I’m so embarrassed! I’ve dreaded this step, but knew it had to happen. As I removed patterns from boxes, drawers, shelves, and cubbies, disbelief was my only thought. Gasping at times, I continued working, shaking my head, mouthing the words, “Oh My Gosh”, and feeling disgusted as I realized just how out-of-control the pattern stash had become. This thing we do—this pattern stashing—has created disorder in my sewing space and clutter in my brain. This isn’t me! I have a strong dislike for clutter. How did it happen? This is straight up hoarding!


The worst part of all is the fact that I was still purchasing patterns. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t sewing what I already had. I wanted those new patterns simply because they were cute, and they were popular. SO WHAT if I already had patterns in my stash almost identical to the new ones. That zipper addition, pocket insertion, or length change had me seeing a new pattern. The similarities just didn’t matter.


No more! That has all changed now, and today I’m here to share with you how decluttering my pattern stash has left me with a sense of order and direction which will help me to manage my new sewing plan. 

However, before we move on, there’s important business to take care of first. Last week, I introduced you to the “Sew Plan It”, Personal Sewing Planner, created by Shari of My Daily Threadz, LLC. If you entered the drawing for a copy of Shari’s Planner, she’s here to announce 2 winners today. Yes, she wanted to bless two people. So, without further ado, here’s Shari. Click on photo below.

Congratulations to the WINNERS! You will be contacted soon. If you’d like to purchase a copy of the “Sew Plan It” Personal Sewing Planner, you may order HERE.

Let's Declutter Our Patterns

If we are to change our past habits and begin sewing with a plan, we must get a handle on the pattern stash/hoarding. My definition for pattern hoarding is: “Owning an excessive number of sewing patterns, not using them, while continuously purchasing more.”

Today, in Step 3 of the SWAP Series, we’re decluttering our pattern stash. I’ve completed the work, and it wasn’t easy. In fact, it’s been the most difficult step for me so far, and I’ll definitely need to go back through again and remove more patterns.

If you already have an organization system for your patterns, it will be a lot easier for you to go through the purge. However, if your patterns are all over the place, as mine were, you’ve got your work cut out for you. So let’s jump right in.


I’ll walk you through the 6 Steps that I completed to purge and organize my patterns. Depending on the current state of your stash, you may be able to skip some of these steps. It may also help to put on your favorite music or podcast, have some snacks on hand, and wear a dust mask if your patterns have been stored in an open, uncovered space for a long time. 


Bring all of your patterns into one space. You don’t have to be as dramatic as I was, dumping your patterns onto a table, or anything like that. My patterns weren’t organized at very well, so I had nothing to loose, and I actually wanted to see how big the pile would grow. Perhaps your patterns are already together in one space. If that’s the case, then you’re in great shape.


Before the dump, my patterns were stashed throughout my studio.



 Go through all your patterns and sort them into 3 Categories


1. Let it Go! = These are the patterns you’ll get rid of for several reasons, like;

  • I’ll never sew that! *** What was I thinking? *** Doesn’t fit my personal style or lifestyle! *** Didn’t work the first time! *** Why is it still here? *** I changed my mind!

Box these patterns up and donate, sell or gift them. Remove them from your home as soon as possible.


2. Maybe = These are the patterns you’re just not sure about. Set these aside and return to them at the end of Step 5.


3. Keep It = These are the patterns you definitely plan to sew



Working with the “Keep It” pile, sort the patterns into Categories that work for you. I used the following categories:

  • Pants
  • Tops
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Outerwear
  • Workout
  • Sleepwear
  • Accessories
  • Home Decor

Within each Category, sort the types of patterns to see if you can narrow down even more.


Example: (Pants Category: 25 Jeans, 3 Slacks, 7 Palazzo, 21 Leggings, etc)


This Step will help reveal the variety within categories, or lack thereof. If I have 25 jeans patterns, I probably don’t need to add more jeans without removing others first.


