are for more experienced quilters and do not include sewing instructions. so for a beginner, it would be very confusing and frustrating to pay the money and receive one of these boxes

    1. That is the potential issue beyond the price. Even at my skill level, I find reading just a list of instructions very disconcerting.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I think this would be something only a few people would like. #1: the price! I'm a scrounge. I can find deals like no one else! #2: I love touching the fabric, the notions, everything! And,#3: why would I pay for this when patterns are available for free, there's always a sale somewhere, and I'm not sure if what I see is what I get!

    1. Great points for the other side of the coin. I will say, however, that there are some who don't live somewhere where bargain hunting is possible.

      But I totally understand your point of view! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  4. Too pricey for what you get! Doesn’t appear that you get any choice as to the fabric you’ll get, so you could end up with a kit, that you don’t like - which will not be made. It would be convenient, but not interested

    1. Beyond the price — which everyone seems to have a concern with — you just brought up an interesting point about fabric: we all have different tastes. Maybe a shared subscription between friends could work.

      Thanks for adding to the discussion, Bonnie.


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