Last week,  Simplicity patterns were on sale at Joann’s.  Boo and I bought ten patterns and when I went to put them away I realized how hard it is to keep my patterns organized neatly. 

I decided to look around online for ideas on how to store sewing patterns.  Once you cut out the pattern it’s fairly difficult to fit all of the pattern pieces back into the envelope.  It doesn’t make much sense on the surface, given that you’ve cut away a lot of the material  but still the problem exists.  I have patterns in large ziploc bags, 9″x12″ envelopes and some just rubberbanded together.  The second problem is searching for the patterns is a bit of a pain, you have to flip through each one to see what you have and it can take some time.

In the past I’ve seen people use the larger manila envelopes with the pattern number and a picture added to the front.  I like that idea because the envelope would allow more room for the pattern.  However, it didn’t solve the problem of having to flip through each pattern.

In my search online, I found some great ideas on this blog, Love It Sew Much written by Julie Snow.  Julie’s post called Pattern Storage – click here – gave me some great ideas.

Visit her blog to see her tutorial on storing patterns, because it is really great.

Here is a brief description of her system.  It’s a simple and effective.

Cut open the pattern envelope and staple it to a manila file folder along the short sides of the folder.  This forms a pocket across the top, you can now slide the pattern and instructions inside.  Label the file folder tab with the pattern information and file it away.  Julie uses a sticker system to categorize the patterns in two massive industrial filing cabinets.  It’s an awesome system.

I really love this idea but I am stapler challenged.  I am not sure if it is our stapler or user error but it seems that staples come completely out or they catch on other papers.  More often than not it becomes a big mess, so I needed to figure out a different idea for attaching the pattern envelope or at the least for sealing up the folder sides.

The other thing I needed to think about was the categorizing system.  Most of my patterns are costume patterns, I collected a lot of them when I was sewing so much for my Renaissance wedding.  There are also some clothing patterns, along with a few  accessory and craft patterns.  

I did some thinking.  First, the file folders and then the categorizing.

I like the file folder idea but after working my way through college as a receptionist I get an eye twitch when I encounter mass quantities of manila file folders.  I have a lot of scrapbook paper and decided to try covering the file folders.

Here is a 12 x 12 piece of scrapbook paper.  I avoided using cardstock because I didn’t want to add the extra weight and thickness.

I measured the height of the front part of the file folder, 8.75 inches.  The remaining 3.25 inches I glued into the inside of the back part of the file folder, using my ZIG glue pen.


I glued the other larger piece onto the front of the file folder.  I trimmed around the rounded corners, the file tabs and label cut out.

On either side is about 0.25 inch overlap of the scrapbook paper.  I used the glue pen and folded the overlap over the back of the file folder effectively sealing the sides of the file folders.

Pattern and instructions.

I used a page protector for the cut open pattern envelope.

I printed out file labels and my file folders are finished.
I decided to file the pattern folders by brand name, Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick & Style and I picked a color group for each.   The patterns will be filed in numerical order with in their color.

I used various greens for Butterick and orange for Style, (only have 4 of those).  I am just using this small box while I am working on the file folders.  They will be moved to a file drawer when I am done.

I made a quick sheet for each pattern.  I will keep the sheets in a binder organized by category, Costume, Clothes, Craft, Aceessories, etc.  I can use the binder like the pattern catalog in the store so I don’t have to flip through a hundred patterns looking for the one I want.

I’ve gotten the Butterick and Style patterns one, only have ten of the Butterick and  four of the Style patterns.  I have quite a few Simplicity and McCalls patterns to ‘organize’.  It’s easy enough to cover the file folders while watching TV, I can do a few each night until they are all done.  When I get new patterns I will get them into file folders right away.

I love it when a plan comes together.  🙂



My June+1 for today was that I made sure to drink at least 24 oz of water today.  Yay!


One thought on “Patterning…

  1. Please try to ignore all of the weird spacing and the different color text. I tried to fix it and it went all scatterwompy on me. After fixing things so that the text matched the pictures I gave up on the spacing and the text color. oy…

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