Tips, Tricks, Techniques

Notebooks, Washi Tape & Keeping Track

Notebook Cover

A couple of years ago I bought a lovely, spiral bound notebook and I’m using it to keep track of my sewing projects. The key words here are “I’m using it”, because I actually own three other lovely little notebooks that I’ve never used! Seriously, this is Sewful Life-changing and I’ll show you why.

The first thing I did was write my measurements on the first page of my new notebook friend. I added the date the measurements were taken and I love it that when the notebook is closed no one else can see my private digits! Knowing where your measurements are saves a lot of time. And, yes, you’re right – I did not take a picture of my measurements!

Pink Tropical top pages A

My sewing tracking is not formal, not particularly organized or neat, but the info is all there and that’s the important part. Here are the things I try to always write down.

  • Pattern company and pattern number
  • Size or sizes used and any modifications I made
  • Fabric I used and maybe where I got it
  • Pattern view used and any hacks to the design
  • Instructions that were tricky or I did differently
  • Fitting: Did it fit? Did I make changes? Did I pattern fit first?
  • Anything I would do differently next time
  • What my overall thoughts are and would I make it again

Tropical Tank pages

Don’t panic, this really doesn’t take as much time as it looks like and the time it will save you in the future is amazing. I am sew in love with my notebook because. . . .

  • If I want to make a pattern again, I can go back and see what I did the first time.
  • If there was a problem, I can correct it the second time
  • If I really loved something I made, I don’t have to guess at the pattern I used
  • And, best of all, I feel incredibly productive flipping through the pages and seeing all my makes!

Snapdragon Lemon Squeeze Cardigan swatch

Along with my notes, I attach a scrap of fabric on the facing page. I suppose I could make it attractive by pinking the edges, but it’s just for recording purposes and a quickly trimmed scrap is good enough. This helps me remember the garment, think about how often I’ve worn it and if I’ve enjoyed wearing it. And, this is where the Washi Tape comes in.

Washi Tape

If you don’t have a roll or six of this in your sewing area, get some – like now. I’ll do another post on all the ways I use Washi Tape when I’m sewing, but just being able to attach a swatch of fabric with something pretty is enough. If you need to move the swatch or take it shopping with you, Washi Tape de-attaches like magic without ripping the page!

Snapdrogon Summer Jazz page

And, now we come to choosing a notebook. First of all, it must be cute! My sewing spa has kind of a Paris theme so I can pretend I’m designing in a Paris atelier. (Beret optional, Eiffel Tower required.) It’s my own world in there and the romance of Paris just seems so right when I’m making clothing. What inspires your Sewful Life? Think about what makes you smile and feel creative, then choose a notebook that fits your passion!

Artisan Pants page

Make sure it’s large enough for you to easily write in and spiral bound. My notebook is about 6″ x 8″ and is the perfect size for me. Spiral bound is super important because your notebook needs space to “grow” as you add swatches. Plus, you can slide a pen into the spiral so you’re ready to write!

Notebook on shelf

My notebook lives on the shelf at the end of my cutting table. I can easily grab it when I start a new project or go back to one if it takes a few days. And, there is another excellent reason to keep track of your projects. Life’s interruptions! Now I can open up my notebook, easily see what I was doing and dive right back in. I’m more likely to return to a project when I don’t feel like I have to start over again. And anything that makes me more likely to sew is incredibly valuable!

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7 thoughts on “Notebooks, Washi Tape & Keeping Track

  1. I too keep a notebook similar to yours. It’s a good idea to add fabric swatches though – I’ll be doing that in the future! 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment! I find the swatches also help me quickly find the page I’m looking for when I go back to look at a project, too. 👍

  2. As I get more and more back into sewing I like the idea of keeping track. You have inspired me to start. I do believe I will keep two different ones. One for what I make me and one for what I make as gifts for others. Thank you

  3. What a lovely idea! I don’t do anything like this at the moment, but I think it would be a good thing to start doing. I also love your washi tapes!

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