Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Organize-A-Long #3 .. Patterns & Storage Ideas

Our next organizing chapter is PATTERNS.  If your like me.. you have an abundance of them.  Now is the time to take control of your patterns, inventory them and organize them for easy finding later.

For years I collected patterns for that "one day project."  I ended up having hundreds of store bought patterns (Joann's $0.99 sales), countless specialty patterns from WAHM's and a ton of PDF patterns. I am also a sewing magazine hog.. I love All People Quilt which features Quilts and More which is my favorite magazine!

So let's talk storage..  

PDF Patterns: 

Storing Patterns on Your computer:
I keep my PDF patterns in their own folder in my computer and upon closer inspection they take up a great deal of space.  I found a great free service on the web called Dropbox where you can store data.  I still recommend backing your computer and important files to an external hard drive or other storage source.  You can also buy those handy flash drives. You can find them as cheaply as $4.99, just make sure it is compatible with your computer. 

Storing Printed out PDF Patterns:
(here is a glimpse into my PDF storage)
After I print out my PDF patterns, I store them in 3 ring binders clipped together (see pic below).  I always make 2 copies of the actual pattern pieces.. one to keep with the actual pattern in the binder and the other is taped together to create the pattern. If it is a pattern I make over and over, I would make a template of it. 

My PDF paper patterns for small gifts and their templates are stored in these great space saving bins. ( I also keep my larger patterns in these bins as well, ie. Jalie, Farbenmix and Studio Tantrum)

Here's a pic of my PDF patterns with their templates attached stored in above pictured bin.  This system works great for me.  My larger pattern template storage ideas will be discussed when we delve into the Template Storage chapter.

LEFT:  Plastic file boxes are also perfect for PDF pattern storage. (I also use these b/c I ran out of binder space on my shelf and I store them under my desk which I use as a foot rest.)  RIGHT: Accordian Paper File Boxes also work great for PDF pattern storage. Both can be found at your local office supply store.

Paper Patterns:

My paper patterns were always thrown in bins and every time I needed "that specific" pattern, I would have to dig through my closet to get the bins out and then sit and go through the bins... oh so time consuming. The bin I use is featured below.  I then started organizing them via subject.. ie. Aprons, Girls, Boys, Purses etc.  I took some extra cardstock and made a label of the type of patterns stored in the bin. Now all I have to do is read the box storage label and VOILA! .. I pull out the appropriate bin.

Here are some other great ways other mamas store their patterns!

Nicolle shows how her 3 Ring Binders work for pattern storage!

I love Lisa's binders and storage system. She shares her ideas at The Domestic Diva with a huge post.

Following suit of binders are the use of magazine holders. I use these for my sewing magazine collection and they work great for me. I write the name of the magazine in the space provided and on the inside I attach a large index card with a large paper clip with each magazine name and feature that I like the most. (For example. Quilts and More Aug 1010 Beach Bag, Placemats, star quilt. etc) 
That way I don't have to lose valuable time trying to find that ONE project amongst all those magazines.  THIS is also where the Pattern: Book and Magazine Inventory Page comes in, if I were to lose that index card, I'd be lost! 

 Magazine holders can easily be purchased at your local office supply store, Ikea, Walmart and Target.  If money is tight or your feeling creative and have extra cereal boxes, make them yourself. Vanessa shares her great tuturial here.

On the LEFT: I couldn't find an accurate link for these, but the storage boxes almost remind me of smaller banker boxes. this is a great example of using valuable wall space. On the RIGHT: Drawer Boxes.. used for comic books. These stack up nicely to create a full storage system.

Megan shares her banker box pattern storage solution. She also stores her PDF patterns in here as well.

JCaroline Creative shares her tutorial on making fabric pattern and magazine baskets. These are so cute! Not only are these utilized but they add decor to any room!

I simply "OOOHHH'd and AAAAAH'd" when I saw this next picture. I love wood. I would love to master woodworking.  My brother is an architectural cabinet maker and his work is featured at the White House, Smithsonian and various homes across America as commission work. (seriously, he's THAT amazing!)  I tell my mom plans on making my own furniture from Ana White's site, and my mom pleads with me to wait till Will gets home and then says a small prayer. I am dangerous, I can cut myself with a butter knife so the thought of me using power tools scares my mother to death!  

ANYWAY.. on to these awesome crates.  Scroll down the web page a bit and you will find the dimensions for them. 

Another great wooden crate storage system. Jessica shared how she made her crates over at Running with Scissors.

Lynelle shared her pattern storage system. She uses a large metal file cabinet.  Now while these are expensive new, you can find them on Craigslist or your local freecycle!  Check them out regularly.

Boones_doggie shows off her pattern storage in a simple plastic shelving unit!

Ikea.. (oh how I love thee!) has these sleek base cabinets for their kitchens.  The lower two drawers are the exact width and height for three rows of patterns. (this Ikea link takes you to this drawer's info)

And another beauty from Ikea (this Ikea link takes you to the this drawer's info). This particular shelving unit offers frosted glass, so you can see the patterns in the drawer. I like this idea b/c it adds a bit of character to the unit.

Pattern Magazine and Book Storage:

Target has this space saving shelving unit. This reminds me of a library.  I love libraries, I always seem to find a calm around books.  I love to read, but unfortunately I simply don't do much of it anymore.

Saving valuable floor space is this great shelving unit at Walmart for a great price! This is also great for storing EVERYTHING sewing! I see so many possibilities with this.. hmm... (that hmm.. means, it's not looking good for my wallet! LOL)

Pottery Barn - I simply LOVE PB but sadly I find them overpriced. BUT. I still LOVE their style! These free standing shelves work great for using wall space.  The shelves can also spaced out and other features can be added (like cubes) to create a unique design.

Make your own wall cubes  or build a whole shelf like HillaryLouise did!

Well that's it for today folks!

I hope that I have helped solve your pattern storage problem and/or given you new ideas ..even to create your own!

If you store your patterns in a system that works for you and it's not featured, please share, we would love to see it!

Happy Pattern Organizing!
=) Kristina


  1. Genius. Thank you so much. Was struggling to think about how to store all my cardboard block patterns. Was looking into expensive A1 portoliio files but those plastic boxes are exactly what I need and I have spare ones under the bed! Lissa

  2. I found these 1/2 size hanging file storage boxes to be about the same size as the Dritz or Hancock Fabric "Pattern Boxes" (although not as cute, they are plain white or kraft brown), but they are about 1/2 the price. I got 6 in a package for about $12 at Office Max