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How to Store Sewing Patterns: 13 Clever Sewing Pattern Storage Ideas That Work

Learn all about how to store sewing patterns in today’s post. From useful and creative sewing pattern storage ideas to sewing pattern organization apps, you’re sure to find a new system that works for you.

Do you have stacks and stacks of sewing patterns that you don’t know how to organize or store, too? I know exactly what that’s like! 

I have the same problem. Every time I see my stacks, piles, and other sewing patterns in disarray, I am in disbelief. How did it get to this point?

The clutter drives me crazy. My patterns (especially the PDFs) are not organized, and I can’t find what I want without wasting too much time searching through the disarray. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, your sewing pattern clutter has gotten out of control too. It happens to all us great sewists—we get so excited to try out a new pattern or two, and then can’t even find them a few weeks later!

It’s time to learn some great sewing pattern storage ideas in order to choose one that seems like the best fit. All of our sewing areas are different from each other, so having a large variety of ideas to choose from will allow you to find the method that is most effective for you and your space. Check them out!

How to store sewing patterns

If you have ever found yourself wondering how to store sewing patterns (as anyone who frequently sews would wonder at some point), you will not want to miss these ideas. 

I collected a large variety of methods so you can find the one that works for you, and I’m even dividing these ideas up into how to organize different types of sewing patterns.

How to Organize Store-Bought Sewing Patterns

The little packets that hold store-bought patterns (such as McCall’s or Simplicity) are an odd size, which makes them challenging to store well. They don’t work in binders, are too thick for file folders, and are too small to go in large bins without being lost in the sea of patterns. 

Now storing your store-purchased sewing patterns is a breeze with these ideas.

1. Dedicate Drawers

Anita By Design shows how well the right drawer can hold those odd-sized sewing patterns from the store. She is even able to store them standing up so that she can look through the patterns and quickly find the exact pattern she wants.

First, she sorted through her huge collection of patterns and pulled out any that she didn’t want to keep anymore.

Next, she organized her patterns according to these categories:

  • Pants
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Workout
  • Sleepwear
  • Outerwear
  • Accessories
  • Home Decor

Then, she separated out the big brands from the rest and organized each brand by numerical order. The large brands stayed together in groups while the other brands were mixed together but still stored in numerical order for quick searchability.

how to organize sewing patterns

2. Utilize Comic Book Storage

Another way to tackle storing those odd-sized sewing patterns you purchase from stores is to use comic book storage as Sarai Mitnick from Colette did. 

To use this method, purchase:

  • comic book protection sleeves
  • backing boards
  • dividers
  • comic book storage boxes

Each of these items is an important cog in the wheel of effectively storing those odd-sized packets. Here’s how the method comes together:

Put a backing board into a protection sleeve. Then add your sewing patterns. Put the sleeved patterns into the comic book storage boxes, which are conveniently the exact size you need. Use dividers to separate categories.

3. Bankers Boxes

This method from Mimi G Style is not only neat and orderly but also holds a lot of patterns. There’s also a way to modify it for binders if you prefer that to bankers boxes.

4. Gallon-Size Plastic Bags

This video from Clothes Pin Dolls shows how to use plastic bags to keep pattern pieces together and easy to find.

5. DIY Folders

Weekends With G shows you how to make your own storage folder for store-bought patterns out of a pocket envelope and a sheet protector.

6. Trolley/Cart

Rebecca Keppel has an interesting video on craft cart organization and while the video does not directly address patterns (her interest is mostly crafts) it is easy to see how in the space created one could store pattern folders.

Traced Pattern or Magazine Sewing Pattern Storage

Traced patterns can be easier to store than store-bought packets simply due to their shape and size. It’s also easy, however, to lose part of all of your traced patterns if they aren’t stored effectively.

If you don’t have hundreds or thousands of sewing patterns, Ellie and Mac Patterns shows us a space-efficient method like this one that may be just what you need.

