Ducks, Rows, and Other Systems

From this…

For whatever reason, I decided that logging my fabric stash into a spreadsheet would help me get organized enough to sew. It’s dull work, and it seemed crazy, but I’ve only completed one-fourth of the task and it’s already proving useful!

and this
…and this…

Firstly and foremostly, I can know how much fabric I have — how many pieces, and how many yards. I won’t lie, my stomach churned when I realized how much I have. I’m not like many sewers who live in permanent or stable living arrangements, so having a large stash is actually kind of a burden. On the plus side, knowing how much and what I have means I can genuinely shop from my stash, and I’m looking forward to doing that in 2015!

to this
…to this…

I also decided to give inventory numbers to my fabrics, so I can log projects in another spreadsheet using numbers in place of ‘slinky blue knit that I got in San Francisco’. Logging my projects in a spreadsheet will make it easy to see how long a project takes me, what fabrics I use and how much, and what notions I use — useful info if I decide to make multiples of the same project.

aaaand this
…and this!

But I’m new to the organization game. So tell me: how do you organize and track your fabric and projects? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks!

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  1. Hi Ebi,

    I keep a tab on what I have by writing about it on my hand crafted site. I used to do the same thing on my eclectic site. When I saw how much I wrote about my crafting adventures there, I figured it was was time to create a site just to document my crafting adventures.

    My fabric is on shelves. Before they make it their the raw edges are seamed, then it’s tossed into the washer/dryer or hand washed. I create a label with care instructions, yardage/width and attach to the garment. I used to have a huge stash, but about 5 years ago I gave a lot away. I am slowly rebuilding since I’m sewing more for myself.

    1. Aha, very orderly! And it’s great you use your site for keeping track of things; some sewers use their blogs to keep track of project details. Sometimes, being online is great, eh?

  2. What a great organizational project to kick off the new year! I can’t offer any tips on fabric storage or organization because I don’t have a stash (the horror!), but I find blogging to be a really useful system for documenting my projects. I often look up old blog posts to see how much fabric I used, what construction changes I made, etc. Good luck finishing up your spreadsheet!

    1. You are a smart, smart woman! I wish I had no stash, but once you’ve got it it’s very hard to let go. I’ve noticed my blog posts are more ‘the story behind the make’ rather than the nuts and bolts that go in it — my novelist aspirations showing through, perhaps? :p I like blog posts like yours, they’re suuuuuuper helpful and interesting.

  3. Organize? What foreign language is that?! :)

    My fabric is in tubs and some of it is in the “temporary” cave and the rest is downstairs and no, I have no real idea what I have and I’m always “finding” fabric.

    I generally put all projects on Pattern Review and it really helps me to go back and look at my own reviews. However, there is sometimes missing info so for 2015 I plan to use the 110 creations notebook. I have it sitting next to my machine so hopefully I actually use it!

    1. I’m so surprised you don’t organize your stash! The way you whip up garments, I thought you must have some svengali magic going on — your fabric is always spot on for the garment. I looove Pattern Review pattern reviews (say that ten times fast), and see how they can be helpful as a recording/tracking tool. I’m going to have to look into that 110 Creations notebook, I feel like it’s starting to catch on.

    1. Hah! It’s funny — I was in my local fabric store, and mentioned to the owner I was going to start tracking my fabric expenditure. With a completely serious face, she said ‘Don’t do it.’ Clearly I didn’t take her advice, but now I see why she said that!

  4. I’ve got an article and ebook coming out on how to do this digitally. The spreadsheet is one way to go. Have you considered snapping a pic of the photo and uploading that photo? You can then store the url to the photo in your spreadsheet. I’ve tried the spreadsheet but I prefer using Evernote where I can store a photo of the fabric and then tag it with all of the important info. Great job on getting organized!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I’ll keep an eye out for your article, staying organized is so important and there are so many ways to do it. I’ve heard of people using Evernote, and I think I even downloaded it some time ago, but never used it. :p

      1. Evernote sounds like a good idea. I use it for recipes and have found it very helpful; if you tag your recipes (or fabrics), it’s easy to find what you need. I just have my stash in stacking bins in my sewing room closet, so it would sure be handy to be able to look through it without having to haul all the bins out.

        1. Yup, my fabric is in bins as well! I like hauling them out and putting them back because it’s easy exercise, but I don’t like finding that the fabric I had in mind doesn’t have enough yardage or width for the garment I want to make. Booooo!

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