Saturday, April 26, 2008

Organizational Tricks Part Two

I was going through old posts looking for some information, and came across this post about organizational tools I use to maintain control over my sewing stuff. In it, I mentioned that I'd talk about patterns at a future date, but I haven't done it yet.

I've collected numerous patterns over the years, both independents and the "Bigs" (the McCall's group, Simplicity and Kwik Sew). I keep them in boxes that fit into the shelving unit in my sewing room. The boxes are repurposed beverage cases. I covered them with contact paper so they'd look nicer. The patterns in each box are sorted by number. Ideally each brand would have its own box, but some brands have to share.

I make a copy of the front and back of each pattern envelope. These are kept in binders, and are sorted by pattern type--categories include Dresses, Jackets, Loungewear, Bottoms, Tops, Knitwear, Ensembles, and Miscellaneous. Within each category, the copies are sorted by pattern company, then by number. In essence, these are my own individual pattern catalogs.

Here's a sample page from the black binder. It was the first one and still has different categories in it.

This is a system that's developed and evolved over time, but it works for me. If I know the brand I'm looking for, I can easily go to a box and look for them. Or, if I know the type of garment I want to make, I can look through the binders.

However, I'm having a space problem lately. I'm running out of room in the boxes. I only have 7 boxes, they're just about full, and I'm also running out of room to put boxes on the shelves even if I got more. I've been culling patterns from the collection, which helps some. I'm less successful at avoiding the acquisition of new patterns. Working on it though, even though eBay and the ASG Trading Post continue to call out to me.

On a tangent, I took Monday off this week and spent a couple of hours working on the yard. The cacti are starting to bloom, and this little barrel cactus was the first:

This plant is already starting to fade a bit, but others are gearing up. I'm looking forward to seeing flowers on the big cacti. The cholla has vibrant fuschia ones and the prickly pear has yellow.


Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I used a variation of this binder system years ago when my children were smaller. I purchased less patterns and had the time in the evening to maintain the system. Now that I'm working more hours that system has gone by the wayside. My patterns are just stored in nice looking organizers. When I need a pattern I have to search...even though it sounds time consuming somehow it works! And those black binders - they have been relegated to a corner of the fabric closet!!!!

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Carolyn, I see your point. It doesn't take me much time at all to keep it up, especially now that it's set up and I have a printer/scanner at home.

This all got started after several occasions where I accidentally bought multiples of the same pattern and "lost" other ones. Not that I mind buying extra copies from time to time but I'd prefer it to be intentional (hahaha!).

Gwen said...

That is a clever idea - right now I mostly just stuff each of my patterns into 1 of 2 boxes, labeled in my head as "Patterns I might make again" and "Patterns I doubt I'll make again". My collection isn't TOO large yet, but maybe that makes now the perfect time to get started on a system... Thanks! :)

Mardel said...

I started doing the binder thing like that recently. I had a prior system that worked, but which I outgrew (it was before I had a scanner at home) and an intermediate system. Now I still have to integrate the three systems into one and that takes time, but the newer stuff is all in the binders.