A Cloth Merchant

Font Awesome 5 Icons

New year (sort of!) = big sewing plans

Nanette Webb By Hand London colette journey planning seamwork sewing

I am far from being a hoarder. In fact my brain can't work if there is clutter about, which is kind of difficult living with two teenagers. I've even gone down the KonMari path or decluttering my life and trying to keep only the things that bring me joy. (Loved the book except where you get to the part where you can't get rid of other peoples' stuff!!!)

So why, I ask, is it perfectly alright for me to have piles of fabric and yarn and sewing and knitting patterns and half finished projects of all descriptions all around me like a blanket of comfort? 

If I don't have something to work on, a sort of anxiety sets in. Like my teens without their phones. Fidgety. Restless. 

The wheels of creativity are in constant motion. But they rarely produce a cohesive body of work, something like a wardrobe. 

But I'm thinking its just a bad habit and something that can be broken with discipline. Discipline: the hallmark of success. 

I seem to make time for everything else that comes up. But the one thing I enjoy doing. 

I "waste" so much time on Instagram longing over the things that everyone else is making, thus using up my time for sewing. I use the term "waste," but I hope it's depositing pearls of inspriation in some subconscious realm.

As such, I have been searching for a way, a method, for planning my projects and my handmade wardrobe. 

Lucky for me, just as I was contemplating this in January, Seamwork Magazine announced an online, four-week "Design Your Wardrobe" course. Seamwork is an outgrowth of Sarai Mitnick's wonderful line of Colette sewing patterns. The course includes worksheets, activities to jumpstart your creativity, a planner, and a private community to share your progress with others.

By the end of the program, I am supposed to: 1) have an organized queue of projects, a plan to make them and 2) have learned a process to use again and again to harness inspiration, design garments that work together, and plan my sewing in a realistic way.

Seamwork Design your Wardrobe Course

This series is available only to Seamwork members and is currently in progress. So if you aren't part of it already, you have to wait until August for the next one.

I am one week in, and although I am already a day or two behind, I love it! The daily dispatches have forced me to start thinking about my wardrobe differently - what do I want (am able within time constraints) to make versus buy, fashion design, fabric, mood, season, etc. They offer simple tools that are really powerful. 

So sign up for Seamwork - not just because we are BIG fans and the monthly magazine is so pretty and offers fabulous free patterns, tips and tutorials - but you will be able to sign up for the course in August and try it for yourself.

If you just can't wait til then, Colette also offers a sewing planner book. This offers to help you plan and prioritize your sewing queue. I will try to get some in stock too! 

colette sewing planner book


If that's not in your budget, they also offer a FREE mini version called the Colette Collection Planner.

The next cool thing I found is the By Hand London Sewing Planner. This is a downloadable product from the folks who bring you the By Hand London sewing patterns. Once you buy it, you can download it as many times as you like to add pages, or if you spill wine or coffee on it, or if your first go isn't as pretty as you think it should be. It costs $9.19 for those of us in the States.

by hand london sewing planner

Similar in concept to the four-week Seamwork program - but less intense - it features a project planner, fabric stash log, sewing techniques bucket list (to keep track of things you want to venture to try or for keeping notes on what works and what doesn't work for you), and for your own designing it has a section of sketched body types for you to work with. 

Other planners...

The next two are not specifically sewing planners, so if you are in need of organization in other parts of your life as well, these may be a good bet! They are hybrids of a traditional "to-do" list and a journal. So there is room in each system for planning and reflection. Whereas a "to-do" list can become very myopic and reflexive, these force you to be broad in scope and reflective. So you can make a long-term map of where you'd like to go and then drill down to strategies and specific tasks of how to get there. 

Breathe 52 week journal

The Breathe Journal is a 52 week planner. Unlike other annual planners, this doesn't start with January, so you can begin any time and fill in your own dates. Whether you have career goals, creative projects or just want to build more mindfulness into your life, this journal can help. With a 52-week planner, 13 four-weekly planners and plenty of space for reflection and doodles, it is the perfect aid to help you make time for yourself and YOUR SEWING! It's also just really pretty. I got mine at Barnes & Noble, but I think you could search for it on Amazon or ask your favorite independent bookstore to order one for you. 

Lastly, the Bullet Journal concept is appealing (and SUCH A CRAZE!), although I haven't tried it. It uses a system they call Rapid Logging. Compared to traditional journaling and note taking, it's supposed to less of a chore...so you actually don't mind keeping up with it. 

Rapid Logging relies on the use of short-form notation paired with Bullets. Every bulleted item should be entered as short objective sentences. The Bullets help organize your entries into three categories: Tasks, Events, and Notes.

And it can be plain OR pretty! 

bullet journal pic from Martha Stewart

People I've talked to who use this system really like it. The developer sees it as an evolving, adaptable practice meant to be self curated so you get to decide what works best for you. It's nice to be in charge.

Here is a video. There seems to be a slight learning curve to this, but apparently it has transformed people's lives! 


Would love to hear how others among us plan wardrobes, sewing projects and LIFE! 

Planning has the opportunity to feel confining like "OMG look at everything I need/want to accomplish! OR it can feel very liberating! Like meditation, sitting with thoughts or not-thoughts can be freeing. Hopefully it gets you excited to dream and set goals and actually accomplish the things in life you really want.

So the next time I feel the impulse to mindlessly scroll through Instagram or Pinterest, or cut a few yards of fabric from my favorite new bolt, I'm going to pause, grab one of my new journals and sit with it a bit. 

All the best on your journey! xo

Previous Next

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published