Pattern Organization…the quest for order.

I finally understand why others have put to use a form of pattern organization that involves a system of  numerical filing and cataloguing.  It is probably because this system makes it easy to retrieve and find patterns quickly.

You may remember, last year, I attempted a digital filing system…here.  It didn’t work for me.  I still ended up searching around for patterns when working with a customer.  I didn’t have a way for them to peruse my pattern inventory. Ideas come from everywhere, as to what to make, however, finding a pattern that might work was difficult to say the least. 

IMG_0400It was like going through a rummage sale.

As new patterns come in, and old ones removed from the files..this is what would happen.  Another basket of misplaced patterns.


A thanks to those who believed in me, in the chance that I had found the system which would work for me.  Failure isn’t what I feel, just another lesson learned about myself.  I must retract my position on the numerical system of filing utilized by Victoria.

I also understand now, more than ever, the importance of taking good care of my patterns..they are priceless.  I know now, that I would be sewing much more if I had my patterns in order.  Whenever I get an idea for a garment from the web, Pinterest or Pattern Review, I would normally go looking for the related pattern.  However, to my dismay, its no where to be found, or I don’t have it…or so I thought….until I have just one too many of the same pattern.

Duplicates abound, because I didn’t know I had the pattern, and thus, went out and bought another with good intentions.  Only for me, by the time I go through all that work, I’m no longer interested, because a new work of art has presented itself.  And so the journey begins anew.

As with any organization trek, I become hyper focused, whether it be my home office, my sewing room, my kitchen, my closet or even the garage… I mean to get it done!!!  I am absolutely unproductive when my surroundings are in disarray. 

I have gone from a nice 360sq.ft. loft, to a  studio in River Oaks  to a small 11x12 bedroom in North Houston…the difference is not good. I am cramming all I can into a really small space.


Thus, pattern organization is on the top of the list…because, when I work with patterns, I want to keep up with them.

All that to say, this new system is underway..and happily I might add, really seems worth it.  I should have done this in the first place.  I like having a binder to look at all my patterns, as with a catalogue. 


Having the patterns filed away neatly in 6x9” envelopes may seem costly, but, I made sure to get these in bulk. 


I got the Brimnes dresser from Ikea, and made sure it was going to hold the envelopes sitting upright, thus, storing more per drawer. I did not like the commercial filing cabinet, and besides, it was too deep for my space.


My fabric stash will have a home in my Elfa system from The Container Store. I use these all around the house.  They are much sturdier and glide better than the Ikea brand.  They have stood the test of time for me.

Continuing on with the patterns…I’m making progress.  I will keep you posted as the verdict unfolds on my new and improved system.

Until then….



  1. I like what you have done here. I am going to keep this in mind. I see myself beginning to collect patterns..... I'm thinking the day will come and soon where I will have to come up with a solution for myself.

  2. I think I will have to use this system once I have the space for cabinet. I do have them in numerical order where they are currently stored but it would be could to have my own look book for inspiration instead of waiting for someone to make it on PR to go and check for it.

  3. shawntasews...I agree, the look book was actually what was missing in my studio. Sometimes I like to gather inspiration from patterns in order to determine what to do with a fabric from my stash.

  4. I like you look book idea too! What a great idea! Great job and good luck on the rest of your organization!

    1. It's exciting. A customer actually got to use it yesterday. The process was effortless, look book then pattern drawer. This really saves so much time.

  5. Andrea,this is a wonderful system. I finally set it up earlier this year for the simple fact, just like you, I cannot work when my studio is in disarray. I'm lov'n it, makes life so much easier!!

  6. I started this process a couple years ago but need to keep cataloging everything still. It really does make good sense. Lol

    1. Susan, I have been moving through the setup rather quickly out of necessity. Between customers, my own needs and my family, it's almost required to have some system. This also works well for the Burda style magazines.

  7. There are so many ways to organize patterns and finding what works for you is key, I agree.


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