Having a bunch of sewing patterns can quickly become messy and unorganized, especially if you have patterns of all different sizes and types. You want to keep your sewing patterns in good shape and keep them from getting ripped and torn if you use them repeatedly. So, in what ways can you store sewing patterns to keep them neat, tidy, and easy to find?
There are several ways to store physical and digital sewing patterns, such as:
- Accordion files
- File boxes
- File folders
- Magazine holders
- Pants hangers
- Paper towel tubes
- Pattern hooks
- Plastic drawer organizers
- Ziploc bags
- Flash drives
- Desktop folders
The best way to store sewing patterns will depend on how many patterns you have, the type of patterns, and what kind of space you have. But hopefully, you’ll find at least one way that works for you on this list. Let’s get into it!
How to Store Sewing Patterns
Although there are plenty of places to get sewing patterns online in this digital world, some people still prefer physical paper and printed sewing patterns. If you’re one of those people, then these methods are for you.
1. Accordion FilesIf you’re short on storage space, one of the best ways to store sewing patterns is by using accordion files. Accordion files are also called concertina files, but basically, they open up like an accordion and have plenty of space for patterns of all types. They’re great for keeping your sewing patterns in one easily accessible place.
Depending on how many patterns you have, you can place one or two similar patterns in an individual space or categorize multiple similar patterns together. There’s plenty of space in these types of file folders. Many accordion files even have handles so you can easily take them with you when traveling.
2. BindersThree-ring binders make a great storage solution for paper sewing patterns, and they don’t take up a lot of space, either. For large patterns, you can punch holes directly in the pattern sheet. If you don’t punch out any necessary information, you can place it directly in the binder via the three holes.
For smaller patterns or patterns that you don’t want to punch holes in, you can also utilize clear sheet protectors that are also three-hole punched. Organize them by type, for example, kids’ patterns, shirt patterns, pant patterns, etc. If you have a lot of patterns, you can even dedicate a different binder for each sewing pattern category. The possibilities are endless.
3. File BoxesCardboard file boxes are great for storing sewing patterns because they come in all different sizes. These boxes usually have lids and a space on the front so that you can label what types of sewing patterns are inside. These boxes can be found at office supply stores or craft stores. Some are designed to hold index cards, photos, and larger documents, so choose the sizes matching your sewing patterns.
Another great thing about these boxes is that they can be easily stacked on bookshelves or even on the floor if you’re short on storage space. You can also place smaller boxes inside larger boxes or plastic bins to save even more space.
4. File FoldersFile folders or manila envelopes are great for storing sewing patterns. Some are just standard folders, but others have hooks on the sides for storing inside filing cabinets. Filing cabinets are particularly useful if you have a lot of patterns and have a sewing business where you need lots of storage.
Depending on the style of the folder you get, there are a variety of file folder organizers as well. If you don’t like the look of manila folders or envelopes, some file folders also have cute designs. You can find ones that match the design of your sewing room or studio.
5. Magazine HoldersMagazine holders are very versatile when it comes to storing sewing patterns. They’re particularly useful when it comes to storing books of sewing patterns. But you can also use them to store individual sewing patterns as well.
For individual sewing patterns, you can categorize them in large Ziploc bags, file folders, or envelopes, then place them in the magazine holders. You may have difficulty getting the bags and envelopes to stand up if they don’t have many patterns.
6. Pants HangersPants hangers are great for storing sewing patterns because they have clips that allow you to clip the patterns into them. You can also get these for free from many stores if you just ask. Or just ask to keep the hangers if you’re buying new pairs of pants anyway.
There are two ways you can use them. You can clip the patterns directly into the clips, or you organize them in plastic bags or sheet protectors and then clip those into the hangers. Then, just hang them in a sewing closet or on a rack in your arts and crafts space.
7. Paper Towel TubesIf you don’t mind rolling your patterns up, you can store them in paper towel tubes and write the pattern’s name on the tube. Then, just toss all the tubes into a cardboard box or drawer and pull them out easily when needed.
The only problem is that you may have to pin them to a corkboard or something the next time you use them because they’ll want to roll back up when you take them out of the tubes. But, this is another free way to store sewing patterns and reuse other materials in the process.
8. Pattern HooksPattern hooks are intended for storing pattern pieces as well as patterns.
You can get these online or at any arts and crafts or sewing store.
You can punch a hole in the pattern, place it on the hook, or clip it to the hook, depending on the hook style.
Then, you just have to have somewhere to hang all the hooks.
9. Plastic Drawer OrganizersCrafters love plastic drawer organizers to organize their crafting supplies, and sewists can use them, too, to store sewing patterns.
These are organizers that have multiple plastic drawers. Some with deep drawers and some with shallow drawers, but they come in many different styles. Plus, many of these organizers have wheels, so you can move them around easily if necessary. They also don’t take up a lot of space.
10. Ziploc Bags
Large, gallon-sized Ziploc bags make great sheet protectors for storing sewing patterns. You can even place smaller sewing patterns inside smaller bags, then place the smaller bags inside larger bags.
There are a bunch of different ways to store the bags afterward. You can punch holes in them and place them in binders, hang them from hooks, or organize them into plastic tubs and containers. Either way, Ziploc bags are great for storing sewing patterns because they are waterproof and can protect your patterns from damage while being stored.
How to Store Digital Sewing Patterns
Some people prefer to download sewing patterns off the Internet instead of using physical sewing patterns, or maybe you like both types of patterns because of the unique ones you can find online. Either way, digital patterns are much easier to store because they don’t take up as much physical space, just digital space.
However, you don’t want to take up too much digital space. You also want a backup storage space if your computer crashes and your files get wiped out. So, here are some suggestions for storing digital sewing patterns.
Having the files backed up to an external hard drive or a flash drive (thumb drive) is the best way to save your digital sewing pattern files in case your computer crashes. You can fill up one flash drive, then move on to the next one, or you can have multiple flash drives with different types of sewing patterns on each one. However, this can get costly over time once you accumulate a lot of patterns.
You can also create different folders on your desktop for different types of sewing patterns. This is a great way to organize them more easily, but it doesn’t save storage space because it still uses a lot of memory on your computer. And it’s still a good idea to have the files backed up somewhere else, so you don’t lose them if your computer crashes or stops working.
If you prefer to work off your tablet or smartphone, there are many apps out there that you can download that allow you to keep patterns on your phone or tablet well-organized. You can use these apps to organize digital files into different categories and they can also serve as a way to back up your files since you can still retrieve the data on another device if one device crashes.
Some good sewing pattern storage apps include:
- Sewing Patterns Lite
- Sew Buddy
- Sew Organized
It can be hard to keep track of a bunch of sewing patterns, regardless of whether those patterns are physical or digital. I hope this list gave you plenty of ideas for how to store your sewing patterns in an easy and organized way. Many of these ideas can be utilized for free or at a very low cost and won’t take up a lot of valuable space in your sewing room.