Pattern Organization: Day One

Hello Pattern Revolution Readers, today we are going to start a series on Organizing your PDF Patterns.  Today, we are going to start with a few easy ways to store the paper patterns, and then tomorrow we are going to start talking about digital storage and all the amazing resources out there to back up your files!!!  If you hae your own great ideas for file storage, please share them with us in the comments - we love sharing awesome new ideas.  I hope you all see that there is no right or wrong system, and they they don't even have to be cute and frilly - they just need to work for YOU!!!


Hi everyone, I'm Kari.  When I first started buying PDF patterns, oh about 5 weeks ago (seriously, was I living under a rock?!), I quickly had to come up with a way to organize my patterns.   So, as I purchased a pattern, I quickly print it out, stuck it in a folder and taped a label on it.  Fancy, huh?  Then, I would stick it in my filing cabinet.  

You can see my hanging file folders on the left.  On the right, I've pulled out just a few to  use as an example of how I label my envelopes.

Okay, confession time.  Buying, printing, sticking in an envelope and slapping a label on is easy and organized.... if you can keep up with it.  Unfortunately, with all the sales and awesomely cute patterns I've seen over the last 5 weeks, I've bought more than I was able to print.  So, I'm a bit behind in my organizational plan, but I am waiting for my ink to arrive (and money, seeing as how I've spent it all on fabric and patterns).  Until then, I will just have to have my envelopes patiently waiting.  

I did organize my computer files though.  I found, once I really started feeding my addiction acquiring patterns that it was hard to keep track of what pattern went to which designer.  So, I created folders for each designer.  Then, I choose the designer I need and save my pattern there.   It's such a time saver when I need to access the instructions!

My method of organizing my patterns isn't exactly a fancy one. I always print the pattern pieces and read the instructions off the tablet or computer, so my method is most effective if you are like me and print just the pattern.

*Thanks Kari!  This is basically how I store my pattern pieces as well - I love that you can either organize the hanging files by designer, or you can organize them by type (boy pants, dresses, leggings, etc...)


Next we have Jeanine Thomlinson sharing her method:

I take two pieces of construction paper and tape around on three sides. On the front of my folders I write four very important pieces of information

1. Pattern designer

2. pattern size range printed

3. sized traced and cut

4. any notes on the fit of the finished garment 

To store these "folders" I just line them up in my half of the cupboard (it has doors so no one sees the mess).  


Thanks Jen!!!  I love that by using construction paper you get more space for your pieces.  Also what a great tip to label with the size cut and your notes about the finished garment!!!  So many times I will alter a garment to get a better fit on my babes or to get a slightly different look, and I rarely write it down - awesome awesome tip.


Next up is Raedene from Chasing Mermaids sharing a more unique approach to organizing her files!!!

As a seamstress in a sewing business I purchase LOTS of pdf files of patterns. It is always a struggle to determine the best, most efficient way to save all those files. One must consider a few things:

1.Where to I save the actual file.

2. Where do I put the printed pages.

3. How to I organized all those pattern pieces once taped together and rather large..not to mention the multiple sizes.

I sew for my shop daily. I need access to all those paper pieces in all patterns that I sell items from and in all sizes. Folding them up in files doesn't work for me. I need to see them and access them quickly. So I came up with this solution all by myself...with no help from Pinterest!!! First, I had my husband put in a rod across my sewing window in between my two upper cabinets. I needed it sturdy and high enough to hang all those beauties. I gathered metal hangers from my husband's uniforms and some clothespins and hung all the pieces together on one hanger by PATTERN. I organize all the hangers by designer alphabetically. I love knowing all the pieces are right there and as I need a size I trace from the original onto freezer paper and add it to the appropriate hanger. The hard part is being diligent about hanging it back up right away when finished.

I keep all the pages printed from the computer in binders by designer. I have found it easier just to print the pattern pieces and the measurements pages and then just read the actual directions from the computer. Saves ink and paper and is easier to get to. Now, I am off to sew with everything right where it needs to be.

*What an awesome method for shop owners, I'm now wishing I had a pretty space to set this up in ;o)


I hope you have enjoyed day one of our series and gotten some good ideas with what to do with all those printed pattern pieces!  Don't forget to share your own ideas with us and join us later int he week for all the info on digital storage.