Where are my Type A personalities? Raise your hand and give me a high five because that’s me! You understand me when I say it hurts my head when things are unorganized. You feel like you’re living in chaos and can’t think straight if elements in your life are not orderly. If you are not a Type A personality, I know, I can be annoying and rigid, ha! I get it. Buuuuut, since I ponder so much on organization and creating order, I want to share with you how I keep my patterns organized. I tried other organizational methods before but was never able to keep them working efficiently for me. I have used this system for approximately 6 months and it is still working for me, which I love!  

I have acquired lots of patterns in the my years of sewing, again if you identify with me, raise your hand and give me a high five. It’s soooo exciting buying new releases, especially when they are on sale. And let’s shout a big thank you to designers for free patterns. But the clutter accumulates quickly and can get out of hand if you don’t have a system. If you don’t have a system it can be very frustrating when you can’t find what you are looking for.

I have a filing cabinet system to organize my printed pdf patterns. I have the top three drawers labeled: 

  1. Drawer 1 – Women’s Tops (color coded in pink)
  2. Drawer 2 – Women’s Bottoms/Mens (color coded in pink for Women’s and blue for Men)
  3. Drawer 3 – Kids (color coded in yellow)


In the top drawer (Women’s Tops) I have hanging folders labeled according to type of pattern.

Drawer #1 Labels

In the second drawer (Women’s Bottoms/Mens) I have hanging folders labeled according to type of pattern.

Drawer #2 Labels
Mens Tops
Mens Bottoms
Mens Undergarments

In the third drawer (Kids) I have the hanging folders labeled as:

Drawer #3 Labels
Kids/Baby Tops
Kids/Baby Cardigan/Sweater
Kids/Baby Dresses/Skirts
Kids/Baby Bottoms
Kids/Baby One-Piece
Kids/Baby Swim/Undergarments
Current Labels

For each pattern, I print:

  • Tutorial (only a portion of it)
  • My size (Darcy)
  • All Sizes/layers of the pattern (mostly only kids patterns)

TUTORIAL page protector (which I label on the 3 hole punch side):

  • I do not usually print the entire tutorial. Some tutorials can be quite lengthy and I don’t want to use that much paper and ink. But I do print for quick reference:
Tutorial Page Protector
Cover page
Tutorial Page Protector
Cut chart
Options page

The DARCY (that’s me!) page protector:

  • My printed/graded size
  • I tape together the pattern pieces, cut out, and fold small enough to fit in the page protector.

The ALL SIZES page protector:

  • I print with the layers feature off (this is mostly with kids). I only do this if I know I will be needing to trace the pattern to make garments for other people. 
  • Sometimes I have a fourth page protector (this is mostly with kids) to keep all the additional traced sizes together. I label on the outside of the page protector what sizes are in there and keep all the pattern pieces together with a paperclip. 

I love to chat about organization (nerd alert!) so if you’re a lover of organization as well or have suggestions, I’d love to hear! Hope this helps your organization (and sanity!) when it comes to the pdf patterns we all love!