A Guide To Organising Your Sewing Patterns and Fabric Stash

Urk! So I've had so many projects I want to start and complete - but have been procrastinating about since I would have to sort through my huge pattern paper pile and fabric pile to find what I need.. and having a big mess isn't at all motivating me to do it! 

A guide to organising your sewing patterns and fabric stash

This weekend, I finally found time to get it all sorted.. I put all the patterns and my overfilled concertina file out on the kitchen floor and sorted through them all, making piles to keep and store nicely, and piles to chuck away.

Those patterns that didn't take up much room like my homemade 'basic tank' which consists of one small piece of butter paper were going to go back into the concertina and those patterns which i have bought and printed but not sellotaped together or cut out also went into the concertina (and yea.. there's a few of these.. who else does this???) 

Patterns that I've cut up a million times to make alterations or pattern hacks mostly went in the 'to recycle' pile, since some of them are barely recognizable anymore and I have re-printed these new if I think I will make them again.  Yay - piles of messy butter paper gone! 

Since I wanted to make a good job of this I did a little research to how other people organised their patterns.. heres a few ways sew-a-holics tackle this problem: 

Hanging them up:

Hanging on coat hangers/trouser hangers and file them neatly into a wardrobe. I have seen this before on a few blogs and tried it a couple of times myself but I only have one wardrobe in my wee house and not enough space for sewing patterns! I also wanted to be able to keep all the small pieces and instructions safely together so I thought this might not be for me. Check out Grainline Studios way they have done this.. works well for them! Sugarplum cuties simply hangs them on their wall, which would work for a few patterns at one time.. 

Btw have you guys seen the CUTE packaging for Papercut Patterns paper patterns? They include a built in hanger in the envelope.. so useful! 

Papercut Patterns Image

Papercut Patterns Image

Folders in boxes:

Plenty of people store their sewing patterns in manila folders or neatly in cardboard boxes like Sew Fearless or Lladybird which seems to be quite a good way to do it too..

Database your patterns:  

 Colette Patterns uses  comic book wrappers to keep theirs together nicely and sorts them in boxes according to what kind of pattern they are e.g. tops, bottoms, dresses etc, and then goes one step further and has them all databased on an app which makes it easy to see what you have and if you are out and about you can easily pull up the pattern and see what fabric and notions you need for them.. which is pretty cool if you have enough patterns! Grainline Studio also seems to store their patterns easily on a tablet. 

Well I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go to all that effort to put them into an app - and I am quite a hands on person who still clings to the habit of using paper (even though I know we shouldn't), still enjoys reading a real hardcopy book or keeping notes and writing lists in a notebook as opposed to on a tablet or phone. So this is what I did: 

What I did: 

Off I went to Warehouse stationary to see what I could find to neatly contain all my patterns. I found these A3 cardboard pockets which were just $1.50 each and I could see would neatly house all the pieces of each pattern. So I bought 15 of them.. and filled them all up! I wrote the name of the pattern on the front of each. 

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Since I was organizing my patterns I decided to neaten my fabric stash too and donate the fabrics and scraps I didn't want to keep (I filled a huge bag which kind of surprised me) and ordered all the fabrics neatly again on my tea trolley. I have a fair bit of fabric for the winter which I don't expect to use soon, but bought in The Fabric Store sale - who can resist $15/m merino wool when its usually at least $30?

I snipped tiny little squares from the ones I knew I wanted to use in the near future and stapled them neatly to the backs of the folders so I now know what I have and what I want to use it for. The remainder of samples I cut, but didn't yet have a pattern for, or at least hadn't printed and stuck together yet, I stapled into a notebook to keep for later. 

And that's it! A tidy pattern & fabric stash! 

Have  a great week! <3 and happy de-stashing!