Keeping track of patterns

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I am in the process of moving my pattern stash from various separate
storage areas to one place in my soon-to-be sewing room and am logging
them onto a spreadsheet in the hope of not buying duplicates.  I'm still
trying to decide how to sort the patterns on the shelf - pattern number,
garment type, female/male/child or some other way.

How do you keep track of which patterns you have?
What have you tried that did/didn't help?


Re: Keeping track of patterns

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You mean we're *supposed* to be organized? Eeeep!


Re: Keeping track of patterns
Donna wrote:
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If we are, I'm sure in big trouble.  I have patterns in two or three 11
x 14 x 11 stackable open storage crates, fabric in about a dozen banana
boxes, and notions in a bunch of stackable 2- and 5-gallon storage
boxes.  All stuffed in one corner of my bedroom.  That's about as
organized as I am going to get.

Re: Keeping track of patterns
Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply wrote:

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You and me both, sister!   lol

I keep mine grouped (mostly) by type.  Adult tops, adult bottoms, adult
dresses, child tops, child bottoms, child dresses, craft, Halloween, dolls.
And I do have a couple of McCall's pattern cabinets.  I got them when the
Wal-Mart in our old home town remodeled and got new ones.  I bought these
for $40 each.  (those of you who have the room for one, is your Hancock's
closing?  If so, see what kind of deal they would make you on one.)
Unfortunately, my sewing room in this house is a good bit smaller than my
sewing room in the old house.  So the pattern cabinets have to live out in
the garage.  I am planning to empty one out (they store notions and fabric
well too; 45" wide fabric rolled back on a cardboard bolt fits perfectly in
the drawers; the plastic shoe boxes also fit in there well.)  I have a good
friend with a really Large sewing room. I'm going to give one of the
cabinets to her, it's just a matter of getting it emptied then loaded in
DH's pickup to take down there.  

I really did used to be organized!  well except for not putting used
patterns back in the envelopes.  Those tend to get tossed into a shopping
bag and "taken care of later."  *sigh*

Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It's a waste of time and just annoys the

Re: Keeping track of patterns
On Mon, 07 May 2007 15:53:41 GMT, Donna

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I keep my patterns in a small antique trunk, with drafting tools in
the tray, but those I've used during the last five years are hung on
small copper nails pounded into the paneling.  The plan *was* that I'd
put them back into the envelopes also hung on the nails, but the
latest patterns I haven't bothered to mark envelopes for.  

Joy Beeson
joy beeson at comcast dot net -- sewing
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Re: Keeping track of patterns
I try to keep like patterns together----jackets, sleepwear, pants &
tops---kinda like the pattern books separate patterns.  Yes, I mix the
pattern names, Simplicity & McCall's & others together in the same group.
This works for me.
Barbara in Central FL

Re: Keeping track of patterns

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I got a couple large plastic file boxes from an office store that holds
hanging folders... plus I bought a box of hanging folder.

I have tried to file them by type (shirts, jackets, pants, combo sets), with
one box for adult women patterns (for me!), and the other with children,
stuffed animal, and other non-clothing patterns (some I made up for things
like home dec and gifts).

Unfortunately, several are placed on top of the piano next to my cutting
table as I am trying to get them to fit as I get time!  Last week I cut out
several T-shirts from variations of several patterns from cheap "muslin"
knits that I will serge up next week to see which pattern fits.  Tomorrow I
will be modifying the Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Princess Shirt for a
Curvy Girl because it was not curvy enough using the moulage I finally got
to fit.  I am also working on a woven bias tank top and a basic shift, oh
and a pair of coulottes... with a look to getting a vest to fit.

Once I get a few patterns to fit me... I am going to hang them in a special
spot to use over and over again!

