Sunday, 15 August 2010

Old sketchbooks, one things leads to another

Everyday life here revolves with a
myriad of conversations. For example, a long chat about "Is Doctor Who real?" (7 year old) and "If we take the hen's eggs are we stealing their babies?" (7 year old) to a chat about jumping, "I like jumping. Do you like jumping?" and the old favourite, "What's your favourite colour?" ( Three year old) So with all this noise, discourse and chat, plus discussing things like the merits of biomass boilers with Mr Minnado, thinking about my sewing projects and planningwhat I want to do has a small slight place. I am often thinking about my sewing, planning, mulling over ideas while doing all those other random day to day things and I feel more and more there is a need for me to have plans, notes, diagrams, some way of harnessing my ideas before they slip away. I would like to track my progress and keep some semblance of organisation.

I have kept notebooks and sketchbooks on and off for most of my adult life. At eighteen I went on my year long art foundation course which used to be a prerequisite for doing an art degree here in the UK. The foundation course staff emphasised the keeping of sketchbooks as a resource, part of the process of making art, storing and working through ideas and also collecting inspirations and images. When I was a student the favoured style of sketchbook was the hard bound black books ina range of sizes - there is one under the bird book in the top photo.
I have since being a student veered off into notebook territory and always have several on the go (oddly or maybe not so oddly, I often get given these as presents) the little A6 bird note book above lives in my main bag and travels about with me.

In the past week, we have moved Little I into a proper bed - which meant dismantling the cot, which led to pulling an old portfolio of mine from under the cot, which led me to leaf through old sketchbooks and bits of work on paper which led me to photograph some old pages and scrappy monoprints.

So, here I am planning my next sewing adventures, and hope to share my list with you in a post very soon. I am trying to have a plan partly so I can control costs, consumption and also as part of my effort to be more of a Slow Sewer - so I can concentrate on making less garments but to a better standard. And that they are clothes I would wear a lot. For me part of the challenge of sewing is to improve my skill levels and learn new things. I would like to make clothes where I am not ashamed to show the seams to some one else!
I am also thinking more and more about how to link my drawing into textile work and have been busy sketching away. I want to have only a few projects to work on so I can devote some more time to this. In mid-September Little I goes to preschool, so I hope to have a few free hours. And I am wondering, how do other people track and plan their sewing and ideas? I would love to know.


  1. Lovely post. I was just thinking about how I should organize my sewing ideas, but at the moment they're so simple that I can keep it in my head. I'd imagine a sketchbook, or even a corkboard.

    I love your idea of Slow Sewing, mostly because I've been doing the opposite lately. Oddly, the more I sew knits, the sloppier I've been. Perhaps because they're more casual and I don't have a serger to make the seams look as good as they could. In a way it's been liberating, I'm making the choice to forgo perfection, but there will definitely be some garments in the near future that this sort of fast sewing will be inappropriate for, ie a winter coat, jeans, etc.

    I also wonder if my fast sewing is the byproduct of me actually starting to prefer my handmade clothes to RTW. Even though they're inferior in construction, I have a connection to them and I've been anxious to get more of these in my closet, even if imperfect. I think I need to find a balance between the two. Thanks for sparking this idea! :)

  2. Hi, I have a sewing note book where i jot down any ideas, pictures of things i like, anything that inspires me really. I did an art foundation course too and have so many sketchbooks from that year. I think its an excellent idea to be more of a slow sewer, i am ashamed to show the insides of my garments at the moment, but hopefully that will change. Have a great week!

  3. Such sweet drawings and lovely sketchbooks! I can relate to feeling like while I'm busy doing other things, ideas for creative projects come to me at sometimes the most inconvenient of times. It helps to have that sketchbook handy. I recently bought two nondescript lined notebooks and shoved one in both of the two purses I use most often. That way I have no excuse to not pull it out anywhere. Drawings and textile work go hand and hand. Are you familiar with Spoonflower? Print on demand fabric of your own uploaded designs. Might be a fun way to test out some drawings and then sew them up!

  4. Slow sewer - that's me for sure!

    I like to use a small sketchbook to keep track of projects. I sketch a view of the garment lying flat and a layout view (helpful when not using a pattern), including measurements. I put the date designed at the top right, and the date completed (if applicable!) at the bottom right. On some projects, I use the remaining space (front or back of the page) to record the steps as I work through them, problems I discovered with the item after the fact, etc. On those occasions when I want to make the same item again, I have all the info I need without reinventing the wheel.

    I tend to decide on the fabric first then work out the design, which means I don't generally worry about keeping track of ideas for the fabric. However, one might take little swatches and staple them into the book.