How to Plan Your Creative Projects for the Entire Year

It’s time to plan out my creative projects for the next year. This time, I decided to share how I plan my projects for an entire year. You will be amazed how much you can accomplish with a bit of organization early in the year! This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own.

How to Plan Creative Projects for an Entire Year|Designers Sweet Spot|
Quilters Planner and Magazine

Creativity Requires Planning

Blogging as a creative person requires planning to accomplish projects. I tend to start things and not finish, buy too many supplies that I never use, or have a great idea that gets forgotten in the chaos. That’s how creativity works, we are not an organized lot.

However, I have learned that if I spend a bit of time planning I can accomplish so much more! By using a special creative calendar everything comes together in one spot!

After searching the internet extensively for a suitable planner, I came across the Quilter’s Planner. It has exactly what I was looking for: Inspirational photos and projects, areas for sketching, keeping swatches, spiral bound and compact in size. I am so excited to start using it!

Quilters Planner inspirational inside|Designers Sweet Spot|
Quilters Planner inside cover comes with beautiful quotes and project ideas.

The pages of the planner are bound with a spiral binding. This makes it easy to flip to the current month. On each monthly tab is an inspirational quote and beautiful project. I spend a couple of hours reading through all the projects in the free magazine. Love them all! I chose a few from the magazine to put on my calendar to work on.

Quilt sketches in planner|Designers Sweet Spot|

Creative Project Resources

Towards the back of the planner are the resource pages. There are spots for each project where you can save patterns, sketch, and make cutting notes. This is great for me since I usually jot things down on little scraps of paper that get lost. Having it all together will make things much easier to accomplish!

Swatch pages|Designers Sweet Spot|

Adding swatches to the book is a great way to know what you have in your fabric stash. I plan to take this book shopping with me when looking for fabrics, that way I know what I have and can match colors/prints without guessing.

I am terrible at guessing!

Quilt Planner Magazine|Designers Sweet Spot|

The free Quilter’s Planner magazine comes with the planner and has lots of great projects. If you are a beginning quilter, there are small projects too that will get you inspired to do more. I love mixing small projects and large ones during the year.

Here’s how you can maximize your creative productivity during the year.

5 Ways to Increase Your Creative Productivity

  1. Plan your projects for the entire year at one time. This keeps you from getting off track of your goal and will allow you to get more done. It will also save you money!
  2. Keep sketches and swatches in the calendar book. Most of the time we don’t get things done because we forget what we were doing or can’t find our notes. Keeping it all together will make a world of difference!
  3. Spread out large projects.  I plan one large project (such as a queen size quilt) over a two month time frame. Sometimes I can plan one a month, but I get frustrated if I don’t get it done in time. It’s better to plan extra time to finish it, then you can add an additional project if it’s completed before your deadline. My goal this year is to sew 6 quilts, one every two months.
  4. Alternate large project with small ones. Small projects that are easy to accomplish are great for a sewing on a single weekend or making for gifts. I plan these projects in-between the large ones to give myself a mental break. This is especially important when a large project takes longer than I had anticipated to finish. It keeps me motivated and makes me feel good to accomplish something.
  5. Plan your gift giving early in the year. Making gifts to give is a wonderful thing. However, starting them two weeks before the event is very stressful and can make you miserable. Plan your gifts ahead with a set budget and time frame so it doesn’t become an overwhelming task.

Thanks to the Quilter’s Planner for sponsoring this post!

Order your Quilter’s Planner here through my affiliate link. Start planning today!


Don’t forget to Pin this post!

Be sure to check out these other creative ideas:

7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner

How to Make Budget Curtains for Any Room

How to Make a Dresden Plate Pillow

Sew Yourself a Stunning Japanese Knot Bag

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner

This cute little doll clothes project is quick to make with scraps from your fabric stash. If you have a young one who wants to learn to sew, this would be a great project for them! This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own.

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner|Designers Sweet Spot|
Pin this post!

Doll Clothes Garland

There is something so charming about a doll clothes banner/garland, especially one that mimics everyday life. This doll clothes project is quick to machine sew, or even stitch by hand. The winter shirts and trousers look like they came from vintage Grandpa’s closet. We don’t actually have any dolls at our house, because our family is all boys. However, I am sure these tiny garments would fit any Barbie  or Ken doll quite well.

