Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How I Organize my Sewing with Evernote, part 2

It's a new year, time to get organized! Last week I briefly reviewed the app Evernote and how I use it to store information about my fabric and pattern stashes. This week, I'll be going over my "check-in" system for staying on top of the new arrivals into my sewing room. Stay tuned until the end, because I need your help!


As I mentioned, I have one notebook for fabric and one notebook for patterns. Each notebook contains one note for each pattern or piece of fabric. Making a note for the patterns is simple, I open a new note and snap a few pictures of the envelope. Then I file the patterns in storage boxes. Until I've entered a note in Evernote, I do not file the patterns. They sit around on my sewing table being a nuisance until I log them. Side note: this only applies to hard copy patterns. PDFs are stored in my Dropbox and not in Evernote (let me know if you're interested in a post about Dropbox).

The fabric is more complicated, but again, having a system that I repeat every time works. When I order fabric online, I always take a screenshot of the fabric on the website.



On my iPad, I take a screenshot by clicking the home button and on/off button at the same time. It takes a photo of my screen and automatically saves it in my photos. Generally, this one screenshot will contain most of the information I end up putting into Evernote. If you think you're going to remember all this info by the time the fabric arrives...you're probably wrong :) I also recommend taking a screenshot before you complete your order, in case you've bought the last of it and the website's listing disappears (ask me how I know). 

Just like with patterns, I do not shelve/store my fabric until I've logged it in Evernote. Until then, it resides in a large cardboard box or on my sewing table, and just generally annoys me because it's not in the "right" place. That way I'm motivated to log it quickly. If I purchased the fabric in person, I keep the receipt with it until it's time to log it. I always keep my invoices from online orders.


The "holding zone" for fabric: a giant Wawak box.

First, I unfold the fabric and check it for flaws. Most online retailers will accept returns on flawed items, but only within a certain time frame. Check your fabric as soon as you can upon arrival to avoid heartbreak. Next, I measure the fabric to make sure it's at least as much as I ordered. I have been shorted before and I actually received the wrong fabric once. On the flip side, a lot of places cut generously, and I want to note how much fabric I actually have rather than what I ordered.

A large cutting mat makes measuring yardage a breeze.

After entering the size of the fabric into Evernote, I consult my screenshot (conveniently right there on my iPad) and/or receipts to fill in the rest of the info. I take a photo of the fabric and include that in the note. Finally, I roll it up and shove it onto one of my overflowing shelves of fabric. Unlike a lot of people, I don't prewash immediately. I like to wait until I have a lot of fabrics of similar content and color and then wash those together. Kind of like grouping sewing projects by color so you can save time changing thread.



I mentioned last week that one of the reasons I use Evernote is because I like to take a photo of my fabric, rather than cutting a swatch. I LOVE Evernote, but storing 200+ photos of fabric on my iPad takes up a lot of memory. In an effort to cut down on photo storage, I'm considering developing a physical swatch book. I like the system I have now, but if I keep purchasing fabric at the same pace soon I'll need an iPad just for Evernote! This is where I need your help. 

There are plenty of free options on the Internet for filing swatches. None of these have ever appealed to me because I need to print a zillion and cut them out and this is already too much work just thinking about it. Personally, I would get more use out of one book with all my swatches. I created A Sewist's Notebook to fill a need that *I* had, and somewhere along the way decided that maybe other people would like it, too. Is there any interest in a swatch book? What information would you record in such a book? Help me help you! I'd love to get some feedback on this topic before I barrel ahead and develop a book. If you have a minute, please comment with your thoughts. Pressed for time? Check out the poll in my sidebar. 

Do you have a "check-in" system for fabric? Or are you more loosey-goosey with your organization?

3 comments:

  1. I am an Evernote user for many things but so far, not sewing. I am a paying member on PR and have all of my patterns cataloged there.

    I have NO system in place for managing (my scary amount of) fabric.

    Like you, I have printed those sheets many times and just never do anything with them. I got so far as to cut swatches of all of my woven fabrics but then shoved those in a bag.

    I think the main thing that stops me from using it is:
    1) flimsy paper. Something more substantial would be nice.
    2) the need to then do something with those sheets. (3 hole punch to put in a binder? etc)

    Swatch
    width (selvage)
    yardage
    content
    store (site)
    cost
    blank lines for project(s)

    But, imo, it should be 'small' (e.g., not 8.5x11), but it still needs enough space for those of us with hefty stashes :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for this! I think we're on the same wavelength. What to do with all those tiny THINGS (swatches, paper) when you already have enough clobber in a sewing room?

      I think 8.5x11 would only work if there were two entries per page. Thanks for giving me a lot to chew over :)

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  2. Wow-that is a very thorough system you have going there and I'm impressed :) I have a very loose system but so far it's been working alright.

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