Scan small pattern pieces and vintage patterns! Since I mostly sew doll clothes, I'm used to scanning each new pattern as I obtain it. That takes several hours of image editing and standing at the printer/scanner, so it keeps me from going too nuts at the fabric stores' frequent 99 cent sales! Be sure to scan a ruler, too, to ensure that the printout is the right size.
Recently, I found several early 60s patterns that yielded wonderful doll outfits. I was very glad I scanned them and used printouts instead of using the fragile, old tissue pattern. My copy paper ones held up for several uses, and I still had the original, safe and intact in the envelope. I could make a thousand 'Oriental Sheath' dresses, without putting so much as a pinhole in the original tissue.
If you save the paper you used to cut the pattern from, you can use it as a template to get the best placement on print-design fabric. Just center the paper where you like, put the pattern piece down, and take away the paper.
Even if you make full size clothes, it's probably a good idea to scan those small but important pieces, and save them to your hard drive. Sewists know that it's the tiny little pattern pieces that always vanish ! Be sure to back up any of your scans to a CD-R.
It's within copyright to back up your patterns, long as you don't sell them!
By Dorrie from Norman, OK