Brace yourself for a whiny post. I’m resisting, but I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going to come out.
I spent a good three or four hours in the sewing room over the weekend, not sewing a single stitch (actually that’s a lie, but anyway).
I was trying to organize my patterns.
Emphasis on trying.
In the last few months my pattern collection has gotten a bit, um, bloated. Bernie’s gift really put it over the top, but seriously, I was in trouble well before that. In particular, I’ve reached the point where I can no longer keep a reasonable mental catalogue of the patterns I have.
Now, in theory I’m prepared for that. I even have a pricey (if somewhat defective) little app on my iPhone for tracking patterns, stash, projects, etc, and I’ve made a half-ass attempt to enter at least the most important patterns into it. I have photos of most of my patterns, somewhere on the computer and somewhere on the blog, so I could potentially make a spreadsheet or database or *something*
The problem is, handy as all that electronic organization might be (and I do much better with electronic organization than with real-life organization), when I’m considering a project, what I really want to do is sit there and dive—through the fabric, of course, but through the patterns, too. Little pictures on a screen (especially a phone-size screen) just aren’t tactile enough. And since I can no longer think “hmm, I’d like to make a dress,” and bring to mind a reasonable list of the dress patterns I have, that means I need to actually sort my physical patterns.
I had started this back in the summer. I got a tall plastic set of drawers for the sewing room, which holds notions in the three top drawers and patterns in the three big bottom drawers. I sorted out the stash of kids’ patterns, too, into a large shoe-box (boot-box, really) and that worked fairly well since when the kids wanted to plan the next project I should make them (eyeroll). But I never made any pretext of sorting the patterns in those three drawers—two held patterns I’d made up, which I generally give a big manilla envelope and, if I’m really organized, print out a photo of the finished project to stick to. This works well because it gives me somewhere to store printed-out patterns, patterns that don’t come with an envelope (like Jalie’s), and holds whatever excess tracings I have, which don’t always fit in the original envelope. But it does take up a lot of space.
So on Saturday, I went through patterns, photographing and adding a whole bunch to my phone app, and beginning the rudiments of sorting. I’m most concerned to sort by type. But I don’t want to lose all my special independent patterns in with the regular ones (currently this is Colette, Sewaholic, and Folkwear. Not sure why I don’t include Jalie in this group…). And then there’s the really old vintage ones (fifties mostly) that I don’t want to get wrecked with too much pawing through. So they need their own place. And I’d really like to keep the jackets and sweaters separate from the other tops. And…
Well, you can see what’s happening. No way are all those categories happening in three drawers (even with dividers), nevermind that the patterns were already overflowing the drawers.
So I co-opted all the shoeboxes I could find, but now I have five shoeboxes kicking around the sewing room floor, which is considerably less than ideal. I can label them, which will help, but they’re still… floating. And in danger of getting stepped on, or buried by fabric.
Which brings me to another issue. The stash is out of control. Or at least, overflowing. I want to sew it down. But the projects in my head keep failing to line up with the fabrics on hand. What is necessary is letting the fabric lead. But how do I pick which fabric? There’s so many luscious and awesome ones to go with. Not to mention all the little bits that I’d like to use up—kids clothes, *something*. I made some of the last remnant of the Where’s Waldo fabric into another bralette, which was going to be for Tyo but the elastic straps weren’t long enough, so it’s gone to Syo (who’s super happy about it even though I can’t figure out why she would even *want* a bralette), but Tyo still wants one of her own.
And at the crux of it, everything is too messy.
I’m not one of nature’s tidy people. I can generally work just fine surrounded by a complete disaster (and tend to generate such a disaster if one wasn’t present to start with). It’s a constant trial to my husband, whose neat-freak tendencies border on the obsessive. But right now, there isn’t even room to work. Or at least, to work on anything big—hence the bralettes and other mini-projects I’ve been coming out with lately. Add to that the general lack of mental energy to contribute and, well, the situation isn’t quite paralysis, but it’s not far off, either. Can’t clean, too much stuff, it just doesn’t fit in the space. Need to sew it up. Can’t decide what to sew—too much to choose from. Can’t sew anything large—not enough room. Need more room—got to clean up. And round and round I go…
One partial solution would be to buy more organizational stuff—another set of shelves for fabric or drawers for patterns. But with a move on the horizon, I really, really don’t want to add to the furniture in the house, either.
And, just to illustrate the extent of my problem, here’s last week’s thrift store aquisitions (the fabrics and patterns at the local Value Village have recently been reinvigorated after several stagnant months, and I’m relieved to report that the attempt to sell the patterns bagged seems to have lapsed—this last batch were even quite cheap!)
Fabric. I’ve been trying to be good about the thrift store fabrics, only biting when it’s a fabric/colour/quality on “the list”. Both these pieces were. On the left is a very thick sweater-knit with an almost Persian-lamb type texture, in a rich red colour that would be AWESOME… whenever I figure out what kind of a style would work for it. There’s 2m, so plenty to play with. On the right is a dull purple/grey fleece, also extra-thick. I suspect it will become a housecoat for Syo, although it’s so thick I’m tempted to just get some binding for the edges and call it a blanket.
The patterns are rather more whimsical. I couldn’t resist the Kwik Sew men’s dance wear on the left, even though my husband would probably disown me if I actually made him one (I don’t have a plain men’s tee pattern, though, and this one looks fine if you just lengthen it). I also don’t have any little boys to sew suits for, but cmon—a Vogue little boy’s suit, with single and double breasted options? For less than fifty cents—how could I resist?
The 70s tracksuit in the middle falls into that awkward sizing in between Syo and myself. I currently have sweaters, bunnyhugs, and hoodies on the brain, which may explain why I couldn’t just leave it. The late-70s vibe reminds me so much of things I wore as a small child (I was born in 1980, but grew up in hand-me-downs)… which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but, I dunno. I’m feeling nostalgic, I suppose.
It’s also uncut and comes in two sizes, each printed in a different colour. Nifty!
Yup, that was whiny. Sorry. Have a great week!