Thursday, April 2, 2015

Pattern organization on the go

I like to think I'm a fairly organized person when it comes to sewing.

-  Trims, zippers and buttons are color coded in separate containers.
- Magazines and articles are stored in either magazine holders or binders according to year or topic.
- All of my patterns are organized in boxes according to manufacturer.
- All of above mentioned patterns are also photocopied, both front and back, and in separate binders sorted by categories (dress, blouse, pant, etc.).

These binders are great for when I'm at home sewing away because I can just grab a binder and start flipping thru the pages to see which garment I want to sew next, but what about when I'm shopping and see there is a pattern sale or the perfect piece of fabric for a dress and I don't know how much yardage to buy?  Although I'm organized at home, this organization does nothing for me when I'm out and about.  I can't remember exactly every pattern I have at home and sometimes these sales have led to purchasing the same pattern twice or buying too much fabric.

So, I started looking on-line for a sewing app that I thought would fix my need for a portable personal pattern catalog.  I looked at several different apps, one app specific for notions, another one just for the fabric stash, but all of them seemed to have either technical issues and weren't supported anymore, or they didn't seem to be exactly what I was looking for.  I figured what I really needed was a database of sorts.  Then it hit me - why not see what other bloggers are using? Duh!  Why did it take me so long to think of that!

After some time spent poking around on other blogs about pattern organizing ideas, I finally found the solution I was looking for!  Tap Forms.

iOS Icon

Tap Forms is a fabulous little app.  It did cost $8.99 to download, but this seems to be the answer to my pattern problem.  The app comes with 26 suggested forms (or databases) already included.  You can either use one of their already suggested forms, or create your own.  I decided to create my own. The fields I have on my pattern form are:

- Pattern Front - This is a picture of the front of the envelope.
- Garment Type - Dress, Blouse, Pant, etc.
- Manufacturer and Number
- Designer
- Pattern Back - This is a picture of the back of the envelope.

Here are some screen shots of the app in action on my phone.

You can select how you would like your forms to be alphabetized and I opted for Garment Type.

When you select a particular pattern - it will open up into this view.  Here's the top half of the view:

And here's the bottom half of the view.  And the best part is - I can click on the photo within the form and enlarge it.  So, if I'm shopping for fabric for a particular garment, I can click on the pattern back and zoom in to see exactly how much yardage is needed and avoid buying too much!

If you happen to be at a store and there is a sale - you can search for patterns as well to see if you already own them.  The search feature is great!

When I first started this project, I had no idea how many patterns I owned.  As you can see - I currently have 641 patterns - which is quite alot - and this is after purging over 100 from the stash.   I don't know if I should be proud of that fact or a little embarrassed - whatever the feeling, at least I'm organized now.  I worked on this project a little bit every night and to photograph and catalog all of my patterns took me about two months to complete, but now that it's all done - I will never buy the same pattern again!

My next project is to catalog all of the fabric I have in my stash.  This too will take quite awhile, but will be well worth it when it's finished.  If you are looking for a portable pattern solution - I highly recommend using Tap Forms.

Until next time -
Happy Sewing everyone!


  1. Great post. This method would work perfectly for me. Impressive how you organize!

  2. I found your blog this morning (from Shams) ...kept scrolling back because I love the clothes you make and the details like the trims you use from your stash!!!

  3. Sounds like a great app. Perhaps I'll get brave and do just what you have accomplished.

    1. Yes. I highly recommend it. Cataloging the fabric stash is my next step and I am very curious to know how much yardage I actually have!

  4. I love organisation, but I know I would just not have the patience for that! Fortunately I dont have many un-used patterns. Job well done Star and great idea :) x

  5. Yes, a fabulous job of organizing. I think I'm too much of a techno-nitwit to use the app but it does look so useful.
    I, too, have many patterns and wonder which boxes you have used to store your patterns, They look just perfect for most pattern envelope sizes.

    1. Thanks. The boxes are specifically for patterns and I've had them so long I can't remember where I originally purchases them. You can probably get something similar on line now.

  6. I also looked at different tools for organizing but decided that I don't need an "on the go " database. Your organization is admirable!

    1. Thanks Mary. It's not for everyone but so far it's working great for me.