Keeping a sewing sketchbook
+ 5 tips for getting started

As part of Year of Destashing, I want to share a tip today that will help you use up your stash:

As a sewer, you know this situation: When buying new fabric at the store, 10,000 project ideas pop up in your mind right away. But a few weeks, months or … um … years later, when pulling said fabric out of your stash again, all those ideas are gone. You have no idea why you bought this fabric in the first place and can’t think of anything to make from it right now.

Something that helped me to solve this problem was to sketch down all of my sewing ideas in a sketchbook. It’s a good way to record ideas as well as develop them further.
Starting a sketchbook can be a bit intimidating, so I put together five tips to get you started:

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1. Choose your weapon

To me, a good sketchbook has blank pages, comes in a “portable” format (A5 works best for me) and lies flat when you open it. Paper that’s a bit thicker is nice if you plan to staple fabric samples to the pages.

With that said, I started my first sketchbook (shown in these photos) in a random lined notebook I had lying around. And the sketchbook police didn’t arrest me.

So if you’re unsure wheather this sketchbook thing is for you or if you’re eager to start but the stationary shops are closed, just start with any notebook. You can always switch to a different one later. Plus: Tip #2 will be easier for you.

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2. Dive right in

A wide-spread phenomenom when starting a new sketchbook is the fear of “ruining” it with something “ugly”. It happens to all of us, especially those who just spent 100 bucks on a leather-bound fine art paper notebook.

A simple tip to overcome this fear is to not start your sketches somewhere in the middle of the book instead of on the first page. That way, your supposedly bad drawing will be somewhat hidden and you can save the initial page for your first stroke of genius ;-)

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3. Don’t fear “ugly”

Keep in mind that you’re drawing in a sketchbook, not on canvas. Sketchbooks are for all of your ideas. The great ones, the good ones and the ugly ones. Sometimes you have to sketch out a lot of bad designs before the good ones hit you. So just start and don’t beat yourself up if your sketches won’t make it into the next Chanel collection.

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4. Play with your ideas

Don’t just stop at your first draft for a project. Think further: Which details would take this design to the next level? Would this look better with a different neckline? Should I add pockets? Then sketch out variations and experiment.

It’s incredible how much it pays off to develop an idea not just in your head but to put in on paper and “play” with it for a while. Trust me: The more you sketch, the more inspired you will become and the more ideas will pop up.

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5. Have fun!

There are no rules to keeping a sketchbook. Staple fabric samples to the pages, collect inspirational images, create moodboards, make a page just sketching your favourite design details. Just get inspired and have fun! That’s what this book is for.

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So, if you have a big stash of fabrics at home, but always seem to miss the right ideas at the right time, a sewing sketchbook might be for you. Or maybe you even have one already? I love talking sketchbooks, so if you blogged about yours or have some more tips for keeping sketchbooks, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.