Many sewists approach their projects binge style, often taking a day to just cut out a lot of patterns. Then they are faced with the obvious fact that these will not all get worked on in the near future, just maybe one or two. So, now what is the method to keep all these cut pieces, their patterns, their notions all together?
Well, I actually used that method back in the 80s. Cutting binges really made me feel like I was doing a lot of sewing. But I really wasn't. With work I had little time for my favorite hobby. All those cut pattern pieces and fabrics would go into individual large zip loc bags along with any needed notions like thread and buttons, etc. The actual pattern envelope would sit inside, with the cover facing out so that I knew in an instant what project was in there. Each bag was a dream almost realized. They were then put in a milk crate to be worked on as soon as I was able. This made me feel like I was on my way and getting it done. I tried to work on the most needed garment first. But then a work event, or an unexpected social affair would popup and I would pull out one of the zip locs and start a new project off and shove everything back in the zip loc on the project I had already started and needed. Time was sparce. The frustration would build. Newer fabrics and patterns would beckon and I would succumb.
This method really didn't work for me and may not for you but it may be your best option. I get that but hear me out.
Demands would come and go,. Those zip locs would travel down to the bottom of the milk crate, even get forgotten. I needed that other project NOW. I had to go buy another milk crate. Maybe if I separate the bags by season in the milk crates. One for winter, one for summer. Yes, I was feeling brilliant and back to sewing.
Another frustrating drawback with this method was fabric, just awesome, gorgeous fabric. Those were the days of several Mom and Pop fabric stores in my area and they had access to the garment district's best and the prices were so enticing... and I had this party... and I really really would have the perfect outfit if I bought that plaid I saw... and It wouldn't take that long to sew and I could get it done this weekend and,,,and,,, and,,, another shiney new object would get cut and maybe even made for that event but now another got shoved in the milk crate. Was it winter or summer?
One day I wanted to work on one of my old projects, purely out of guilt. I didn't even like it any more. I just knew it would let me be free to move on if I got it sewn and worn. I couldn't even find it. Buying, cutting, ziplocs, no time, oh, my......This had to stop and it did.
On my next day off I went through my bags and literally threw most of them out. They had marinated so long that most I didn't even want any more. Oh, the shame and guilt but those bags staring at me were even worse. They were all chucked except the one I was working on. Oh, I would have gladly given them away but could find no one, my size, who could even sew, never mind want my dated choices of often difficult Vogue designer patterns. I swore then and there I would never let this happen again.
In the first picture above you can see my system. I will admit, I have the space to work this system. This home had a great sheetrocked heated basement set up for work by the electrician who owned it. He built an 8 foot work table, bolted to the floor and wall with shelving underneath. (Why?) Love it. This became my cutting table. I also had a great light over it. I had one of the 5 or 6 foot Joann cutting tables that fold down. I placed that at the end of the 8 ft work table, in an L shape, and that is where I work my "system" of no ziplocs. When I have a specific project planned the fabric is prewashed and pressed, grain straightened and folded nicely.
This method is also a reminder of what is cooking in my brain. It's not parked away in a tote somewhere or a milk crate. If I don't see something I don't create with it. I like my goodies and my projects out in the open. That has always been my inspiration. If they need to be in closed, stacked totes, I have too much, and am a hoarder, just my personal opinion about how I buy and sew.
At the bottom left of the folding table you can see a rather messy bunch of stuff, not quite a stack. Its my sheet pan and holds my current project. I learned this trick a long time ago but only recently started using this technique and I am hooked. I took a class from a great dressmaker and professor at UNH in the textile program some years back. She taught us to put all our cut pieces on a cookie sheet or tray as soon as they were cut. Whenever they need to be moved the slightest, you moved the whole tray, not the fabric pieces. She also never stay stitched. She claimed with the tray method and care you did not need to and that the act of stay stitching only stretched out your fabric more. I know, controversial. Anyway, I like the tray habit. My room is large so I walk over to my machines and my ironing station and can just lift up the tray and not have to handle the fabric unnecessarily. I recommend. I like the way everything is organized on the tray as well.
This is my system that after many years and now being blessed with a lot of non-gorgeous but highly functional space I find works best for me. I did do the same in my last sewing room which was smaller but kept it down to one or two in there. I would make other stacks that I would put on a shelf on the Rubbermaid unit where my fabric was shelved in an adjoining basement area. I guess it's sort of like sewing the garment but not really. It works for me. What is your method? Are you a Zip-loc-er? A multi-project sewist? A binge cutter? How does it make you feel? Does it matter?Fess up and share! Happy Sewing.............Bunny