Organization – Part Three – Projects and Pantone

Do you ever go to an all you can eat buffet and fill your plate because everything looks so good?  Well I am guilty of that with fiber of all types.  The almost unlimited selections of such beautiful fabrics, yarns, and ideas on how to use them finds my sewing space bulging with half formed projects and ideas for projects.  Where to start?  Why not with color?

Pantone – It might surprise you to know that consistency in color is a relatively new concept.  In 1962, in the Lawrence Herbert,  a chemist who had been working for a printing company to formulate consistent colors,  purchased the assets and named the company Pantone.  The first product was PMS (not what you are thinking…..) – Pantone Matching System – a color model that could be shared across manufacturers and printers of all types.  In 2007, the company was purchased by X-Rite, a supplier of color measurement instruments and software.   Twice a year, somewhere in Europe, members of color standards groups from everywhere meet and discuss color trends.  They publish these as Pantone View which now guides all types of industries including, fabric, fashion, construction, and cosmetics.

Pantone colors for Fall 2014 include the color of the year – Radiant Orchid

pantone fall 2014

Colors for Spring 2015 were just released and are themed En Plein Air (these are the colors in the women’s palette):

pantone spring 2015



If your sewing projects include garment or home dec sewing, having consistency with color gives you confidence that somewhere you will be able to find shoes and wall paint that will coordinate with fabrics that will be for sale.  So take advantage of this standardization of color across many manufacturers in many industries.


Every individual has a selection of colors that flatter their individual skin, hair and eye colors.  But that is a subject for an entirely different post!  A good reference guide is Nancy Nix-Rice’s book Looking Good every day 

Do you sew your projects around an event?  Are you sewing gifts and home decor seasonally, or for specific holidays or individuals? Sometimes decor may follow traditional color schemes:  Gold, Maroon, Oranges, and Earthy Brown colors for Fall/Thanksgiving     Red & Green for the Christmas season.  Pastels for Spring and Spring holidays.    I find fascinating how color themes differ among cultures and also how they are adapted by cultures and how color schemes evolve.

Several of members plan their projects around a seasonal core set of clothing pieces.   If you sew like the industry – then you need to be planning and sewing at least one but probably two  or more seasons ahead of today.

I really like Sheryl’s approach to garment planning.  She describes her  process here:

For projects, I am currently working on my 2014 goal of creating an ensemble each quarter.  I work a quarter ahead (sewing 4Q ensemble during 3Q) and have set a “template” for each quarter to be 2 tops, 2 bottoms, 1 outer and 1 dress.  I also set a goal for myself this year that each ensemble must use at least 50% fabric and patterns from my stash.  Once I have selected my fabric and patterns I list them on my giant white board in my sewing room, sometimes with a rough sketch if I feel like I need it.  Then as I complete each garment I check it off until I am done and ready to begin dreaming about the next quarter.  Works for me and keeps me from getting too many unfinished thoughts and projects.  Occasionally, like after conference, I will have a stack of UFOs and when I do, I list them on my white board, decide which I want to do first and then check them off until they are all gone.  Once they are I let myself return to what I like the most, which is working on my ensembles.  Probably WWWWAAAAYYYY too structured for most in our group but it works for me and keeps me from feeling like my sewing room/projects are closing in on me.

Do you story board you ideas?  Using a real board, or an application like Pinterest?  I am starting to use Evernote’s web clipper functionality to “grab” web pictures and text – the actual page not just the links.

Enough about planning – it is National Sewing Month – Get Sewing!!!!!





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