How I Plan Projects

The other day someone asked me on Instagram how I plan for projects. Specifically, how do I make fabric purchases (I was showing some things I bought during Black Friday sales) and make sure they actually get made into something and not sit around in my stash forever.

This got me thinking about how my planning has changed over the years, and specifically how much it has changed this year. I used to make monthly plans, maybe with a big picture idea of what was coming up, but mostly I would plan a few projects at a time.

This meant I ended up with some random makes at the end of the month and not always in love with everything. Or the inspiration I had would fade and I no longer was interested in sewing with a certain fabric or pattern.

After thinking on it a bit, I realized that these are the things that have really helped me as far as planning my sewing and then loving what I made!

Evaluate your Closet

I really can’t stress enough how helpful reading The Conscious Closet was for me this spring. Taking the time to consider your closet- what colors you wear, patterns you like, shapes you feel good in, and what you actually put on your body day after day- can really help you plan for projects that turn out being things you love. It can also help you evaluate fabrics quickly and easily. I can see a gorgeous floral and appreciate it, but know that it would either sit in my stash or closet lonely and sad because I don’t actually wear that many florals. Really knowing your style, even if it’s evolving, is important in planning out makes.

Set Parameters

I only buy as much fabric as I have room for. Right now I am sharing an office with my husband and I have a cube shelf and 2 of those cubes are designated for fabric. I have two cube storage boxes that are tucked away in a corner that have some more of my stash or cuts that can be used again and that is it. I just don’t have room for anything else and it helps me not get side tracked with looking at fabric stores online.

The same is kind of true for my pattern stash, although I will fully admit the cabinet holding printed patterns is bursting at the seams!

You can also look at budget. Decide if buying fabric all at once for the year during sales makes sense to you or is it better if you have specific projects in mind and only buy a few yards at a time? Whatever it is, have some guidelines for yourself to keep you from dreaming and buying and actually make sure that you’re sewing too.

Think in Groups

The biggest game changer by far this year has been that I now think of sewing in collections or modules. Narrowing down patterns and looking at how pieces can be worn together means I end up with really wearable clothes. I also find the process of planning this way to be a lot of fun and it keeps me inspired. When the weather changed and I was looking at fall I didn’t get distracted by anything else, I could focus in on what I needed or wanted in my closet and had a lot of fun planning and making from there.

Will there always be a dress like my birthday dress that takes hold of me out of nowhere and I decide to make on a whim? Yes! At least, I hope so! That is a joyful part of creating that so many of us are always searching for. But those are special makes and I would rather have one or two fabrics waiting for those moments than a towering stash of fabric I don’t know what to do with.

I have a fun idea for my sewing in 2021 and I can’t wait to share it with you soon! I would love to hear how you plan your makes or how you keep your stash inspiring.

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