…until I realized I couldn’t find anything. Specifically, I didn’t have an easy way of seeing what patterns I already have, or finding that *one* I want to look at. I had them inventoried in a spreadsheet and sorted into two storage containers, but that still didn’t help much. Without pictures to go with the pattern numbers, all the “skirt and pants with pocket and waistband variations” on the list look the same. Shopping at pattern sales without a current printout of what I had on hand made for duplicates. It was time to find a different system. I poked around online and found a tip on patternreview.com that looked like an ideal solution.
- 3-ring binder
- clear letter-size sheet protectors, top load
- quart-size zipper-style storage or freezer bags, 7″ x 8″ (slider bags are too square to work for most pattern tissue)
- tabbed dividers
- somewhere to record inventory (preferably computerized)
(It also helps to have a couple hours’ worth of viewing material queued up on Netflix)
I started with bags from Aldi, which had a place to write on them like Ziploc bags do, but that obstructed the view of the contents so I had to turn that to the back. The bags pictured above were at a dollar store for $1 per box of 25 and had no markings on them at all. Win!
Following the tip I found, I pulled the tissue and instructions from the outer envelope and slid the envelope into a sheet protector. Tissue and instructions went into a storage bag with the pattern company and number facing outward. I had to write in the details on a few of them, like Burda, if they didn’t show up in a visible spot.
Once I got the separation process done, I sorted the patterns into a couple of groups to make it easier to browse. I have tons of junior- and misses-sized patterns, so I split those into casual and formal categories. Crafts got their own divider, and most of the other patterns fell into an “other apparel” category (unisex, costume, men, children). I labeled my dividers with masking tape for now, mostly because I am an indecisive person and I know these groups are apt to change as I allot more and more. (What, it’s so hard not to buy them when they’re on sale at Jo-Ann for $1!)
Process complete! My patterns are still in their original order, numerically by company, so I didn’t have to rearrange very much. I also labeled the containers with masking tape since those contents will change every time I buy Simplicity patterns, which is just about every time I make the mistake of going to the store during a sale.
This is a bit of my inventory sheet. The years are the copyright dates from the envelope, not necessarily the year in which they were purchased, and uncut ones are indicated so I know which ones can be sold. Eventually maybe I’ll get around to selling the ones that I’ve changed my mind about to make room for new ones… haha.
(Pardon the phone photography and poor lighting. I decided to document my progress at 1am Monday when I finished this task)