Thursday, March 24, 2011

Organizing Sewing Patterns

Notebook of skirt pattern envelopes
 In addition to a huge fabric stash, I have a large pattern collection .  How do you organize your patterns?  I  came up with this system a few years ago and it seems to serve me well enough.  I separate the outside envelopes from the pattern tissue and instructions.  Those envelopes I keep in binders with labels:  Dresses,  Jackets, Lingerie, etc.  Then I put the pattern tissue and instructions in quart plastic bags and file them in a storage cabinet by pattern company and numerical order.  Generally this is how a fabric store would organize things: look at the catalog for a pattern you want then go to the drawer to locate it.  Of course, oversized patterns and Burda magazines are the exception to the rule but I have fewer of those to keep track of in the collection.
Drawer full of patterns in plastic sleeves

I used to keep a notebook of sewing projects, making notes each time I sewed the pattern.  I did find this enormously helpful as I started sewing more fashion sewing projects.  Today I don't maintain this notebook procedure as rigorously.  I'm more careful to make a fitting muslin each time and have an adjusted pattern that I can trust.  I also have a better number of TNT patterns that I know fit me and only adjust some design features (collars, sleeves, front edges)  And now that I am blogging more regularly this blog and the pattern reviews are good reminders as to what adjustments I made and lessons learned from each pattern.

Jalie 2788

  My sewing yesterday was focused on items I found in the "unfinished project pile."  I made Jalie 2788 into a navy knit sample dress back in October before making the final version in brown  Jalie twist top into a dress posting.  The navy is too dark a color for me to wear regularly as a dress so I cut it off and made it into a sleeveless top.

I should be working on the March jacket a month but found a tweed bias skirt already cut out yesterday.  So I'm going to work on this skirt and "get 'er done."  Since we've got a major bathroom remodel project going on down the hall (and discovering all sorts of surprises when the cabinets came out) I've decided to focus on simple projects this week.   Next week we should have those surprises resolved and I'll be able to focus on a more challenging sewing project.

Want to see some before pics?  We had a large master bath with huge mirrors and a very yellowed un-used arcylic jet tub.  Big changes coming.  No master bath tub (there's a bathtub down the hall) and double sinks along one wall plus no more bulheads looming overhead with ugly flourescent lighting.   Surprises, you ask?  Well, one sink had a slow leak going on and the other wall will have to be re-sheetrocked since a pipe edge is 1/2 " too wide into the room.
Notice how the old sink was crunched into that corner.
Bye bye yellowed acrylic tub (or planter box,whichever you prefer.)
Good bye bulkheads


  1. Good luck on the bathroom remodel. Messes like that are always trying.

  2. I'm in the process of organizing my pattern collection. I'm using a method similar to yours, but keep getting interrupted by sewing projects. I'm impressed. You are finishing those UFO's and remodeling your bathroom!

  3. As you know I use the same method of pattern organization. However, since I don't use them much anymore because of my quilt pre-occupation, I have them sitting in a corner of my sewing studio taking up space. Maybe you'd like to come over this summer and whip them into shape... :)

  4. Wow - I see you have just done a trip to NZ! Lucky lucky you - my hometown is Dunedin and I worked in Franz Josef - the glacier next to Fox - for 9 months over student holidays - so I know very well the areas you travelled through. I feel so nostalgic looking at your photos.

    As for pattern stash sorting - well, I really really try to not keep anything I'm not using or will never use - my big problem is what to do with my ever growing sewing magazine collection. I could not bear to part with any of them!


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