Careers in Sewing: Sewing magazine editor
Have you ever considered a Career in Sewing? Do you dream of ditching the 9-5 and pursuing your creative dreams? This year we will be posting interviews for a range of different sewing jobs to give you a a taste of what possibilities are out there. Today we interview Amy Thomas, who when she is not blogging @almondrock works as the editor of Love Sewing magazine.
I have been working in publishing for 9 years. For several years I edited legal publications for solicitors and barristers, and then I spent a few years as a publishing specialist reworking print titles as eBooks and online titles. Then last year I saw the advert for the Editor position on The Sewing Directory and knew I had to apply!
So I’m the Editor of Love Sewing magazine. This is one of many craft publications produced by Practical Publishing, along with knitting, quilting, crochet and papercrafts magazines. I’m responsible for every issue of the magazine and helping coordinate the free paper pattern gifts that come with each issue. We’re based out of Stockport which is just outside Manchester.
Every day is slightly different as my month falls into two halves – the two weeks when we produce an issue and the two weeks where I plan the upcoming editions. When we work on an issue, pages are laid out and proofread to ensure all the text, imagery, and even the page numbers, are as they need to be. The rest of the time I’m generally planning around 3 months ahead; arranging projects, lining up articles and interviews, plus searching for great new fabrics. In addition to this I also get to go on monthly photoshoots which are really good fun!
I really enjoy being able to combine my two passions of publishing and sewing. It’s like a dream come true. The worst bit is probably the timelines you need to work to. Monthly titles are very demanding because there’s no let up or downtime with what you need to squeeze in.
I always wanted to be a writer but that then morphed into a job in publishing. I just love the written word and being able to have a part in how it’s conceived, assembled and printed is a thrill. Publishing is really like project management in a lot of ways – it’s scheduling, budgeting, organising yourself and others, and being disciplined in all these areas.
I have a Degree in English Literature, and a Masters in Creative Writing. To get my first publishing job I also had to pass a series of tests – grammar, spelling and punctuation, plus typing and how to style a document. To get my current role I had to talk through the titles I’d managed to date, plus show I had the planning skills to put together an example features list. I was also expected to have a strong knowledge of the industry by describing the key sewing titles, pattern companies, experts, websites and bloggers. Plus I obviously had to talk about my sewing experience and blog! In terms of training, the key area of difference between book and magazine publishing is the sheer quantity of pictures! There was a steep learning curve in this regard and I’m constantly learning more. The other weird thing is that they call everything different names – exactly the same thing!
There’s no champagne lunches with authors I’m afraid. If you’re happy as a grammatical pedant and you love a spreadsheet, publishing could be for you. You really need to be able to handle pressure and criticism, and also not beat yourself up too much if something doesn’t go to plan. I’d advise starting a blog if you haven’t got one already, and think of it like an online CV to showcase your sewing and writing skills with the world.
I’d love to work in social media for a large sewing company. The only thing I like as much as publishing a sewing title is chatting with other sewists about sewing! It’s just so much fun seeing what everyone is making, gathering inspiration, chatting through problems and gossiping about the Great British Sewing Bee.
There are obviously a few issues in progress at the minute, but I’m also working on a dress for the Big Vintage Sew-along. For those who know me, I do love vintage and retro-inspired patterns so the sew-along is providing great inspiration. It was wonderful to produce the Vintage Sewing Companion we included as a bonus gift in issue 25 in association with the sew-along. I’ve made four of the garments from The Edit so I’m excited to finish my fifth and then see if I can sneak any more in before the deadline! Vogue 9127, Butterick 5209, Butterick 6582and Butterick 5748.
Look out for Amy’s Big Vintage sew-along make on the 15th April.
I started with Butterick 5351which was a really great beginner dress, it included easy pattern instructions and had nice variations to play around with. Alternatively New Look 6808is a great staple blouse and works in a real variety of fabrics letting you challenge yourself with new materials. I also think the Sophia top and skirtwe included in issue 19 of Love Sewing would be a great two piece pattern for a beginner. The top is a very simple pull on design with only four seams to sew and hems to finish, then the skirt lets you build on your skills and try new techniques. Generally patterns are so good these days that there’s not many that a beginner can’t tackle.
Thanks Amy for all your tips and insight into your job! Watch out for next post on setting up an online fabric shop.