Thanks to Hoffman Fabrics of California for supplying the adorable Christmas Tree print and black and white stripe fabrics. You can see more of their holiday fabric collection here.

These scraps of fabric came from a couple of my recent projects but you could also cut up old clothes for this project.  If you want to see more of how the original projects turned out, take a look at the Ragged Baby Quilt and Men’s Hoodie Pajamas.  They turned out pretty nice!

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner|Designers Sweet Spot|

For this project you will need:

Doll Clothes Garland Supplies

  1. 1/4 yard of red and black check fabric
  2. 1/4 yard of Christmas tree fabric
  3. 1/4 yard of black pin stripe fabric.
  4. 1 yard or more of twine
  5. Miniature clothes pins
  6. McCalls pattern #6051

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner|Designers Sweet Spot|
This deer head shirt was made by cutting up print fabric and sewing it on with a zig zag stitch.

This project was a bit of a mash up with the different fabrics. I started with the basic top and bottom pieces in the red/black print, then cut strips of the same fabric to decorate the other pieces as a contrast. I had fun appliquéing the little trees on the top and pants as patches with a simple zig zag stitch. Alternatively, you could use fusible interfacing to glue them in place instead of sewing. The fabric strips on the cuffs were zig zagged on top of the raw edges to give them a charming homespun look. Nothing was hemmed, I prefer the raw edges.

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner|Designers Sweet Spot|


  1. Cut out banner pattern pieces. You will need three tops (one of each print), and two pants to coordinate with the top pieces.
  2. Cut out tree shaped as an oval from printed tree fabric, zig zag stitch on to knees of black and red print pants.  Cut one tree out and attach to front of red and black print shirt with zig zag.
  3. Cut six 1″ wide x 3″ long small strips of red and black fabric for cuffs. Sew on to tree print shirt. Sew remaining pieces on to the bottom of the black stripe pants.
  4. Make an oval shape out the head of one reindeer and sew it onto the red and back print shirt with zigzag stitching.
  5. Stitch the black and print collar on to the reindeer shirt.
  6. Sew the side seams together of each shirt with right sides together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Clip the underarm area so you can turn them right side out. Press lightly.
  7. Stitch the top seam of the pants by turning under 1/4″ on the top edge.
  8. Sew the crotch seam of the pants together (it looks like a side seam) matching wrong sides together, using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Finish by sewing the leg seam together, then turn right side out. Clip the crotch area if needed to get pants to lay flat.
  9. Cut a piece of twine 40″ long.
  10. Hang the doll clothes onto the twine with mini clothes pins.

I think this garland would be adorable in a child’s room, or even on a fireplace mantle. Christmas lights add to the festive look!

DIY Holiday Doll Clothes Banner|Designers Sweet Spot|


If you love this post, don’t for get to Pin it!

Here are some more Holiday ideas:

12 Easy DIY Christmas Stockings

7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects

How to Hem Jeans

Simple Pillow Tutorial

Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas

Some families have a tradition of wearing matching pajamas for Christmas Eve. This pattern is great for making easy memorable pajamas! This is a sponsored post. Any opinions given are completely my own.

Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|
Men’s Hood Pattern, makes great pajamas!

Men’s Hoodie Pattern

I loved this pattern the moment I saw it. Our adult children are way past the age of wearing matching pajamas, but this pattern seemed like it would work for all of them. It’s technically not for pajamas, but the casual style and trendy hoodie is something that they all love.

The pattern calls for knit and woven fabric which is rather unusual. The front of the shirt, the placket, pockets and front pieces are all woven material. The sleeves, back and hood are a cotton knit. Soft woven cottons and jersey knits make great sleeping attire and I love them together in this pajama set. I haven’t made the pants yet, more on that soon!

Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|
Woven holiday fabrics from Hoffman Fabrics of California

Hoffman Holiday Fabric Collection

This Near and Deer holiday fabric collection from Hoffman Fabrics is perfect for guys. It’s not too cutesy, or outrageously colored. It even has manly deer and stripes. Our son was thrilled with my fabric choices for this project. You can’t go wrong with classic black and white!

Sew Fabulous Mens Holiday Pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|
Laying out the pajama top with 2″ added for the length.

