Printed Pattern Storage Solution

Downloadable patterns are all the rage.  While they are a pain to print and tape together, not to mention all the wrangling it feels like you have to do just to move it once taped (it literally flaps around), I’ll buy a downloadable pattern every time because my need for instantaneous gratification is fulfilled when I click the Download button.  That kind of trumps all the negatives.  However, they are also a pain to store.  For one, printer paper is bulky, cumbersome, and heavy.  And trying to store those cut pieces?  Ha!  What a mess.

What I’ve started doing is laying tracing velum on top of the printed pattern so I cut the velum, pattern, and fabric all at once.  Fabric weights are great for this.  Then before I remove the velum, I use a pencil to transfer all the markings and manufacturer/pattern info onto the velum.   The velum is MUCH easier to work with because I can erase inevitable mistakes and it folds up lighter and tighter than the printer paper.  Once I’ve traced the pattern, I toss the printed version.  I’ve saved it to my laptop anyway so if I need to reprint, I can.

There are always cheap plastic zip bags to keep pattern pieces in and I’ve done that for years, but I saw a YouTube video awhile back where a lady had used clear Mylar bags for pattern storage.  They were the kind with the reusable adhesive strip for the flap to cling to.  This lady actually put her store bought patterns in them too.  I’m a bit of an organization freak so I was all over this.  The lady recommended an online site (I can’t recall it now) and they seemed fairly reasonable for the price of the bags but the shipping was $15!  WHAT?  Ha…no.

So I went poking around the websites of local stores and hit pay dirt at Hobby Lobby.  Their website didn’t have the sizes I needed so I went to the store the next day.  I had to go searching in the Art Supply department vs. Crafts or Sewing to find the right kind of bags in the size needed for patterns.  I wouldn’t call them inexpensive – 25 bags for $4.49 for the smaller ones and $5.99 for the bigger ones.  But HL always has that 40% off coupon so strategic shopping can pay off.

These things are awesome!  The Mylar is very structured so nothing floppy here like zip bags.  I bought the store out on the smaller size for my regular patterns and only bought one package of the larger size.  They are absolutely perfect for the larger Vogue store-bought patterns and anything I might print.

I’ve found my pattern storage box all of a sudden became very neat and tidy.  The 8.5” x 11” printed patterns I haven’t put together yet are now protected from dog ears or being inadvertently scrunched or having single pages sliding under the others as I go pattern hunting.  The Mylar allows the patterns to slide smoothly against one another and as I go digging, the pattern envelope flaps don’t get that freshly-dug, half open/torn off look.


If a downloaded pattern doesn’t have a cover page with a color photo of the garment or project, I’ll grab a screen shot and copy/paste it to a Word document and print.  Then I cut it out and voila’!  Now my downloaded, printed, and cut pattern fits perfectly alongside its store-bought counterparts!

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