Storing Sewing Patterns

Category Patterns
Keeping your patterns organized helps you to easily find what you need to start your project. This page is about storing sewing patterns.


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I love to sew, but one thing I don't like is trying to get the pattern pieces back into those little envelopes that have the pattern in it originally. I knew I had to do something. I went to an office supply store and bought some cheap file folders. I sew them along the sides then cut the pattern envelope to the size of the file folder and tape or glue it on the outside. It is so much easier to fold the pattern pieces to fit the file folder. I bought a file cabinet at an auction for $1.00 and I was set. No more frustration.

By Carole from Klamath, CA

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January 14, 2009

I do a lot of sewing, using the same patterns over and over. After a while, I've lost pieces, which drives me nuts! I finally figured how to solve the problem. After I cut a pattern apart, I put it in a Ziploc bag, with it's envelope. I don't have to worry about pieces slipping out if it's turned upside down, and it's easy to store. Won't get torn or wet.


By crafty nanny from Hartwick, NY

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Save those Christmas wrap cardboard tubes and roll your patterns instead of folding. You'll find they last much longer!

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February 17, 2009

I have found plastic document protectors work great for my patterns. You can xerox a favorite pattern, put it in a document protector, and then organize them in a binder. This is also great if you only want one pattern from a magazine instead of keeping the whole magazine and trying to find it later. You can get dividers and organize your patterns in the binder by categories if you want. This saves time and space.


By Cindy from St. Clair Shores, MI

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August 3, 2011

I am a crochet patternaholic. I am constantly printing out patterns and buying pattern books and was having trouble organizing the stacks. I bought a couple of magazine racks (like you see at doctor's offices etc.) and now I keep my patterns in the slots. I will label them as "baby", "child toys", "hats", "slippers", "afghans", "lapghans", "prayer shawls", and "miscellaneous".

This rack can be attached to the wall or, in my case, I stood it up against a wall at a slight angle. This sure makes finding my printed patterns easier. You can usually find these racks at "going out of business" sales or at resale shops.

By auntsally from Seguin, Texas

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As I create and sew Barbie doll-size fashions, I came up with a way to keep my patterns organized. For each outfit of the pattern set, I use a 6 1/2-in x 3 5/8-in regular envelope.

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I cut all the pattern pieces up, then fold them to fit inside a folder. Then I find a plastic bag to put the pattern envelop in it and Scotch tape it to the front of the folder, write the number, and pattern on the top of the folder.

Patterns in manila files with envelop in plastic bag taped to outside.

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This is for people who have a problem with keeping sewing patterns neatly stuffed in those too small envelopes.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I keep my sewing pattern envelopes in page protectors, in a binder. I keep my pattern innards in quart sized ZipLoc storage bags. I am looking for boxes (with tops) 10 in. high x 7 in. wide x 24-26 in. long to store a couple hundred patterns numerically. Plastic sounds best, but cardboard has lasted me for years. I just need to replace them.


Charlene from Canton, MI


September 7, 20080 found this helpful

I use clear rubbermaid totes for mine. Since they are plastic, I don't have to worry about moisture getting in, or a mouse chewing its way through.
However I have been keeping my eye on stores who go out of business looking for one of the regular systems. I almost got one at an auction once, but got outbid.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Ruth Ann (Guest Post)
September 8, 20080 found this helpful

Girl Scout cookie boxes are the perfect size to store patterns. Cheaper than plastic totes and you are recycling. They can be covered with contact paper.
The Girl Scouts sell cookies in the Spring in our area at all the local stores and I am sure they would be glad to get rid of their boxes. I have been using mine since my daughter was in scouts 20 years ago.

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September 11, 20080 found this helpful

Here's what I do.

I keep some patterns in a ziplock bag, too, and simply punch holes in them and slip them in a binder, too.


You can also hook them to a hanger with those black strong binder clips and keep them up away from little critter who love to nibble.

