This year I decided that one of the best ways to achieve my 'developing my own style' goal was to join the Sew Weekly Challenge - sewing a garment/outfit weekly for a whole year (it does exactly what it says on the tin).
I'm nearly through the first month and although I haven't dropped a week yet, life is trying its most determinedness to get in the way. You'll see in other posts about Mr D's week hauled up in a Chicago hotel unable to fly home because of kidney stone pain, then his flight on Friday night....and our trip to Emergency Services till 3am when the pain got too much. Well, I've been ferrying him around doctors, back to Emergency Services to pick up scans, and this afternoon I'll be taking him to a Surgical Centre (or should that be Center here in the US?) for laser surgery to remove a stone 4mm wide by 6mm long (trying to think what that is in imperial....possibly 1/8 of an inch by 1/4 of an inch?).
Remarkably, I still finished last week's garment, which a post about it should be up on Sew Weekly some time this week....and had time to take some silly self-portrait shots of myself in it:
I'm looking forward to the day Mr D. is fit again not only for his sake but because he takes much better photos of me than I do. Does that sound really selfish? Pah! He enjoys getting me to silly things on camera too....did you honestly think this was my idea?:
I hate to break it to you, but he's just as bonkers as I am.
Aaaaanyway. So to cope with all the 'little' things that life is going to throw in my way during this year, I decided I needed to get seriously organised. Starting with organising 1) my patterns, then 2) my sewing room/lair, on to 3) my fabrics stash and then 4) 'the closet'.
Basically I need to be able to see what I've got so when I'm out shopping I buy what I actually need (hopefully not too many clothes this year as I'd like to make anything I need, but we'll see) and more importantly NOT BUY stuff I already have several of......and this includes similar patterns, fabrics, threads, zips etc.
So I started with the patterns.
What I wanted was a way of quickly being able to browse my patterns (they were all crammed into one drawer in my cutting table/cabinet) either planning at home when Mena issued a new theme for the Sewing Weekly Challenge or more importantly when I was out shopping in SAS Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Wal-mart etc....if I just happened to see a gorgeous fabric crying out to be made into something, to be able to access all my patterns on my iphone and know exactly what could be made of it and what I needed.
I started by scanning all the fronts and backs of my patterns and putting the scanned jpgs into a folder called 'Patterns' which is in another folder called 'Sewing' (genius eh?) on my computer. Also in the larger 'Sewing' folder are individual folders, one for each Sew Weekly Challenge, that are named by the garment name and include the photos of the finished item, a copy of the pattern scans and any 'in-progress' pics I take to help me with sizing or remembering details for future projects:
I then started out creating a Google docs solution that could be accessed on my phone wherever I was. This started out with creating a Google doc form:
And then I started entering all the details from each of my patterns using this form to create a Google docs spreadsheet (it's the ex-accountant in me, I loves me spreadsheets I does....not so hot on me grammar).
As you can spot if you're eagle-eyed, I've only got 13 patterns entered via this system though.....and this was because of one drawback trying to organise my patterns this way - what I'd ideally want was a thumbnail pic of the front of each pattern in a spreadsheet cell. You can add pics to the spreadsheet, but only in the same way you can add graphs, they sit sort of on the top of the information, you can't assign individual images into specific cells to improve the text data.
One way I tried to get around this was by adding a column that could include hyperlinks, and this way for each pattern details entry, there's a link to a pic of the pattern on the internet.
And this got me wondering:
- Was the spreadheet actually overkill and even then not totally satisfactory?
- Wasn't what I really wanted the pics of the pattern fronts first and limited info. (an idea of the yardage of fabric needed for the garments in my size, the essential notions/haberdashery - zips, buttons etc.)?
And this is when I thought about using Pinterest.
I seem to remember reading somewhere Oona, a Sew Weekly inspiration and icon, saying she wished that there was something like Pinterest that could help organise sewers/sewist/seamstresses....I can't currently find a link of where she said this, and I've seen others using Flickr to try and organise/document their creations. I've also signed up to try Go Chic or Go Home, and I'll tell you how this goes at a later date. But I've loved Pinterest from my first discovering it as a research tool, initially for planning (dreaming/wishing) DIY projects for our home, then over Christmas it came into it's own for craft project inspirations......but I thought it might be perfect as a pinboard to carry about in my pocket of all my patterns.
So I uploaded all my fronts of packets:
And then something I never expected happened, people started following this pinboard, repining the patterns, liking them and commenting on them. I thought that this would just be a resource to help me, but others seem to like it too.
This has been a great resource. When a new challenge theme pops up, I can easily browse my Pinterest board on my computer, phone or ipad and decide on a pattern I'd like to use.
The next step with this organising project is to edit each pin to include a link to the original pattern online ie. linking my pinned McCall's 6466 to the details on the McCall's website so I can have a very quick way when out and about of accessing the pattern line art and fabric/notions required. I've already started doing this for some of the patterns displayed, but not all yet.
I think I'm also going to link each pattern to my blog post on Sew Weekly as I make them, so I and others can see a finished look.
But in the meantime, I've filed away the physical patterns....now in two drawers, one for Butterick and McCall's, and another for Simplicity, Vogue and others:
And now I need to get on with some fast and furious sewing, before life throws its next spanner in the works.
Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll show you how I've been getting my sewing room/lair organised too.