Organizing Fabric and PDF Patterns

A Sunday spent organizing is heavenly for me! As I have been acquiring more bits and pieces for my sewing habit I have been struggling with organizing it all. First I only had a few bits of fabric and so I just sort of stacked them on the floor. Then I started to have remnants so I tossed them into a basket on the floor. Now the basket is overflowing and there are stacks of fabric in every corner.

I just now got my books unpacked from moving in with my fiance…last year. They were in an assortment of boxes, milk crates and laundry baskets. When I finished I had these empty milk crates and I thought they would make some decent fabric storage. So I cut out a cardboard folding board made to fit inside a milk crate and got to work! (Thanks, retail clothing-folding experience!)

Sorry that my fabric is a bit wrinkly! I pre-wash all of my fabric so I can sew whenever I get the itch, but I do not pre-iron. I fold the fabric until I can get a nice long piece. Then I place my board at the top center and fold the edges to the middle of the board.


For me, there is no requirement to be exact. Sometimes the edges overlap, sometimes they don’t even meet in the center.


With the folding board still inside, fold the fabric


Then remove your folding board and continue to fold!IMG_20160612_102455

Look at that snug little fabric stash bug! All ready to go in it’s milk crate home.


Now I just stack up the milk crates! (Because I have become a fabric hoarding monster!)

And as soon as I had folded all of my larger bits of fabric I turned back to my small remnants basket and Lilly had already made herself comfortable. Cats, right?


Then I moved onto my PDF printed patterns. I have to tell you that I love the printable patterns! I really have a hard time with that tissue thin pattern paper. Invariably when I smooth it out with my hands it crinkles or rips. There is also something gratifying about taping together pattern pieces while you watch a movie and then cutting them out. It also makes it a little less frightening to alter your patterns because you can always just print another one.

So I had a bunch of these printable patterns clipped together and hanging on thumb tacks in the wall and stacks of instructions all over. It has been in the upper 90’s all week so I have had a fan on and it was blowing them all over and I couldn’t take it anymore! I bought a cheap archival portfolio, I think it is 22″ x 30″. With a coupon it was $12!


Then I separated out my patterns and put them in manila folders. I wrote the name and sometimes a little note to go with the pattern. I used paperclips on the bottoms of the folders to hold any tiny pattern pieces that tend to disappear!


Then I just slid them folder first into the portfolio. Now they are flat, portable and all in one place.


As for the instructions, I filled a couple of binders with clear page protectors and filled them up! I am not nearly so organized as to have these in any kind of order like, tops, bottoms, and dresses. They are just sort of haphazardly in there. Maybe someday I will get to really organizing them by pattern type!


Hint: I’m making the Weston Shorts next!

6 thoughts on “Organizing Fabric and PDF Patterns

  1. Linda of Nice dress! Thanks, I made it!! says:

    Nice work sorting! I keep my fabric folded in tupperware bins. I keep photos of every piece on my laptop and my IPad. Just so I can remember what’s in there! I have put my instructions and my printed pattern envelopes into plastic pages in a binder too – pants together, skirts together, etc. The actual pattern pieces are in numerical order stored away in bankers boxes. It’s a huge job and you did it! I think there is way too much of it all in my house… But then, I think I have a problem! :)

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