|by Sunni Standing|
It’s about this time every year that I start thinking very seriously about what I’ve sewn during the previous year and what I want to get accomplished for the new year. I think it’s most likely a commonality a lot of us who sew share. We all like to see the product of our work and what we would like to improve. To start this year off, I thought I would share some tips and tricks on how I organize my sewing thoughts and stash for the new year and what I’ve done to improve productivity. These stash organizing ideas might resonate with you or even spark some inspiration for doing it your own way. I’ve broken things down a bit so you can see how the different areas of my sewing studio play into my productivity.
Organizing your stash
For me, organizing my stash is a big thing. I like each article in my sewing room to have a home and I like to have things organized in ways that makes sense to my brain and my way of thinking. It helps my productivity by giving me a pleasant, fairly tidy and organized environment. I don’t work in a really large space, but I’m truly grateful for the space I do have for my sewing obsession.
I’m someone who likes to put like things with other like things. For example, my pattern stash – which I constantly keep in check – is organized by type. I put dress patterns with other dress patterns and order them by number. I put jacket patterns with other jacket patterns and order them by number. The same goes for all the patterns in my stash. For me and my way of coming up with new projects to sew, this works as I can easily pinpoint where the pattern is that I would like to use or even finger through the different pattern types as a source of inspiration for an upcoming project.
My fabric stash is ordered in the same way. Likes with likes and I have come to be a little fanatical about its order because I depend on having the likes with likes so I can find the right fabric easily. My stash is organized by fabric type and from there by woven or knit and/or use like lining vs. outer shell fabrics. I break things into wools, silks, cottons, linens, rayons and then down to whether or not the fabric is knit or woven. When I’m looking for a skirt fabric to accompany a pretty top I might already have, this way of organizing helps. I can determine the quality of the skirt I want, say a drapey, flowy skirt and start looking through my silk or rayon woven stash for the right color and print.
It’s a common theme throughout my sewing room to encounter like products with other like products. I organize my cutting utensils this way and put them all together so that I know where they are. My threads are all together and then they are organized by type like regular threads vs. serger cones. I keep pressing tools together and drafting tools together too. Gives order to the chaos.
Brainstorming New Projects
I have learned the vital importance of practicality in my wardrobe. I dress to fit my lifestyle and comfort level and those things change every few years or so, so I also dress to fit a wide variety of social situations. Gone are the days for me of dreaming up impractical white elephants to sew that get worn for a picture and then never again. I have come to know my taste and style very well and while there are things I work to change, I come back to the same styles over and over again. From there I try to dress around my current situation in life: Am I working a job where I need to dress a certain way? What do I wear on the weekends? Am I comfortable? Could I wear that all day? I try to ask myself practical questions as these get me to the source of what I need to sew next.
I spend a lot of time curating my wardrobe. I look for holes and gaps and for me, this is usually summed up in a single garment that doesn’t get worn. I’m brutally honest with myself (well, most of the time….) about what is getting worn and why. I love figuring this out about myself! When I settle on a particular item that’s not getting a lot or any wear at all, I try to figure out why. Do I like the way it looks on me? Is it comfortable? Is it appropriate for my lifestyle? Does it go with anything else in my closet? Is it versatile or does it only go with one thing in my closet?
This top here is one such article. I made a lovely pencil skirt to go with it which works great for summer and fall, but for winter, it would be nice to pull it together with some nice slacks and a thick wool cardigan. So I go to my stash, pull out appropriate patterns and fabric to accompany this top and from there start the process of creating an outfit. Creating outfits helps me ditch the problem of creating white elephants – something that doesn’t go with anything! And it also ensures that the article gets worn and fits in better with the rest of my wardrobe.
Organizing Sewing Projects
When it comes to sewing the project, I use these art bins that I purchased at a local fabric chain store. They keep my project in eye’s view – which is important to me so I don’t forget what I’m working on! They also contain the details of the project so that I can work on more than one project at a time. Currently, I’m trying my hand at quilting and am looking forward to creating a lovely quilt for my bed. This is a very long and time consuming project but one I’m happy to invest in and further the education of all things sewing in my life. I work on it bit by bit, knowing that it’s not something that will be completed for quite a while. In the meantime, I find time for my apparel projects too, but these bins make the process of keeping the right pieces with the right project.
Additionally, I’ve learned the value of note taking. I keep a binder for all of my sewing pattern makes and I keep notes on each that I refer to when I decide to pick up the pattern again. I used to think, “Oh I’ll just remember that next time I need to lengthen this pattern in the sleeve” but I never do and I end up making the same mistake in the next round too. Sometimes that next round doesn’t come until months later. Sometimes I find that funny things happen when you use a different kind of fabric or I see a new method of construction I would like to try. I write all these little notes down in my notebook and refer to them when I’m ready to embark on a new project with an old pattern.
Here’s to a new year ahead with the old one right at our back. Hurrah! I wish you all the best in your future makes and I hope these tips and tricks to organizing what you’ll sew this year help. Enjoy!
SUNNI STANDING A Fashionable Stitch
Sunni Standing is proprietress of all things A Fashionable Stitch, where she blogs about her love for apparel sewing. Sunni has been a sewing blogger since 2007, when after graduating from college she reclaimed an old passion for sewing her own clothes. A Fashionable Stitch documents her battles with getting a great fit, sewing tutorials, in addition to her more recent escapades in the world of small business ownership. These days Sunni can be found sewing, blogging about sewing and working a full-time gig for the man and on some rare days she’ll spend hours pawing through and contemplating future creations from her giant fabric stash.
Sewing machine: PFAFF® performance™ 5.0
Share this Post