Neatly Storing Sewing Patterns




About: Sewing teacher, maker, cosplayer, mom from the midwest.

Do you have a hard time getting patterns to fit back into that tiny little envelope? If you do, you are not alone. I am going to show you how I put my patterns away so they are easy to store and all the same size with the use of inexpensive 9x12 envelopes.

Step 1: Fold Your Pattern Pieces

Let's get started.

Fold your pattern pieces into a reasonable size that will fit inside of the 9x12 envelope.

Step 2: Prepare the Materials

Get the 9x12 envelope, paper scissors, and clear tape.

Step 3: Put You Pieces in the Envelope

Carefully place your pieces into the envelope. Be sure to check and make sure they are all there and that they did not scrunch up during the process of putting them in the envelope.

Step 4: Cut Apart Your Original Envelope

Cut along the folds of the original envelope on all three sides to separate the front from the back.

Step 5: Tape the Original Front to the Larger Envelope

Tape the front of the original pattern on the 9x12 envelope using clear tape.

Step 6: Tape the Original Back to the Larger Envelope

Tape the original back to the larger envelope using clear tape.

Step 7: All Done

Now all of your sewing patterns will be the same size and easy to get in and out of the envelope. Happy sewing!



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    21 Discussions


    6 weeks ago

    When refolding the pattern pieces, be sure to fold them so the piece number is on the outside. Saves opening all the pieces to find the right one next time.


    Tip 6 months ago on Step 7

    Great idea, but I would use glue rather than tape. I have found that the tape looses it's glue after a while.


    7 months ago

    Using a bigger envelope is a great idea! I keep mine in clear ziplock nags and it actually just makes it harder to tell which one is which :P Definitely grabbing some big envelopes next time I'm at the office supply store. Thanks for sharing on Instructables!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 months ago

    I used to store patterns that way too and then I had some envelopes that were no longer needed for something at work and I wondered if there was a way to use them. I went home and saw a pattern sitting there and then this way just sort of came to me. Glad to be of service and help a fellow sewer out!


    6 months ago on Step 5

    Good idea, particularly if you have either traced your size pieces onto another sheet pf paper to save cutting the original, or you have created new, altered pattern pieces in order to get a better fit.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 months ago

    I trace my patterns most of the time so I do have tracings that are hard to store. I actually tape the envelopes together to make a "multi" envelope to store multiple sizes separately on patterns I use a lot.


    6 months ago

    For the first step: after folding the pattern by hand use an iron set to low heat to press down the pattern to make sure it's flat. That alone usually helps me fit everything back into the original envelope.

    1 reply

    Excellent Instructable! It is impossible to wrangle a large, multi size pattern back into the envelope, even with careful remolding and pressing the pattern pieces! I stored my patterns like this for many years when I had a custom dressmaking business. When working with a bridal party it was easy to keep several sizes of a pattern together or altered copies with the original. And the added benefit, the envelopes also store nicely in copy paper boxes. I still have a box of bridal patterns from the 1990’s somewhere in the garage. LOL, I think it’s time to let them go!

    1 reply

    6 months ago

    This occurred to me, too. I use good quality glue because I've found that sticky tape doesn't age well. I also use a thick felt pen to write the pattern details on the top and side edges. Doing something similar is also useful for PDF patterns after one has constructed them. With PDF patterns I note the web site source. I also date the envelopes and make any notes about usability, etc.

    I found it most useful to treat the flap as the filing tab, so I just have to flick through the flaps rather than checking the top of every envelope package.

    For frequently used patterns I make card copies and hang them from skirt/pants hangers.