Pattern Storage Ideas and Tips

Pattern Storage

 

Pattern Storage

Pattern Storage, these are two little words that should roll off my tongue with ease.  I mean, let’s face it, as stitcher with a pile of patterns hidden in her stash, I should have this down pat.  But to be fair, personal pattern storage has always been a challenge for me.

Once I unfold those commercial tissue paper patterns, I can never (no matter how hard I tried) get them back into that small envelope.  That’s right, I would fold them, refold them and try to stuff them into the original envelope and it would almost always end with in a ripped mess.

Over the years I have used several different methods and since these days patterns are made in different forms, I thought it would be fun to explore a few options.

Pattern Storage Round Up on thesewingloftblog.com

Clockwise from the top left hand corner:

Personally, I store my patterns in clear plastic poly envelopes.  They have a snap closure and fit perfectly in my drawers.  The bonus for me is that I do not have to worry about folding everything super neat and small.  Instead, I can loosely fold them to fit, label the outside and know that they are safe and sound.  Sometimes, I even put a picture of the finished garment on the outside and a swatch for a quick reference.  The envelopes are super inexpensive (around $1.00 each), come in an array of colors and can be found at any office supply store or big box chain store.

Easy Pattern Storage via thesewingloftblog.com

Whenever possible, I keep all versions of a style together.  For instance, I made this knit skirt in a several lengths and a variety of waistbands.  By keeping them together in one envelope, I can change up my design on the fly while shopping.  This eliminates the guess work.

Since I know that you have a secret pile of patterns in your stash, I would love to hear how you handle your pattern storage!

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Craftsy

Comments

  1. I also had trouble getting patterns back in the envelope. Then i started folding them and then ironing on each fold till i got it small enough to fit the envelope! It was a duh momnet for me :). I have a 4 drawer filing cabinet i put mine in. But have run out of room in that too. I just discovered my husband has a pattern cabinet (in his garage, need to go in there more i guess) like the ones in the store and he was going to throw it out (gasp!) So now i’m trying to talk him into dragging it in the house so i can get it cleaned up (repaint in the spring). :)

    • Funny Gina, I never thought about ironing them. I guess that’s a duh moment for me. Love that you are reclaiming an old pattern drawer. It sounds like you have a big stash!
      Thanks so much for sharing!
      ~Heather

  2. I do put the p-atterns in a plastic bag with closure with the name onit i.e. blouse sirt or pant
    in a plastic box

  3. I’ve always just refolded my way so they fit back in the envelope and the envelopes are kept in a paper box recycled from the office.

    I just have to say that I haven’t seen that girl’s dress pattern in your first pic since my mom made those dresses for my sister and I when we were kids. I think our whole wardrobe consisted of those dresses and smocks in every color/fabric my mom loved. We knew better than to object, if you know what I mean, lol.

  4. Erin Marie says:

    A friend irons her pattern pieces, and I thought it was silly. Then, secretly, I tried it myself. I do it all the time now.

    The “Big 4″ patterns, I tear the pattern envelope in half and paste each side to a sheet of cardstock and stick in a sheet protector. The pattern envelope/cards are organized by type (kids, womens, etc.) in a binder. The pattern itself, including instructions, are put in a sandwich ziploc bag, and sorted by number in a plastic bin.

    I have only recently gotten patterns other than the Big 4, so I haven’t decided how that’s going to work out. I hope I can incorporate them into my current system because I love it.

  5. I have over 800 patterns and growing! I just can’t pass by a thrift shop or garage sale without rummaging for more vintage patterns….

    I have the patterns stored in Ikea drawers – the Aneboda range is exactly the right size to stand the patterns upright. I have also scanned each cover and saved in files according to type so I can find a pattern without physically going through the patterns. Works perfect for me and they sit under my cutting table so it doesn’t take up too much space

  6. I have over 200 patterns and had them stored every which way but loose. I ended up buyone one of those see through plastic drawer storage bins and have transfered them all to these. Each drawer holds about 50 to 75 patterns, depending on the thickness of the pattern package, and when the patterns can’t fit into the package, I get those minalla envelopes, past the picture of what is inside on the front of the envelope and put the pattern in there. I will be making pictures of each pattern and making a size feasable folder of each pattern in plastic binders so they can be changed if necessary, just so I can find what I am looking for easier, something like they have in the fabric stores, only in a much smaller form. Keeping the folder in the first drawer. I don’t know if this will work yet as this is just a thought in my mind. Anyone find any flaws in this, please let me know. Just looking for a faster way of finding a pattern besides going through each one, one by one. Take care

  7. I have THREE, ONLY THREE plastic shoe boxes that I keep my patterns in. When I cannot fit one more in, I must purge the patterns that I have no need for. It works to keep me from having millions!