7. Binders

This method from Style Sew Me combines the use of a binder for holding the pattern cover envelopes with large plastic bins for holding the actual patterns and instructions within sewing pattern storage bags.

Storing PDF Patterns

When was the last time you lost a document in the midst of a pile of other documents? Doing that is detrimental when it comes to your sewing patterns! 

8. Rolling Rack

In this example from Grainline Studio, large sleeves hold the PDF patterns and then hang from a rolling rack. Use dividers to separate categories. Simple, easy, and effective.

9. Paper Towel Tube

This method from Melly Sews prevents you from needing to fold (and crease) your patterns. Simply roll them up small enough to fit into the paper towel tube, then label the tube by writing directly on it. The video also includes two more sewing pattern storage ideas for PDF patterns.

Sewing Pattern Organization Apps

There are now several ways to organize your sewing patterns online or through apps as a way to have all your patterns together in one place. Because we might get patterns from several different avenues now, storing multiple sizes of patterns can be challenging, and that’s where the apps excel.

Check out a few examples of how these sewers use apps to organize their sewing patterns.

10. Evernote

Jasika Nicole investigated several different online versions of pattern storage and eventually decided to go with Evernote for its ability to:

  • Categorize patterns
  • Have a clear image of the pattern envelope readily available
  • Tag patterns with additional helpful categories (like “summer”, or “vintage”)
  • Easily search for the desired pattern by tags or sewing company names
  • Add notes for individual patterns
  • Access the app/pattern from multiple devices

A note about using Evernote: the basic subscription only gives you enough storage space to hold up to 10 sewing patterns. However, the paid subscription plan ($3.99/mo) allows much more storage. 

Even though you need to pay, the nice thing is that once you have added items to Evernote, you can go back from the paid plan to the free plan without losing anything that you added.

11. Tap Forms

Colette found success using the Tap Forms app, which allows you to create databases, called “forms”, for anything that you want to organize.

In each database you have, you are able to set up any searchable fields you want for each item. You are able to later use the search function to find what you want by using these fields. You can also add pictures for each item. 

Note: Tap Forms does have a cost: it’s $16.99.

12. Trello

Helen’s Closet Patterns began using Trello to organize and store sewing patterns. Trello is a free app designed to keep you organized through the creation of “boards”, “lists”, and “cards”. 

Here are the benefits of using Trello:

  • The app is free but there are add-ons you can purchase.
  • It has a mobile version (for iTunes & Android) as well as a desktop version
  • The mobile and desktop versions automatically sync with each other
  • User-friendly and easy to use
  • Items can easily be added, linked to other items, archived, or moved around.
  • A great search function that can search and filter by tags
  • Add as many photos and attachments as you like.

Here’s how to use Trello for your storage needs:

  • Create a board for your pattern collection (you can have multiple boards for other items like fabric collection, etc)
  • Categorize patterns (ex: pants, dresses, tops, coats, etc) by lists.
  • Each list has cards for each pattern where you can store notes, photo attachments, links, and more.

For a review of Trello from a beginner’s experience, I found a very interesting tutorial: Trello Tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide to Project Management Basics

13. Dropbox or other cloud storage systems

Dropbox is another great way to store your sewing patterns digitally and provides the ability to access them from multiple devices. It is a paid product at roughly $99/year. 

Dropbox uses a folder system for your storage and organization needs. You can use that system to organize files into sewing project categories

According to Grainline Studio, an advantage of using the Dropbox system is that you can open your files in UPAD, which allows you to write notes on your patterns for safekeeping and then save them as a backup in Dropbox for safekeeping. That article is no longer available, but the Dropbox system is alive and well and can be used.

I suspect you could use other similar cloud storage systems, like Google drive, for example. All these cloud storage systems offer retrieval (and archival) from any device connected to them, anywhere in the world. So if you live in Seattle and want to share a design with your daughter in Florida, you can easily do it.

With all that technology offers today, staying organized and storing your sewing patterns in space-efficient ways has never been easier.

