Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Snip, sort, and the spreadsheet

Not a bit of sewing going on here. Last week while doing some super easy sewing as a call out to my mojo I managed to snip a nice little wedge into my finger with my tailors point Ginghers. Ouch! Those things are sharp, smooth cutting, and sturdy which is why I like them so very much. Mine are stamped with "Italy" which I suppose means they are made there. Then within the same hour I managed to serge a hole in my fabric. Right in the front and center of the scrub top, my easy project. Step away from the sewing tools! What to do instead? Sort the stash, of course.


Questions I ask when I sort my fabric:
  • Is this color or texture really me.
  • Will I enjoy sewing this fabric or will it be a chore?
  • Do I still feel love for the fabric or is it over?
  • Do the colors work together?
  • How does this fabric work with my existing wardrobe?
  • Would I really wear this fabric or is it a fantasy fabric?
I store them in general categories in my tall shelved cabinet. Nearly all my fabrics fit in there, a few bulky ones are in tubs on a nearby shelf. I like being able to see what I have. I like to be in control of my stash, not have it control me. NancyK said that first.

The spreadsheet

Once upon a time I thought using a spreadsheet to manage one's stash was a bit hard core for the sewing room but after a few incidents of forgetting what I had or how many yards a piece was, I was a spreadsheet convert. Most computers come with a simple spreadsheet program and if not, one can download programs like Open Office for free.

Categories I use:
  • Color - with the basic color family name first
  • Weave or knit - twill, jersey, crepe, etc.
  • Fiber content - cotton, silk, wool, etc.
  • Fabric width
  • Length
  • Source - where purchased
I use Microsoft Works and there is a "sort" function where I can arrange a chosen column alphabetically. This way I can see what I have in a certain color, how many wools I have, and so on. I'm thinking of adding a "type of use" category with words like jacket, tees, pants, and blouses. Then if I see a pattern I must make I can quickly see what suitable fabrics might be in the stash.

Now I must get back to updating my spreadsheet!