  8. I use the file folder method you pictured. I’m not sure where I got the idea but I’ve been doing it since before I surfed the web, lol! Now my 21 year old daughter does it that way and her teachers in her professional sewing classes thought it was brilliant. :)

  9. I photocopied the front and back of each pattern onto both sides of white copy paper. Then I put them in a ring binder according to what the pattern is for…blouses, slacks, pajamas etc. The original patterns are filed in a clear plastic box in numerical order, regardless of the manufacturer. Now I can peruse my patterns like a pattern book and determine what supplies I need without pulling out the pattern until I actually need it. And I can find the pattern easily by it’s number.
    I also purge my patterns so I don’t have hundreds like some people because honestly, I’m never going to be a size 8 again!

  10. I found these 1/2 size hanging file storage boxes to be about the same size as the Dritz “Pattern Boxes” (although not as cute, they are plain white or kraft brown), but they are about 1/2 the price of the Dritz boxes. I got 6 in a package for about $12 at Office Max http://www.officemax.com/office-furniture/storage/file-storage-boxes/product-prod2840005

  11. Miss Pat says:

    I am a costumer for community theatre and also have found myself the recipient of patterns from friends who garage sale and Goodwill shop. I now have over 2000 patterns and store them in letter-size banker boxes from Staples. They are separated by time-period, mostly, but I usually have to search for the exact pattern that I just know I have! Over the years I have learned to fold carefully, pushing all the air out of the folds, and about 80% of the time, the patterns fit back in the envelope. Also, cutting away all of the extra tissue paper around the pieces helps. Tip for anyone who is beginning costuming, buy all sizes of a costume pattern when they are on sale for $.99. You will need it later if you don’t need it now. More than once I have ignored a pattern only to need it the next year. Yes, I can improvise, but when you are costuming a show with 50+ actors, not having to build a pattern before you cut it out saves a lot of time.

  12. I put mine in gallon size freezer (because they are thicker) double zipper baggies. I make sure the picture on the front of the envelope is visible on one side and I write just the number of the pattern is written in the box on the other. I have them in a large plastic tub, separated by costume, regular wear, and craft. I don’t organize by maker, just by number and male or female. For the costume patterns I have it further divided with the female patterns into one piece dresses and top/bottom combos.

    • My Grandmother was lucky enough to work at Peace Goods just before they went under & got her hands on a full sized pattern cabinet! When my Mom got ahold of it, she would store the original pattern envelopes, back to back, in sheet protectors nested in 2″ binders. Each pattern was labeled 001,002 etc. and the matching pattern set was filed in a plain pattern sized envelope in the cabinet. She had almost 300 patterns, it was easier for her clients to flip through these binders because they were similar to the table catalogs found in stores.

      I’m also a stitcher & currently store pattern sets in 10″ x 13″ envelopes & organize them by project name with the newer updated pattern sets in front. There is a huge 3 drawer pattern cabinet (40″T x 36″ x 18″D) that fit’s at least a year’s worth of drafting iterations!

  13. Mary Higbee says:

    This is what I’m trying with over 300 patterns.
    From the dollar store, I buy pint, quart and gallon size freezer bags.
    Using a hole punch or large needle, I punch several holes in each bag, (this will help the bags deflate when stacked together).
    Write the size of each pattern pieces on individual bags, cut the pattern pieces out. Next, fold pattern pieces by size, put in individual marked pint or quart freezer bags. Put the bags, pattern envelope, and instruction sheets pages in the gallon bag.
    I have a list of these patterns in my computer and a print out, in numerical order, (by) pattern company, size,style, (dress, coat, bag, home decoration, woman’s, child,
    They are stored on a stack of bins with rollers on the bottom one.

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