I had always been the traditional sewer, buying store bought patterns, and I still do – even though fustrated at times because the ones I liked weren’t available or more to the point, they are extremely expensive here in Australia unless there is a sale.
I think it was a couple of years ago now when I first discovered PDF patterns and spoke about my conversion in this post from 2015. It’s the convenience of shopping from home, being able to save and reprint certain sizes, having the ability to connect with the companies online via Facebook and having a relationship with an online sewing community, that made it a more viable option for me. And of course with children, who has time to look through pattern catalogue books when I can browse online and have instant gratification of an emailed pattern. You may ask that some PDF patterns are more expensive, and I have to agree, but again I try to buy them when there is a sale and the fact that it’s a digital file is really appealing.
The down side is the cutting and taping of endless pages together. Some companies have no trim pages and others have bought out A0 files that can be printed at a professional printer on a big sheet of paper – this is a very tempting scenario but after thinking about the hundreds of patterns I have accumulated, it would be a very expensive process.
After all that, the main reason for this blog post was the satisfaction I have in saying that finally my PDF patterns are catalogued and stored neatly. I used to put them in plastic sleeves in binders but found that was getting out of hand and looked messy. I researched online, as you do, and thought the most practical and tidiest method would be to store them in boxes. I used archive boxes from the stationary store which stores the envelopes perfectly sideways.
I went about printing the first page of the instructions and gluing the image to the front of a white C4 envelope. As long as I could see the pattern company and pattern name on the front, all was good, otherwise I added them on manually. I didn’t print off all my instructions or patterns if they weren’t already done so, just having the envelope was an indication the pattern existed on my computer. I don’t always print off the instructions anyway as I tend to read them on my laptop while sewing.
For those patterns which I have already sewn up, I placed the individual sizes pattern pieces in labelled plastic sleeves within the envelopes. This was more the case with kids patterns.
I made sure all my computer files were well labelled and in alphabetical order also as a cross reference. The last thing was to print out the patterns I owned from each pattern company individually and file that in a binder as my own personal pattern catalogue. This way I’m not searching through each box or envelope for a pattern when inspiration strikes.
So far this has been a good solution for me that is both practical and neat. I did realise though that I have too many patterns and should really be put on a pattern buying ban, unless something different that I can’t resist gets released. Now to work out a storage solution for my paper patterns!
What’s your pattern storage solution both PDF or traditional paper patterns?