Yep, I guess that’s what’s going on. I’ve made 3 dresses in the past couple weeks and I’ve been cataloging, sorting and organizing my fabric, notions and patterns like a mad person so I guess that sounds about right. And you know what started it all? This one little blog post I stumbled upon written by Charity from The Daring Domestic.
Now I know, it’s nothing new… This article was posted a couple years ago, but it’s very new to me. You see, I’ve been looking for a long time for a way to categorize and easily access my ever growing sewing pattern stash without having to go through boxes and boxes of stuff every time. I needed a tool to help me categorize my patterns with pictures and tags to be able to more efficiently find what I’m looking for and know where it is.
The solution Charity suggested was: Evernote.
This is something I honestly never would have thought of on my own and I was a little skeptical at first, but I decided to give it a try since my first few attempts at cataloging my patterns have been utter failures. I checked it out, tried a couple things and Man, oh man! I think this is it. Not only is it free AND accessible from any device anywhere, it’s also got everything I need – tags, pictures, written information and also a shortcut tool to make things even easier. Let me show you what I’m talking about.
In Evernote, you can create “notebooks”, in which you can add several “notes”. In each note, you can write a title, type in the text you want, add pictures and add specific tags. I created a notebook for every pattern company I own patterns from, then, in each notebook, I created a “note” for each pattern I have, labeling them with the company and the pattern number. In the notes section, I wrote down the size I have, the date of purchase, the price, the difficulty and a short description then added a picture of the front – I will also add a picture of the back when I get a chance to be able to access the yardage requirements on the go. Once my stash will be physically organized and classified in boxes, I will also add the physical location of each pattern (ex. Box B-1).
There’s virtually no limit to the information you can add in there, so one could also use it to write down the mods or changes they made to the pattern, the fabric they plan on using or things they want to remember for the next time they use that pattern.
Once the patterns are entered and all the appropriate tags entered, you can search through your notes using the tag function, and that’s what’s so cool about this system – let me explain first for the neophytes. Most people I know organize their sewing patterns by type – dresses together, pants together, etc., that way, when you’re looking something you want to make, it’s easier to narrow it down. But a lot of patterns contain more than one garment in them – separates or coordinates can have all in one a skirt, a dress, a pair of pants, a top and a jacket. And since your physical copy of the pattern can only be stored in one place (unless you have many copies of the same), it can’t possibly be in all those categories at once, so you might miss out on it or forget about it altogether. Reversely, it can also be hard to find said pattern if you don’t remember what category you stored it in. By using tags, you can tag a pattern as “coordinates”, but also enter a tag for all the specific garments it contains, like “dress”, “pants” or “jacket”. That way, if you search using the tag “dress”, your coordinates pattern that include a dress will show up with all the other dress patterns in the search results. Now THAT’S what I call efficiency.
There’s also a really nice feature called “Shortcut” that I find pretty neet. Basically, by clicking on a little star in the top corner of a note, you can link it to your shortcut page. It creates a list of the patterns you link, that you can use as a “To Do” list, or a queue if you will. That way, you never loose track of the projects you want to do next, and you can add information into your note regarding the fabric you want to use, the person you want to make it for or the mods you plan on making.
So, how do you guys organize your stuff?
This month, I decided to tackle a considerable task; which is to gather and sort all my sewing supplies and to organize them in a single, sewing-dedicated room in my apartment. You see, I have been sewing for over 11 years now, and throughout the years I accumulated an impressive amount of fabric, patterns, notions and projects that are now scattered all over my apartment. I’m sure you can appreciate how daunting of a task this can be, but if you can’t really picture it, here’s a few images of the different places I have fabric and supplies stored in.
Before you judge me, I have to explain to you why my sewing things are so disorganized. It is not because I’m messy, carefree or negligent; it is simply because in a short period of 7 years between 2004 and 2010, I lived in 7 different apartments in 4 different cities, moving approximately every 10 to 18 months. During that period, most of my possessions were boxed and unpacked, to then be re-boxed, moved, and so forth a hopping number of 7 times, until I finally settled down a little over 2 years ago, coming back to my hometown. In this packing craziness, a lot of my things have been mixed, switched over, separated, reunited, used as packing supplies, etc., some of those things even stayed in boxes for YEARS, because I had no immediate need for them at the moment and I knew that I was going to move again soon anyway. So when I finally moved to my current apartment, you can imagine how much of a nightmare it was to unpack everything. I somewhat managed to concentrate most of my sewing stuff in 2 different rooms, but there is no organization system whatsoever since everything has been in such a hot mess for such a long time (heck I’m not even sure what I have anymore!).
What actually triggered the adventure is that earlier this week I had to put my hands on fusible interfacing to fix the waistband of a pair of pants. Not much of a problem in most cases, but knowing how chaotic my notions are, it definitely was a problem for me. I heaved a long, desperate sigh, and started frantically looking through the countless chaotic fabric & notions containers that I have to find what I needed. I knew I had some, I just couldn’t figure out where; but somehow, no matter how hard I looked for it, I just couldn’t find it. As I finally reached the point of desperation where I was considering just going to the store to buy some more (AGAIN), I stopped myself, looked around and decided it was just time to finally do something about this horrible mess. The very same day, I started going through my bins, boxes and baskets to evaluate the damage, and in the midst of it all I discovered an impressive amount of unfinished projects; including 4 sets of placemats (yes, 4!!), a baby bag, 2 pairs of pants, a cape, a laptop bag, 2 quilts, 2 tote bags, as well as a certain number of miscellaneous clothes that needed to be repaired or altered to my size. And I’m telling you my friends, this is only the tip of the iceberg – because there’s a lot of things in there I’m not even sure anymore what it was supposed to be.
Because I have limited space in my apartment and because I like things to be neatly organized and easily accessible at all times, I decided that my “Organize-the-Sewing-Room” project just had to start by completing as many of those WIPs I possibly could; that way I’ll free a lot of space to be able to set up a better, more functional system to efficiently sort and store all my supplies. So far, I completed one set of 7 placemats (the beige/orange one on the bottom right corner), fixed 2 pairs of pants that needed to be sized down, bought assorted biais tape for the remaining 3 placemat sets and started looking for missing patterns for the bags (because yes, somehow, some of the patterns got separated from the project – don’t ask me how!). This sewing room adventure is probably going to be a very long and strenuous one, but I’m hoping to finish most of my WIPs by November, to be able to start sorting and organizing fabric and notions in December. I’ll keep you updated on my progress, but let’s hope I can have a functional sewing room by Christmas..!
On a different note, I have also been making progress on my #SSKAL, the body of my Busy Bee sweater is almost done! Yay! 🙂 I cannot wait for it to be done and washed, so I can finally wear it!