I hope these sewing pattern storage ideas inspired you to organize and store your own sewing patterns. Whether you prefer to use sewing pattern storage boxes or folders, or you want to try out a sewing pattern organization app, this list has an idea to help.

Choose a method that works to take care of your patterns and make them easy to find so that you can quickly grab what you want – when you want it. 

Like organization? Need to create a sewing room? Already have a sewing room and you are looking for new ideas? Try explore the articles on sewing room organization here:

Want to remember this guide? Post this pin to your favorite Pinterest board so that you can find the instructions later.

How to organize sewing patterns

Like sewing tips? I have other popular tutorials on my site that might be interesting for you. Check them out below. 

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Sunday 25th of February 2024

I use Calibre to store all my PDF patterns. It is an e-book manager that was originally intended to store and catalog e-books in multiple formats. One of those formats is PDF and I load all my digital patterns into Calibre. It allows the user to assign fields to the documents, like author, title, rating, etc. Also there is a comment field where I add the website address from where i downloaded the pattern. The files are stored on your computer and can be easily backed up.

Olga Balasa

Monday 26th of February 2024

Excellent idea! I only use Calibre for eBooks, did not occur to me I could use it for PDF files. Thank you!

Jill Gonzalez

Thursday 15th of February 2024

I recently remodeled my sewing room and read so many blogs and sites to get ideas on organizing my space. I thought I would add to your ideas to the next time you do an blog on oraganization tips. I do quite a bit of PDF patterns and I do print them so I put them in Plastic Envelopes then in a plastic Bin that I can see and flip through. A new app that is now available for specifically for sewing organization that is free to try up to a certain amount of downloads and then if you find it worthy then a small fee(totally worth it) is called Stash Hub) I have my whole sewing room on that app so wherever I am I know exactly what I have it stops the over spending and just buying double of the same. Thanks for writing useful information. Jill

Olga Balasa

Wednesday 21st of February 2024

Thank you so much for sharing your insights, Jill! It's always great to hear from readers who have hands-on experience with organizing their sewing spaces. The idea of using Plastic Envelopes to store PDF patterns is a great tip, as it keeps them protected and easily accessible. Also, the mention of the Stash Hub app is a wonderful addition. I'm sure many of our readers will appreciate knowing about a digital tool that can help manage their sewing inventory and prevent unnecessary purchases. I'll definitely consider including these suggestions in future articles on sewing room organization. And I'm also glad you found the information we've provided to be useful.


Tuesday 4th of July 2023

Actually with Evernote, the only limitation on the free accounts is how much you can upload per month. Once you've uploaded enough patterns to reach that limit, you have to wait until a new month to upload more, but there is no upper limit on how much you have stored. The free version is also limited, I think, to being on 2 devices, whereas with the paid accounts you can access from as many devices as you want. I've had a paid account for 10 years and use it for many things, both personal and work-related.

Olga Balasa

Saturday 8th of July 2023

Thank you for the tip! I did not use Evernote myself, but it is good to know. Beware though that plans might change or different plans/pricing might be in effect for different regions or customers.

Cynthia Schnapf

Sunday 4th of July 2021

Yes I have never used Dropbox for my Sewing Patterns. Can someone please let me know. And how you do it. Thanks.

Olga Balasa

Saturday 10th of July 2021

The link to the tutorial how to use Dropbox is no longer available from the Grainline Studios, so for using Dropbox you would probably need to refer to Dropbox help. I also suggest look into using Google Drive (which is even free up to 15Gb storage).

Cheryl Lingo

Saturday 22nd of August 2020

I painted a metal 2 drawer file cabinet to march my sewing room and filed my patterns by category, i.e. pants, tops, etc. I copied the pattern front and cross filed it if it included multiple categories like pants and tops. Once I've used a pattern I use a gallon size bag to store both the original pattern and the copy I traced off.

Olga Balasa

Saturday 22nd of August 2020

Cheryl, I have to say I admire you! I tried to be that disciplined, never succeeded long term. I especially appreciate the cross-filing, excellent idea.

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