Friday, 29 June 2012

Pattern storage - problems and solutions

Pattern box

Like many sewists I've hoarded a small collection of patterns. They're stored in a box, and I love taking them out and admire the pretty covers. Commercial patterns, both vintage and new, are easy to deal with once the project is done, but how about the other patterns?

Guilt box

Since I either trace and alter patterns, or (most often) just draft them myself, I end up with a lot of patterns that has no obvious storage place. Usually it goes like this:
- Draw an image of what I'm aiming for
- Trace (printed pattern/basic sloper/similar pattern)
- Draft alterations
- Make a toille and fit
- Mark up the changes and clean up the pattern, draw a second generation of some pattern pieces if needed.
- Sew
- Not throw away toille, "not-final-generation-pattern-pieces", and left over scraps of toille fabric and pattern paper. Why? Because obviously all of this might come in handy in the future!

And it never does. The final pattern I often use for future makes, or as base for a new pattern, but the rest is a waste of space and I'm slowly learning to throw it away. Not an easy lesson at all...

However, I've worked out a new system, and it seems to be working! All needed is a binder and some plastic folders. When the project is done, I take the inspirational image I drew before getting started, maybe make a list of the pattern pieces on the back, put it in a plastic folder with all the pattern pieces and maybe a fabric sample, and voila!

Some of the folders in the binder.

Next time I want to make a pattern I'll just browse the binder! I have a feeling this binder will grow into more binders in the future, perhaps one each for dresses, skirts/trousers, blouses, outerwear and jersey. I'm really forward to creating more patterns!

Pile of inspirational drawings... If I manage to make all of these ideas I will certainly need more binders... Yay!

I have a strong feeling this will make my life considerably easier when it comes to finding my patterns. Also, browsing through a binder full of colored images of garments I've made is just as fun - or maybe even more fun! - as browsing my commercial patterns. There's a sense of accomplishment, and "oh yes, I've made that!" =)

Of course, there's room for improvement. The pattern paper I prefer when drafting is easy to mark, erase and tape, but bulky to store. The plan is to transfer the TNT patterns to my finer tracing paper that is a lot thinner, doesn't crease or break so easily and is great to store. So ideally, when the garment is done I'd trace the pattern to the finer paper. Yeah, right. I'm working on at least tracing it to the final version next time I use it, I think it's a more realistic aspiration.

One step at the time... Right now, I'm hoping to soon place this drawing in the binder:

How do you store your sewing patterns? Do you draft, trace or are you perhaps lucky enough to get away with only using commercial patterns out of the envelope?

Love, Erika


Always Alice said...

Lol, I love your guilt box. I have evrything in boxes by bust size or waist size if they are "bottoms". I use a lot of plastic baggies too. Regrettably. And they hide in the basement so my husbie doesn't exactly ever have a full count and doesn't know if I'm adding. It's a disgrace really that they languish in cardboard boxes. I did have them in big Rubbermaid bins but then I had to take the tops off to see them and they weren't organized at all.

Anna | Mormor hade stil said...

Jag använder mig också av en pärm precis som du. Men jag har vuxit ur den och har inte kommit mig för att köpa en ny så jag har en sorterad pärm och sedan mängder av osorterade högar jag måste ta itu med.

Erika said...

Thank you for your comment, Always Alice! I keep thinking that I'm going to take care of that guilt box... =)
Love the idea of sorting the patterns by size!

Anna, jag har stark känsla av att jag snart kommer att hamna i samma sits som du! Varje mönster tar så himla mycket plats... De osorterade högarna är verkligen värst, har vissa påsar som hängt med i fler år än vad jag tänker erkänna =)

Lizzy said...

Very good idea to do that!

Lizzy said...

Very good idea!