my chaotic pdf pattern storage

organised chaos? 😱
organised chaos?

(To the lovely uninitiated, a pdf sewing pattern is one you pay for, download, print out, and then tape/glue/somehow stick together to form an entire sheet(s) of pattern pieces, which you then cut out before attaching to your fabric, cutting out, and sewing. Clear as mud? Hmm…  Think of NOT waiting 2-3 weeks for a paper pattern from around the world to arrive in your mailbox.)

Yes, we sewers are a bit different, and not just in wardrobe choices. We also buy patterns and translate instructions… but that’s another story for another day. 😉

Sewing pal Jen (aka Let the Sewing Begin) and I were talking the other day. We’re in the same country and time zone. Whee!

I asked her how she was storing her pdf patterns, and promised to send her photos of what I was doing.

See all those odd-shaped pieces of paper hanging where my haberdashery storage shoe boxes should be stacked? In that photo on the left, above…? And the photos below are more, but not visible above ’cause they’re hanging to the left of the above photo. That’s what we were talking about: How do we store those pesky pdf pieces of paper?

Jen said she folds hers up, and puts them and the directions into a plastic bag.

Having already spent our talking time resolving other, more earth-shattering world problems we decided to table further discussion, and I promised to send her photos.

Ah.   The moment of truth.

So that night I took an honest look .  .  .

Then I had a 4-close-up-of-improvementthought… If I’m using clothes pegs, sent by dear friend Ali, for some of the patterns… why not just clothes peg them all onto a skirt hanger or two instead of the metal shelving? Then they wouldn’t take up so much space.

So I tried that (on the left), but quickly realized it was impossible to ~

  • keep pieces from intermingling
  • keep the taller pegs from getting stuck in the metal shelving
  • get a pattern off the hanger without everything falling off

Oh. And then one fell off on its own.  Scratch that idea. Deep sigh.

hmmm... all clippies are NOT created equal . . .
uh … all clippies are NOT created equal . . .

Then I saw those big clips I’d stared using. You know, the ones from office supply shops that take up space in a desk drawer. (over on the right)

But with only 3 of them I couldn’t really do an adequate test. Not with eight pdf’s, and probably at least 2 more  somewhere, which we won’t go into right now.

At which point I gave up for the evening, having taken these photos and deciding maybe it was time to call in Those More Expert.

Lovely Readers, how do you store your pdf’s?


Submitted for today’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

25 thoughts on “my chaotic pdf pattern storage”

  1. I started off hanging mine like you did a Del, then I got too many.
    At work we have big A3 patient report forms that when empty leave what looks like a huge birthday card. I collect them and dtore my traced off PDFs in them. All the big sheets of stuck together are folding and under my bedroom furniture! Some patterns that I don’t trace though are in the big A3 cards. Hope that makes sense!! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Louise! That’s another good thought, after I do plastic bags, what’s next. 😮
      I did spot a 2-for-1 special on tapes just now at the grocer’s, and have increased my tape supply, preparatory to getting things properly taped together… then the folding will begin… 😲

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I came to the decision, after wrestling printed out PDF patterns to the ground on several occasions, that I can be patient and wait for the postman for anything larger than a simple top. Exceptions would be something I love that is only available as a PDF or where the shipping costs are extortionate (which they usually are from the U.S.). Those I already have are treated as Jen treats hers, folded up and stored in plastic pockets. I generally don’t trace PDF patterns as I know I can print them out again if I really have to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The majority of my PDF patterns are copy shop versions, so I store the rolled up patterns in a box behind my sewing table, their names clearly printed on the roll. The instructions are stapled together and in a plastic envelope wallet, along with the traced paper pattern, neatly folded. The A4 PDF patterns are taped together and then folded after tracing. They live in individual A3 zip lock bags, while their instructions and traced paper versions live in the same box as their copy shop counterparts. I don’t have room to hang patterns, I much prefer folding and storing! Good luck finding a method that works for you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Magic tape, all the way! Glue never sticks properly and I hate having gummy fingers. Once the patterns are traced I hardly need them again, so I’m not that bothered by the folding. I print copy shop versions where ever I can to be perfectly honest, and frequently don’t buy something that only comes as A4.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t really got a satisfactory way of storing PDFs either. I’d be in soooo much trouble if I took up half the house hanging them from various shelves! I’m quite good in that I only print them out if they’re going to be used straight away and after use I put them in a large plastic envelope. I’m just not sure how to store my huge number of plastic envelopes now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of, you are so good about printing out and using immediately! I have lots of good intentions.
      Just looked up what I thought I remembered Hila writing…
      She uses empty nappy boxes, among other things, to store her patterns. Do look at her post as you might discover other things you can find. Unfortunately, I’ve no source for empty nappy boxes here, and possibly the sizing wouldn’t be the same anyway. Good luck!


    1. Thanks for this strategy, Felicia! Am not a real sewist as I eschew tracing whenever possible, can’t find butcher paper here anyway, but will sometimes use wax paper if I’m feeling in that mood. Am the same about the not taping them thoroughly enough, and thus far haven’t remembered to try the glue stick solution recommended by Ali/Thimbers…
      Anyone know of a magic wand I can just wave?


  5. We sewers also buy patterns that are stored but never made…..some remain in ethernet-land, some are printed out but never tiled: some are printed, taped, tiled, folded and put in plastic folders soon to be forgotten about, and then lost which means they have to be printed out again, ad infinitum.
    I genuinely hope you got the world sorted out when you weren’t discussing patterns – it’s a mess at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Ruth… yes, yes, yes to your list of things we also do . . .
      Crickey but the world’s a right mess, idn’t it? Momentarily we settled a few things on this side, but then another eruption from another quarter before the evening news… we do what we can …
      Better get sewing instead. Much more productive. And positive!
      (Was that IG’ed ickle pile from Fabworks going to you? If so, I looked at that top piece meself, but pink’s not my colour. Can’t wait to see what you’ve planned. If it’s for you…)


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