Sewing Pattern Adjustments

The cotton fabric is 44″ wide, but since the only woven pieces are in the front cutting the narrow width wasn’t hard. I added 2″ to the length at the waist for this McCalls M747 pattern. My system is to cut the pattern apart and measure the gap for the amount needed. The pattern seemed to fit well overall and was very straight forward to sew as per the manufacturer’s directions.

The placket and pockets were designed to be cut on the bias for the plaid fabric in the pattern photograph. I changed and cut them on the straight grain for this project. The only reason to cut them on the bias is to not worry about matching the plaid, and since I wasn’t using plaid there was no reason to cut them on the bias. I made the front placket and pockets out of the same deer print fabric.

Sew Mens Hoodie pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|

Sewing with this high quality cotton is easy, it does’t stretch or shrink as you work with it. I always look for the highest quality goods, and prewash them before cutting.  This fabric is amazing, it was easy to work with.

The deal was that I wasn’t supposed to show our son’s face on the internet. He’s rather shy. I sorta lied about that. He’s so cute, why not show it? You won’t tell will you? SHHHHH!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

Sew Mens Hoodie Pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|


Our son was kind enough to model his new pajama top for this post. Now to make some more of them for the other family members!

Thank you to Hoffman Fabrics for sponsoring this post!

Sew Mens Hoodie Pajamas|Designers Sweet Spot|

If you enjoyed this post, try some of these other sewing posts:

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Sewing a Fleece Robe

Sewing with Lace

Sewing a Cowl Blouse

Sewing with Peach Skin


Sew Along Masterclass Poll, Help Find the Dream!

Planning this Sew Along Masterclass for next year. Now is your chance to give me your opinion on what you want to learn and  help me find the dream!

Sew Along Masterclass Poll|Designers Sweet Spot|
Coming in 2018, the Sew Along Masterclass!

2018 Sew Along Masterclass

I have been working behind the scenes for several months planning my blog content for the next year. It’s been a whirlwind battle, one that I have finally won and mastered.

It hasn’t been an easy journey.

At first I wasn’t even sure I would be blogging next year. Growth on the blog has been slow and I am frustrated with the way things have been going the last couple of years. The millions of followers that I expected to have when I began blogging 8 years ago just aren’t there despite the considerable time and effort that I put into this business.

I even started looking for full time apparel design jobs, which I haven’t done since 1994.

There were even full time job interviews. Several of them. However, in the long run I decided that I just can’t go back to working for a large corporation just yet.

Finishing the Blogging Dream

It’s hard to give up on a dream. This blogging dream isn’t finished yet. When I started this blog so long ago I always had the thought that I would go back to my fashion design roots at some point and become a fashion blogger. At the time I began writing in 2009, it seemed like growing my following through home decor would be the hard part, and becoming a fashion blogger at some point in the future would be an easier thing to do once I was established. Fashion is something I understand.

Now is the time to see where this dream goes, this blog journey is beginning anew. As a lifestyle branded blog, Designers Sweet Spot has the potential to not only be a home decor brand, but also fashion brand as well. A few months ago, I launched a new pattern shop called Chambray This domain is where you can purchase my original sewing patterns, sewing supplies, fabric and video sewing tutorials (coming soon!). See the Link in side bar and in header of this page or click on the link below:


Sew Along Master Class Insights

My sewing posts are some of my most read content. Thousands of page views over the last 8 years have proven this content to be valuable and what people really want to learn. I am excited to offer an entire 12 months of Sew Along Tutorials and accompanying patterns in 2018.

But, I need your help. This is a huge year long commitment for me. I need to know if this is what YOU the reader REALLY want to learn about here on the blog. You will have the option of sewing one project, several projects, or all of the projects as you choose during the 2018 year.

Sew Along Masterclass|Designers Sweet Spot|

The 12 Month Sew Along Masterclass will Include:

  1. Funnel Neck Knit Sweat Shirt
  2. Knit Fit and Flare Tunic with Variegated Hem
  3. Unisex Sleepwear Flannel Pajama pants
  4. Spring Floral Sack Dress
  5. Little Black Party Dress
  6. Loosely Flowing Caftan
  7. Men’s Boxer Shorts
  8. Home Decor Rag Baby Quilt
  9. Home Decor Duvet Cover
  10. Home Decor Pillow Shams
  11. Japanese Knot Bag
  12. Unisex Fleece Robe

These 12 projects have been selected for their simple design and require only basic sewing skills. You will learn step by step how to choose fabrics and supplies, print and assemble the patterns, alter patterns to fit your body type, properly layout/cut each item, and sew each one like a BOSS.

