Confession: I am, by nature, a slob. Whatever is in my hand just gets dropped where I stand whenever I get distracted (and I get distracted a lot) On the other hand, I will cross a room to straighten a picture that's 1/4" off, and I can't really breath deeply when I'm in a pile of messes. So I'm always looking for ways to coexist with myself, allowing my creative slobbishness & my neat freak self to each be acknowledged. When it comes to storage, I have to have a system. An EASY system. My patterns had no system, and it had reached the point of crazy-making when I was looking for something.
A mere year & 6 months ago I had....count 'em.... 3 patterns. (has it only been that long????) Organization? Shmorganization! Who needs it?
Fast forward through several estate sales, lots of $1.99 JoAnn's sales, discovering & drooling over all the indies out there, and numerous friends who say "You sew? Oh look what I have for you! (yet another box of patterns....) & I've now amassed .... ummm..... a lot of patterns. Lots. More than half of them need to be re-homed, but a couple hundred....or so.... are in the TNT, or must do, or might do category, and they've been getting Out. Of. Control.
So what enters my life but yet another box of patterns from a well-meaning friend. They looked like this (this is small sample of what was in the box):
Lots of big-shouldered 80's looks, but a lot of patterns with unusual lines, or creative possibilities - the woman who had them clearly had good taste - (translation: they appealed to me ;^).) But what a strange way of storing them, I thought....
The pattern covers were all cut in half - front & back, & then taped onto a 3-hole punch piece of paper, with the front cover on one side of the paper, & the back cover on the back side. Instructions & pattern pieces were in 6x9 manila envelopes, & then the pattern cover was taped or stapled to the manila envelope. The pattern number was written on a corner of the envelope.
Since all of the pattern covers were on 3-hole punch paper, I finally figured that she must have kept them in 3-ring binders at some point, so that you could easily see both the front & back of the pattern envelope, & then you could find the rest of the pattern via the pattern number printed on the manila envelope. Now THIS made sense!
So....over the course of the next couple of evenings, I proceeded to catalog all of my keepers this way - well, sort of. I didn't tape anything, and I certainly didn't cut anything up! I had a stash of 6x9 envelopes & some clear vinyl 3-hole sheets in my office stash, so I used all of these up (& then went out & bought another box of the clear vinyl sheets, since this, imho, is far & above a better way of storing the pattern envelopes over stapling or taping them)
This is what I ended up with:
Three 3-ring binders, holding all of pattern envelopes. I categorized them under headers like Jackets, Coats, Knit Tops, Woven Tops, Pants, Dresses, Skirts, Miscellaneous....etc..... (note: you can see the effect of taping on the left patterns....not so good for preservation!) The aspect of this that is SO fabulous for me is that I can open the binder, flip through the category, find what I want in seconds, & go get the manila envelope in a few more seconds. Nothing gets pawed through & torn, & I know exactly what I have. For me, this is a win-win-win all the way!
And the manila envelopes in drawers! All the same size! Categorized by number, super easy to find! Patterns with names only, & no number, are simply alphabetized.
Drawers hidden, all neat & tidy & stuff, in one of my little attic sewing room's cubbyholes:
The oversized pattern pieces simply went into 9x12 envelopes. The covers all fit in the binders, except for Jalie patterns, which are, apparently, too special to fit into other 'normal' sizes (or too Canadian, perhaps?) ;^D
I probably spent a total of about 3 hours doing all of this (multi-tasking with the TV), & I'm betting I saved 6 hours of search time in the coming year alone!
Not that I'm going to be changing this system any time soon, but what are your pattern organization tips? Or are yours still like mine were last week....semi-categorized in drawers or boxes, but still hard to find?
(disclaimer: no precious vintage patterns were harmed in the writing of this post. The first picture here was not an actual depiction of how I store patterns. Well....only partially. And most of those are waiting to be re-homed. See anything you like? hehehe.....)