Have you eve made changes to your sewing pattern, but forgot exactly what you did? *Raises hand*...I often put away a project for weeks, sometimes months and forget whether or not I've added those 2 extra centimeters to the sleeve, or I want to remake a wardrobe staple I made a year ago and can't find the edits I've made.
It's annoying because I could get out a measuring tape and figure most things out, but some edits are quite subtle and hard to backtrack from a garment that's been worn and washed.
So I decided to be more diligent and track my pattern edits in a pattern card/project planner / sewing journal mash-up. Something I used to do when I still designed and produced small collections. We would use a system to track pattern alterations, versions, construction order, material cost, production time and all the materials needed for the project.
I currently don't need to track each and every detail, but I do want to keep my sewing projects organized. My main wish was to be able to set a project aside for a while and confidently pick up where I left off.
There are so many details you could track, but in the end, only trial and error will lead you to a system that works for you.
Here are some of the possible sections you could add to your project planner.
- Body measurements + the date you took those measurements because your sizes probably will fluctuate over time.
- Hacks and alterations. How much length did you add to the sleeve? or how much you pinched out of the back panel?
- Finished garment measurements and ease. Figure out how much ease the pattern has and compare it to garments you already own and love.
- The size or sizes you've traced.
- How much fabric you need.
- The color number of the thread you used.
- Name and designer of the sewing pattern.
- The pattern #hashtag for sharing on Instagram.
- The order of construction so you don't have to check the instruction booklet.
- Future alterations.
- Notions & sewing machine needles.
- Material costs.
- Stitch length or other sewing machine settings.
- The date you started or when you finished.
- A sketch of the garment or details.
- A link or website name where you found that super helpful tutorial you used.
I decided to create a sewing planner template that includes a few set categories and room for notes and details that fall outside these sections.
P a t t e r n d e t a i l s
- this is where I can track the basics
pattern O printed O taped O traced O cut
fabric O washed O cut
f a b r i c / n o t i o n s / n o t e s
- where I can write down everything I need to actually sew the pattern
b o d y m e a s u r e m e n t s + d a t e
- to keep an eye on if my size changes since I last made the pattern
f i n i s h e d g a r m e n t m e a s u r e m e n t s
- to see how much ease the pattern has
s i z e t r a c e d
- If I fall between sizes I can track which sizes I've traced
Sewing project planner printable vs a notebook or Bullet journal
You can simply write everything on a sheet of paper and add whatever you need, or write everything down in a notebook or bullet journal, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to create a printable for a streamlined look and ease of use.
I've been a bullet journal user for about 4 years now and I found my style to be super basic, I don't use colors or markers, just my trusted Lamy safari fountain pen. The bullet journal layout was a nice experiment for inspiration. I kept the layout very minimalist and I managed to keep it all on one page. the empty page could function as a way to jot down additional notes or a place to add inspiration for the project.
In the end, I will mainly use the printed template and only use the bullet journal for plans that require more planning and research like when I'm starting from scratch and making the actual pattern.
If you want to try the printable for yourself, it's available as a free download to newsletter subscribers and customers in the resource library.
How I use my sewing project planner for the Garçonne shirt
I used the sewing project planner template I created when I decided to hack my Garçonne shirt. I've already made two shirts with a regular button band, but I wanted to make another one with a partial placket and sleeve plackets and turn it into a popover shirt.
I created the pattern pieces and wrote down how long I wanted the front placket to be, after holding it in front of my chest and adjusting the length.
Another thing I added, was a sketch to remind me how the sleeve plackets should be attached to the sleeve since I have messed this up in the past. I was glad I had the simple sketch handy when sewing, it definitely sped up my process.
All in all, it was a success and I will keep using it (and probably fine-tuning) in the future!
Now I would love to hear from you! Do you have a system in place to track your sewing projects and alterations? I would love to hear your tips and ideas.
Sign up and download the free sewing planner page template
Sign to the newsletter here to access the free printable sewing project planner or log into your customer account, you'll find the PDF template in the sewing resource library as a free download.