Friday, March 8, 2013

Placemats: Project Organization

Because I sell some of the things that I make, it's important to have a system in place whereby I can easily identify the fabrics used in the item, as well as find the pattern and construction details. It has taken a while to design a system that is functional and efficient. Since I have only recently started to use this system, time will tell how useful it will actually be. Organization is an ever evolving process for me that must adapt as requirements change.

Last year, I sold these four placemats. Since then, I have had a request for 4 more that are the same or similar. Because the red and beige bird "toile" was the only fabric left in the stash, the other fabrics had to be matched and re-purchased.

Placemats-"Cours I"

To help with this process of matching fabrics, my daughter and I had catalogued all of my fabrics according to colour a few years ago. A 3"x3" sample was cut from each fabric and glued to a sheet of cardstock with other fabrics from the same colour family.

As I purchase new fabric, I cut a 3"x3" block from it and add it to the file.

Underneath each sample I keep a record of the name of the fabric, where it was purchased, and the cost.

Even once the fabric has been used up,the sample stays in the file for future reference, so that I can use it to purchase a matching fabric, as is what I did with these four placemats.

When fabrics are used in a specific project, I make another card of samples and keep it in a binder, (in a photo sleeve), along with the construction details.

Here, the card in the bottom slot ("Placemats-Cours I"), has samples of the fabrics used in the original placemats. The top card ("Placemats-Cours II) has the samples used for the new placemats. The red and beige bird "toile" (second from the left) was the only fabric that was still in the stash. All other fabric had to be purchased. The backing (the first sample on the left of each card), and the solid beige are a very close match to the original. The original binding (beige with gold scrolling), was more difficult to match, so I chose a solid burgundy instead.

The new placemats have been pieced, and are ready for quilting. Other then the solid burgundy binding, the fabrics are very similar.

Placemats-"Cours II"
The pieced top is laying on the backing fabric, with the burgundy binding loosely draping the edges.

My hope is to eventually update the binder to include most of my recent projects.


  1. Wow. First, those place mats are beautiful, especially the quilting. And second, I'm so impressed with your system! I used to sell things on Etsy and keeping a record of fabrics was always tough for me. Even now, since I mostly work with scraps I generally have no idea which fabric is which.

    1. Thanks Michelle. I tend to be *a bit* obsessive about organizing everything and don't like it at all when things feel out of control. The original set up takes time, but maintaining it is usually not a big deal, and I find it saves me a lot of grief down the road. I don't record everything, just the bigger projects and the things I make to sell. Also, I now have the time in my life to do these things that would not have been possible when other responsibilities took priority.

  2. Yes, wow, lol. It never occured to me that this would be an issue, but I can see that it would be if you are in business. Quite a challenge! Let us know if it serves.

    I have just spent a day re-organizing things too. It seems to be necessary every four months or so as my plans change.

    The placemats, though, are extremely elegant. I am not surprised you received a request for more!

    1. Hi Monica. Thanks for your comments on the placemats. As I just said above, I like to have things organized because I feel more in control of my time. I try to keep things fairly organized on an on-going basis, but they do seem to need a refresh every now and then anyway. Next are my computer files, which are getting out of control. UGH! I'm not looking forward to that exercise!