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Thread: Organizing patterns?

  1. #1
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Organizing patterns?

    First of all let me remind those of you who know me that computers are not my bag. But I'm learning a little everyday. I don't know how to SAVE (even had a class at the library) and I like hard copy. Sooo, I print out patterns I like and pictures of quilts I like or would like to use for ideas. I started out by storing them in folders but that got too bulky, so I changed to 3-ring binders. I like that better, but my pattern/picture stash is growing in leaps and bounds. I know I'll never use all of these patterns, but it's good to have when I'm not quilting or when I can't sleep at night.

    My question is: How do I organize them? I like to have pictures only in one place. But how do I organize the patterns? I know this probably sounds dumb to those of you who are really organized. I haven't reached "Hoarders" status yet, but I can see it happening one day.

    I'm open to any kind of positive criticism and ideas for getting these together in a usable order. I thank you in advance for any input.
    One step at a time, always forward.

  2. #2
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    Assuming you are referring to pictures of the quilts for which you've printed patterns? How about 2 pictures - one to keep with the pattern and one to file in a separate binder. And if you're really into organization, label the 2nd photo with the location (binder #/name for example) of the pattern? Not trying to increase your 'hoarder' tendencies - just trying to help with the organization. Good luck. And just for giggles - try to think of your computer hard drive as just a giant file cabinet. Then make up 'drawers' (what the computer calls folders) of your liking. Into those 'drawers' you can put 'folders' (what the computer thinks of as a 'sub-folder') into those drawers. And if you can't find the 'save' button on a program use the control key the same time as the s key on your computer (save) or the F4 key (save as).

  3. #3
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I store all mine in 3 ring binders. One binder is labeled Ideas, this is just pictures of quilts I like or want to remember but do not have the pattern for. Other binders are labeled quilt paterns-season(spring, summer, fall, winter) binders labeled quilt- holiday ( birthday, easter, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas) binders labeled Kids- baby, teen, young adult. binders labeled home decor, this is where I keep paterns for runners, placemats, mantel scarfs, curtains, ect. I also have a binder labeled craft sewing, this has things like pincushions, games, toys ect. All patterns have a picture with them, you could copy a second picture for your Idea folder if you want, I found I really need a photo with the pattern if the instructions don't make sence to me I can sometimes figure it out by looking at a photo. I also have a binder labeled My Journal this is where I keep all information on every thing I sew, pattern name who for, problems things to do diffrently next time, also a picture of the finished product. Good luck with your organization project.

  4. #4
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I put both the photo and the pattern in one protector sheet in a binder. I had only one binder, but I've had to add two more: quilts, clothing, small projects (pincushions, toys, pillows, etc). I buy the sheet protectors from Quill (great prices) and reuse big binders that have been tossed by others b/c they are very expensive. I've considered covering the binders with fabric so they are prettier and match, but that hasn't happened yet. lol

  5. #5
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJ Quilter View Post
    Assuming you are referring to pictures of the quilts for which you've printed patterns? How about 2 pictures - one to keep with the pattern and one to file in a separate binder. And if you're really into organization, label the 2nd photo with the location (binder #/name for example) of the pattern? Not trying to increase your 'hoarder' tendencies - just trying to help with the organization. Good luck. And just for giggles - try to think of your computer hard drive as just a giant file cabinet. Then make up 'drawers' (what the computer calls folders) of your liking. Into those 'drawers' you can put 'folders' (what the computer thinks of as a 'sub-folder') into those drawers. And if you can't find the 'save' button on a program use the control key the same time as the s key on your computer (save) or the F4 key (save as).
    Thanks you so much for such detailed information, but it's making my brain itch. And the pictures only are the pictures of the beautiful quilts that you guys post. Some are what I think I may be able to do, or they may give me an idea on which to piggy back. Once again, thanks!
    One step at a time, always forward.

