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Topic: how do you organize/ keep patterns?  (Read 7620 times)
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012 12:33:21 PM »

Honestly nowadays I buy most of my patterns in PDF format, so I'm not too good at keeping up with the paper copies. Being able to reprint them whenever I want makes me less cautious.

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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012 08:38:15 AM »

I have collected patterns for about 40 years.  Nearly 30 years ago I realized I needed a method to keep track of them.  I found an idea in some organization book that I'd love to give credit to but I can't remember which one it was.

Here are the tools you need:
One or more binders.
Tab dividers for the binders.
Either 8 1/2 x 11 binder or (printer paper and a hole punch).
One or more packages of lunch size paper bags.
Marker or pen of your preference.
Glue (I find the colored Glue Stick that dries clear to be helpful).
Tape (Optional).

Step 1: Most of the popular brand patterns will fit in a lunch size paper bag (sometimes with a little extra folding).
Pull your pattern and instructions out of the original envelope.  Keep your paper bag flat, you might want to tape the bottom down so it stays flat like an envelope.  Slide your pattern and instructions into your paper bag envelope.  Fold the top over.  I consider the side with the fold flap on it the back side.

Step 2: How you mark on the paper bag envelope is up to you.  What I do is put the brand name (ex: Butterick) in the top left hand corner.  Under that I put the size or size range of the pattern (ex: xs, s, m, lg)  under the brand name.  One the top right hand side I put the pattern number (ex: 6922)

When I purchase a bunch of patterns I will put a stack of them in the paper bag envelopes before creating my own personal pattern catalog.  

Step 3: I put my lunch bag envelopes in medium size packing boxes, three in a row standing upright so I can read the brand name and pattern number.  I also have some lunch bag envelopes on a book shelf filed sideways so I can still easily see the brand name and pattern number with a slight move of my hand.  I have them filed first by alphabet, so Butterick is before Burda and McCall's is next, etc.  Then within the Butterick grouping they are in numerical order.

Step 4:  Creating a personal pattern catalog:  I put my paper in a binder.  I choose to use the full 8 1/2 x 11 size because it fits the standard brand pattern envelopes the best.  

Step 5:  Take one of the store pattern envelopes and cut it open on both sides, then cut the front from the back.  Take the binder and open it with the paper sideways.  Trim the front of the pattern envelope to fit on the paper with the brand name, pattern number and size still showing.  I glue this on the left side of the paper.  Next trim the back of the pattern envelope to fit on the right side of the paper.  Glue it down also.  If you are new to sewing and your pattern has the sizing information on the tab, you might want to find a place to glue it to the left side.  Remember if a pattern is too big, like Vogue, you can fold it and glue only half down so it will open up for you to view all the information.

Step 6: When you are finished with gluing your store patterns envelopes to your binder paper, sort them into categories of your liking; such as: tops, pants, vests, skirts, dresses, accessories, costumes, babies and crafts.  I do not sort my tops according to brand name but according to sizes, starting with the smallest to the largest size.  

Step 6 a:  I don't want to confuse anyone but when I started sewing for three adult women instead of one, I decided to put my ladies patterns according to the groupings of sizes with dividers between the size groups (ex: Size 6-8-10-12-14 and 14-16-18-20-22).  This is your personal pattern catalog, sort it according to what will be the most usable to you.

Step 7:  If you have more than one binder of your personal pattern catalog, you may want to number them or label them according to the categories they hold. I have one binder that is only for baby items.

This is my very first post here so I'm not yet allowed to post photos to it... it's the spam bot protection rule. We have to wait until I've made ten posts before I can add photos, sorry.  Feel free to ask questions about anything that might not be clear.


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain."
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012 07:13:52 AM »

I use large manilla envelopes and plastic file boxes.  I glue the pattern envelope or a picture of the completed pattern to the front of the envelope.  I have one box for stuffies, one for quilt patterns, one for home furnishing stuff, and three or four for clothing.  I pop all the pieces, templates, and instructions into the envelopes and file them.

« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012 08:36:22 PM »

I put mine in poly pockets and keep then in a lever arch file. It does get bulky, but nothing drops out if I keep the file upright.

For patterns I make myself, I use Antidigger's approach. For patterns I have bought, shoeboxes.
For Burda magazines, I photocopied all the index pages and filed them (pre-children!). huge bit of work, but easier than browsing through all the magazines.
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2012 07:20:39 AM »

Thanks for all the replies!! I think I am going to make some sort of hybrid binder/ folio method.. now I need a trip to the dollar store.  ^_^

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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2012 06:31:08 PM »

I put what I can back into the envelope they come in, and then put the entire pattern into a plastic ziplock freezer bag so that I can see the original envelope so i know which ones which. As far as where I keep them I just have them on a shelf kind of like books haha. I have been thinking about getting a big box with dividers for them because mine keep falling over and knocking down some glass bottles I have. (Thank god they haven't broken)

Anyway yeah plastic freezer bags work for me. That way everything stays together

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« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2012 06:17:41 PM »

I used manilla envelopes when I used to make dolls.  The advantage over plastic is that you can make notes on the envelope--a sketch of the items enclosed, when you used it, any ideas you have for future changes.

I like to keep notes with my clothing patterns, too, like "11/2011 black swirly fabric" so I know definitely what I'm going to get from it.  Of course, then I wad the pattern up and stuff it anyhow into a bag or envelope, and shove it in my pattern drawer...  I got no respect.

Just how many patterns do y'all have anyway?  How many do you actually use???

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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2012 10:09:41 AM »

What a lot of good ideas here. I use the gallon sized ziplock freezer back in the big plastic tote box myself. It works OK.

MOst important thing for me, and I'm always sorry when I don't do these two things

1) Throw in a scrap or two of the fabric I've used to make the pattern. A lot of times I don't recognize the pattern I used 3 years ago (or even 6 months ago) until I see that scrap
2) Toss in the piece of note paper with remarks about what I"m going to change next time, like the alterations.

3) Note - I love tracing patterns on medical supply paper. Am really glad I've switched over to doing that and keeping the original pattern just for re-tracing.

Also, if it fits in, I store all or part of the muslin in the zip lock bag. I often hunt for those muslins later on.


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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2012 11:21:10 AM »

All good suggestions so far. My method is to steal the big 2"-2.5" wide D-ring binders from work (we have a lot Grin), and I bought some coverstock paper (a pack was about $15, however I've also been using this paper for papercrafting projects so it was worth it for me), and a pack of plastic paper protectors (I think a pack of 100 of them cost me about $8). I put a piece of cardstock in the protector, write whatever notes I need on it, then take commercial patterns out of the envelope, and put the envelope in the front side of the protector, and all the pattern pieces in the back. Sometimes I do need an extra protector for patterns with a lot of pieces, but since the stock of recycled binders is unending at my office, I can always grab more and take them home.

For the smaller actual pattern pieces, I find they last longer if I attach some fusible woven interfacing to the back of them. They won't rip, but they're still flexible and I can stick pins through them. Actually makes it easier to place and trace.
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2012 01:11:21 PM »

I keep a data base on line that I use to look up on my smart phone when I shop. The patterns themselves I don't cut into, I trace off the size I need on very cheap tracing paper. The traced off versions I keep in large clasp envelopes with the name of the pattern on them. The store bought patterns and instructions get ironed and put back in the envelope it came in and stored in file boxes.

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