Are your paper sewing patterns and downloadable sewing patterns a mess? Here we talk about different sewing pattern storage methods that you can use that have minimal costs. Find a new system to keep your sewing room clean and organized so you can be more focused when you sew.
Sewing Pattern Storage and How to Organize Sewing Patterns Tutorial
If you have googled sewing pattern storage ideas, then I'm guessing your sewing room is overrun with patterns! All this clutter can take away from your concentration and result in you taking ages to find what you want.
If you have ever tried putting a tissue paper pattern back into the original envelope, you will know that it is next to impossible. These patterns only fit in the envelope when freshly folded by the pattern manufacturer.
Here I will show you how to store different types of sewing patterns, including digital and paper patterns. That way, you can find the best way to organize your sewing room space. Some of these sewing pattern storage ideas can be used individually or in combination.
Storing Sewing Pattern Digital Files
Modern sewing pattern designers sell digital pdf sewing patterns. This means you have a file and print the pdf patterns at home. This is wonderful for children's clothing, in particular, where you will need to cut a new size each year as they grow.
Firstly, make sure you put all your digital sewing patterns into a folder on you computer. This may just be one folder or a main folder divided into pattern categories such as dresses, baby patterns etc.
Make sure you keep your sewing pattern files backed up either to an external hard drive or cloud service. There is nothing worse than having your computer crash and losing all your sewing patterns. Well, actually, lots of things - but it is still stressful to lose information on your computer.
Digital file backups
- External hard drives - I generally use portable ones
- Cloud storage - Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud
If you lose your pattern permanently, email the designer. At Treasurie, I'm always happy to reissue purchased digital patterns at no cost.
Sewing Pattern Storage for Paper Patterns
Some sewers just throw their printed patterns away after they have been used since they can easily reprint them next time. However, if you have a favorite style that you want to keep without reprinting, then here are some simple solutions.
Here is how to organize sewing patterns made from paper:
1. Magazine Holders
This is the method I use. Magazine holders can be made from cardboard, metal, or wood. Ikea is great for reasonably priced cardboard ones. The ones pictured below have some metal reinforcement, so they last really well.
Put each pattern in a clear ziplock bag the same size as the holder. This will usually be a$ or letter sized. You could also use dividers or manila envelopes. Make sure you have a separate holder for each category of pattern.
2. Ring Binders with Clear Plastic Inserts
Using ring binders and clear inserts is a great idea if you wish to store your patterns on a shelf or bookcase.
Try to get the inserts that can be closed rather than the cheaper ones which remain open at the top. That way, if you accidentally grab the folder upside down, they don’t all fall out.
Organize the sewing patterns in each folder by type or pattern designer. Print out the front page of the pattern or put the pattern envelope in front of the clear insert for easy identification.
3. Large Envelopes in Pattern Storage Boxes
Cardboard boxes are a simple but effective solution. Try and find envelopes the width of the tub to maximize storage space. Tape a printout of the pattern envelope on the front.
Ikea is great for cardboard storage boxes at a reasonable cost. I categorize my patterns by type - for example, stretch, baby patterns, dresses, or skirts.
Commercial patterns from the Big 4 fit well into comic book archive boxes. You can also purchase similarly sized comic book sleeves in clear plastic.
4. Zip Lock Bags
These are one of my favorite methods, as you can see the pattern inside. You will still need some kind of tub or container to put them in as they slide all over the place if you just try and stack them inside your cupboard.
Place the pattern pieces in the ziplock bag and then the front cover of the pattern in the front so you can easily identify it.
5. Pattern Maker's Hooks
Punch a hole through the top of your patterns and string them on pattern hooks. You can then hand the patterns up on a clothing rack or in a cupboard. Pattern hooks are best for sewing patterns printed on heavy paper or cardboard. It is not suitable for tissue paper patterns.
As well as the pattern hooks, you will need a large hole punch to put a hole in the top of the patterns. They are then threaded through the cord of the hook. Alternatively, you may thread it all through a ribbon and then put it on the hook.
It is always a good idea to print out the pattern cover or make some kind or technical drawing so you can identify patterns quickly.
6. Cardboard Folders or Envelopes
These large cardboard folders were too pretty to resist. Manila folders are cheaper, of course.
7. Pants Hangers
You can get these from your supermarket, which makes it a cheap and easy storage solution. Like the pattern hooks, make sure there is some kind of identifying marks on your pattern or print out the cover page.
Perhaps the disadvantage is that you need spare cupboard space, which rules it out for me.
8. Concertina Files
These are easily found at most stationers and have slots you can insert each pattern. You can categorize your sewing patterns alphabetically with this sewing pattern storage system. Most will have tabs that you can write on. You may remember your parents having one of these to store accounting receipts.
9. Filing Cabinets
Filing cabinets are great for sewing pattern storage. Use hanging folders inside and place patterns in different categories. These cabinets are not cheap so this is the best sewing pattern storage if you have one already. You may not want to purchase a filing cabinet just for patterns.
10. DIY Pattern Storage Boxes
Storage boxes for sewing patterns don't need to be plain. Purchase cheap storage boxes and cover the fronts with fabric, fancy paper, or laminate. This can look beautiful on an open bookcase or shelf.
Tips for Sewing Pattern Storage
- LABEL - Always label all patterns, envelopes, or ziplock bags. If possible, print a picture of the pattern cover and stick it to the front for easy identification.
- CATEGORIZE - When you have a large number of sewing patterns, you will never remember the pattern name. Place patterns into categories such as pants, skirts, jackets, and dresses to find them easily in the future.
- KEEP TRACK - Once you file your sewing patterns, you may still forget how to find the exact one you want. One easy solution to this is to keep track of your sewing patterns with an app or a spreadsheet. Keep track of information such as the pattern designer, size range, and in which box or file you have placed the pattern.
Sewing Pattern Storage - In Conclusion
What do you use to store your patterns? If you have an ingenious method, please share it with us in the comments below.