Sewing is a journey and there are always new experiences and things to learn. When I’m in the moment and sewing a garment I always think that I will remember every step and alteration that I do. We all know how this ends… after a few days I forget.
Did I add one or two inches to the length? Did I take in all the seams or just the sides? What size is this? Did I like the fit on my previous one? What’s going on? Where am I?
This is where a sewing journal comes in. A sewing journal, log book, or project planner is where you can write down all of the details of your projects.
Why you should keep a sewing journal:
Sewing journals are an easy way to track your progress in garment sewing and be able to see and admire all of your projects in one place. Sometimes I make garments as gifts or my daughter outgrows them and they get tucked away. My sewing journal is an easy way to reminisce on all of my previous projects and to see how much I’ve truly sewn.
t is a great way to remember details on your projects. If you want to make the same pattern again, referring back to your previous project can help jog your memory for tricky areas or things you wished you had done differently.
It can be your go to place to jot down measurements and other sewing tidbits that you may refer to frequently.
Where to find them
When I researched them I found that there weren’t that many options and the majority of them didn’t fit my style. I did like some of the print outs on Etsy, but sometimes they had too many details.
So I just took a journal that I had and started logging my projects in it. It’s worked out really well. I find that I can modify each page so it has exactly what I need.
Each project takes up two pages, so when the journal lays open I can see all the details of a single project. On the left page I like to keep photos and the right page is where I keep all of the details about the garment.
Feel free to take any of these details and add them to your own sewing journal. Maybe you only sew for yourself. Then adding a recipient wouldn’t really make sense. I also add a few other suggestions for different details to note towards the end of this post.
I try to include a photo with a flat lay or a close up on a certain detail I liked about the garment and a second photo of the recipient wearing the garment.
I just like to include the month and the year at the top of the page.
Include the name of the pattern and the designer.
Be sure to include if you graded between sizes, or did different sizes in different areas. This is also where I note if I would like to try a different size in the future.
Fun to note if it is a gift!
I like to note the kind of fabric, name of the color, where I got it from, and the weight if it isn’t super clear, like with a cotton fabric.
I like to keep a generic notes section. I find that I have a lot of thoughts that I want to jot down and instead of trying to break them up into different sections, just letting them all loose works best for me. This is where I note any modifications that I made or modifications that I would make if doing the pattern again. I also note skills that I learned, things that went well, things that didn’t go well, my overall feelings about making the garment, and how I feel at the end.
Part of sewing is the love and experience that goes into making the garment. Did I feel rushed? Was this a confident fast sew? Did I love the fabric on the bolt but not on my body? Reflecting back on projects makes me feel more confident diving into the next one.
I also love to include a fabric swatch. This is a fun way to have a more tactile response when remembering a garment. I also love to be able to go back and feel different weights of different fabrics.
Just keep in mind where you insert your fabric swatch. If it is in the same place every time, your journal will get really bulky in that area. I switch up between the bottom left and right side of the page.
When I first started sewing I kept taking and retaking my measurements with every project. My measurements are absolutely not steady, but it is nice to have a close idea to what they are. I also write in my journal with a Frixion pen so I can erase and update my measurements. You may also choose to just rerecord your measurements and date them. It is up to you!
I loved this printable table from The Fold Line. They have several different printouts with different body types and one option with a lot more measurements. I chose this simple one, because I use these three measurements the most. I just keep it in the front of my journal, so it is always easy to find!
Table of Contents
A table of contents can be an easy way to find a project. Typically it should be placed in the front. I didn’t want to take the time to write out all of the page numbers and then fill in the empty table of contents just to make sure I reserved enough pages. Instead I just put it in the back of my notebook and I work backwards.
I also like to put more than just the pattern name in the table of contents. I write down whatever makes the project memorable to me. I have made 11 Geranium dresses at this point. Writing Geranium Dress #5 doesn’t really help.
There are so many other things that you can include in your journal. That’s why I like making my own, it is easily customizable! Here is just a list of a few ideas
- Sewing Machine Settings
- Skills Learned
- Total Cost
- Other Measurements
- Me Made May Planner
- Monthly Planning Pages
- Wardrobe Planning Pages
If you keep a journal I would love to hear about what works well for you! If you don’t have one, maybe now is a great time to start!
Comment below or share with me on Instagram your sewing journal and journaling process. I would love to know more!