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Sewing Chatter: Do you have trouble planning your sewing projects?

Does a change in season ever make you feel stuck when it comes to planning your sewing projects?

You know we love to talk about planning here on the Colette Blog, and the reality is that sometimes you have to change up your planning routine in order to stay motivated. We’ve got something to help you do just that…coming next week!

Sarai’s been sharing her secrets for planning her fall wardrobe on the blog this week, and she’s adopted an engaging mixture of planning techniques that include visual inspiration—such as creating moodboards and finding favorite silhouettes—as well as written notes from answering Wardrobe Architect questions.

What about you? What’s your favorite way to plan projects? And what is your most successful strategy for planning projects (because we all know that the two might not be the same)?

You might have already caught Sarai’s hints that we have a special wardrobe-planning tool coming your way next week. It’s a little hard to keep it a surprise, since you have probably already guessed what it is: a sewing planner!

If you want to be the first to see it and have a chance to get some really fun free goodies, sign up with the form below to be a pattern insider, and you’ll get all the details on Monday. Otherwise, stay tuned here on Tuesday for the official release!

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Wardrobe Planning Resources

Here are a few of our favorite posts on wardrobe planning and inspiration that’ll help you get excited about the new sewing planner!

What about you? Let’s talk about planning

While we’re waiting for the planner to arrive, let’s talk planning strategies.

* Where do you get stuck while planning your sewing? What strategies have you tried so far?
* Do you enjoy planning your projects in advance, or are you a spur-of-the-moment kinda maker?
* Do you plan your projects visually? Or do you have notes scattered all over your sewing space?
* What does your fall wardrobe look like so far? Is there a certain garment that is getting all of your attention? Tell us what it is!

Meg Stively

Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.


Carlee McTavish

October 14, 2016 #

Yay! I can’t wait to see the planner! I get stuck with muslining. I just get so caught up in fit that I usually put off making a muslin because the thought of putting all that work in gets to me. I used to be a spur-of-the-moment maker but I have greatly enjoyed putting thought into my wardrobe and thus my garments. I get so much more wear out of everything when my wardrobe is planned out. Although I don’t get too detailed, I have tried to focus on colours that suit me and that compliment each other. From there I move on to textures in those colours and that usually lends itself to the type of garment I would like to make. All my notes are in my head! I really hope to sew up a red/burgundy velvet circle skirt…luscious! I am also badly lacking tees so I will make a bunch in coordinating colours with different textures. I hope I get the time I need to work on them!


October 14, 2016 #

It’s easy to get stuck with muslins, but they are always sooo worth it!


October 17, 2016 #

I have the same problem. I make a muslin and then it doesn’t fit right so I don’t know how to make it fit me and I get frustrated and I put it down. This is why I love doing the sew alongs with y’all. I’m so excited to start back up on the Rue sew-along.


October 14, 2016 #

I want to plan a very versatile wardrobe that coordinates well and is comfy for work and play. I can’t wait to see the planner… and banks for all the great articles.


October 14, 2016 #

Planning my sewing really kills my sewjo. Weirdly, this is the one part of my life, where I like doing more than planning. Maybe it is for the same reason: as soon as I have put it down in drawing/writing, my brain imagines all the steps and the finished product. And then I am quite over it. Especially with a collection or a wardrobe, it might take me months to see the last piece finished. Oftentimes I have seen too many versions of the pattern or similar styles on the streets or just imagined it too often…
On the other hand, I hate it when I have a spur-of-the-moment idea but still need the fabric/pattern/notions… Or when I have a great idea the moment I see the pattern/fabric and can’t remember a week later…
I have now organised my stash and patterns into the Sew Awesome app, and I will add a note there on the go, but that is all.

Max Mechan

October 14, 2016 #

I like to keep a list of planned projects then once I have finished a project I can review all the possibilities for the next one. I do start new ones while the old ones are still ongoing but every time I really finish one I re-assess the others, Also, my idea of “really’ finishing” a project is to use all the left over fabric in a smaller project such as a bag.


October 15, 2016 #

I so identify with your comment about not really finishing until the last scrap is used. What an interesting and subtle distinction you have made.

I see my project(s) as stemming more from the starting textile and whatever size it happens to be rather than a single finished garment, or look, that’s in my head or that has been planned. I frequently buy yards of a fabric if available, if I am attracted to its potential, and I can afford it. Then I play with how it might best be used, without limits.


October 15, 2016 #

Both of these–Max and Robin–resonate with me. My planning often begins with the fabric–what does this want to be? what pattern will make best use of it?–and the fabric isn’t done until I’ve used all the remnants, often while I still have matching thread loaded.


October 15, 2016 #

I find my wardrobe is becoming less practical as I have moved into making it completely. So I refuse to buy filler pieces, which puts more pressure on me (intentionally) to plan, so that I will have what I need/want when I need/want it. Generally, this is a good thing, except my only immediate source of fabric is Walmart, which is not as bad as it could be. A limited budget, however, means I am trying to work almost entirely from a stash of fabric, patterns and even notions. As my stash of fabric is eclectic, and was bought a while ago for a different lifestyle, I am in a bit of a quandary.