However, if they are patterns you use often, your best bet is to trace them around 3/1.00 poster board, mark them with markers as to folds, pattern number, piece number, etc. Then, you can donate those patterns to a thrift shop and have pieces that are easier to see and work with.

I make vests and sell them, and have found that these big pieces are much easier to work with.

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July 27, 20100 found this helpful

Shoe boxes of all sizes make great storage containers. If you like things to look nice they can be painted or covered with contact paper.


I also use baskets and tins from garage sales and thrift stores.

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December 11, 2013

Since patterns are so big now it is impossible to repack them. Plastic bags and envelopes don't allow descriptions of the item. Please if anyone has figured out away to store them in an economical way space wise please let me know.

By Chris L


December 16, 20130 found this helpful

I put the pattern in a gallon size plastic bag, then place the envelope it came in, face up so I can see it through the plastic. Make sense?

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December 17, 20130 found this helpful

I use extra large zippered freezer bags. By putting the pattern envelope on the outside you see which pattern it is. I store them by type of garment on a pant or skirt hanger (the kind with clips). This will hold three or four bags. Then I hang them on an over the door bar meant for hanging clothes on. Works well. Color code the hangers with colored dots for easy access to certain patterns. I have a poster with colored dots, showing what each color means.

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August 27, 20140 found this helpful

When I buy a pattern I immediately cut down one side and across the bottom making a folder. I then store my pattern in a gallon zipper bag. You can see the front and also the back for yardages.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 13, 2009

When I purchase a pattern and cut it out, instead of trying to fit all the folded up pieces back into the pattern envelope, I use Gallon Size Ziploc Bags to place the pattern pieces into it. Where the place is on the bag that you are able to write what is in the ziploc, I write the number of the pattern, and then I place the pattern envelope facing out. This way I know what pattern number pieces go into the ziploc, I can see what pattern it is, it keeps the pattern pieces in better condition that trying to stuff them back into the envelope. I store all the ziploc bags into hand held shopping baskets.

By Lisa from Rocky River, OH


Store Patterns In Ziplock Bags

I do this, too. I tend to buy patterns that I can make over and over again in different fabrics/variations - and I will go on a cutting spree and cut out a whole bunch, then sew them all up at once. I usually fold the fabric pieces and parts together and put them in the ziplock as well, so I know the instructions are with the pieces all ready to go. (11/15/2007)

By Regina Arlauckas

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

July 26, 2010

I download most of my patterns off the internet and put them into organized folders. I also have several large binders with lots of page protectors which have also been organized in the same way as my online folders.

As I collect the free patterns from stores or wherever or any patterns from books that I like, I scan them into the computer. As I need a pattern, I print it out.

After printing it, I rename the online file to notate that it has been printed. When I'm finished with it I put it into a page protector in a binder. This way if I want to make the item again, I don't have to reprint it.

By Cricket from Parkton, NC


Organizing Craft Patterns

Good Idea, I shall do this. (02/01/2010)

By Patricia R

Organizing Craft Patterns

I have been doing the same thing for years and now have three 3 ring binders, one is just for knitting patterns! (02/04/2010)

By JeanieB

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

January 27, 2010

Tips for organizing your craft patterns from our ThriftyFun community. Post your own ideas.

Patterns In Sheet Protectors

Categorize and keep clean your craft patterns by inserting them into plastic page protectors, then into labeled binders.

By Bev B

File Folders

I drop mine into labeled file folders in a cabinet. Recently I started scanning them and organizing them on my computer so I can send them to friends, etc. who need ideas.

By courtney

Color Coordinate And Sort Into Categories

I keep all of my patterns sorted by the type of craft it is. I sew, cross stitch, crochet, beading and many more so I have a different color file for each craft. My patterns are also sorted by the season, holiday, size and finally sex. All of this might seem like a lot but when I'm looking for a pattern, this makes it much easier to find it.

By Carol

Tote Bag For Project

I use a tote bag to carry my project and my yarn in. For my craft patterns, I have a binder with sheet protectors that I use, too.

By Debra

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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