  6. #6
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gramie bj View Post
    I store all mine in 3 ring binders. One binder is labeled Ideas, this is just pictures of quilts I like or want to remember but do not have the pattern for. Other binders are labeled quilt paterns-season(spring, summer, fall, winter) binders labeled quilt- holiday ( birthday, easter, halloween, thanksgiving, christmas) binders labeled Kids- baby, teen, young adult. binders labeled home decor, this is where I keep paterns for runners, placemats, mantel scarfs, curtains, ect. I also have a binder labeled craft sewing, this has things like pincushions, games, toys ect. All patterns have a picture with them, you could copy a second picture for your Idea folder if you want, I found I really need a photo with the pattern if the instructions don't make sence to me I can sometimes figure it out by looking at a photo. I also have a binder labeled My Journal this is where I keep all information on every thing I sew, pattern name who for, problems things to do diffrently next time, also a picture of the finished product. Good luck with your organization project.
    Ahhh, this sounds like what I'm looking for. Yes, most patterns have pictures, illustrations. The categories make sense to me. Thanks so much!
    One step at a time, always forward.

  7. #7
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fleurdelisquilts.com View Post
    I put both the photo and the pattern in one protector sheet in a binder. I had only one binder, but I've had to add two more: quilts, clothing, small projects (pincushions, toys, pillows, etc). I buy the sheet protectors from Quill (great prices) and reuse big binders that have been tossed by others b/c they are very expensive. I've considered covering the binders with fabric so they are prettier and match, but that hasn't happened yet. lol
    Thanks, Fleur. I don't remember where I got the idea of the protector sheets -- may have been from you. I have aleady begun to do that. But everything is so disorganized. Now I need to categorize. I think this is where my right brain is opposing my left brain. And yes, I am repurposing binders that were once used for my teaching, tutoring materials. I've finally let go of those. Thank you for responding.
    One step at a time, always forward.

  8. #8
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    I have mine in notebooks and the computer. My notebooks have the ones I want to make first (that's a joke) and labeled by: charity, jelly roll, one block (any size with & without sashing), ideas (colors I like, etc.), one focus fabric (with borders),
    baby, etc. My computer folders are more detailed: diamonds, Irish chain, qayg, braid, flying geese, coin, and so forth.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Lioness3xs's Avatar
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    I'm a 3 ring binder storer myself but then I also added my computer to store my table of contents and this allows me to sort or search all my patterns at one time. I divided my patterns by bags, wearables, lap quilts, full size quilts, table runners, blocks, techniques, wall hangings, Misc. Then I was struggling to find a way to place the patterns into the categories that would help me find them easily in the future. The obvious was by alphebically. I use the fist letter of each word in the title as the key. Each category is then placed into an excel document on my comptuer and by using the column headings of code letters, pattern name, designer, finished size, technique I can fill in the table as needed to help me with searches in the future. I don't necessarially fill in each blank in the worksheet, just those that help me remember the pattern better. Remember the library is what works best for me and others may not find it as easy to use as I do. I just had to come up with an idea of what I wanted to do and then I've tweeked and updated it as needed. Sometimes, you'll discover something that just clicks with your unique way of thinking and organizing.
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  10. #10
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    When I save patterns on the computer, I identify the pattern first with either baby, teen, scrap, strip, pieced, applique then put a dash and the name of the quilt pattern. Sample, Baby - strip - wonky blocks quilt pattern (easy) or Baby - appliqued - animals quilt photo. Then all the quilt patterns line up in alphabetical order by the type of quilt and I know which section I need to find a pattern I'm looking for I'm going to be using scraps, strips, etc. I also have folders for Baby, Toddler, Teen, Strip, Pieced, Applique, etc. I designate in the title if it is a pattern or photo at the end of the quilt title. This allows me to search for photos or patterns only. It makes the titles longer, but I can sort and find what I'm looking for faster if I can't remember the quilt name. I also have a flash drive that I keep all my patterns and photos on in case my computer crashes I won't lose any pattern that I have purchased and gotten free on-line. My printed patterns are in binders in plastic sheet protectors. I got this idea from the patterns I have purchased on Ebay.

