I have had a project journal or sewing notebook in one form or another since I began crafting seriously in 2006.

They have been various shapes and sizes but basically they are a plain notebook and I prefer one with no lines.  My last, and also my current journal is an Ask Alice Sketch book (pictured above in the front). They are a nice size with 7 types of recycled paper that is thick but not too heavy.

This is how I use my journal:

I love making regular to do lists. I always write my new list whilst looking at the old one. This allows me to see which projects have been lingering and which ones no longer interest me.  I have no trouble letting projects go and moving on to the next thing.  I have also been known to add something to a list to be cross it off.

I keep my journal beside me as I sew, noting the details of the project as I go.  Which size I cut and how much fabric did I actually use. Which parts of the pattern I changed or didn’t understand and had to ‘google’ and things I should do differently next time.

I am full of bright ideas and grand plans. I jot down my research, take notes, record websites, prices and details about a new pattern, fabric on sale or something brilliant I saw on Pinterest.

Shopping lists are a regular item. I can keep my  list in one place, adding to it as I need to – until I can get to the craft store.  I gather details about supplies that I need to replenish or things needed for the next project.  I also tape some of my receipts in the book to keep track of a projects cost.

I use it for my calculations.  I love figuring out how to make something and I do this quite often with quilts.  How many blocks am I going to make, how much fabric do I need, how much is that going to cost me.  It is all written in my books.

Sometimes I just like to write.  Occasionally I will write a casual journal entry, a page about where I am at. – what I am working on, what is the latest thing to spark my interest, things that I want to achieve…

As well as my craft journal I keep a digital record of the clothes that I make.

I started a database on Bento.  It was a great piece of software.  I could create and add projects and information on my mac, ipad or iphone and they would sync seamlessly.   Unfortunately Bento is no longer supported and my beautiful data base is starting to fall apart at the seams.  I forked out the cash to upgrade to filemaker which is a more expensive and supposedly more powerful database program.  But it doesn’t do what I want it to do and it doesn’t act or feel like bento – which I loved.

I have made a few work arounds and currently have a “useable” database for my sewing projects.

Here you can see an iPad screen shot of the shorts I recently made.   The page allows me to enter most of the important information I would need if I was to make the pattern again.  Having a photo is actually the most important part for me.

But there are lots of other ways to document your sewing.. Lara has mentioned that she uses her blog as a reference for her sewing projects.  I also seem to remember that Amanda (from Amandas Adventures in Sewing) writes notes of her pattern envelopes.

On etsy you can purchase a printable PDF from KimberlyOuimet for less than $4. It has printable sheets that are designed for a binder.  They can be used to not only document your sewing but also to keep a record and inventory or your supplies, equipment and sources.

Paperstich on etsy also sells a printable document that creates a Seamstress Workbook.  This document is more focused for those that sew for children allowing you to record all of the project details as well as yours or the childs measurements.  Really handy to keep track of those kids that grow like bean sprouts.  

Beth Byrge has created a Sewist’s notebook and is self publishing it through lulu.  It has room for you to document 110 of your creations, projects and ideas.  There is a section for you to add a wish list and include your pattern catalogue. 110 Creations is available in two sizes both with spiral binding to make note taking easy.


Alternatively you can document your projects online.

Pattern review is a popular way for sewers not only to document their sewing but to share that information with others in the review gallery.

Sewers are also sharing basic project information on Kollabora and Craftsy.  The project details are brief, generally featuring a few photos, some basic information and usually a link to a related blog post.  It is more like a “this is what I made” rather than Pattern Reviews “this is how I made it.”

I really like to document my projects.  I rarely make the same item twice but it is nice to have a record of how I did it the first time. Writing in my journals has become a habit now and they are a nice piece of my crafting history.

Do you document your sewing projects? Do you do it differently ? I’d love to know!