Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pattern Organization and First Guest Author!

While attending Sew Kansas recently, I was introduced to an easy, attractive and useful way to organize my many patterns. This idea came from Valorie Sanborn who graciously agreed to be my first-ever guest author on Now Sewing.

Here is what you will need:
  • tape
  • 10x13 inch white envelopes
  • baskets or filing cabinet for storing the envelopes
  • patterns, of course
  • inexpensive light weight fusible interfacing
Right now, I have my patterns quasi organized into the four drawers of a smallish dresser. The drawers stick. The patterns get crunched because they don't fit. The envelopes are different sizes. Of course I have the usual problem of exploding pattern tissue once I open the pattern envelope. And they tend to tear from multiple uses.

I have just begun to organize my patterns using Valorie's storage method. My plan is to gradually introduce this, maybe by cleaning out part of a drawer at a time. Or I'll convert each pattern to this system, as I use it.



Here is what Valerie says about her method of organizing patterns.

I reuse my patterns over and over again.  I have patterns that I use regularly that I have had for 20 years.  I alter them; I change collars;  I lengthen them and change or remove sleeves all together.  The result of all of this was I needed a system for preserving and storing my patterns.

The first thing I do with a new pattern is that I cut out the pattern pieces from the tissue leaving an ample amount of paper surrounding the pattern piece.  I then lay a thin fusible interfacing, glue side up, on my ironing surface and position the pattern pieces on the interfacing.  I then iron the pattern pieces onto the interfacing and cut out the individual pattern pieces.  For the interfacing I prefer to use Pellon Apparel Interfacing - Basics:  P44F JAS Fusible Interfacing.  The cost is $ .99 per yard; I wait for a coupon from Joann's and buy it by the bolt.  Do not use a stiff interfacing.

Now that I have my pattern pieces, I need to store them.  I purchase 10 x 13 white envelopes from the office supply store.  I take my pattern envelope and cut the front and back and place them side by side and tape them to the envelope.  I use the reverse side for any notes.  I store the envelopes in wicker baskets on shelves in my sewing room. A file cabinet would work also, but I like  the baskets because when I am fabric shopping online I place the basket next to me so that my patterns are handy.

Many thanks to Valerie for sharing this! Another reminder how much we learn from fellow sewers.


  1. Thanks, Martha, for bringing this back to my attention! It really is a good method for preserving those patterns that we love---the TNT. Thanks to Valerie!

  2. Great system! I've begun stashing my most used patterns in the larger envelopes the last few months and really like it. The envelopes are sturdier and can hold more, you fold the pattern pieces less as well.

    I've yet to do the fusible interfacing technique but have been tempted many times! Thank you Martha and Valorie Sanborn!!!

  3. Cool, thanks! Maybe I'll purge my filing cabinet of all the useless stuff it has in it, and start storing patterns there, using this technique. I don't think the baskets would work, would take too many, but the system looks fabulous, and thx for sharing