How I manage my sewing queue

Hello everyone!

Happy Thursday! This post has been prompted by a comment on my recent Indie Pattern Month Round up post. As it happens Lori B who blogs over at Frivolous at Last asked a very interesting question which I started to answer but it quickly became too long so I thought I would write a post about it.

Lori asked:

Congratulations, Hila, and well deserved!
You mentioned your sewing queue — I’m curious, how do you keep track of your queue? Written list? Pins on pinterest? A stack of patterns on your sewing table? I have trouble with this…I keep getting distracted by shiny (read: new) patterns and forgetting about all the plans I had. I love the queue feature in Ravelry for knitting but I wish there was something similar out there for sewing. What’s your advice?

So how do I keep track of my sewing queue?

Let me start by prefacing that I too have the squirrel syndrome and its been a process of learning to keep the momentum going on a project until its done. I am still learning – most times I am keeping to a plan but sometimes I get an idea that simply must be fulfilled. For example I was browsing Pinterest 3 nights ago and saw a pin of patterned pencil skirts. My brain went “I. Must. Have. This.” And I have drafted my pencil skirt sloper which I will be cutting out tomorrow and I should have patterned pencil skirt No. 1 by next week. It was not on the queue ;-). But seriously though how awesome would this be to see in your closet?pencil skirts

Alright back to the good stuff………..I used to use a written list in a Moleskine notebook but it was too big to carry around with me. Plus my kids get into my stuff a lot and sometimes I couldnt find a pen or pencil (or the pencil tip has been chewed off!). Then I discovered the Memo+ app on my phone which was a lot simpler. I have my phone with me all the time so it made sense that whenever I got a free moment I could look at what I want to sew.

When I decide that I want to sew something soon-ish I just add it to the list. Right now there are 38 things on the list. Items that I have started to sew will have a line on them. Completed items get removed and a new item takes their place. Something is considered started when I have cut the fabric. t is considered finished when the last fastening has been sewn on. Here is a screen grab of half of my list (its so long it doesn’t fit onto the screen)QuickMemo+_2015-07-23-21-10-39

However it doesn’t end there. I also need to manage the process of making the items. Because I tend to have more than one garment on the go its important that I remember what I am doing where. Sometimes I need to back off a project because ideas are starting to form about how I could add a design feature and it helps to work on something else while my mind mulls over the other project IYSWIM. BUT I need to plan all this because my life is so busy and hectic that I have to make the most of the little sewing time I have to carve out for myself.

So in conjunction with Memo+ I also use Trello app which is Kanban style system. Its brilliant for me! (I love Kanban and I use it to manage the kids chores as well). It took my efficiency to a whole new level. I have a sewing plan board with a card for each project I am working on. (A project enters the Trello board when its been cut). Then each card has a list of broad steps to completion. I don’t go more than 2 days without updating the lists. I also add comments if there were any fit issues etc.

Here is screen shot of my Spring 2015 sewing boardtrello

Here is an example of another Granville Shirt I am making showing the checklisttrello1When its been blogged it will get archived unless there is a comment requiring it to stay available either because I plan on making another similar one so I can just copy it.

I also love Pinterest but I use it mostly for inspiration. My favourite boards are For the love of skirts. I am really loving drafting skirts and this board has a lot of styles I want to draft.. pinterest
I also like Clothes I think I can make board which helps me decide what to start on next.pinter3

So I hope that answers the question somewhat.  How do you manage your sewing queue? Or does your queue manage you?

Thanks for stopping by and happy sewing all!


24 thoughts on “How I manage my sewing queue

  1. Oh that’s so funny! I’ve used Trello for work but never considered it for sewing. Very interesting combo of ways to keep track of the queue. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  2. Interesting to see how someone else manages their sewing projects! A bit different from me as I almost never work on more than one thing at a time. And I like to keep my “next in line” projects in mind by sorting my stack of “to sew” fabrics & leaving the ones I’m most inspired by on top. Something about seeing them every time I go in my sewing space helps me stay excited and sometimes come up with new ideas…


  3. I’ve got the low tech version of your queue – a little blue notebook that the small child has been warned off. Its got various ticks and squiggles which mean things like: pattern bought, fabric bought, pattern cut and finishing touches needed. I also keep notes on whatever adjustments I’ve made to each garment supposedly so i can refer back to it later.


