behold my sewing planning spreadsheet!

I haven’t posted recently because, you know, my foot is still broken. It actually had to be casted. I chose pink, of course. I’ve never broken a significant bone before (maybe a few odd fingers & toes over the years, but nothing I ever saw a doctor about), so this is a whole new experience for me. The cast is really heavy. It’s hard to keep my foot held up when I’m making my way around on crutches, & I’m definitely not supposed to be bearing any weight on the broken foot. I cheat & walk on it sometimes anyway (well, limp & shuffle). Yes, it hurts. A lot. But I can’t just hop around on one foot for two months straight. Thankfully, I had the foresight to buy a cheapie wheelchair off Amazon, which enables me to get around most of the house, retrieve my own snacks from the kitchen, & even do some light tidying…on any surfaces that are about coffee table level. I tipped the chair over trying to pick some laundry up off the floor & landed with all my weight on the broken foot. Cue the tears & hydrocodone. It REALLY hurt.

Photo on 11-1-17 at 4.19 PM

If I really put my mind to it & cheat on the weight-bearing restriction, I can make it upstairs to my sewing room. (Thankfully, the entire living space in this house is on one level. The upstairs is just my sewing room & Ramona’s playroom.) Getting anything done once I’m up there is its own challenge, however. Anyone who sews knows that time spent actually sitting at the machine is only a fraction of the job. You spend a lot more time doing pattern alterations, cutting out fabrics, pressing, wandering around the room looking for that zipper you just had a second ago, rummaging through all your bins wondering where the hell your screwdriver went because you need to change your needle, etc. It’s hard to do all that stuff when hobbling around on one foot.

But I miss sewing so much! So I am trying to do at least a little everyday. I can’t be nearly as productive as I want to be, but every little bit counts, right?

Mostly I am stuck on the couch. I’ve created a little nest, with wheelchair parking & a three-tired cart from Ikea containing all of my medications, cross stitching supplies, magazines, bullet journal stuff, chargers, headphones, etc. I can elevate my foot on the coffee table & keep an eye on Ramona whever she is, as long as she stays downstairs. (Though she’s old enough now that we let her go up to her playroom by herself. It’s REALLY nice to have a child approaching the age of reason.)

All this time on the couch has given me a lot of time to PLAN all of my sewing! Planning posts are always my faves on sewing blogs, so let’s get into it!

First of all, I had the brainstorm a few months ago to keep a spreadsheet tracking my sewing projects. I’ve gone through a few different iterations, adding & taking away various elements, but this is what I’m using right now. It might go through some edits in the future, if I find that I require more or less detail.

Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 8.04.30 PM

My (incredibly ambitious) goal is to complete the first fifteen projects on the list by the end of 2017. It’ll be tricky, but I tried to make sure that I had a good mix of really complex, time-consuming projects (the cross stitch project, the felt wall calendar for Ramona) & pretty straightforward projects that won’t take more than an hour or two (undies, the sweater). I’m also trying to focus on projects that will get used/worn right away. The calendar will be Ramona’s Christmas gift from me, as will the long underwear for Jared. (Too much information?) I am in desperate need of new flannel pajamas because I am low on warm pants I can wear over my cast (& later, my walking boot). The Lander pants have rocketed to the top of the list for the same reason.

With every task I complete, I color in the relevant box. Not all tasks apply to all projects, but here are my categories:
* pattern procured/drafted. Meaning, I have the pattern in hand, even if it’s still just a PDF on my computer.
* pattern printed & cut. I’ve started sending PDF patterns with copy shop options off to for printing. Prices are quite reasonable, shipping is super-fast, & it means I’m not spending days on end assembling PDFs, which is especially nice for bigger projects like pants or coats. I’m not getting any kind kickback for saying that, by the way. I’m just a satisfied customer.
* flat pattern alterations. I like to do flat pattern measurements & make relevant adjustments before I do anything else. I’ll do a muslin on occasion, like if I have reason to believe that the fit is going to be a hot fucking mess. (Looking at you, Rue dress.) Or if I’m planning to use especially special/expensive fabric for my final garment. But nine times out of ten, I just use my accumulated drafting/fitting knowledge to make adjustments to the pattern before it gets anywhere near fabric.
* fabric procured. Meaning, ALL fabric, including little bits like pocket linings or whatever.
* fabric pre-washed. I just cannot with garments that need special handling, so everything gets pre-washed save for things that are probably never going to see the inside of a washing machine, like a winter coat or something.
* notions procured. Zips, buttons, special interfacing, coordinating thread, specialty hardware, embellishment tools, elastics, etc etc.
* fabric/other stuff cut. Everything cut & ready to roll, including interfacing, appliques, bindings, whatever.
* interfacing applied. Speaks for itself. Obviously not relevant to every project, but worth including because it ALWAYS takes longer than I think it will. & I’ve made structured bags where just applying the interfacing took hours.
* pre-sewing embellishments completed. Again, not relevant to every project, but I do like to embellish my makes. This includes stuff like embroidered collars or pockets, appliques, ribbons, pintucks, piping, etc.
* primary sewing. Whatever needs to be done to get the project to a state of completion, save for hems, cuffs, etc.
* finishing embellishments. Meaning, embellishments that can’t be applied until after the garment is completed, like beading, or the bows on lingerie, etc.
* closures. Buttons, zippers, hook & eye tape, snaps, etc.
* hems/cuffs/elastics. You know what this stuff is!
* final touches. Seam finishes, construction-relevant topstitching, making sure all the threads are trimmed, & most importantly: the final press!
& that last box is my shopping list of patterns/fabric/notions I still need to buy for each project.


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “behold my sewing planning spreadsheet!

  1. Fabulous! I love planning posts, too.

    Your comment on “interfacing applied” is spot-on. I am always annoyed that I forget about this & by how long it takes. I have started taking more serious notes so I know where I am in various projects, but I like the spreadsheet idea because you can see everything at once.

    I don’t know how long you will be in a cast, but there’s a great web site with a discussion forum that might be useful: When my father broke his leg last year, it was really helpful.

    Some ideas I got from that site:
    – a grabber/pincer tool is really handy when you’re in the wheelchair (but get a good-quality one as the cheap ones are so bad that you won’t want to use it)
    – modify a pair of pants with snaps or velcro in place of the outer seam (you don’t have to take off your pants for doctor visits — or maybe it’s warm enough where you are that shorts are an easier option)
    – get a handicap parking hang tag, even if you don’t drive (it’s for the person, not the car, so anyone who is driving you can use it)

    Also, I got Dad a water-bottle holder made to strap onto a stroller — he used it on the wheelchair to keep the phone with him.

    Would a knee scooter be useful? Not sure how useful it is in a house where the distances are short, but at least you’re standing! Full non-weight-bearing is really difficult. It will be a lot easier once you can put even partial weight on it. When I tore a ligament in my knee, I spent several weeks going up and down stairs on my rear end!

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