Create a system by which you will catalog and manage your patterns. This step can be very time consuming, especially if you have a significant number of patterns in your “Keep It” pile. I used Pinterest to catalog my patterns and it took about 3 hours to complete the task with 222 pins.

I created Pinterest Boards with the following Titles, preceded by the word “Patterns”:


Pants | Tops | Skirts | Dresses | Outerwear | Sleepwear | Accessories | Home Decor. 


For patterns that included different categories of garments in one envelope, I pinned those patterns to all relevant boards. I found all the patterns on Pinterest, including vintage and retro. No taking photos of envelopes and uploading. It was really fast. Here’s a portion of my Pattern Dresses Board.


As I add patterns to my collection, they’ll be pinned to the boards, and those I get rid of will be removed. It seems simple enough for me. I pinned the front of the pattern envelope only.

I chose Pinterest because I found it to be easy and I already have an account. I looked at some of the pattern storage apps but they seemed to require more time than I was willing to invest. Whichever system you decide to use for cataloging your patterns, once it’s been created, managing the patterns in the database should be easy. 


Continue with your current pattern storage system or create one that works for your space. I purchased this chest of drawers in the beginning of 2018, with the intention of filling it up with patterns. That’s 4 drawers! I even thought about purchasing a second one. Yep, that goes to show you where my mindset was. I’m using the top two drawers for my patterns and the other two will be used for something else.


I like this unit because it fits in with my decor and the drawers are just the right size for the patterns to lie sideways. Because the pattern companies place their numbers in different locations on the envelopes, I had to separate McCall’s from the rest. Their numbers are placed on the side of the envelope, while the other brands place numbers at the top (either left or middle).


To make it easier for myself, when looking for a pattern, I need to have all numbers in the same direction. McCall’s patterns are in numerical order and live in the top drawer, along with large Vogue envelopes and Indie patterns.

All other patterns, regardless of brand, are organized in numerical order and live in the second drawer. They aren’t separated by company, but all mixed in together.


Finding a pattern is easy now. I simply browse my Pinterest board for the type of garment I want to sew, note the pattern number, and pull it from the drawer. There are no duplicate numbers between the brands. I LOVE this system!


For more information about the chest of drawers, click HEREIf your space doesn’t allow for this type of storage, you may consider other options, like the ones pictured below.

After you have stored your patterns, go back to your “Maybe” pile and add them to the “Keep It” or “Let it Go” patterns. Don’t forget to record them if adding to the “Keep It” patterns.


Now that we have our pattern stash downsized and fit to our personal style and lifestyle, it’s time to discuss how we will keep ourselves from falling back into the same trap that got us into this predicament. 


In order to manage my Collection and prevent it from getting out-of-control again, I’ve set some rules for myself. Perhaps you will create a strategy to help you stay focused as well.



  • 1. IGNORE PATTERN SALES!!! Don’t purchase patterns just because they’re on sale. Purchase only what fits your sewing plans. There will always be another sale.
  • 2. Create a SWAP Pattern List. This list will include patterns to help build your wardrobe and those for upcoming special events. Then, when patterns are on sale, shop only if you have items on the list. ONLY ADD TO THIS LIST IF NECESSARY!!! You don’t need to always have a pattern wish list.
  • 3. Whenever you buy a new pattern, remove one from that category of your Collection that’s either identical or similar.
  • 4. After sewing a pattern that didn’t work out and you know you won’t sew it again, remove it from your collection.


*** Just because they’re on sale, when you don’t need them

***  It looked really cute on someone else

***. There’s a new sewing challenge (unless you plan to join)


***. It’s on my SWAP pattern list and on sale

***  It accommodates my personal style and lifestyle

***. It fills a hole in my wardrobe



I owned 609 patterns. UNBELIEVABLE!!! Probably used under 20%.

I had no organization system for my patterns.

It took way too much time to find a pattern.

My stash consisted of patterns I was no longer interested in sewing.


