Patterns / Sewing space

20 ways to organise sewing patterns: Your best tips

Last Sunday I posted a video about how I store my sewing patterns, and in the comment sections on YouTube and on the blog, I got so many amazing pattern organising tips from you guys. This is the sort of high quality information that should not be hidden in comment sections, so I figured I might as well do a blog post sharing the tips. So here goes!


Organising sewing patterns

📁 Rather than organizing the patterns by the manufacturer, I prefer to sort them by what they are for example, shirt, pants, jacket, shorts, etc.

📁  I divide mine by garment. Dresses, menswear, hat’s, costs, costumes, dog items. That way I know where to look when I think, “where’s that shirt pattern?”

📁 I sort them by name or number and I have an app called Airtable that I use to find them again… the app is free for the basic version and it’s a database that you create, on my Instagram feed are some pictures of mine and how I organize it.

📁 I file all my patterns in plastic envelopes/bags and then in boxes organized by pattern number, but just the contents. I take the envelope with the pattern picture and put it in plastic in a notebook for my own personal pattern catalog. I also take photos of often used patterns and keep them in a folder in the computer.

📁 If I am using the pattern for my daughter I use different colored highlighters to mark the pattern pieces – so when I’m going to cut hers out I know I only want “green” marked pieces and for me I want “pink”. That way I don’t cut the wrong ones.


Storing sewing patterns

📁 I keep patterns in a box and use manila file folders. I got the idea from a Marcy Tilton video. You can make notes on the inside of the folder. I sort the folders by type of garment. I keep photos of the pattern envelopes in my phone, so I can easily look through them without getting out the box.

📁 My paper patterns are stored in smaller IKEA boxes. The pattern companies are written on all boxes.

📁 A local fabric store was closing and I purchased one of their metal pattern cabinets. Uh…I know its wrong and big but who wouldn’t want their own pattern cabinet like the store! No matter how many I have, it will never be full….I think!

📁 I use zip-lock gallon bags to store my patterns with the original pattern envelope showing towards the outside of the bag.

📁 I store my tissue patters in large freezer bags. The store very well and have some I’ve had for 30 years!


Folding tissue patterns

📁 Here’s a pattern folding tip. I thought I read it in a tutorial on Coco’s Loft but I don’t find any tutorials there, so I’m sorry I can’t give credit where it’s due. You need a long plastic quilter’s ruler which is just slightly less wide than the standard size pattern envelope. Layer your pattern pieces on top of each other with the smallest ones spread out on top. Lay the ruler on top of the stacked pieces at one edge of the stack and start folding it over, folding the pattern stack around it. When the stack has been folded as much as it can be, gently slide the ruler out one end. Mash the folded edges down to compress the stack. Then fold the ends in to match the length of the pattern envelope until you have a neat package which should slide right in! I hope this makes sense! My ruler is an O’Lipfa by Olfa and is 5” wide by 24” long.

📁When the project is finished I fold all pieces and iron them to fit the envelope.


Storing pdf patterns

📁I store the original rolled up and standing on end in a box. I keep the traced/altered copy in comic book cardboard/plastic with a text label with designer+pattern name. For home-printed PDF patterns, I cut these out and make my pattern adjustments on the original copy. Because the paper is thicker and harder to work with if it has been folded, I clip the pattern pieces together (using clips made for hanging party lights) and hang these in my closet.

📁 Pdf patterns are stored in art folder sleeves as they are larger pieces that I fold the least. Art folders having ring holes give the option to hang with space permitting or file in the folder case.

📁 I put my PDF’s in large envelopes which full description on the front and a quick sketch so I remember what the pattern looks like!

📁 I store the whole sheets. I fold them, write the name of the pattern on a visible surface and store them in a large file (I think it’s A2 sized).

📁 I cut my pdf patterns I put them in a see-through plastic zip A4 pocket with the photo of the pattern on top so I can see the pattern. Then I store them in large plastic boxes.


Pattern magazine storage

📁 My BurdaStyle magazine etc are stored in chronological order in plastic boxes where they are stacked upright.

📁 The magazines are stored in cardboard cases. Sorted by year.

📁 I tend to keep the pattern sheets and tear out the pages with pictures and instructions of garments I think I might make. Interesting to see how tastes change, I remember one style in the 1980’s that suggested attaching a real fox’s tail to a fur hat.

Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time and share all your great ideas! Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, for even more great suggestions check out the comment section on YouTube and the original video..


1 Comment

  • Barkat
    August 29, 2021 at 4:31 am

    Beautiful post.I like.


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