My Sewing Pattern Storage


I hoard stash pretty much anything related to sewing. Patterns are no exception. I’ve been through a few different sewing pattern organization systems but I think I’ve finally hit on one that works well for me. It’s systematic, thematic, and allows for both easy perusal as well as easy growth (because, let’s be honest, I’m constantly adding new patterns to my collection). I store all my patterns in storage systems meant for storing comic books – cardboard boxes, tagboard backers, and plastic sleeves – and it works a charm. (This is not my original idea. I know I got the idea from another sewing blogger, but I can’t for the life of me remember who!) My organization system goes deeper than just “boxes”, so I thought I’d share in case it helps or inspires anyone else.


Since I have a lot of patterns, I have them organized into boxes by type of garment since, if I’m looking for a specific pattern or even just some inspiration, it usually starts with “I want to sew a dress today” or “I’m in desperate need of a shirt.” The current box categories I’m using are: Jumpsuits & Dresses (1970-now), Dresses (pre-1970), Separates (pre-1970), Separates (1970’s), Separates (1980-now), Kids, Baby/Toddler & Maternity, Mens & Outerwear, Lingerie/Pajamas/Swimsuits & Accessories & Crafts.


On the upper right hand corner of each pattern, I put a colored dot corresponding to what is inside the pattern. This is helpful when I have multiple categories in a box and particularly helpful for the separates category because often a “separates” pattern contains several different separates in the same envelope. If I’m wanting pants patterns, I can easily just flip through only the patterns that contain pants.


Finally, on the upper left corner of each pattern I have the year the pattern was released. I file the patterns in each box chronologically. I love seeing how fashions change year by year as well as how they stay the same for sweeps of time.

How do you organize your patterns? Do you like my system? Any ideas on how to make it even better?

Comments 13

  1. My storage is very similar. :D I love the comic book sleeves and cardboard backing – I love having the confidence that my stash is protected for years/generations to come.

    As you organize by garment type – I organize by decade. I often want to make a 1940’s *something* and browse till I’m inspired.

    I love that all of us seamstresses organize in a slightly different way & love seeing how you store your stuff. Very organized and tidy. :D

    Happy sewing!

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      That’s interesting that your first instinct is to browse by decade while mine is by garment. I love the differences and similarities between us and our systems!

  2. I organise by Pattern company and pattern number. But I maintain a datebase on my phone with a picture of the pattern, what’s in the pattern, the pattern measurements and how much material needed.

    I can search the database for what I want to make.

    It’s what I have found works for me and it allows me to buy the right amount of fabric when I come across something.

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      What do you use to make the database on your phone?
      It’s interesting that you organize by pattern company. I do that with my digital pattern files. Is your collection full of independent designers? Modern patterns?

      1. I use Evernote and copy the information from the company website into a ‘page’ and then tag the features of the pattern, like pleated skirt, collar. I really like that I could input the information using my laptop and then it would sync with my phone.

        I have a mix of modern, vintage and independent patterns and growing.

        I used to file by garment, but I have quite a few patterns that contain a jacket, dress, pants and top. It was annoying when they didn’t fit into one category.

  3. Similar to you. I have a set of three, deep drawers where I store my patterns. They are organised into clothing types – dresses, coats, trousers etc. It seems to be shrinking though, because it’s getting difficult to store more patterns in there. Very odd!

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  4. I do not have a system for my patterns, fashion or quilting ?? and it’s driving me crazy! You however have come to the rescue and inspired me! Thanks so much, my sewing room is ready for a good cleaning and rearranging. This will help so much.?

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      So glad I could be a source of inspiration. I love cleaning and rearranging – I find it inspiring and it’s a great excuse to touch all the pretty things in my stash!

  5. I too use the comic book bags and I get mine at Hobby Lobby in the art section. They have the perfect size for regular patterns and larger ones for the Vogue/home printer patterns. I’ve only got mine sorted by garment category like you (dresses, mens, etc.) and I’ve thought about putting a list in my phone so I don’t re-purchase, which I’ve been known to do. I hadn’t thought of Evernote and I might give that a try some day. But to be honest, I’ve had so many fails lately on garments that are the result of bad fit, poor construction, sheer stupidity, or a combo thereof, I’ve abandoned garment sewing completely. I found it paralyzed me and I was losing the joy of my sewing room. I went 4 whole weekends without a stitch! ACK. Like you, I’m extremely organized and the UFOs were becoming overwhelming. So the patterns are up on the top shelf and my quilting projects have taken front and center. Now to organize THOSE patterns. :)

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      So sorry you’ve had a string of misses in garment sewing. It’s a great idea to set it aside and focus on sewing you’re loving at the moment and perhpas your garment sewjo will come back again in the future!

      I didn’t realize I could get larger bags for the Vogue size patterns. I actually have an extra box labeled “Oversize” where I store all the odd size patterns I have on their sides.

  6. How neat to read the different ways everyone categorizes their patterns. I categorize mine by men’s, women’s, children’s, toddler’s, babie’s, costumes, and crafts. In each of those categories they are organized by Pattern Company and by pattern number. Styles are mixed together thus far, mostly because many of my patterns have mixed pieces and I like looking through the different styles from years gone by.

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