As the provocation to my current cleaning spell, I thought I would share my pattern storage system. It's the star organisational system of the work room.
I used to store my hand traced and original design paper patterns in A4 folders, in plastic sleeves with sheets of paper between. On the paper I wrote the important pattern information and used dividers to organise them.
But the system began to annoy me because the folded papers, being irregular in size and shape made the folders lumpy. The bulged in the middle and sometimes some of the pages sagged. Not so tidy. It also annoyed me that when I packed for craft camp I'd have to take either the whole folders, or the slippery plastic sheets separately, which easily got crumpled and squished.
I also didn't know what to do with the few enveloped commercial patterns - they were too fat to keep in the folders but I didn't like having 2 different storage systems. I know, I'm funny like that.
So over a weekend a while back I transferred all my patterns into A5 sized envelopes. I chose these because they are easy to find and inexpensive to buy, sturdy, big enough to take even a very large pattern. They are also almost exactly the same size as commercial pattern envelopes and they fit perfectly upright in a shoe box.
Here's an example of what I write on front of the envelope - the pattern type (dress, top, pants etc) in the top left so I can quickly flick through the patterns by type, the pattern name and source (name of book or magazine, edition number and date if relevant), the size, a quick outline of the finished garment, a note about what I made from the pattern (date, fabric, occasion), and critically, any modifications I made to the pattern, either when tracing or when making up.
I tend to be a repeat pattern maker - if I find a good pattern I like I will often make it more than once, so the notes are very helpful. When I make the same thing in different fabrics this is especially so. The fit of a pair of pants for example can change a lot between fabrics, and noting what I learn helps me work out what mods I might need next time.
This system is very quick to maintain - it only takes a minute to write the info on the envelope (I always keep a good store of them at hand) and file it away for next time.