Welcome to my latest obsession. Tackling all the clutter we accumulate with this hobby (or business) of ours. The fabric, the patterns, the notions, machines and the inspiration, etc. It seems like I’ve tried so many different things. My house is bursting with all of these things, and it’s not cheap stuff! (Shoutout to my awesome DH, yet again, for being so supportive of my creative outlet, taking most of my pictures and for fixing things when they break.)
The last time I was sorting out my fabric, I thought about doing another mini series, this time about organization. I actually started working on it back then, planning out a week long set with my cutting area, sewing area with my machines, how I keep notions, fabric, etc. And then I thought about how many other bloggers have done that already and there’s dozens of different ideas for how to set up a sewing space. Of course, then I thought “What am I good at, when it comes to organizing?” I immediately thought about sewing and technology. At the same time, I was looking for a digital way of tracking my fabric for referencing from my computer or while I’m away from home.
I took a look at a few app options, such as Sew Organized, Cora and Trello. A lot of these are talked about in sewing social media, along with the wish for an app like Ravelry. None of them seemed to be just what I wanted, though. While some of the options are great, some things just didn’t work for me. Some of them were more aimed towards quilting, some weren’t available for Android and others just didn’t have the storage space I needed. Remember – any of these may be great for you.
Inspiration hits me in different ways and how I get that out depends on my mood. I have so many different notebooks and sketchbooks with ideas sketched out or notes jotted down, plus I use Pinterest – and now with blogging I’m using my computer a lot more for this. Sometimes I go and stand in front of my shelves and just look or rifle through my fabric to help me decide what to use. Other times, I have an inspiration picture and an idea of changes, but I’m trying to remember what I have on hand. I’d like to have some way of not only knowing what type of fabrics I have, but also what design and color scheme they fit.
If you’re looking for an option that’s different from all of those, keep reading because I finally found AirTable and it’s pretty awesome.
I watched the first two videos here and knew this was what I was looking for. Airtable is a database, and while it looks similar to a spreadsheet in my views each row is actually a record of information. That record can be opened and viewed in another window and they’re all linked to each other, plus you can easily link it to another table and pull information between them or filter and view by specific categories. I started setting up my database by creating records for just a few pieces of fabric so I could figure out what I wanted to track. This started with a name field, an attachment picture (either using the shops’ image or my own quick snap of the folded fabric), yardage amount and the type of fabric (knit/woven and specific type/blend). *I also added in a weight category after this picture was taken and it’s already been helpful!*
From there, I decided to keep track of where it was purchased from, retail vs purchase price and a notes section (to track a specific sale or mystery/palette box). I knew this would be helpful if I wanted to reorder something I really loved (or ran out of mid project) or if I wanted to find a coordinate piece (each shop knows their colors best). Since I made the shop a dropdown choice, it created a new table of shops and I can view each shop with a list of everything I’ve purchased from them. I could add more information to those records, but for now I don’t see a need. The pricing columns also have some formulas attached to them so that I can see how much my stash is currently worth (great for home insurance!), but I could also build on this in the future to help with pricing for selling items (if I wanted to).
Finally, when I thought about how I would use this for planning projects, I wanted some way to help with pairing fabrics together. I added fields for color and design, to go along with the picture attachment. For the color, I listed primary and secondary color names so that I would be able to filter and see only fabric containing blues or purples to help match a single garment or outfit. I also have a field for design so that I have the ability to filter for that as well – maybe I want something in a floral, but I don’t have a color in mind, or I want something distressed, or I want to see every sparkly option.
Keep am eye out soon for the next installment where I’ll be talking about digital pattern storage!
See you next time, until then – happy sewing!