chit-chat · sewing

{ LET’S TALK } Patterns…

Carolyns recent post got me thinking. There are times I feel guilty about purchasing so many patterns especially when a haul of 8 arrive at one time but the feeling of guilt never really lasts too long because I always buy on sale. Also, & this is a big { ALSO }, it’s my hobby. I love looking at the pattern envelopes filled with opportunity. The drawings & construction details (on some!) are inspiring & get my mind going about all sorts of things.

Some of us buy patterns only when we need but Im the type of person that purchases patterns as soon as I see them because Ive learned that if you leave it too long, the pattern eventually goes OOP which is a real pain in the ass when you get your shit together & decide its now time to sew that particular garment. Believe me, Ive learnt from experience & Ive paid silly money to purchase OOP via etsy & the likes!  Another huge consideration, which is similar to the chicken vs. egg scenario, is what comes first…the fabric or the pattern? For me sometimes its the pattern, sometimes its the fabric & its another reason why I purchase patterns before I even know what I’ll be sewing it with…..& it also happens to be the same reason I buy fabric sometimes without knowing what its going to be. Its probably the reason why so many of us sewers have substantial stashes of both patterns & fabric!  Im quite passionate about ensuring the marriage of pattern & fabric is perfect. Sometimes I nail it, sometimes I don’t… { YOU KNOW }.

I think one of the biggest questions around the sewing community is :

{ How do you store your patterns? }

Quite honestly, I keep it as simple as possible.

I store my patterns in their original envelopes, pattern house by house, in numerical order! These are all stored in clear fully sealable bin containers that fit nicely under my work station one above the other. Each bin contains around 200 patterns & Im well into my second bin now. That includes Indie patterns that Ive printed & enveloped as well as BurdaStyle patterns etc. I realise that once my collection gets to the point of more than 2 bins, I’ll have to strategize on a new storage solution but for now, this works & I like to see them rather than have them in a wardrobe tucked away.  This is what they look like : pattern_storage1

The orange dots you see on the top right corner of some of these tells me Ive made something from that particular pattern already. When Im looking for something new to sew ie. something Ive not sewn before, its a quick & easy reference. Im a self-confessed Mini-Monk so I like to have everything in order…all.the.time! Im not judging  in any way but when I read that some of you battle to find pieces of patterns & whole patterns etc, I just cringe. Im looking at you Miss Dibs 🙂 As much as I love reading her stories about missing pattern pieces, Ive just got this mild OCD syndrome that doesn’t allow me to be untidy or have things out of place. Its not a gift I tell ya…Saying that though, Ive always cut my tissue, never traced….until recently 🙂

Ok, moving on…

On my shelves I have these timber crates that fit patterns perfectly. In here I keep anything that Im currently working on or a little queue of whats to come, ideas etc. I also bomb any new patterns in here until they’re either packed away or sorted…


Then…. there’s this :pattern_catalogue1

I catalogue my patterns digitally as well!!!

Now I know that may sound rather over the top { BUT } its helped with preserving the actual pattern in a huge way. I dont have to thumb through every pattern every time I want to look for something. I found handling the patterns all the time was ruining the envelopes. The flaps were tearing & getting crumpled…being the mini-Monk that I am, I just had to find an alternative way. So this works – I just go to my digital pattern catalogue & look through them from here. Its quicker & easier when Im low on time plus it really has minimized the damage to my patterns.

I photograph every pattern that hits my sewing room first & foremost. All the pics are uploaded to iphoto. I sync to my ipad which I have an app called Bento. From this app Im able to sort all these patterns into pattern house, number etc. That helps me to keep track of whether its a top, skirt, coat, jacket blah blah blah. Ive also started categorizing the amount of fabric needed. I know, its a little OTT 🙂 but its fun.

So thats pretty much it…

How do you store your patterns ? Do you have a system or do your patterns just roam wild? Id love to hear & feel free to leave a link to your storage solutions if you’ve blogged about them.

Hope your’e all having a great Saturday…. xAnge

10 thoughts on “{ LET’S TALK } Patterns…

  1. Great post, mini-Monk! 😉 I, too, collect patterns to get ideas and construction tips from them. If I need more space for my patterns, I’ll make it happen — why limit knowledge? Right now they’re all in one big grey bin, with the exception of my TNTs and patterns currently in use, which stay out on my cutting table.

    For organization, patterns in the bin are grouped by type: pants, coats, wardrobes, etc, and rubberbanded together. Within each group there’s no order, because it frankly never occurred to me. There’s also digital organization: I scan the front and back of all of my patterns into a 2-page PDF, and label the file with the garment type, any notes, the pattern number, and the designer or indie pattern company name:

    coat C1010 Lady Grey colette, shirt plus easy B5770, MADE M6083 TNT pants easy

    are all actual file names from the ‘Sewing Patterns’ folder on my computer’s hard drive. When I want to make a skirt, I search for ‘skirt’ in that folder, or ‘skirt AND plus’ if I’m not in the mood to grade a pattern. And when my computer is behaving, all the PDF files have thumbnails, so I can also scroll through and see what I have without ever having to open the bin.

    Yay for patterns!

  2. I am a bit ocd. I have a database on Evernote of all my patterns, tagged with what fabrics I can use them with. I also have my fabrics on there too so if I type in “Jersey” all the fabrics I have and patterns I can use them on pop up. Love that feature. I also have mine in sorted plastic tubs, sorted inside by type, and each pattern is in a zip loc sort of bag. 🙂 One can never have too many! And your stash looks great!

    1. Awesome! I’ve been working on a digital means of pattern and fabric storage. I have my iphone in my hand for EVERYthing else, why shouldn’t I use it when I’m out shopping? I use Evernote as well and I LOVE it. I do the exact same thing as Kristin. It is soooo handy. But I have not heard of the Bento app. I will need to look that up.

  3. My way is similar to yours. I got pretty photo boxes from Joanne’s and store the patterns in them separated by pattern house. But there is a separate shelf for manilla envelopes. I put them in the envelopes because I can never fit it all back into the original envelope. Plus I really like have multiple little 6 x 9 envelopes in each larger envelope with the different versions of my pattern pieces to help me determine if my next muslin is going in the right or wrong direction, there are extensive notes to myself on each 6 x 9 to tell me what I altered or did differently. In addition I evernote my list of patterns so I can digitally see what I have at any given time, and I also have a evernote note for wish list patterns so when there is a sale I know what to pick up.

  4. Great post. Didn’t realise what an OCD freak you were 🙂 seriously, very organised. When we move house I am going to think seriously about how to organise patterns. I don’t think I have as many as you? Currently in drawers. Like the timber crates as well.

    1. sadly…Im probably a little more OCD than I care to admit but I swear I dont lose sleep over it 🙂 I still cant believe you’re moving. again! good luck with that hun x

  5. Impressive organisation! I don’t (organise). I have tried a few methods, but it always drifts back to default mode, patterns piled into a box.

  6. I tried a spreadsheet keep up with my patterns in the beginning. To keep you from cringing, I will not share my current tracking system.

    Thanks for blogging. I think that this is a new to me blog.

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