Pattern Organisation

I used to keep all my patterns in a lovely large orange binder.

Not so long ago, I acquired rather a few patterns in rapid succession. It was detrimental to my
(1) orange binder;
(2) rule about tracing patterns as soon as I receive them;
(3) mental health and
(4) sewing.

Because, you see, my sewing table was now covered with patterns, unopened in their envelopes. Patterns were exploding out of the orange binder, and it would not close. I had a bag of patterns to be traced, and that bag was also out of control. I am a neat and tidy and organised person, and having disorganised and disordered spaces affects my ability to work well.

Solution? Don’t go near the sewing corner. Good solution, ha?

My solution was aided by a wee trip to Brisbane to spend Têt with my family, and general life busy-ness (which is also the excuse for blog silence. I have been tweeting. You should go check my twitter out. I am utterly witty, engaging and hilarious all the time. Okay, fine. some of the time. Okay, maybe once or twice. And I only rarely post tweets plus photos of breakfast/lunch/dinner. Oh, who am I kidding. I tweets & post pics of breakfast/lunch/dinner with alarming alacrity. And you don’t have to read my tweets. Or you can read them on the sidebar just over there -> Lucky you!

I then had a brilliant idea about how to house my patterns.

It did involve a little reorganisation of the study, because I needed to clear a shelf. Ideally, I would like to hang all my patterns. Currently, I hang 3 that are traced off: Renfrew, Tiramisu and the Your Style Rocks Eva dress (because it was printed on poster paper, and trying to fold it small enough to fit into a plastic envelope defied even my origami skills). But hanging all my patterns was not feasible. It would not even suit some of them.


I bought some foolscap document wallets from that untapped resource for sewing notions: Officeworks. I had previously organised my binder into 4 categories: (1) Tops; (2) Bottoms; (3) Dresses and (4) – the scourge of the organised soul – Miscellaneous. I bought document wallets in three pale colours for tops, bottoms and dresses,(green, yellow, grey) and have decided to leave my other patterns (mostly bags) in the orange binder for the time being.

Each document wallet is large enough to hold the original pattern, the instruction sheet, my traced off pattern, and any other bits and pieces I want to add such as my notes or fabric swatches. I say fabric swatches but actually I’ve never done or used fabric swatches. But I might in future…

I’ve also added all of my patterns to a Pinterest board, and also to Evernote. This way, I can show other people what patterns I have. The reason this is useful is because I was recently at home in Brisbane (home Home) and my siblings (well mostly my sisters) were sufficiently impressed with my sewing that they wanted me to make garments for them.

(I wore the elephant dress, the tablecloth dress and my Christmas tiramisu, which never got worn at Christmas, for each of the three days I was there. Also I was visiting at Têt and as I wore self made clothes all Têt weekend, this means I will be wearing self made clothes all year. I had better get cracking and make more clothes then!)

I wanted to show them what patterns I had, so they could choose a garment, or alternatively (and more likely) concur with my assessment that ‘this top is just your style/ will suit you/ you’ll love if I just make out of a print with some owls on’ (The last is for the girlfriend of my nephew who is owl-obsessed).

Then I thought it would be an awesome idea to collect all of my makes on a Pinterest board, too. I may have been procrastinating from life in general, and sewing in particular. But it’s awfully satisfying looking at the “Things I’ve Made” board (great title, isn’t it. You can plagiarise if you like, no need to credit me). Next, I need to modify this blog to include the boards and update when I update. But that will be a task for another phase of procrastination because I’m back to sewing! (currently on the sewing table: the Your Style Rocks Eva Dress, hence its recurrence in pics on this post.) Hurrah!

Everything is going to be amazing, all of the time.



    1. I get distracted and demoralised if I’m disorganised, so organising is a necessity! Plus, I love stationery stores. Possibly more than I love fabric stores.


  1. This is a godsend!! So many great ideas. I am also attempting to organize, and this will help immensely. I put up a cork board the other day to get things out of the way and store small pattern pieces, etc., but I quickly ran out of space, and thumbtacks. Now I’m all motivated to carry on and complete the organization process. Yay you. See you on Twitter, and thanks for the kick in the rear. 😉


    1. Other suggestions include plastic envelopes / folders, but I’m rather taken with my system 🙂 I cannot work when my surroundings are in disarray, so this is necessary for me. I know it’s not his everyone works, though!


  2. I love how you make use of whatever is most suited to your needs, whatever aisle you find them in. Well done on your organisation efforts! I’ve recently taken shower curtains (cropped and framed) for some conference room art and bought a cheap night stand to hold a little office refrigerator and microwave.


  3. Your organisation levels seriously inspired me! I have boxes and files and labels! Now to put them to use… I need =to borrow your epic mojo, Oanh!


    1. All you need, Amanda, is a stinking hot week where you want to do something sewing related, but that doesn’t t involve sewing or ironing… And then magically the world around you gets completely organised.


  4. Oh my – very impressive Amazing all of the time :o) You do realise this means you can / might have to purchase more patterns as you now have the room? How awful.


    1. More room for patterns is, indeed, a terrible problem to have. Don’t worry, I am already starting on my pattern wish list …


  5. Ahh very nerdy & organised, just how I like it 😉 hehe! I am most impressed with using three colours to separate tops/dresses/bottoms etc, niiice! And how great is Evernote? Love being able to basically carry all my patterns IN MY POCKET! 😀


    1. Colour coding is my thing. I’m very good at it. 🙂
      Love, love, love Evernote. It is exactly how I like to surf the webs.


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