Re: Keeping track of patterns
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well.....just to weigh in here.  I have 4 or 5 of the floral cardboard
pattern boxes that I rooted out when the JoAnns near my house in NY
was clearing them out.  I have one box strictly for MY patterns, one
for crafts, one for men and children (will have to change this soon as
I have LOTS of children's patterns now) and one for crafts....I think
costumes are combined with crafts now, though they used to be in their
own box....lets see..that makes 4 boxes at the present, 5 in the near

Within those boxes, I have tried to organize them by what they are
for....outerwear first, then tops, then bottoms, then
sleepwear...guess it's my anal retentive nature again

Larisa, who never thought about compiling a database about my patterns

Re: Keeping track of patterns
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Someone recently said that they photocopy their pattern fronts and backs
multiple times(?).  File them is clear plastic pockets, in a notebook,
according to what catagory in fits into. ie. Jackets, tops, shorts, pants
etc.  Then the original is filed by  what ??  I've forgotten.  I don't even
remember where I got the info from.  But if someone on this list hasn't
piped up and claimed the methodology then it must be on one of the other
lists I'm on.

I'll work on it,
AK in PA

Re: Keeping track of patterns
I'm sorry.  I've checked through all the sewing groups I'm on and haven't
found anything.   I also checked my history and favorites  folders and
didn't find it there either.
This is bugging me.  I know I would have saved something that would have
saved me from my disorganization.
I'll check somewhere else when I have the time.
AK in PA

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Re: Keeping track of patterns
AK&DStrohl wrote:
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Don't panic!

I now know that the only duplicated patterns I have are on purpose, I
have more dress patterns than I will ever use (and I have just ordered
some more), I do need the skirt patterns I have ordered and children
grow out of patterns faster than you can keep up with.


Re: Keeping track of patterns
AK: I recently read of something similar in a book
about sewing room organization. The person did as you
said, then filed the actual patterns by publisher and
number. This is just like in a sewing store. Does this

AK&DStrohl wrote:

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Re: Keeping track of patterns
Pat,   This sounds familiar.
AK in PA

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Re: Keeping track of patterns
Lizzy Taylor wrote:
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I have 12 crates of patterns...  Each crate is labelled by type.  For

'Large format/Vogue' contains the larger format Vogue patterns (other
than wedding/special occasion patterns) and other larger format pattern
envelops, arranged in type (all skirts together, etc.) within the crate.

Wedding & Special Occasion' is ordered by date of issue.

I have one labelled '50's & 60's', another for the 70's, and one for the
80's... These are arranged in date order according to year of copyright
(if available; best guess otherwise!).

The 'Historical Costumes' crate is ordered according to era...

The more modern patterns are arranged by type, like the Vogue box.  The
kids stuff is arranged by the age of kid the pattern is for, starting
with infants at one end and going to teens at the other.  'Outdoors' is
arranged by function: waterproof at one end, fleece at the other.  Hats
and other accessories, along with bags are in a 'crafty stuff' box...

All the patterns are sealed up in ziplock type bags, along with any
notes I make about alterations, the size I cut it out, or if I traced
off a particular size, and if that copy is in the envelope.

Madness, but there's method in't.
Kate  XXXXXX  R.C.T.Q Madame Chef des Trolls
Lady Catherine, Wardrobe Mistress of the Chocolate Buttons
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Re: Keeping track of patterns
Lizzy Taylor wrote:
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Hmmm.  I got rid of most of my patterns when I got pattern drafting
software, but I know that Wild Ginger has some sort of program to keep
track of those things.  I have no idea how much it would cost, but I
have no qualms about recommending their software if it fills a need.

Re: Keeping track of patterns
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I only have maybe 40 commercial patterns, so that's not too difficult.

But if you've got a lot, and you've got a scanner, why not scan the
back of the pattern envelope and add that to your spreadsheet?  That'll
give you the line drawings, suggested fabric and yardages.

Then file the patterns numerically by company, so you can go from your
spreadsheet to the actual pattern easily.


Re: Keeping track of patterns
Kay Lancaster wrote:

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Scanning the pattern backs is a good idea, though it might be easier
these days to take a digital photo and save that under a sensible filename.

Thanks for the suggestion.


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