There are times throughout most sewing projects when things can feel overwhelming. None more so than at the very beginning. The choices seem endless: style, fabric, buttons, snaps, sleeve lengths, skirt lengths, welt pockets, patch pockets, bold patterns, plain colours, to have contrasting fabric, to not have contrasting fabric. But being able to sort through all of these things and pick exactly what we want is also where the fun lies. Striking a balance between the two is the key.
Picking out a pattern is usually the first step when starting a project. Once it's picked, I like to take it home and really let things simmer. I find I make poor choices if I pick up the pattern, the fabric and all of the extras at the same time. In the excitement of starting a new project I tend to make impulsive buys that don't always reflect what I was aiming for in the first place. It really helps to break the process down into manageable pieces.
Taking time to gather inspiration is an excellent place to start. Image searches for the pattern reveal how different fabrics, colours and styling can affect the garment. Searching for similar styles online, finding examples in magazines or noticing them on people in the street are all equally helpful. Finding inspiration can really define what I am looking for and make the next step that much easier.
Once I know what I want to sew and how I want it to look it's time to pull out the pattern envelope. We talked at length about the anatomy of a pattern envelope in the last edition of Sewing Notions. There is a lot of information to take in and make sense of. I like to sit down and create a comprehensive list of what I need to complete the project. It makes the daunting nature of the fabric store a little more manageable. There is still room to change my mind, consider a different colour or a different fabric type but if I do change my mind at least my decisions will be better informed andmore likely to succeed. My fabric lengths are also clearly marked so at least I won't mistakenly buy the wrong amount while I'm being distracted by all the pretty fabric.
In the spirit of staying organized, we've put together a Project Planner that you can download, print and fill out. There are two on each page and once they're trimmed down they should fit inside the pattern envelope for easy reference. There is a spot for a description or a drawing, fabric requirements, notions and even fabric swatches. And since these are one-sided there is plenty of room for extra notes on the back.
After all of this planning you'll be ready for the next installment when we discuss the pattern instructions inside the envelope.
Until then, happy sewing,