Saturday, October 6, 2012

I know I have a pattern like that somewhere!

From old patterns to newly purchased ones, unless you have them organized, they often go unused. I draft many of my patterns and even they require a system!  I enjoy using Wild Ginger Software as well, and once I have a pattern printed, I need to file it for the future as too.  I use the same system on everything. FYI, I put my knitting patterns in a notebook just like they do at the yarn stores.

Keep it Simple! Many blogs and websites offer suggestions...
Find the one that suits your needs.

There are many organizing methods available.  I am a traditionalist when it comes to organizing many things.  I decided years ago, the method employed by the large pattern companies works best for me. All of us have been "trained" to use it.  How long ago was that for me? The pattern above tells the story as it is old, frayed, and thankfully preserved in a page protector with the front and back easily readable.  I know it is not fancy, but it is so quick and easy to do.  Simply stated:  use the numbers on the pattern.  If a pattern does not have a number, give it one.  The one below is 002.  And I use 6" x 9" white envelopes and put the patterns themselves in each envelope with the pattern number on the top right corner of the envelope.  Consider which direction you are storing the envelopes in before you start numbering.  My system is kept horizontally to accommodate the container that I keep on my shelf.  I actually fold the glue tab in prior to stuffing them as I simply slide in my patterns. You could use larger envelopes if it works better for you. I have a small template like I use in fabric folding for the patterns to keep them fitting nicely. Not surprised by that, right?

Patterns come in all different formats now. If it is a PDF (downloaded pattern), I print the pattern and store it in the same fashion and I recommend keeping a USB  with the back up files with the related book

 Some patterns are directions in themselves like the adorable Sweet Seat Pattern I made this past week, in which case, I slip it in the sleeve.  There is no number assigned because it is right there in the book.  Several patterns are simply a picture on one side with supplies and directions on the other side.  Keep things simple.

Organized Patterns what about
Adding Fabric Tags to your
Fabric bins?

Above is a Simplicity pattern that I cut up, re-taped and inserted in a sleeve, plus the envelope I made for it.  I added some additional description, but the pattern number is all that you really need. The envelope goes in the plastic container on my shelf.  The topics are ones I can relate to: Crafts, Women's Tops & Bottoms, Women's Dresses, Women's Jackets & Vests, Kids, etc.  I do sound like the catalogs in the stores.  However, I do not separate by pattern lines.

Note, not all notebooks are created equal. I use these fun binder label clips that slip onto the spine easily and a Brother label maker.

Steps in a nutshell: Find all your patterns!

Place pattern cover in sleeve or other photo of finished item sized or taped to paper, if needed.
Place pattern in white envelope and add the pattern number on top right corner.
Put envelopes in numerical order at the location you plan to store them in.
Create categories for the notebook and put the "filled sleeves" into the book and do not be concerned with numerical order in the book.

There are variations to the above on many blogs.  The important thing is to organize things so YOU can find them easily and that it is simple for YOU to keep up with.

Reminder Tip: If you are overwhelmed or short of time for the task of overhauling the sewing room, I recommend a professional organizer. I can't speak highly enough of Michelle Cooper of and the time she has saved me is priceless

Good news for ASG friends in Atlanta, Michelle will now be the guest speaker at the upcoming Common Threads meeting on October 20. Learn more about this meeting you shouldn't miss...

It is Saturday, take this upcoming week to organize your patterns.  It can be fun and you will be inspired to sew, but do not pull that pattern from your book until you are ready to sew it!  LOL! ~Cookie


Lori M. said...

I've been organizing my patterns in 3 ring binders and page protectors for years. I have different binders for different categories: baby - Christmas - tablerunners etc. It's the best system I've ever used and I love it.

Cookie Gaynor said...

Do you have any vintage pattern favorite? I love vintage style dresses and search for them when friends say they are getting rid of old patterns...

Lori M. said...

I don't do much vintage sewing at all. No one to give it to and it's the last thing I need to worry about having in my house. Let's just say life is smoother with the hubby if there isn't too much fussy stuff around. I prefer to sew items that can be used without special care or special holiday items.

Cookie Gaynor said...

Oh Lori, one must learn to hide the fussy stuff carefully, LOL. I think smaller projects are much more doable in todays hectic lifestyle. I do like your binder topic of Christmas/Holidays and will adopt it. Thank you!

Sew Quilt Embroider said...

I have pattern boxes from Joann's and Hancock Fabrics. They fit on my shelving in the closet. I sort by home dec in one box, garments in 2 others, and then several boxes of quilting patterns and lastly, projects. They are not organized by no. or anything inside each box. The boxes are not huge and it seems to work so far. Oh, another box is Halloween costume patterns and doll clothes patterns!