A Maker’s Journal (and Download!)

I am a maker of many things – dresses, skirts, and shirts – sweaters and hats – baked goods, and more fussy little craft projects than I care to count. It is perhaps because I am a maker of these things that I am also a maker of lists and plans.

(scroll down if you want some cool, downloadable Sewing Planner pages – or read on for the ramblings on why they exist!)

This project has been a long time coming, really, and has been influenced recently by a few things. First is the lack of immediate, repeatable info that ends up in my blog posts (often influenced by the length of time before finished projects get posted). Lately I’ve been making things that I intend to repeat (ahem, Wardrobe Architect), so I needed somewhere to record little things that don’t necessarily make it to the blog – like stitch settings, type of needle used, fabric care instructions from the tags, etc.Β  Second was the release of Colette’s new Sewing Planner. It looks amazing, and exactly like something I’d love to have, but the price ($28) was only reasonable until I calculated international shipping ($30)… Sigh.

img_1218_1

I’m having a hard time putting photos in order for this post… Everything seems to belong at the end!

Originally, I was set on designing a printable page that I could simply fill out, butΒ it quickly became clear that there were too many potential variations to account for. No, a printed page alone was a start (and I did make one!), but not enough. I ended up taking inspiration from the terrifying rabbit hole that is ‘Bullet Journals’ on Pinterest – and sketched layout after layout until I found a structure that would work but which could still be altered to accommodate different types of projects.

img_1215_1

Do I need to invest in more colorful photo props?

At this point I’d spent several weeks planning and a few afternoons sketching when I could have been sewing, and was starting to seriously question whether it was worth all the effort. To be completely honest, the only thing that kept me going was that we got a new desk this past weekend. It’s amazing the impact a slightly larger workspace has made on my productivity. Needless to say, I managed to get it done in the end.

img_1220

Ya knew I was gonna sneak some brush lettering in there somewhere…

So – my rabbiting on aside- here’s what we’ve got:

My sewing planner is drawn in a Moleskine squared Cahier Journal. I chose it because I had a spare one lying around, and because it’s (fairly) inexpensive, and with only 80 pages I felt it would be a good way to decide if I wanted to continue with this style of project log ongoing. In the future, I’d go for a spiral bound notebook (to allow room for fabric swatches), preferably with a dot grid, and with at least a 100gsm stock (so that the pen marks didn’t bleed through, although this notebook behaves surprisingly well in this regard).

img_1225

First, I’ve made a title page, followed by a Contents page which I intend to fill in as I go, and then a blank template page which I’ve filled in with the general information I wish to have in each space. I’ve made allowances for the layout to change for things like multiple fabrics, knitting or needlework projects, or exceptions for times I will or won’t need certain information ( If I’m recreating an old favorite, the inspiration section won’t be very big, and if I’m using leftover fabric I’ll omit the swatch section and add a page reference instead).

img_1232

This is the most I’ve sketched in AAAAAAGES.

Then, using the size of the designated sketch area, I drew a series of little fashion figures on bits of loose paper: A full body, along with an upper body (for tops) and a lower body (for pants and skirts) – to help maximize my drawing space. My notebook paper is thin enough that I can trace my figures through it, although eventually I’d prefer to do a rub-off transfer instead. I could just draw the sketch from scratch each time, but I’m trying to save time (for actual sewing!) and add consistency so this seemed like an easy way to make that happen. Conveniently, there’s a pocket in the back cover of the notebook that I can store these sketches in.

img_1226

I figured a good way to test the layout would be to start adding projects, so I retroactively added my first two projects from this year to see if I’d run into any issues: The B5527 shirt muslin, and my dropped shoulder tee. They’re especially good contenders to go through the new system, because in both cases I intend to make second and third versions, and in both cases they had minor issues that need working out in said future versions.

img_1227

Spot the new snips! FYI this shirt has turned into my new favorite.

Keeping in mind that both projects were pretty basic (one type of fabric, no major changes halfway through, etc.), I think they turned out well. Now that I have most of it worked out, I’ll be adding new layouts for future projects like a bra (allll the different fabrics, elastics, and probably a different sketch) and non-sewing projects as well (Knitting? dyeing? jewelry?)

img_1223

As I continue to use this thing, I’ll include a photo of the project page with the project’s blog post so you’ll be able to see it in action. In addition to that – and I hope at least someone finds this useful (please tell me in the comments so I don’t feel like I’m shouting into the void here?) – I’ve created PDF versions of my planner pages! There’s a one page page version for those of you (like me) with small handwriting, and a two page version if you prefer to spread out. I’ve also included my little figure drawings which you can trace, although you may prefer to draw your own. Here they are:

Maker’s Journal (1 page)

Maker’s Journal (2 page)

If you’d prefer to draw your own bullet journal style sewing planner, here’s a list of the information I recorded in mine:

  • Title and date of project
  • Draft used, or pattern and size/mods used
  • My measurements, as used for project (useful for tracking change over time!)
  • Inspiration, intended features, adjectives, planned construction, etc.
  • Sketch of project
  • Supplies and materials used (buttons, threads, interfacing, etc.)
  • Needle size and type
  • Sewing machine and serger settings and tension numbers
  • In Progress Notes
  • Post-Project completion notes
  • Itemized cost breakdown and total
  • Estimated total hours spent, over what period of time
  • Fabric information: Content, cost, source, quantity purchased vs. used, and care instructions if available.
  • Fabric Swatch

With allowances for:

  • Multiple fabric swatches
  • Dye charts or recipes
  • Potential future knitting projects, and the way this would affect the ‘in progress notes’ section
  • Sections which may reference other pages of the planner instead of repeating information.

    img_1228

    FABRIC.