  4. I don’t even know how to answer this! I keep a list… I keep a notebook… I have a fashionary where I draw my ideas… And frankly I change my mind all the time! Right now my sewing queue is the 4 pieces of fabric I have pulled w/ a pattern on top. That said- I DO LOVE lists. And I love to cross things off. Physically. With a pencil. Haha… You look so organized. And I like that you allow yourself to be interrupted by a brilliant idea but still seem to get back on track!


  5. Interesting. I have a brief list. I like using photos of my fabric and photos of my patterns instead. I save all sorts of things on Pinterest too. I don’t pay much attention to my list of things to do. It’s not in a particular order. It’s just a pile of ideas in my head, photos and Pinterest boards!


  6. I’d love to be this organised… but I’m just not that sort of person (and I have tried). I’m the sort that decides to make a dress… looks through my pattern & fabric stash… and makes an out-of-season jacket!


  7. Blimey, you’re organised! My list is in my head! At the moment I want to finish my husband’s shirt, then make Papercut’s Midsummer’s night dream dress before my holiday (only next week – can I do it?) and then Pauline Alice’s cami dress and a handbag I’m making to enter into a local country show when I get back. Your list is huge! When I’ve done the first two things I’ll think about what gets added to my mental list! Interesting post, thank you!


  8. it took me the longest time to work out what IYSWIM meant – doh!! I keep a list on a piece of paper which gets reviewed every few months…when I find it! I like the list on your phone idea 🙂 – looking forward to seing your cambie dress 😀


  9. Blimey missus for someone with no time to sew, that’s a lot of time spent organising the sewing lol! I just do things as they occur, rummage through the latest arrivals [and older stash], make a pile, assign patterns, and then cut out as many as I can cope with at a time [most recent stack being 7 items]. Then I grab some paper out of the printer, scrawl a list [which usually extends so that I can decide the NEXT half dozen or so] and then crack on. It works for chaotic me anyway!


  10. Your method looks very good! I might go look for the Trello app when I get a new phone (hopefully more app-friendly!!) I love the Kanban system, at the moment I use paper and post it notes. Plus my own small paper card system, plus a row of paper clips on the wall, holding sketches. In fact, there is quite a lot of planning going on, I guess I could also make full blog post about the whole shebang 😉 In the meantime, look at this serious planning:


  11. So organized! I need to start a list… I also have “squirrel brain”, ;). I currently have about 5 projects I am working on (4 sewing and 1 knitting). I actually came across a few yards of fabric in my stash and for the life of me have no idea what I had purchased it to make, haha. And every time I tell myself “no buying patterns/fabric for 1 month”…well…I fail miserably as I find about 5 more projects I MUST do, ;).


  12. Great info! It’s so funny how we all approach things differently. I definitely pick up some ideas here thanks!


  13. This is so organised! I just buy fabric, plan what I’m going to make… and then never make it! I write lists for pretty much everything else in my day to day life, why not for my handmade wardrobe!


  14. All in my brain too, which sometimes works well, and other times less so… I’m impressed with your methods, but sounds too much like hard work to me! I have enough lists of various ‘work’ to get through, don’t want my sewing to ever feel like ‘work’ I guess, but we’re all different… That said I do have a notebook somewhere that I once started, must dig it out again…


  15. I am amazed at how organised and productive you are! I actually abandoned my list as part of my new years resolution. It had grown so long that it would have taken at least a year to sew everything. I used to get frustrated as I wanted all the things to be done and wearable! Now I just sew what I fancy at the time. There’s a few fabrics that are earmarked for specific patterns (like the navy sateen for my next Morris blazer) but I’m quite enjoying the spontaneity of sewing on a whim!


  16. I am not surprised to see you have a system. When I was bogged down with little children I hardly sewed at all. Now I have a list on my blog and a desire to tick off when it is complete. You are amazing.


  17. Lots of great advice here, Hila–thanks! I’m so late to this party…I don’t know how I missed your post back in July. Have you ever thought about starting a sewing advice column? You’d be amazing! 😉


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