I wish there was a fabric/pattern exchange on line or better yet in person (meet up, perhaps?) but I can’t see that happening here in quilt country. And I am an introvert and not much into getting something like that started. Thrift shops are fun for great finds, though, and can be justified budget-wise.

Ultimately, I don’t plan because I sew to get away from planning, logistics, computers and other devices, even post-its, which are the bane of my existence. I am not a fan of mood boards. What has really helped the past several months is just displaying all of my fabric in open shelving. That has actually been a great planning tool. I don’t have to fuss with swatching, which is time consuming, and I can play with grouping fabrics and patterns, which is also tactically satisfying and inspiring. No stray written notes here!


October 15, 2016 #

I find it difficult to sew for my everyday life. I LARP, and will happily make costume after costume, but I wear those maybe 10 times a year. Maybe less, for formal costumes or very dressy or summery items.

What I *need* is to make nice things that are appropriate for work, comfortable enough to schlub around in, but still have an edge that is uniquely me. I think those Seamwork credits I’ve been hoarding may come out to play very soon!

Rae Cumbie

October 15, 2016 #

Because I cannot find anything in the store that fits me, I make almost all of my clothing. My wardrobe planning is usually making a garment I need in my wardrobe or have worn out, new black pants or jeans for instance. I have several patterns that are basic and fit well so I find them a reliable base then I have fun adding a new little design feature to each new garment. I have two new pieces of fabric from Style Maker fabrics I am anxious to stitch up into pants. RAE


October 15, 2016 #

It’s true that sewing can become so random! I’ll see something (like for example I watched some videos recently of Natalie Chanin) and fell in love immediately with her technique for applique on quality cotton knit and immediately ordered a whack of cotton knit :) I started thinking about a knit dress then realized I don’t WEAR knit dresses – so annoyingly random. I do however need some Tees for my pilates classes so the knit will certainly not go unused. Last month I was caught up in Julianne Bramson and Susan Lenahan’s work on sewing on the bias and made a few things in silk…(sigh) So random.


October 15, 2016 #

I’m no longer a spur of the moment type of sewer. I’ve learned to sew what I really need and for each season. For example, last spring I knew my winter coat was getting old and I need a new one. I looked all over for a jacket pattern and decided to make the women’s version of the Ablion. Now that the weather is cold and frosty I’m all set with my new coat!!

Jenny Sandoval

October 15, 2016 #

I, too, am excited about the planner; however, unlike Alicia Silverstone’s Cher, I could NEVER use a computer for planning (though I must admit, when I saw the movie Clueless in theaters, I was in awe of her closet and its system!) I truly love paper & pen(cil) for planning.
I downloaded the Warbrobe Planner template and printed out multiple sheets, stapled a small booklet together, and I’ve religiously used it whilst sewing. My one complaint is there isn’t enough room for writing stuff such as adjustments. For me alone, everything requires a FBA and BBA on just bodice pieces. Don’t even get me started on a dress or jumpsuit!
As for making stuff for my 3yr old son, pfft, easy peasy Wardrobe Builder pages. Even my butt-less husband is quite easy to plan for!
I digress. The end of this diatribe? Please make a planner with room for writing down all one’s adjustments, add-ons, etc.
Thanks for listening!!! Xoxo

SJ Kurtz

October 15, 2016 #

I don’t ‘NEED’ a fall coat like I did thirty years ago; I have the fall coats from over 45 years of sewing.

The planning comes in when I’ve got to make time for the sewing for others; what are the materials I have on-hand (and where the devil are they) and what do I need and when are the sales.
And then it’s just time and budget management. And I would consider those parts of a sewing planner as well. When will I, how will I and how much?


October 16, 2016 #

I second the ‘how much’ idea! It will help with planning, because if you are the sewist who tends to buy on impulse, and don’t have much left over for the basics you really need, then you will pretty easily realize, after looking at the sums, when/if you haven’t done yourself any favors in the planning department. Few sewists have unlimited funds, and many of us are on budgets. Just a column with ‘cost’ at the top to even just capture the basics (stashed or purchased fabric, pattern if applicable, major notions and notions purchased just for this project, etc) would be useful, and won’t take up a lot of space. I guess a blank comments section would work too.


October 18, 2016 #

I’m a planner- I get stuck when idea piles on top of idea on top of idea, and then I end up with a bunch of half-sewn things or fall a season behind. I LOVE the planning stage, and going through my closet to get ideas about what will go with what else, and seeing it all come to life- I hate that I end up with orphans because I wind up sewing a fraction of what I plan.
I feel like my biggest failing is just not making enough TIME to sew and sew well.
Lately, the cornerstone for me has been the kind of quick, easy sewing that Seamwork encourages- and the notes do wind up generally all over the place before settling in the basket of seasonal stuff I will take with me to crafternoons or pull out for sewing days.