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How to Store Pattern Pieces

Patterns are expensive, and reusable, so why not hold on to them a little longer? Learn how to store pattern pieces so they last with these great ideas.


Iron Those Pattern Pieces by Barb Culbertson


When I am sewing and I am done with a pattern piece, I fold it and iron it flat. Then I stick it back into the envelope. No problem! The pieces fit back into the envelope very easy!


Save Those Pattern Pieces by Gene Blythe


Press all pattern pieces with a warm iron. Start folding in middle and fold again. LOOK for words and numbers on pattern piece. Fold the piece down keeping the words (size, Pattern Number etc) showing on the "outside." Keep folding down into a size that fits the envelope. Match the instruction sheet. Keep each piece separate, so you can pick out the piece you need, easily, from the pile, because the words are showing. You never know when you will need to look at a piece for any reason. If you have many patterns going at the same time, you can separate them much more easily to repackage. I press and trim all my patterns the first thing. Even young people can help sort and repackage. Always cut the "notches" outward in case you need that seam allowance to ease out a bit. Patterns cost too much today to not use over, so care for your patterns properly.

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I use a marker on multi-sized patterns and trace the size I need to use. Any part of the pattern piece that is the same for all sizes I just cut out with the pattern. Then I take the pattern off and finish cutting the fabric along the marker markings. Then I pin the pattern piece to the fabric with a pin to keep the pieces marked. Since the marker is part of the seam allowance it can be trimmed off when the seams are sewn. On darker material I use a silver Sharpie and on lighter fabrics I use whatever color will show up but not be too dark if not trimmed off.

I use 8x11 manilla envelopes. Turn the envelope on its side, so the 11" side is the top and the opening is on one side. Cut the pattern envelope, separating the front from the back and removing the flap. I glue the two pieces of envelope onto the front of the manilla envelope. If I am using only one size of a multi size pattern, I will write the size on the manilla envelope. Then, when I cut apart the pattern, I iron the pieces I am using, and fold them as little as necessary to put them in the manilla envelope. If I am using only one size of a multi size pattern, I save the other parts, and fold them into a smaller envelope and place that in the manilla envelope in case I need them in the future. I use a plastic crate as a "filebox" and place all of my manilla envelopes inside. It might sound like a lot of work, but I find it easier to handle the paper, and the patterns seem to last longer. It is very easy to find what I want, and the envelopes can be sorted by type of pattern also.

I use freezer paper before using my patterns. When ironing them on make sure you have them going the right way, cut them out use them and fold them back into a plastic envelope. I put the pattern facing out so I can see what is stored in it. It will last for year.

when i have a pattern with more than one size i copy my pattern pieces on a copier for each size and cut them out that way.

When I know I'm going to reuse this pattern often, I make a copy of each piece on postal wrapping paper. I put the appropriate Pattern Number, size, and any specific sewing instructions or cutting information on the face of each piece. When I go to use the pattern, it's easy to iron with each piece with an iron and use it. For storing my patterns I place the flimsy sheets back into the middle of the instruction pages and place it all into the envelope. I then put the envelope into a clear bag of some kind for storing in a decorative basket or box clearly labeled with the type of pattern (skirt, dress etc.).

This can be time consuming but will save you time when it comes to cutting. When a pattern has more than one size. I use old Christmas wrapping paper and copy each size using carbon paper. Or I cut out each size leaving the smallest size alone. Copying all instructions helps in the long run. This helps if you want to reuse the same pattern over and over. {not to get confused you can cut each size in different paper} Then I use brown envelopes to store them in. I cut the front and back of the pattern envelope and tape them on the brown envelope. This way you can still see what pattern is inside.


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