One of the best habits I’ve picked up is to keep a sewing notebook. This is a place where I can chase rabbit trails, make mistakes, and talk about my creative passions without worrying about how they look to the rest of the world. Your notebook can take any form: a spiral notebook (with lines or graph paper), a mini or full size binder, even a document on your computer. I can’t stress how important it is to pick the one that feels most comfortable when you write in it. If you like, make a pretty cover for your notebook, like my design above which always reminds me of party invitations. Washi tape, colored pens, scrapbooking stickers, cute paper clips -- these goodies can make things lots of fun, but they’re not absolutely necessary. Mine is divided into the following sections:
- Must Make List: a running list of projects that I want to sew
- Project Ideas: notes and sketches for new projects
- Inspiration: my own little scrapbook for anything that inspires me -- magazine pictures, cards, photos, paint chips, etc.
- Class Notes: all my notes from online or in-person classes on sewing, quilting, and design
- Creative Journal: thoughts about my creative process and journey (I'll share more about this in a future post.)
- Fabric Designs: ideas for fabric designs or possible collections -- just for fun!
You can easily add sections for your blog, guild meetings, sewing retreats, shopping lists, swap projects, or even your sewing calendar (see my book, Sew Organized for the Busy Girl, for more on that). This notebook can be whatever you want it to be, and it can always change to fit your needs as you go along. I actually keep two sewing notebooks right now. One is a mini binder full of notebook paper which I usually take with me to events, and the other is a slim hardbound book full of graph paper that I use most often at home. As someone who used to have loose notes and sketches floating all over the house, I can't tell you how helpful it is to know that all my work is now organized and easy to find when I need it!
In the past, I've tried to have inspiration scrapbooks or journals, but I've gotten hung up on wanting them to be pretty and perfect. There's nothing wrong with pretty, but perfect will do you in every time. The whole point of the sewing notebook is having a place where mistakes don’t matter and where you have room to think and grow. Don’t cheat yourself out of that gift by trying to get everything “right.” No one ever has to see the inside of this book except you. Let it be a place where you always feel safe to be yourself.