  11. #11
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    I have mine in no particular order in 3 ring binders with protection sheets. I can usually find what I am looking for itching a couple of minutes - I fill up one binder about every 18 months so that gives me a reference point when tngs about a pattern I have used and for whom I made the quilt.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member w7sue's Avatar
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    I have many binders with patterns I have pulled from magazines (filed alphabetically) - takes up a whole shelf on my bookcase - very bulky - not sure if I would do it this way again. My dream is to scan them all so they are on my computer - not even sure how long that would take - or how I would separate them into files - I subscribe to several magazines now and instead of tearing out the pages, I wait until the end of the year and take the whole years worth to Kinko's and have them spiral bind them. This way, I have the whole year together, it is easier to flip through them and I can make copies of pages as needed. So far, I am liking this idea the best.

    I have always kept a scrapbook of quilts I have made - pictures put on scrapbook paper and inserted into sheet protectors - store them by year - finally made an excel spreadsheet with the list so I can find them more easily since I can't always remember which year I made what (been quilting since 1998 and have made over 300 quilts). I put the name of the quilt, where the pattern is from/name of the pattern, who the quilt went to and why, who quilted it, type of batting if known and how much it cost to have it quilted. I have often thought it would have been a good idea to put some scraps with this information just in case a quilt came back for repairs ...

  13. #13
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Hey Gail! When you get yours done, come on over here and do mine! LOL!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

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    I love your idea of fabric covered folders! I'm a SunbonnetSue nut and have a folder just for her. Now I can make an applique of her for it. Thanks for the idea.
    Kathy Osterby

  15. #15
    Super Member CindyA's Avatar
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    Gail, I keep mine in 3-ring binders. I slip a picture of a favorite quilt into the front and back covers, so it's obviously my quilt notebook. I put page protectors in the binder. I rip my favorite patterns out of my magazines and put the picture in and the pattern behind it (in the sheet protector). I limit myself to two binders. When it a binder gets full it's time to go through it and get rid of any pictures/patterns that no longer appeal to me. Then I have room to add a new one that I like.

    I like this system because I always have plenty of pretty pictures to look at, I fairly regularly go through and cull things that are no longer appealing to me (why keep everything for 20 years when styles and my tastes are changing?), and I'm not trying to store complete magazines-I'm taking out only what I want then pass the magazine on to someone else.

  16. #16
    Super Member vickig626's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy Osterby View Post
    I love your idea of fabric covered folders! I'm a SunbonnetSue nut and have a folder just for her. Now I can make an applique of her for it. Thanks for the idea.
    I like this idea too. I've always thought of myself are a good organizer but when it comes to patterns, I still need help. I also have the ones I'd like to make in the "near" future, I keep in a binder - labels are PP - BOM - Scrappy, etc. This has helped me more than any other way I've come up with. I also have ALL those "some day" patterns on the computer in folders - Tutorials - PP - Scrappy - Jelly Roll - Baby - Accessories (like wallets and small personal type items) - Bags (purses / totes) - Blocks - etc. etc.

    Where I need help is organizing the magazine patterns I really like. At present, I tend to keep that magazine out and opened to the specific quilt which, as you might know, tends to start piling up LOL I'd hate to have to cut the pattern out and put in a binder, if that would help, then I guess that's my best option.

    All the other ideas are great too and keep suggestions coming.
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  17. #17
    Super Member vickig626's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by w7sue View Post
    I have many binders with patterns I have pulled from magazines (filed alphabetically) - takes up a whole shelf on my bookcase - very bulky - not sure if I would do it this way again. My dream is to scan them all so they are on my computer - not even sure how long that would take - or how I would separate them into files - I subscribe to several magazines now and instead of tearing out the pages, I wait until the end of the year and take the whole years worth to Kinko's and have them spiral bind them. This way, I have the whole year together, it is easier to flip through them and I can make copies of pages as needed. So far, I am liking this idea the best.

