Today, I’m sharing how I store my pdf patterns. These patterns can get rather cumbersome and I often get asked to store them. I’ve been using this method for a quite a few years now and it works really well for me. But it may take you a little experimenting to find a system that works for you. Watch the video to learn how I store my pdf patterns both digitally and physically and read on for more tips.
When it comes to digital patterns, it’s important to have a system for storing them digitally and physically. So I’m covering both methods today. First let’s talk about digital storage. I always recommend using a desktop or laptop computer to download pdf pattern files. Many times, files will be packaged in a zip folder and most tablets and smart phones require additional software to open a zip folder. Plus, it will be easier to organize, back up and print your files from a computer.
As soon as I download a new pdf pattern, I file it in a folder on my computer and then also back up the file to Evernote. On my computer I have a big folder named “Digital Pattern Library” and then it has sub-folders named by the designer. On Evernote, my patterns are organized by type of garment such as tops, bottoms, dresses, etc. Alternate cloud storage systems include Dropbox, Google Drive and Trello. (Learn more about how I use Evernote to create a pattern catalog in this blog post. For digital patterns, you can just drag them into the desktop app.)
I also back up my pdf patterns to an external hard drive, just in case. It’s a really good idea to back up your files because if your computer crashes, they will be easy to find and with a cloud system, you can also access those files anywhere you happen to be.
As you can see in the video, I use three ring binders and plastic sleeves to store my patterns. Years ago, I tried manila envelopes but didn’t like that they’re not see through. I really try to not use plastic products so I don’t really recommend buying new plastic sleeves but if you already have some on-hand then they are great to use. I happened to have a ton of them so it’s worked well for me. For more tips on printing and storing your pdf patterns, check out this blog post.
When you go to use your pattern again, you may need to iron out some of the creases. You can use the iron on the paper and it works quite well, just be careful not to iron any tape used. To iron your pattern, set your iron to a low setting and don’t use any steam.
I tend to keep all of the patterns that I make in case I want to sew the pattern again. Every few years though, as my binders start to get really stuffed, I’ll go through them and discard any patterns that I’m no longer interested in. I do keep the digital files though, in case I decide down the road that I would like to sew it again. Our tastes change and styles do come back around so you never know what might spark an interest again later. Plus, digital storage is pretty easy. :)