Aug 10 2015
The other day I ran into the local fabric store for a spool of thread and was hit with the summer clearance sale.  So many pretty stripes and prints to choose from, but this striped seersucker is the one that spoke the loudest to me.  I loved the combination of colors and a smocking plate from my stash immediately came to mind.  I rarely buy fabric without a purpose… needs a plan.  Have you ever bought fabric and then months (or years) later couldn’t remember your brilliant idea?  I think that I’ll use a large ziploc bag to store my project.  It sounds wonderful to pull a bag off of the shelf with fabric, smocking design, thread, and pattern notes stored neatly together when the sewing mood hits.  Sometimes making those decisions are the hardest so it feels like I’ll be getting a jump on the project!
Do you have a special way of planning and keeping up with your projects?  We want to hear about it!  Leave a comment on this blog about what works for you to enter our free giveaway.  The winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a free pattern or book of their choice.  The contest ends at midnight Aug. 15th.

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18 comments on “Do You Plan Ahead?

  1. Leland on said:

    Love the fabric and the crabs! Sometime I buy fabric with something in mind and sometimes just because I like it. If it is the later, I usually get 1 1/2 to 2 yards to make sure I have enough to do what comes to mind. Thank you for the idea of storing the project in the ziploc with notes. That is a great idea!

  2. I do buy fabric ahead – sometimes too much fabric! I especially like to buy ahead for the next year if I can catch things on a great sale. Sometimes I do have an idea what i’ll make with it, sometimes the fabric just speaks to me and I’ll decide later.

    I like being able to pull something off the shelf when someone requests a project and not have to run to the fabric shop. I can get started immediately. Same thing with smocking plates – if I like a design, I buy it. I’ll use it one day!

  3. Judith Harris on said:

    I use one of those 10 drawer rolling carts, with the multicolor drawers, for planned and in-progress projects. I can pull out a drawer and have everything all together for the project. Some are under construction – some are in the planning stage. I resort to plastic bags when all 10 drawers are full, which sadly is the case right now.

  4. Carol Stephens on said:

    Yes! When I see a piece of fabric I buy everything I need and place in a ziplock bag, too! They are hung side by side on pant hangers. Easy to see at a glance for when the urge to see strikes. (I have to travel 60 miles to a fabric store.)

  5. Debra Parker on said:

    I use baggies to keep individual projects together. But I have a huge fabric stash. I do buy it because I like the fabric without a clue as to what I will use it for. Then I find I like it so much I don’t want to cut it. I have a problem! LOL

  6. Teresa Baker on said:

    I like to look my my old magazines and scour the Internet for ideas. Then, I often pick a smocking plate first and then look for fabric that I want to use for it. With the smocking plate, my head usually picks out a sewing pattern. And I usually have a child in mind also. When all is together, I put it all in a 2 gallon ziploc and then I’m ready to begin.

  7. I actually buy fabric that speaks to me before I find a use for it. That means that I have a few boxes of fabric waiting for the inspirations to hit me. I have the fabrics sorted by function (such as for smocking, home dec, etc.) . I’m fortunate that I don’t quilt as that approach could be costly. The quilts that I have made have been from a quilt kit or bought for the purchase. I now have a granddaughter and I spend my time on Pinterest and reading blogs on Feedly to get my inspiration….then I go to my stash and pat myself on the back if I can complete the project without going to the fabric store. What is often missing are the appropriate buttons….

  8. Paula Pattengale on said:

    Sorry, but I have used the zip lock bag system for years. My scraps are arrayed in bags from gallon to snack size I then sort them by size and sub category by like colors.

    I use a modified system similar to grocery store. I use a dowel and hang the hooks that hold/display 8 bags from each hook. I clip a fabric filled bag to each clip that hangs from the hook. This allows me to see the contents of each bag without fumbling through boxes and bags.

    If fabric quantity is too large to fit in a bag, it is rolled and stored in a plastic bin with cover. Rolling the fabric allows me to see color and pattern at a glance.

    Partially finished projects, the UFOs, are stored in individual bags with related fabric and patterns and any notes I may have made. They are then stored in a designated cabinet.

    The “to be starteds” are also stored in a similar manner to the UFOs but in their own cabinet.

    Using this system keeps me from purchasing more of any thing or making more commitments to myself or others. The same fabric is in one bag. I can see what I have and can make a rough guess as to the quantity in the bag based on the bag’s size.

    Once the system is set up then keeping it up is no problem. It has also forced me to stop hoarding infinitesimal bits and pieces. I have learned to throw some fabric away. I have greatly reduced my impulse buying. I can actually make some things with what is on hand.

  9. Sylvia Betts on said:

    I use plastic boxes the size of shoe boxes to put the elements of a project together. They are see through so easy to spot what I want. When working, I can then easily get items out and put them back. When I cut out, extra fabric is kept in the box as well so I have it nearby if I need to test a little embroidery or cut out another facing or something. I’m also guilty of working more than one thing at a time and this helps me keep them separated on my table.

  10. Shoeboxes!!!!! I have them stashed with patterns/threads/needles/thread ripper/thimbles—anything I might need for that particular project. AND I place them around the house–by the television, in the kitchen as I am waiting for the meal to finish cooking, in the car. I even left one at my sister’s house in Florida to work on when I visit. So I am never without a shoebox and a project!

  11. Jan Boyd on said:

    I don’t always plan ahead when purchasing fabric or supplies, except floss. With floss colors that I use often, I will get many skeins. Now with my fabrics since I don’t always plan ahead, well, I suppose that’s why I have such a nice stash of it.

  12. I’m glad to see you approaching this subject. This has been one of the hardest things for me. I am trying to redo my sewing room right now and could really use some suggestions on organizing.

  13. Beverly on said:

    I would love to know the trick to being able to pull the perfect thread together! That is a weakness of mine!

  14. I do a lot of scouring the internet for design ideas, Pinterest and the big clothing lines. When I see something that I like I print the picture from the internet and then go shopping. If I can’t get to it immediately I will place the picture, with notations of my ideas, in with the fabric and store it. I don’t place patterns in with it because I have sometimes wanted to use the pattern for something else before I get to that particular project, which happens a lot.

  15. Marilyn on said:

    I usually buy 2-3 yards of a fabric (since I’m sewing for a soon-to-be toddler). I have started using the ziploc bag method myself. It makes remembering soooo much easier.

    • Marilyn on said:

      I have the fabric on hand in ziploc bags inside a clear storage container. As I put each fabric into its bag, I clipped a small sample and measured it. The sample goes into a notebook along with the info–yardage, width, washed or not washed, type of fabric. The fabric can easily be stored on a shelf in my storage building and I can go right to its box when I decide to make something with the fabric. Nelona and other fine fabrics DO NOT go outside. They are in their own bags in my sewing room.

  16. Marnita Miller on said:

    Yes and no! Sometimes I just buy fabric that speaks my name out loud. Other times I have a specific project in mind. If it is for a project I put the fabric, and notes on pattern, size, ideas in a ziplock bag until I can get back to it. I keep copies of the pattern fronts of my Creations by Michie’ in with the patterns that I can quickly pull and add the project bag for quick reference. I LOVE your patterns!