If you’re like me and your brain doesn’t hold on to the useful things you sometimes want it to, I hope this has been a helpful exercise for you, or at least given you some ideas on how to organize your sewing in an inexpensive sort of way. As a side note, if youΒ  want to share your sewing organization habits or have any tips, tricks, or favorite sketchbooks to recommend, I’d love to hear about them! I, meanwhile, have been itching to get back to some actual sewing, so I’ll see you next week!

 

 

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “A Maker’s Journal (and Download!)

  1. Emily Wrinkle says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so extremely much for these!! I cannot explain to you how happy this makes me. I’ve seen all the lovely project planners, but I couldn’t really justify buying the Colette planner. Although I can draw decently enough, my fashion figure drawing skills were just not up to my perfectionistic desires. Now I can have a lovely crafting project planner too!

    • Kat says:

      You are so welcome! I’m glad you think they’ll be useful! You’ll have to let me know when you’ve used it/how well it’s working for you! I took ages deciding what information I wanted to include, but I’m sure I’ll have forgotten something πŸ™‚

  2. Hilde says:

    This is wonderful, thank you so much for making these downloads available. I would like to keep better track of what I’m sewing. I’m not sure if this is the way I’ll go, but it seems a very good option to try. Thanks again!
    I once made a little book with my own croquis in it to sketch over, but somehow never really got around to using it. It was a bit too ‘open’ I think. I should try to find it and see if I can incorporate it somehow with this.

    • Kat says:

      I was the same, for a while – I just had a little sketchbook that I tried to fill with notes but I always ended up leaving out important stuff! I think everyone keeps track of things differently too. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to try and find a method that works for you πŸ™‚

  3. Lynda says:

    Thanks Kat – this is awesome!! I too was longing for the Colette planner but couldn’t justify the price and did think about making my own, but where to start? You’ve done all the hard work for us! It looks amazing, and I’ve printed out ready to start. Sometimes the planning seems way too much fun and I don’t get around to sewing lol!

    • Kat says:

      Haha, that seems to be a recurring theme! It seemed like a lot of money that I could be spending on fabric, so I’m glad everyone seems to agree! Do post a picture when you’ve filled one out, I’m curious to see how it works for you! I think I’m all planned out now though, I just want to get back to sewing!

  4. Merry Pinbender says:

    Oh my gawd, Kat. It’s not even February yet! This is such a blistering pace you’re gonna boil those crazy creative juices dry. I realize you said you had something on the back burner, I thought hmm, maybe a tea cozy?
    NO. NOT MISS Letsrunrightouttothedeepend !
    No, she whips up just about the most perfect planner I’ve laid eyes on and IT’S STILL BLEEDIN’ JANUARY.
    ………… listen, I’ve tried to ignore it. It didn’t go away. Look closely. You had to have seen it. Try again, Its a little dark but Its right there; see it? Wedged between Ego and Admiration ? Yup, that little green monsterette. Keep this up and I’m gonna have to put it on a diet.
    Nobody wants that. Believe me.

    Yours, Merry

    PS. Bart is very disappointed in the international shipping rates as well. He had plans.

    • Kat says:

      Haha, Merry! You’ve made me laugh as always! To be fair, I’ve been working on this since 2016… and it helps that I’ve got a stockpile of unblogged projects to share eventually as well! I’m not sure my creative juices are showing any signs of drying up just yet, but I’ll keep an eye on them πŸ˜‰

  5. Marilyn S. says:

    This is super. I’ve been sewing for 50 years and haven’t seen anything better. Now sewing for multiple grandchildren, this will help me keep track of what worked and didn’t work for each project. Thank you!

    • Kat says:

      That’s amazing to hear! I’m so glad you think they’ll be useful! I hadn’t thought of using them for gifts, but it’d be even more important to take notes if you don’t have the finished project for reference any more πŸ™‚

  6. LaRayMay says:

    Kat, thank you for your generosity! Your planner pages are exactly what I needed. I started digging through my supplies on hand – 3-ring binder, card stock, sheet protectors, fancy pens and colored pencils. Check on all supplies, now I am ready to print out your planner pages. I’ve been thinking about a sewing journal over the past couple of months. You just gave me the motivation I needed. p.s. Love your blog, it is one of my favs.

    • Kat says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It sounds like you’re really going to town with your journal idea, it sounds amazing! I’m happy to be an enabler πŸ˜‰

  7. Janet Rodgers says:

    Kat, I am an ardent follower of your blog and this particular segment is brilliant. I read it when it came on the blog, then lost it! I know, stupid. Then today I had a thought, aah, I think that info I wanted was on my favourite bra makers blog, and thankfully I was correct, so now downloaded to be put into use! The reason I was truly tearing my hair out was because I was sewing another circle skirt for my granddaughter with a lace printed slippery fabric, I couldn’t remember what I had done with another with similar fabrics from months ago! Which foot, stitch length/width, the lot and if I swore, I would have been doing a lot! why didn’t I download your invaluable sheets to stop a similar disaster on other projects when I read it! Well thankfully, its found and should save further hair tearing almost swearing moments. Now to figure out sensibly what I did last time or resolve it, and this time use your Planner to note everything down! More sewing time gained with no stress! Thank you……

    • Kat says:

      Oh my goodness Janet! That’s so kind of you to say! I am sorry you lost the post originally – I can be a little all over the place sometimes! I’m glad you found it again though, do let me know how it works out for the new circle skirt! I’m sure your granddaughter will love it, and besides – anything that ends with more time sewing is a good thing in my book! Also, thank you for your lovely note, it really brightened my morning!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s