Sewing Pattern Organization ~ Mountain Mama

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sewing Pattern Organization

Sewing, like knitting, often results in purchasing what I like to call "collections." Fabric, thread, notions, bandaids, and of course patterns. For those of you who don't sew, you can meander over to my new favorite blog. She'll keep you occupied while I prattle about my method for organizing my patterns.

The gist of this is to take a lesson from the fabric stores--It benefits them to have their patterns in a small organized space so they have more room for craft supplies fabric.

To organize your patterns this way you'll need:
manilla file folders
page protectors
three ring binder(s)
something set up for file storage (drawer, box, etc.)
A movie, preferably corset drama.
A beverage of your choosing

Look at your sewing patterns. There are several manufacturers and most of them identify each pattern with a number (Vogue V1838, McCalls M5467--these numbers are off the cuff and may or may not correlate to actual patterns). You should evaluate how many patterns you have, but you don't need to sort through those errant pattern pieces now.

Start with something that can hold file folders: A file cabinet, plastic file box, dusty exercise equipment, etc. This is where knowing how many patterns you have is helpful. I discovered quickly that my dinky little plastic file folder wasn't gonna cut it. I found bank boxes that matched the paint on the walls of My Sewing Room. It was fate I'm sure, to find pretty bank boxes in a soft green.

Now, put in your movie and sit yourself down with your manilla folders, page protectors and patterns. Don't forget your beverage of choice. Snacks are optional.

It goes like this:

Write the pattern mfr, and pattern number on the tab of the file folder.
Put the contents of the pattern sleeve in the folder then put the folder in the file drawer.

Put the pattern sleeve in a page protector. Put the page protector in your 3-ring binder.
Look up at movie occasionally so as to give the impression of multitasking.
Take a sip.

See how pretty center-tab files line up? See the degradation towards the back? I learned about center tabs from a supervisor who was raised in a military family. Her upbringing resulted in her being rather anal controlling organized and I respected her for it. I've never bought offset manilla folders since but occasionally the Businessman chews through his leash McCalls patterns received the brunt of his transgressions.

Since fabric stores organize their patterns by mfr, then number I decided that was the smartest way to store my files. But my binders are sorted by garment type: dresses, pants, kids. Just like the pattern books at the fabrice store.

This one is filed under "eye-candy":

Once the system is set up, you can go through all your stray pattern pieces--the ones that never made it back to their sleeve and possibly are still pinned to fabric. I know you have them because you're still here and not reading about calf testicles. Here's the beauty: 95% of those pieces are labelled with the pattern number on them. You just have to walk your little fingers down those center tabs and find the correct file.

Also, most patterns have everything you need to buy written on the sleeve. If there's a massive sale you can grab your whole binder, which will be smaller than the filing cabinet (and if it's not, why are you still reading this?).

That's it. That's how I store my patterns.

1 comment:

  1. Can you come organize my office?


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