Plan to Sew

IMG_1388“I don’t get a lot of time to sew”. That might sound like a bit of an oxymoron from someone who owns a fabric shop.

But it is true.

As with most people who run their own businesses the work other people get to see is only about 20% of what actually needs to be done. The rest of the 80% of what happens is often done behind the scenes or during a late night at home on the kitchen table.

So I have to make the most of any time that I do have to sew.

In fact I had booked this week away from the shop so I can actually sew stuff for me. I knew there were certain things I needed to get done this week as a matter of course – a business doesn’t just run itself, so I made sure I designated a certain amount of time to those. But in the weeks before hand I knew that I needed to plan out exactly what I wanted to sew so that I could get as much done as I could.


Because I usually sew a few projects in one go I like to make sure that I have everything to hand that I know I’m going to need. There is nothing worse than getting into a sewing project and finding out that you need half a metre of ¼” wide elastic – or whatever, and then have to go hunting around your sewing room or physically go shopping.

So I do make a plan. The plans I use for sewing for myself are similar to the ones I use when creating a new pattern. They contain all the information I need to make sure the project goes as smoothly as possible. You can download and print off a copy of the Project Planner to help you plan too.

I also include a bit of space on the second page to evaluate how the project went. It can be really useful to note down any tricky areas or things that you would do differently. If like me you have a few patterns that you return to time and time again it can be very helpful to remember to spend more time on a particular step to make sure you get it just right, or to miss out any steps if you don’t want to add a particular feature.

IMG_1406One of my goals this year is to try and streamline the way I work. My brain just doesn’t work in a logical linear way and I do find myself….oooh fabric!! getting distracted easily. So I find that I am looking at ‘process and systems’ more closely at the moment to see if I can find ways of increasing my efficiency.  Planning definitely helps! Once it is out of your head and on a page it’s one less thing to think about.

So I would highly recommend planning your sewing if time is limited, or even if it’s not it can just help you sew better.

Do you plan? And if so does it help? Or are you more of an impulsive sewer?

13 thoughts on “Plan to Sew

  1. Oh I love this planner. Thanks for posting! I’m working very hard at being better about planning – not just for sewing but for everything in my life. I have a little book where I write my sewing plans, but there are those, “oh, fabric!” moments that derail everything.

  2. I really like your planner as it has a space for all the tweaks and modifications, thank you so much for the download and great blog post. I do try to plan but tend to focus on too much at once so obviously this is where my problem is, wanting to do too much and not being realistic with my energies.

  3. I am definitely an impulsive sewer, I’ve tried in the past to have a plan but always get distracted by new fabric or a great new pattern. I also feel that when I plan too much it becomes a pressure and takes away part (sometimes all) of the enjoyment.

    1. I do know what you mean. Having a list can mean there is pressure to get everything done. But I try to only make a small list for the next couple of weeks at a time. Longer term goals go in my note books. 🙂

  4. I love the idea of planning. However, I’m not great with the follow-through. Have downloaded your Project Planner, and it seems the perfect spot for keeping pertinent info, so I’m hopeful. In fact, I’ll be using it this afternoon when I get upstairs to cut out (and make???) a pair of pants!

  5. It is so tempting when you have a lovely length of fabric to just “go for it”. I have tempered my urge to dive right in over the last 12 months and have been a happier sewer as a result. I even have done two toiles! I have a project book with brief notes and fabric samples about the projects I have completed. This includes tips the pattern alterations I have included and what worked (or did not)! I think you have to have a balance of projects- those where you really think and plan and those where you just go for it. Bit like life really.

  6. This is amazing! I am new to sewing clothes and have established that I am really excellent at finding inspiration in buying patterns and fabric (seriously, I think I may be developing a problem :)). But I seem less capable of having a clear idea what’s on my to-sew list. So I end up looking for more patterns and fabrics.

    This will help me plan and focus on actual projects.

    Thank you!

  7. Like Claire B, I have started a project book. I try to record where I bought fabric and how much it was. I always end with Things I have learnt… even if it only to make it again.

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