Spring organization / rangement de printemps

Ah, pattern organization… How many of us have spent time thinking about it? I thought I’d share my way of keeping track of all this.

At the beginning, I only had a few patterns, so it’s always easy to find what you’re looking for. But as time went on, as everybody else, I started having more and more patterns and mostly traced ones (either from magazines or from pattern enveloppes, because I don’t like cutting into the original pattern). It’s already hard to keep pattern enveloppes organized, but with traced ones I was having an increasingly hard time finding my pieces when I wanted to remake a specific pattern. And as one of the advantages of remaking a pattern is time saving, I was getting fed up of actually losing that time again. My first attempt at organization was placing my pieces in manilla enveloppes (not very satisfying for whatever reason), then I switched to a big cardboard folder, you know the big green ones used by art students just to annoy you in public transport. I thought it could keep the long pattern pieces spread out. But again, pieces didn’t stack neatly on top of each other and there was easy way to attach pieces from one pattern – so again, I lost a considerable amount of time going through ALL the pieces in the folder in order to find the back yoke piece for the skirt of Simplicity 1842. As you all know, when you’re looking for something it’s always the last one in the pile! Enough!

C’est probablement le printemps qui me pousse à ranger mes affaires : j’ai commencé par les patrons, parce que ça commençait à devenir n’importe quoi. Je trace tous mes patrons, qu’ils viennent d’un magazine ou d’une enveloppe, et de ce fait je me retrouve avec un certain nombre de bouts de papiers qui ont tendance à se séparer les uns des autres. Après plusieurs essais de rangement (enveloppe kraft, carton à dessin), j’ai choisi un système simple et pas cher et qui devrait être évolutif : chez Office Dépôt, j’ai trouvé cette boîte en carton qui renferme des cartons à archives. Il y en a 6 auxquels j’ai attribué des catégories : hauts, pantalons, jupes, robes, bébé & enfant, autres (pyjamas, etc.) – ça pourra changer avec le temps si nécessaire.

I’ve seen some bloggers talking about file cabinets and things like that, but I didn’t want to spend too much money and add another piece of furniture to my house. I gave it some more thought, went to Office Depot and bought a cardboard box containing other cardboard boxes. There are six of them, so they’re divided into broad categories: babies & kids, skirts, dresses, tops, trousers, accessories and others. In this last box I place all underwear, sleepwear and thing for the home. These categories might have to change over time, that’s why I used a post-it note – easily removable.


Inside those boxes, I use a simple folder with the name of the pattern traced, the approximate date I made it, and additional information such as size cut or modifications made. I place all my pattern pieces in there (they do have to be folded) and close the folder with a paper clip. If the pattern comes from a thematic book or a magazine (like Ottobre for kids), the pieces will be gathered in the same folder, so as to not multiply folders.

A l’intérieur de chaque boîte, une simple pochette sur laquelle je peux écrire le nom du patron avec d’autres détails éventuellement (date, taille, modifications, etc.). Quand les pièces de patron viennent d’un livre ou d’un magazine (comme Ottobre pour enfants), je les ai regroupées, pour ne pas multiplier les pochettes.


Pattern enveloppes stay where they were: in a big box, arranged by company. At the back of the box I store printed pdf patterns in manilla enveloppes. My pattern stash isn’t very big now, so I thought it was time to get it organized. I’m not too happy with this black box but I couldn’t think of another system yet since enveloppes come in all shapes and sizes.


Now it all looks nice, no pattern pieces sticking out and most of all, after a few weeks of trial, I can tell you it’s really easy to find a pattern I’ve already traced, and a blessing to know all pieces are there! Je suis assez satisfaite de ce système pour l’instant, et après quelques semaines d’utilisation, je peux dire que ça fonctionne bien, je ne passe plus des heures à chercher des petits morceaux de patrons et tout est bien rangé ! Pour les patrons pochettes, ils restent dans ma boîte noire, je pense que je pourrais faire mieux comme organisation, mais c’est compliqué compte tenu des dimensions très variables de ces patrons.

Now that everything’s neatly in boxes, I need a way to remember what patterns I have. It’s fairly easy to browse through enveloppes and I usually know what I have (for now!). But with magazines, it’s much harder as there are so many patterns! I took a picture of each pattern (or a scan or a picture from the internet) and uploaded it to Google Photos. Again, it’s organized by broad types: tops, dresses, etc. I’m not using an spreadsheet because I wanted it to be accessible online, so I can go through my pattern collection wherever I like and on any device – like when I’m daydreaming about sewing on the couch. It’s not extremely satisfying either in the sense that mobile versions of Google photos or the Google + app don’t allow me as many modifications as the desktop version. It still works for when you just want to have a look at the photos (you can’t edit them).


Above is a snapshot of my « skirts » album, you can see I labelled each pattern and in the comment section I usually type if I’ve traced and/or made the pattern and a quick note.

Restait le problème du « catalogue » de patrons : autant j’arrive à peu près à me souvenir des pochettes que j’ai, autant pour les patrons compris dans les magazines, c’est une re-découverte à chaque fois que j’ouvre le dit magazine. J’ai donc pris une photo (ou un scan) de chaque patron et je l’ai placé dans un album sur Google photos (voici un aperçu de l’album jupes). En légende, je mets le nom du patron ou le numéro du magazine et je peux en commentaire indiquer si j’ai tracé et/ou fait le patron et un avis rapide. Ce n’est pas l’idéal comme solution, mais je voulais avoir tous mes patrons accessibles en ligne, pour être consultés de n’importe où et surtout de n’importe quel appareil (tablette quand je glandouille sur le canapé par exemple). Et vous, comment vous organisez-vous ?

I like seeing the « behind the scene » aspects and always pick up some good ideas when others show pragmatic things like keeping organized. Inspired by Kristy over at Lower Your Presser Foot, I re-organized my fabric stash (extremely humble compared to hers) and will show you the results in an upcoming post. What about you? how do you keep organized?

10 commentaires pour “Spring organization / rangement de printemps

  1. This is so smart and super comprehensive. I keep an excel spreadsheet of all my patterns organized by garment types but your Google document with the photos is much better. As for pattern storage, mine is a mess. I may just have to take my lead form you and get myself a nifty filing system.

  2. Your system is so beautifully organised, and it all looks so neat and tidy 🙂
    I keep all my patterns in cardboard boxes organised by type. All my traced patterns I keep in envelopes; one envelope for each book/magazine, and all the patterns for that book in the one envelope.

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