Organizing Sewing Patterns

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One of the great frustrations of my sewing closet has been handling patterns. Not only are commercial patterns hard to handle and almost impossible to get back into their envelopes once unfolded, but many of my patterns are copied from friends on newspaper or muslin and don’t have an envelope to go into.

In the past I have tried filing them in a file box. I thought they would be easy to find and I could simply take the box to wherever I was sewing. Sadly the envelopes were too bulky and the bulging files were hard to get in and out of the file box. Once I had taken a pattern out to use, it almost never was put back in.

Filing the patterns didn't work well at all.

The other day I was sorting through and cleaning out my sewing box, matching orphaned patterns pieces with their envelopes and I had a sudden idea! Why not put each pattern in a gallon bag? I could label the front of the bag, and when I used the pattern add a note as to what fabric was used, who I made the item for and any adjustments I made to the fit or style!

“Not a bad idea,” I thought,” but the bags are so slippery how would I contain them?” Then I remembered the books on tape at the library. They’re put in plastic bags on hangers and hung like clothes.

On my next trip to the store I got a six tier skirt hanger like this:

Six tier skirt hanger.

Now all I had to do was to turn this:

Patterns can be so hard to keep straight!

into this!

Patterns organized by type and hung on the skirt hanger.

The bags are labeled with the pattern name and number as well as a type designation (Baby, Toddler, Girls etc.) On some of them I’ve also indicated which thing I’ve made with that pattern (overalls, vests and so on). The homemade patterns are filed similarly with a note of who made the pattern or when it was made. So simple.

I did discover that four patterns per set of hanger clips is probably the maximum, so I’ll need to get a second hanger, but that isn’t difficult and being able to find what I need when I sit down to sew, certainly works for me!

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1 Response to Organizing Sewing Patterns

  1. Roxie says:

    Do you know how to ‘reinforce’ a paper pattern with freezer paper? When I buy a new pattern, one I am sure I will make more than one item of clothing from, I always iron the new pattern to freezer paper. Then cut. Now all the pieces of the pattern are reinforced and not going to shred…..(I learned this from my favorite home ec. teacher more than 45 years ago) Still use this when sewing for grand children today.

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