Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Patterns, Patterns Everywhere...

I kinda tore through my pattern collection the other day in search of a particular one.  Now my patterns are all higglety pigglety, and it's time to come up with a new method of organization!  In the past, I've done by decade and most recently, by clothing type - blouses, trousers, outfits, suits, etc...  The problem I'm finding with this method is a lot of patterns fit into more than one category, but I don't really want to go back to just by decade.  Ideally, I'd like to scan all my patterns and be able to have them cross referenced and searchable.  Then I could just file them by pattern company and number, but I don't see me having the time to take pictures of close to 300 patterns anytime soon.  I'd like to hear how you all have your patterns organized.  Bring on the excellent ideas please!



  1. oh, I'm envious! What a great collection!! My grandma and I have a pattern collection between the two of us, many are kept at her house. They are organized according to the company (Simplicity, Butterick, McCalls, etc) and stored in pattern boxes. We have a database on her computer that is completely searchable according to type of clothing, era, or whatever. I'll call her and ask what kind of software she uses and let you know. She's REALLY techno-savvy! It amazes me!
    My smaller pattern collection at my house is also categorized according to company. Somehow, I remember which company made which pattern that I'm looking for...maybe I just have too much time on my hands! :)

  2. Eeeeppp! I don't have nearly 300 patterns, but I do have the few I have separated by company also. That's as organized as I am at the moment.

  3. My two patterns are stuffed in a bag at the bottom of my closet. You're welcome :)

  4. I'd love to know what software she uses. Thanks, Brittany!

    It sounds like perhaps by pattern company is the direction to go. I do remember some of them, but not all.

    Kelley, you always crack me up! :P I'll put your system down as a plan B.

  5. Oooh database! That sounds amazing. I'd love to have a searchable database.

    As it is, I scan all the envelope fronts and name the files with the pattern company and number. (example: Simplicity_1956.pdf) They all live in a single folder called "Patterns." (Fancy, eh?) The Mac shows you the image file as a thumbnail so that you don't have to open each file to see what it is. (Not sure if PCs do this.) I have about 200 patterns and being able to do a quick visual search is a big help.

    My physical filing system isn't very advanced either, but it works for me. All my patterns live in pattern boxes with movable dividers. Most of my patterns are for dresses so those are are sorted by era. Everything else is categorized by garment type: Beachwear, trousers, suits, blouses.

    The things I can never decide how to file are patterns with a blouse and a skirt (or slacks) and those 7-day wardrobe patterns. Those are filed as "separates" but I'm sure there's a better way.

  6. I have three see-through flat plastic storage boxes, one for each decade. I think they're a little easier to find...although it's helpful to have digital scans also to cut and paste pics to people, and also for your own browsing. I actually kind of like having to dig for that particular pattern, it forces you to look through all the others, then you get a million more ideas!

    I've actually thought of making sets of 3-ring binders with color copies, that refer to a location in a pattern drawer--maybe someday??

  7. I am quite new to this "hobby" and have no real system till now but recently two friends of mine and I started a blog as a pattern trade forum for us three *lol* http://themadseamstresses.wordpress.com/