Monday, January 7, 2013

A Sewists Biggest Dilema

As sewists (ie. people who sew - I can't quite come at sewers, especially when I see it written down!), we have a few shared problems that just won't seem to go away.  Things like:
  • A growing fabric stash that we don't seem to use;
  • Organisation of said fabric stash so we remember what we have, how much of it we bought, and if we've already washed it;
  • Keeping our sewing rooms or areas neat;
  • UFOs (otherswise known as Unfinished Objects);
And the one I had a go at sorting out during the break:
  • Organising our patterns!
I was storing my patterns randomly in a lovely two drawer bedside table, which worked sort of okay until I tried to find something I vaguely remembered I owned.  Then this would happen:

I would pull everything out until I found what I wanted, and if I wasn't in a hurry I would put them back in the same haphazard manner.  If I was in a hurry they would stay in a pile on the floor.

And if you've been reading my blog for a little while you will know that I have been in a bit of a hurry recently, so pretty much all my patterns were in a pile on the floor.  Obviously this is not ideal for me or the patterns...  So I put my thinking cap on and came up with an idea.

I went and purchased 40 of these:

I think I was kidding myself when I thought 40 would be enough...

Your new word for today, readers, is Doculope.  A doculope is a sturdy plastic envelope that closes with a press stud, in which you can store documents.  Document + Envelope = Doculope!

The good thing about these babies is:
  • I can store the adjusted pattern pieces I make in with the original pieces
  • I don't have to fold things up tiny again to attempt to get them back into the pattern envelope
  • If I buy buttons or zips or something that I particularly want to use with a pattern I can put it in the doculope too
  • They are a uniform size so sit together neatly.
So I got busy on the floor putting all my patterns in doculopes.  I wrote the make and number on the left, and the style on the right - like this:

So organised!

Oh, and while I was at it I photographed (with my fancy new ipad!) the back and the front of the pattern envelope so I can make an record of what I own so I don't buy it twice!  This also gives me the added benefit of giving me easy access to the amount of fabric and what notions etc I need when I'm out and about.

Then I put them into two plastic document filing tubs that I purchased.  So my new pattern storage system looks like this:


My next little job is to sort them into styles - so all the wiggle dresses together, all the skirts together etc.

Then I just need to find somewhere in my sewing room to store the tubs.  Hmmmmm...

So - what do you think of my storage solution?  Is it similar to yours?  How do you store your patterns?



  1. Wow, what great organization and I admire you for working with all these vintage patterns! I just got my first vintage pattern and after I complete a retro inspired pattern dress I plan to at least try this one too:) They are quite delicate aren't they? I'm amazed the tissues have lasted this long.

  2. Hi Joanna! Yes, they can be quite delicate, depending on how they have been stored during their life. Some of mine tear quite easily, so I have to be extra careful, but some are just as strong as the modern patterns :) Good luck with yours!

  3. WOW your so organised! Im only using sandwich bags at the moment but might invest in those docu things soon!

  4. Thanks for the new word: Doculope : ) Love the idea too. If only I could bed so organized.

    1. Hi Rosalind! Its a funny word isn't it... but I must admit I kinda like making up my own words by squishing two words together :) And trust me, I only play at being organised. Most of the time the space around me looks like a bomb has gone off!