Monday, January 12, 2009

Only One Organizer for Now

Organizing fabrics. It's the kind of task you might reserve on a day when you're snowed in, your social life has hit a temporary lull or you're just feeling too darn lazy to even touch the sewing machine. My attempt to get organized comes courtesy of the latest issue of Threads Magazine, which sent my nimble fingers flying to my laptop keyboard. Electrons firing, I quickly found this site, where I promptly all three files on my desktop. Naturally, ink levels were low at the moment of creativity so organizational output was limited to the number of sheets that could be printed with minimal fading. A few hours of printing, writing and snipping swatches later, I'd like to say I felt a sense of peace and order, but no, the bedroom is a mess since I refuse to put away what jerseys, vintage cottons and whatever else I have until it's all down on paper. To make this exercise worthwhile and enjoyable, I recommend the following:

1. Keep it fun. If you just keep writing 2 yards, 60 inches wide, and where you bought the yardage, you will quickly fall asleep. I'm telling you. Fabric is soft, and comfortable. Surrounded by the stuff, you will quickly slumber. So write some funny stuff: "I saw Tim Gunn on my way to Mood Fabrics when I bought this!" or even "This would be perfect for that Mad Men dress pattern Simplicity has now!" Anything, besides the nonsensical notes that perhaps only a librarian could appreciate. Remember, she too might hit the books (with her head) if you don't keep it interesting. I know, what librarian will read this? You never know. Your binder could end up in a university collection somewhere, somehow. Your niece might even read it. Who knows?

2. Actually plonk the pages in a binder. I haven't done this yet. All pages to date are in their plastic sleeves, eagerly awaiting new life with three rings. If you don't do this part, your information will remain in a folder, useless.

3. Put the binder with your collection. This is the hardest part, because the temptation is to position it on a shelf nearby. Resist with all your will! Park the binder with your stash. Create a little pocket on your bin if you must. Sew a slot. Stick all the pages on one big ring, slide that onto the wire rim of your bin, as I might do. Please Put your scribbles and notes where they're most useful. Besides, if there's an emergency you can pull that first, then figure out what's most worthy of a rescue.

4. Forget divvying up fabric types. Just document, document, document! You're gonna get tired of doing this before you even finish. So you just do what you can. I've cotton, jersey, and wool swatches sharing a single page. They're happy together, so am I just as long as I can find these gems when I need to later.

5. Don't feel bad if you abandon this project. If I do, I'll report back to you. We'll commiserate.

6. Sell and donate what you don't like. You'll just be making room for better stuff.

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