If you sew you probably have bits of notes and scribbled text written in various places.
You know – that measurement on the pattern sheet there, and that fabric content or yardage on the envelope over there. Could even be a sticky note attached to a pattern piece to help you remember a change you did on it (we just hope it doesn’t fall off).
But I believe gathering these bits onto one page or one sheet (or a few pages, let’s be honest….) can be a life saver in the future. I’ll tell you why.
First, I don’t write project sheets for my modern clothes. Because, why? I’m wearing them more often than my historical costumes. And if I didn’t like how the pattern turned out I’ll not use it again. No need for notes.
But with those intricate, 90+ hour ensembles… yeah, it’s nice to have a few notes organized in one spot. (The photo below shows the hours I put in and on what tasks of a certain project.)
Sometimes the project will start on paper. Other times, I’m half way through the pattern alterations before I remember and force myself to stop and write out a few details. Ack!
(I’m a very organized person so some of this may seem overkill…. Stay with me.)
I start with a name or garment date at the top. Since about 2008 I’ve been naming my costumes. It’s very helpful when talking about various projects I’ve done or planning future ones.
So in 2015 I have one coming up that’ll be my “1890s shop dress” and until it gets a decorative name (like 1898 Blueberry Muffin – hey! That’s a good one!), then I’ll continue to call it my 1890s shop dress.
Under that I list fabrics used (or to be used). I list the content & width and sometimes staple in a swatch if it’s special fabric. Then I’ll list the patterns used – or pieces of patterns used because sometimes it’s a sleeve from one pattern or it starts with the bodice from another. I like to re-use my fitted patterns as much as I can!
Then come all the little morsels of construction notes….
When you’re doing piping on EVERYTHING it helps to write down the measures of each seam as you take them > stuff like this is incredibly helpful when you go to cut and sew.
I’ll write the order of putting a skirt together if it’s new. I’ll include items like how long my skirt placket was cut or my determined cuff width size.
You know when you’re standing in the mirror testing lace collars or trim placement? You find one that’s best then the whole mockup goes into the corner for a couple days (or weeks…). I’ll write that decision on my journal page so I don’t lose it later when I pick up the trim and can’t remember which one I’d decided on.
I’ll calculate width of bias to cut for my piped facing and onto the paper it goes… along with fitting notes and pattern pieces to cut and which fabrics to cut which pattern pieces from. I try to include as much as I can.
But I don’t always…..
You know how it goes.
But I’ll tell you THE most important information that goes onto my costume journal sheets is written in the upper right hand corner.
It’s my (corseted) waist size when I made the costume along with the selected undergarments worn under it.
Can I just tell you how this has changed my life?! OMG! Like, if I want to wear an older costume that hasn’t seen the light of day in a couple years, how would I know it still fits?
It’s all in that little corner of the page. I grab my trusty binder of journal pages and look. In addition, all my projects are not just named, but the month/season and year of construction is written at the top too. I place the most recent project pages on top and keep them chronologically to make it easier to look for that all-important waist size.
So as we start this new creative year, consider writing even a 1 page summary about your next project. Think about it. Make it a habit when you start something new. I tell you – they are ever so helpful and quite the piece to reminisce about! Hehe