Thursday, 31 May 2012

The way I work


Pattern storage is becoming an increasing problem and I'm wondering how others without limitless cupboard space deal with it. When I'm drafting a pattern myself, I tend to keep every element of the pattern's development and each toile made, to keep my options open should I decide to backtrack and restart the process from two steps earlier. Each new version of a pattern draft gets its own A4 envelope where imaginative names such as 'princess seams top, version 4' or 'top with the pintucked yokey bit, version 3' is scrawled on the front and the pattern pieces and any relevant toiles are folded inside. The envelopes are than placed in a drawer that is now so full that each time I open and close it more patterns fall away down the back and the entire drawer has to be removed to retrieve them.


When I've finally settled on a pattern (this seems to rarely happen), I rename it in a way that I think will help me know which pattern pieces they are in a year's time - such as naming it after the first proper fabric which the garment was successfully made up in, or the first place to which I wore it. So this top was called 'Citrus voile top' and this top, which was slightly more voluminous than the versions that had gone before it was named 'Rye top'. In an ideal world where I was thoroughly organised, I'd take a photo of the finished top and stick it on the front, but the world is yet to become ideal. I'd also think up better names which made me momentarily feel like a hipster when I opened my drawers, rather than someone with the most chaotic, idiosyncratic filing system in the world.

When each finished garment (or abandoned garment - there are many of those too) may be the result of three toiles and four or five envelopes of pattern pieces I can see that I'm heading toward some kind of horrible implosion in terms of storage methods, space and naming strategies.

How do you organise your patterns and toiles - self-drafted or shops-bought - I'd love to know.

Florence x

13 comments:

  1. I think this is as good a way as any, but you might also do a little rough sketch of the garment on the envelope. I have been collecting patterns for years and it is a constant dilemma. Mine burst out of cupboards and drawers just like my fabrics. The [atterns in a box in the loft (trying to be organised) do not get used until I build up enough courage to dive in and retrieve them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you could do with a clothing rack, and a bunch of skirt hangers or hooks to hang everything up. That's how patterns and toiles are organized in most sewing studios I've come across. It's easy accessible, you can over see all your patterns in one glance and because it's vertical it doesn't take up as much space.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just started sewing clothing and bags and some of those pieces can get so BIG! I have 2 ways I've been storing them:
    1. I'll stack them up, then roll them up together, if there's a big pattern piece on the bottom, this will hold nicely. I'll then use a small piece of washi tape to close it up and also label what it is. I'll only do this with cloth or freezer paper pattern pieces though since I can easily iron those flat again.
    2. I also use the skirts hangers that have the 2 clips on them, I clip all the pieces of a pattern together on one hanger so it's easy to find. Using binder clips on a wire hanger would work nicely too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've also thought of putting photos on the envelopes but I haven't even got the envelopes yet!! So I reckon you're doing well. How about getting some A4 file boxes so the envelopes can stand up and be flicked through easily? You could have a box for tops, one for dresses, one for skirts, etc., and the boxes could go on a shelf somewhere. You could even get super-geeky and have dividers within the box, so the various versions of one pattern could be grouped together. I got some nice (and recycled AND cheap!) boxes from B&Q recently; they might have something in the right size.

    ReplyDelete
  5. At college, pattern blocks were on card and hung- but you need spare cupboard just for this! Commercial ones, I keep in A4 plastic pockets - like a big envelope with a popper fastener, for ones i trace and adapt, A3 versions of the same.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very similar to yourself and I'm running out of space ...

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm messy even now that I have more space. My messiness is in my head! I use Manila folders and write names in front, but I don't arrange them in any order... And sometimes I put 2 patterns in one folder. Not much advice from me... Ah and the skirt hangers were not good for me as pieces kept on falling..,

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mine are folded into 5 x 7 envelopes, then put in cardboard box on the shelf, but I usually put the different versions of the same thing in the same envelope: I put the alternates between a folded piece of paper with a quick sketch on it

    ReplyDelete
  9. I went through my patterns earlier in the year to organise them - I printed information on the front of envelopes rather than sticking stuff on, it's working great so far. I've described it and posted pictures here: http://mymessings.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/re-organised-patterns.html

    ReplyDelete
  10. I put mine in clear plastic folders which you can get at Tesco (but this picture is from Play.com!) and I put the pattern at the front so I can see the picture, plus the toile that I made for it and any notes. It does end up being a little bulky and then you have to store the folders somewhere but at least I have everything in one place.


    http://p.playserver1.com/ProductImages/8/4/7/6/4/8/5/1/15846748_500x500_1.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  11. my current method is to stack them all up in one huge pile precariously under my ironing board so I can accidentally kick them every now and then and send the entire stack crashing down all over the floor where my kids can immediately grab them and color on them or rip them.

    I highly recommend it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've tried various methods of storage. I used to have my work patterns on card and hung on pattern hangers, but I ran out of spare hanging space, one day I'll go back to that method though I think it's the best method if you have space.
    These days I mostly cut my final patterns on fabribaste, these I fold into A4 plastic envelopes and store in a file. Like you I keep hold of all my drafts, and these usually go in the same file (these are usually on graph paper)
    Honestly, I'm no help, my storage system is pants and needs an overhaul.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, I hear you!
    I am so running out of space with my storage system - I use the cardboard rolls from foil and cling wrap packages and roll my pattern pieces around them, to keep them with out too many folds. I place a piece of note paper with notes about the design/version on top of the pattern pieces and then a rubber band or two to keep it in place. But it is not very organized. I was actually now thinking, that I would copy your idea and get a small filing cabinet (if I could fit it into my room - might have to move the yarn out).. ANd then only keep my current designs on the rolls...

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x