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How Do You Store & Organize Your Sewing Patterns?

I am thinking about using a filing cabinet I have and zip lock bags for each pattern. Anyone have any tips or ideas... I have to get this dealt with. GAH! I have them laying loose inside desk drawers and it's not working out. The problem I see with a filing cabinet is that it may be too wide and the bulk will end up making the hanging folders become twisted. I was thinking of baskets of a similar width instead but I don't really have a home for them either...

Do you organize them according to pattern type? i.e. kids clothes, womens clothes, mens clothes, home dec, etc? Or by size?

My mother-in-law used to make copies of any patterns she used more than once, out of broadcloth. She had a specific color for each size. (She made kids clothing for a living) She kept all of her patterns in a dresser and each drawer was dedicated to a certain size - I think. I can't recall exactly!

I don't have a spare dresser or the space to keep one - otherwise I would do this.

H.E.L.P. lol

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Comment by Karen Horton on November 4, 2010 at 12:46pm
I like some of your readers,store my downloaded patterns and self made patterns in page protectors and store them in a 3 ring purchased patterns are in pattern boxes.I loved hearing other ideas on storing patterns. the way I do it is about as orginized as I get.
Comment by Gloria Allender on November 2, 2010 at 1:47pm
I store the envelope only in page protectors, in a binder filed according to type of garment. I store the actual pattern pieces in manila envelopes in a couple cardboard file boxes. I file the envelopes by pattern company, then numerically. I love being able to sit on the couch and browse my pattern books and plan the next garment.
Comment by Denise Dickson on November 1, 2010 at 10:54pm
I put the envelope only in page protectors and put them in a binder (actually 2 now) filed according to type of garment. I never cut my patterns to the size - I maintain all the sizes. I put the pattern pieces and instructions in quart size zip lock bags and file them in file drawers alphabetically by company, then numerically. It's easier to flip through the pages and I can find the pattern quickly once I decide on one. When I use a pattern, I staple a piece of the fabric to an index card, note the size I made and any comments for later such as I like the fit, or sleeves were too short. I put the index card in the sleeve protector with the envelope so when I look at the pattern I have the comments from previous construction handy.
Comment by Linda Alsbury on November 1, 2010 at 12:38pm
I file mine in a filing cabinet in hanging file folders according to age/type of pattern. I have two file drawers. One for adults and crafts, and one for children. It works pretty well. I use two three drawer filing cabinets with a flat surface on the top as my sewing table. I have another plastic two drawer container with large drawers to store fabric/projects I am working on under the table. This set up leaves me enough room to sit comfortably and sew and have patterns and fabrics at hand.
Comment by Mary Ellen Edwards on October 30, 2010 at 11:11pm
One habit I learned from my mother was to label the pattern with who it was made for, the size, the date, a small sample or the fabric pinned or taped to the envelope, a tidbit of information like "made while snowed in at New Year's and the date. I just always did it because she did it. Now when I pull out an old stand-by pattern I treasure her notes and it seems like she is once again sewing with me. It is a very nice, treasured, little memory. I don't have an answer that no one else has suggested. I love the zip-loc bags for my e-patterns or quilt instructions, but I keep many of my store bought patterns in their envelopes in the stack-able Sterlite boxes. For the patterns for my classes I store them in the expandable file folders because there is room for more than one copy and a sample too. Those are stored in an entirely different space: my "work" sewing separate from my "pleasure" sewing.
Comment by Nancy Fletcher-Skeete on October 30, 2010 at 10:46pm
I organize my commercial patterns in clear plastic shoe boxes on a book shelf. Hand made patterns stored in oak tag along with the slopers. Down loaded patterns kept in over sized zip lock bags.
Comment by Colleen on October 30, 2010 at 10:06pm
I keep my extensive pattern collection in Under the Bed Boxes. I have three boxes. One for clothing patterns. One for totes, purses etc. and a third for everything else. This works real well for me, just don't tell my husband what he he sleeping over the top of!
Comment by Kellie on October 30, 2010 at 8:28pm
I have soo many patterns. some are e-patterns that I have on my computer and when I print them out, I keep the pattern pieces in a manila envelope. The regular patterns I usually keep a ziplock bag around them once they are cut and keep them in several baskets. I am not real organized either. Like I tell my husband, when I am on a project, my fabric and notions seems to explode around me. Add 3 small pairs of grabby little hands, and well, it looks like the local fabric store got ransacked in my living room!!! Eventually I will be organized again!
Comment by Laura Arlington on October 30, 2010 at 3:19pm
I store my patterns in containers purchased at Walmart. They hold the patterns perfectly. I sort my by Children's/Toddler/Baby; Women's' Crafts: Men's; and Unisex. I also have a spreadsheet for each pattern company and list the patterns by number and have columns depicting type of pattern, ie: Sportswear; Outerwear; dresses; pants/skirts; tops/blouses/ get the idea. This works out very well for me. I peruse the spreadsheet when I plan on making pattern purchases @ Joann's when they are on sale. I search online at each of the pattern companies when I want to buy patterns and make a list. I compare the list to my spreadsheet so I do not purchase duplicates. I currently have six of the containers that hold file sized folders they are approximately 12 in wide by 10 in High, they snap on the sides and have a carrying handle.
Hope this helps. Laura
Comment by Carol M Womick on October 30, 2010 at 2:21pm
I wonder if you take a one-h***-punch and use a hanger or come up with some kind of dowel arrangement to hang up patterns...? I use a Ziploc, too, because I never cut out patterns...I trace almost everything and since I have 3 girls, the different sizes are labeled and put in a sandwich bag of their own and labeled as to size, and then added to the big gallon size Ziploc.

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