Could you take a few minutes to complete this short survey and give me your opinion? It will take less than 5 minutes of your time.


Thank you for your support!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

Sew Along Masterclass|Designers Sweet Spot|
Give me your opinion on this Sew Along Masterclass!

If you enjoy creative projects, try some of these other ideas:

How to Craft Seriously Cute Denim Quilted Coasters

How to Hem Jeans

Simple Pillow Tutorial

Sewing with Peach Skin

Sewing a Cowl Blouse

7 Easy Beginner Sewing Projects





How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown

Make a Fleece Lounging Gown to slip into after a long day at work or relax after a hectic day with the family. This gown is a great project for beginner seamstresses! This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small commission from your purchase at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|
Successful sewing comes from knowing what to make!

This fleece fabric caught my eye at the fabric store recently. Loved the soft color pallet!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|
Fleece fabric is easy to cut and sew.


Fleece Lounging is King

Making anything with fleece is always a good idea. Fleece is inexpensive, easy to sew and comes in tons of great patterns and colors. Fleece is also stretchy and very forgiving for new sewers who aren’t exactly sure of them selves. This project is easy to whip up in a single afternoon without a lot of fuss.

It’s been a while since I have sewn much for myself. However, I have stocked up on fabric and patterns for a major sewing project in the future! More to come on that soon!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|

This pattern is Mc Calls 7061.(affiliate link)

I am sure I will be making several more of these lounging gowns, perhaps even a couple of them for holiday gifts.

Speaking of gifts, check out my pattern shop for more handmade gift ideas here.

The robe features a hood and a “kangaroo” style pocket which I love for keeping my cell phone close by. You could also make some booties or leggings to keep your feet and legs warm (they are included in this pattern). The modesty of this piece was one of the things that attracted me to it. Love the coverage in this garment! It feels cozy enough that I could run to the grocery store or chat with family members without having to worry about being too “exposed”.

Sewing with fleece is easy to use because you don’t have to finish the seams. The seams will never unravel, even with repeated washing. Also, they have improved the overall quality of the fleece so much that it rarely pills with wear. I always purchase the “pill proof” version of the fabric which costs a little bit more. But, the regular fleece is greatly improved as well and I have never had many problems with it. Alternatively, you could use a ponte knit, french terry or a heavier weight knit jersey for this project.

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|

Since I didn’t quite have enough fabric, I added a center back seam. You can barely even tell it’s there with the printed fabric.

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|

Sewing Pattern Adjustments

For this pattern, I didn’t need to change anything in the sewing directions. The instructions were easy to follow and it went together quickly. The sizing is good and quite generous, so the only alteration I had to make was in the length. Overall I added a total of 2″ to the lenth of the gown (I prefer knee length) and could have added even a bit more. True knee length for me would require an addition of 3-4″. Most of the time I sew patterns more than once before I am content with the way they turn out and I plan to make another gown like this in french terry with the additional length adjustment.

Fleece doesn’t shrink in the laundry so that is another plus. I didn’t have to prewash the fabric before cutting, which I usually do. As a general rule, always prewash your fabrics for the best results before cutting.

The fabric store was short on the grey printed fleece, so I used solid grey fleece on the hood and sleeves. I like the contrast of the two fabrics, sometimes unexpected obstacles create the best results!

You can find similar grey patterned fabric here on my Amazon affiliate link.

You can find solid grey fleece fabric here on my Amazon affiliate link.

Sewing Technique and Tips

Honestly, I just used a regular straight stitch for this garment. The fleece is a bit thicker than most fabrics so you may need to use a walking foot or increase your stitch length to keep it flowing smoothly through your sewing machine. The stitch length I used was 3.5, a bit longer then my usual 2.5 for this garment. No special thread or needles are required so it’s a breeze to sew! Love how it turned out!

Don’t forget to Pin this post!

How to Make a Fleece Lounging Gown|Designers Sweet Spot|
Great project for holiday gifts!

If you like this project, try some of these other ideas:

Sewing a Fleece Robe

How to Sew a Satin Robe

Sewing with Lace

Sewing with Lace: Part 2

How to Hem Jeans