    I have always kept a scrapbook of quilts I have made - pictures put on scrapbook paper and inserted into sheet protectors - store them by year - finally made an excel spreadsheet with the list so I can find them more easily since I can't always remember which year I made what (been quilting since 1998 and have made over 300 quilts). I put the name of the quilt, where the pattern is from/name of the pattern, who the quilt went to and why, who quilted it, type of batting if known and how much it cost to have it quilted. I have often thought it would have been a good idea to put some scraps with this information just in case a quilt came back for repairs ...
    Did you know that several magazines are now offering digital versions which would sound like the best option for you. I have a few digital patterns which I like because if I can't find the already printed one, I know I can always reprint it. Fons & Porter is one magazine and Quiltmaker is starting to offer some of their special editions in digital format.
    Life's More Fun with a Doxie !!
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  18. #18
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latrinka View Post
    Hey Gail! When you get yours done, come on over here and do mine! LOL!
    Trish, you know I never finish anything I start. I'm hopeful that I can get this into some sort of organized chaos before my kids have to deal with it.
    One step at a time, always forward.

  19. #19
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    i have alot in 3 ring binders also but the best thing i've earned is using adobe. if you go on a site and it has the pattern in pdf which most do they have a free adobe program you can download. It is great i think alot of people have it here. I then save to desktop and put it in a folder i have made up for different themes for ex. home decor, star quilt, table toppers, ect. they are all kept in 1 folder on my desktop for easy excess. then you can print out anytime you want. it saves alot of paper and ink and you can easily get to it by going to the folder and clicking what theme you want. it is a real easy program to use cause i am not puter wise neighter. if i can do it anyone can. good luck

  20. #20
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    Thank you for posting this question! I've really been avoiding starting to organize that basket of patterns.....And my computer file is just 'quilts' - I like to category suggestions: my brain could follow that.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have mine in three ring binders and sleeves. I put all one pattern in a sleeve and on ther other side Iput shoter ones in, now I need an index and number all the quilt patterns. Of course, I have quilt books with patterns, more than a dozen. I could use another binder and another 100 sleeves. I'm just trying to make as many quilts as I can and use as much fabric as I can. Good luck on your project.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member 4dogs's Avatar
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    I take a digital photo of every quilt I make, and print them out from Shutterfly.com........occassionally, they offer FREE 101 photos, you pay the postage............I print out then, and have them all in a photo album (from Wally World)...on the back of the print, write anything you need to remember for later (like who it went to, etc).
    I have a zillion patterns, from internet sources, all in about 14 three ring binders (from GoodWill)..........but I have NO system for keeping up with where each pattern is EXCEPT for the few distenctions.....I have one notebook that says PIN CUSHIONS, one that says TIPS, one that says APPLIQUE pattterns, but beyond that, mine is a big mess........ and I can never find a certain pattern, unless I want to brouse through a dozen or more notebooks........I hope someone comes up with an easy way to organize this mess.....
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  23. #23
    Super Member kateyb's Avatar
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    I copy patterns I like from magazines and then donate the magazines to the donation table at the guild. I have a copier/printer.
    Copied patterns are divided into applique, pieced, and foundation piecing in 3" ring binders. I then divide them alphabetically by type, ie. holiday, children, flowers etc. with sheet dividers. If a category starts being to big I'll divide it. Since I like irises I have a separate binder for those no matter if they are applique or pieced.
    I am chairman for our charity quilts for the guild and easy and quick patterns are in a master file in sheet protectors in a 3" ring binder. I will print 2 or 3 copies that the ladies can take home and make a quilt. (There are many free quick and easy patterns on line.)

  24. #24
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I used to use binders but wanted something easier.
    Bought a crate file folder holder. It works great. Just added file folders and labels. Now it is easy to file all sorts of patterns.
    Most are printouts from the web, which is perfect for folders. But can file odd size patterns that are booklets etc.
    You can put your patterns in sheet protecters also then file.
    I love this system and it already holds over 6 large binders worth of patterns and special instructions. Still have room for more.

  25. #25
    Senior Member RUSewing's Avatar
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    PM me if you want to make folders for your desktop.
    Then you can "download" any pattern you want, into a folder you have named.
    I keep mine by years, Adobe files them alphabetically.
    You can print out the ones you want to start making.
    (Saves on ink/paper and you can easily look through them anytime.)
    ~~ Butterflies can't see their wings.
    They can't see how truly beautiful they are,
    but everyone else can. People are kinda like that. ~~

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