I think I, like many who love to sew, tend to sew based on whims. For a long time I didn’t have a set idea of what I really needed to sew and just let whatever caught my fancy dictate what I occupied me next. Which is fine—I think sewing should be fun and enjoyable! But in many ways this approach left me feeling a bit dissatisfied that there were things I did need to sew that weren’t getting addressed. So I started to keep track of things and plan them out a bit.
Last spring I started making spreadsheets of my projected sewing plan for the season. Sometimes the majority of projects were completed, other times they were not. For me it’s a good way to list everything out at once, prioritize projects, keep track of supplies I need, and also log adjustments I’ve made. Above you can see what my late spring/early summer plan looks like. I unfortunately didn’t have a plan for early this year—and I feel like it showed a bit with my sewing productivity. This summer I plan on spending some time working on a few garments that have been on my to-do list for a bit, and I have a visual way to keep track of things and see my progress (or lack thereof!).
To create this document, I just use a spreadsheet program; in this case Open Office. There is no fancy coding or formatting—just simple rows of information in each cell. Pretty bare bones! I have the following columns:
- Project number (I rank them by priority or urgency)
- Project Title/Description
- Pattern Number: to easily reference my stash.
- Fabric: what I plan on using from my stash or envision and need to acquire. I also usually add yardage if I have to buy fabric. I will usually bold-face or highlight the specific materials I still need to purchase.
- Notions: I use the same method as fabric for tracking what I still need to buy.
- Fitting notes: I like to keep track of any changes I’ve made to a pattern by jotting down the basics here. I’ll usually write whatever else I’ve done on a piece of paper that goes in the pattern, but the synopsis goes here.
- Construction notes: any changes I want to make to the pattern, ideas, etc.
Once a project is completed, I’ll highlight the entire row for that project. It’s really satisfying to see a solid block of highlighted cells towards the end of a season! Or motivating to get done what is still undone…
I also keep my seasonal sewing plan ideas in my sketchbook or have a folder of images easily accessible on my computer’s desktop for reference. Another method I have tried is keeping loose-leaf pages with sections to write in the particulars for each project, and swatches and sketches stapled on. I love this method too, but often forget to pull my binder out to double check! This method, for me at least, is easier to pull up when I check my email and manipulate the data and see at a glance what is done and what isn’t! Case in point: a skirt I was able to cross off my list recently: