Brad expressed an interest in the pattern and fabric binders I mentioned in my last post so I thought I’d share them with you. Of course, this is not the only way to keep a large collection organized but I have found it is the best way for me. Initially, it took me one weekend to catalog the fabric and a day to do the patterns. Additionally, this system requires minimal effort to maintain and is very cost-effective. Here is my entire fabric, pattern and Burda WOF collection:
Yesterday morning – as I was trying to plan my next project – the growing mounds of patterns finally got to me. I’m usually pretty good about keeping things under control but I’ve been buying a lot of patterns lately and allowing them to pile up in Sewing Room #1,
Sewing Room #2 and
the dining room (I won’t show you my nightstand as Saturday is the one day I don’t make my bed!).
Since I had already planned to watch my honey’s game on ESPN at noon I decided that it was as good a time as any to file patterns. The sewing room gets cleaned up and I score major Girlfriend Points at the same time!
To get started, you’ll need 9×12 manila envelopes, sheet protectors and 4″ binders. I buy the least expensive envelopes and sheet protectors but it’s worth it to buy good-quality D-ring binders (at least for the pattern envelopes) because they, unlike their inexpensive counterparts, will last forever.
I remove the pattern and instructions from the envelope and place them in a manila envelope. On the upper left corner I write the first letter of the company (Burda is Bu and Kwik-Sew is KS) and the pattern number. The manila envelopes are then filed numerically. Patterns that have names instead of numbers are filed alphabetically in the first drawer. You can see that some envelopes have white labels on them – those have been reused. Believe it or not, I do occasionally purge my patterns!
The envelopes are then placed in sheet protectors and filed by pattern type (top, bottom, dress, etc.) in binders.
Since Hot Patterns are much thicker/bulkier, I make a photocopy of the front (or, more often than not, just print it out from the HP website) for my binder and then file the entire pattern in a separate file drawer.
I used to keep my vintage patterns separate but I have found that it’s easier to keep everything together. I do have some collectible vintage patterns (like my Lucy and Desi patterns) that I just enjoy owning – those I do keep separate in acid-free plastic envelopes.
Catalogueing my fabric is just as easy. I made up these forms on my computer and had a bunch of copies made at Office Depot. As I buy fabric I just snip a piece off and glue it onto the sheet and note the source, yardage, width and fiber content. Rarely, I’ll put something away without washing. If that’s the case, I note that as well to avoid any nasty surprises later. And, since I now have multiple fabric closets I also note where the fabric is stored. Fabrics are organized by type: blouseweights, midweights, suitings, denims, cottons, knits, etc. As fabrics are used, I remove the swatch and cross out the description.
As many of you know, my fabric closets are organized by color so it’s very easy for me to lay my hands on a particular piece. That’s it, my not very elaborate organizational system! What I really love about doing it this way is that I’m able to relax on the couch or in bed with my entire fabric and pattern collection. It’s nice to be able to see what I have without making a mess of my sewing room!
I finished tidying things up just in time for mail call and, you guessed it, more patterns! My new HPs arrived along with a few new dress patterns. The drawstring pant pattern is already laid out on my cutting table, ready for tracing. I also managed to cut out another Sweetheart Top and will finish that up today.
Did you all notice the title? Part I. I thought it might be fun to do a series because I know I’m not the only sewer who has a lot of stuff to keep track of.