As the new year is upon us, I’m enjoying all of the sewing recaps on instagram and on blogs. It’s exciting to see what people can make in a year. I’ve been sewing quite a few years and wish I had kept track of all the things I’ve made, well, maybe not all things. I did make a few things in the 80’s that...well imagine handmade 80’s and you might know what I mean. But even still, I would love to be able to look at what I’ve done and how I’ve grown.
My husband is a painter and he does a great job of photographing and cataloging all of his work. Artists have retrospectives and catalogs that encompass their life’s work. And although I don’t consider myself an artist, sewing is part of my life’s work and a couple of years ago I decided I would do a better job of documenting it.
I don’t save everything I make. I just couldn’t and wouldn’t considering all the use someone else could get out of garments I no longer have a use for (plus, I absolutely love finding a handmade garment in a thrift store and hope my handmade garments make someone else happy in a thrift store too). Yes, those projects that have a really special place in my heart, my daughter’s easter dress, the first shirt I made my son and the shirts I made for my husband when we first married, among others have found a place in a memory box. But other than that, the things I made are just a memory.
I have a simple way of documenting my makes that doesn’t take up a lot of space and takes moments (because if it takes too long it simply won’t get done!)
Because fabric is the driving force in all of my sewing I save a 4” x 5” swatch of my fabric. I put all the swatches on a safety pin and all the pins on a ring. Then I keep a sewing journal and in a two line entry I write the project, pattern and fabric. That’s it! I know it’s really simple but already it’s been fun for me to look at the swatches and see what I’ve made in just the 2 years I’ve been doing this.
Documenting can be done in all sorts of ways. With cell phone cameras, a photo album might work best for you. You may want to keep an online journal (I do a handwritten one because when my mom passed away it brought me comfort to look through her cookbooks for her handwritten notes...handwriting is so personal), a binder with more details, a page in your calendar or even notecards. Whatever works for you.
I hope this new year brings you lots of sewing time and I hope you take the time to document your work, time, effort and creativity. It’s brought me so much joy and I hope it will for you too.
If you enjoy taking notes on your projects, check out my free sewing project cards. I have one for each of my patterns and a blank one you can use for anything.
Hi! I'm Diane, a wife, mom, sewing teacher and pattern designer from sunny Southern California. I share my sewing adventures here on the Blue Dot Blog formerly Gatorbunnysews. For more info click here.