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Monday, October 15, 2012

Dealing with Those Pesky Sewing Patterns: Organizing Solution

This is Part 4 of my How I Organized My Entire House for $0.00 (Really!) series.
Part 1 (Intro) is here.
Part 2 (Simple Rules to Create Organization that Sustains Itself Plus Master Bath Organization) is here.
Part 3 (Inexpensive Organizing) is here.

Did you think I abandoned my organizing project? Oh no, I have not. I have only stared into the abyss that is my craft room, and it is not a short thing. It is a long, multi-part thing.

I started with my sewing patterns, which is what this post is about. I recently started crafting for a great company again, you know, on a professional basis, and that means lots of time in the craft room. And that place is scary. We don't have a garage, so storage is a rare and precious commodity at our house. Stuff that has no where to go ends up in the craft room. If a kid comes to me to ask where something goes, it's usually phrased this way, "Where does this go? The craft room?"

David has started calling it "the junk drawer." I know another crafter who calls hers "the room of requirement."

I have slowly started to change this. It was a major milestone when I could reach the closet--which by the way, is right next to the door.

I've also started changing my habits. I don't craft the same way I used to. I put things away as I go. It's a novel concept, I know, and more about how I made it easier to do later, but it does make my brain more clear. I spend a lot less time looking for the scissors (or other craft tool) that are somewhere on my table and clean-up afterward is so much easier.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the patterns.

Sewing patterns organized by brand and number, and cataloged with photo on computer

I picked up a huge box of retro patterns at a garage sale a few Saturdays ago, and nearly doubled my pattern collection in one go. I desperately needed a way to look at what I had and also find what I had.

My boxes of patterns--they don't look that disorganized, but oh, are they!

The Before: How to Organize Sewing Patterns

So, I sorted all of them by brand, and then by number. I also took snapshots of them as I went, just with my camera phone. Nothing fancy. Although, I wish I had been more careful to make sure that you could clearly see the pattern number.

In the middle of sorting:

Sorting the sewing patterns, on my way the way to organization

I also did a lot of putting away of random pattern pieces that had strayed.

One of my nice, neat boxes:

Sewing patterns organized by brand and number, then cataloged with photo on computer

Then, I put them all way, all neatly categorized and in numerical order. And, I thought of a brilliant way to look through them without having to rifle through the patterns themselves. I have all the photos on my computer, but I thought I'd share the joy (and they are easier to tag this way) on flickr. (Confession: I haven't really used flickr much before. I hope I did that right.) I haven't finished tagging them all, but I can easily browse and find just the thing I'm looking for this way.

No getting out the boxes of patterns until I know exactly what pattern I want and when I know which one I want, I can go directly to it. It's like the Dewey Decimal system for sewing! Or you know, like how they have it set up when you look through the books and then find them in the drawers to buy your pattern. Whatever. I like the library analogy better.

Ahhh, so much better! Simple but effective solution.

Step one of the craft room is conquered. Only 301 more steps. . .

Sewing patterns organized by brand and number, and cataloged with photo on computer

PS: Probably my favorite of the new patterns--I must make this dress. I must!

McCalls 6656

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  1. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Love the idea of taking pics of the patterns! So easy to organize and review! Will be using this for my quilting patterns. Thank you!

  2. Brilliant idea! plus, now that they're online, you can access your inventory of patterns from anywhere.

  3. I actually use a similar system for all of the "gifts" in my house.

    I like to buy gifts at a good discount so I usually buy them in advance and save them until the appropriate birthday/holiday. My system of just tossing things in a tote wasn't working and I was rebuying gifts because it took too much time to find what I had.

    I now have a system. We traded totes around in my house so that each tote has a separate name or color and is categorized by type. Then I have a list that goes with each tote on the computer, i.e. pink tote= girly gifts, green tote = baby type items, blue- adult, etc. When it is gift giving time I check the list first and only have to open the tote with the gift I'm looking for.

    This way when Christmas is coming I check the list and know before even opening a tote what I have and what I don't. So handy. Then when I shop, I make a quick note at the end of the list for the tote my new gifts were added to.

    It took time to set it up but it was totally worth it since it has saved my sanity and curbed extra spending. :)

  4. I think I need to start with a box!! Mine is falling apart at the sides.
    I've just downloaded your paisley embroidery patterns - looking forward to getting started :)


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