I own 222 patterns. Still a lot, but this number will likely decrease even more.

My patterns are cataloged and organized.

I’m able to locate my patterns quickly.

My collection contains patterns that fit my personal style and lifestyle.

I feel peaceful and purposeful.


Whether your patterns are neatly organized or all over the place, if your stash is filled with what you’ll never sew, it would be to your benefit to declutter and maintain what will accommodate your sewing needs and wants.


We’ve discovered our personal style, decluttered our wardrobes, planned our first month of Sewing with a Plan, and decluttered our patterns. Now we’re ready to move on to the next step. Be sure to join me here next week for Step 4 of the SWAP Series, because we’ll be addressing the FABRIC STASH! You knew it was coming!

Do you already have an organized pattern collection? I’d love to hear about your system. Please share in the comments below. If you don’t have a system, I hope you have received encouragement to start today. Let me know what you think below.


Thanks for stopping by,

Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES! 


(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.)

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This Post Has 84 Comments

  1. Laura

    I made the mistake of giving away patterns. Now I wish I had them back.

  2. Lauren

    I had the same problem, they were everywhere. Did a whole house declutter and whittled them down to only those that fit my capsule wardrobe. I havent made accessories or bed or kitchen linens requiring patterns for years, I dont know why I kept buying those! Now my patterns are in one fabric bin that also fits the 9×12 plastic envelopes for PDF pieces and patterns that won’t fit back in the paper envelopes. When I sew for friends, I return the pattern to them if its not mine and include the altered pieces. If they want another garment from the same pattern, they give it back to me with the new fabric. I’m not a pattern warehouse anymore. 🤣

    Great article! I recognized some of your patterns, I had the same ones! Did the same thing with my fabric stash – used the best pieces, donated the rest. No more stash, just buying for each project now. It’s very freeing. My sewing life had outrun my “clutter threshold.”

  3. Fabienne

    Thank you for this article!
    I have been struggling to develop a practical way of storing my patterns and I have spent way too much time with different methods.
    I love that with Pinterest I will not have to scan my pattern envelopes – never thought of that!
    Awesome ideas!

    1. Anita Morris

      You are very welcome. Have fun organizing your patterns.

  4. Janet

    Before moving seven years ago I had all of my patterns in an old pattern cabinet. (I worked in a Joann’s that closed.) I put everything in numerical order. I made a copy of the front and back of the pattern envelope and those went into notebooks in separate categories. Yes, notebooks plural. I did have four drawers of patterns. After moving I downsized my pattern collection and now have a set of 4 plastic drawers to hold patterns.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Janet! That’s awesome that you were able to downsize your patterns. I tried the notebook organizing idea too but it didn’t work for me. Happy sewing!

  5. Arlette

    I just finished organizing my 700+ patterns in a database. I love how you talked about triming down to what I really want and will use. This was just what I needed to hear.

    1. Anita Morris

      That’s awesome, Arlette! Congratulations on organizing your patterns.

  6. Teri Silsby

    Thank you for this article. I enjoy reading other people’s way of dealing with the overload. I’ve been culling fabric and knew I needed to take care of patterns. This was very interesting.

  7. Elizabeth Farr

    It’s always cool to see how people deal with the same problem differently. I’m definitely a minimalist with patterns. I have 2 floor boxes, 1 for Burda magazines, and the other for large format patterns like Jalie + my Ottobre magazines and a filing cabinet for everything that gets made. The magazines stay really neat, but I think the filing cabinet is a black hole, LOL! More and more I’m starting to believe that if you can’t see it, it will get really ugly, really fast! Love watching your progress, Anita!

    1. Anita Morris

      Yes, I’m also enjoying hearing about the way others handle these issues. I had to laugh at your comment about things getting ugly when we can’t see them. LOL!

  8. Kaija Brinson

    Hi Anita,
    The coffee mugs are adorable. When I first saw the photo of the patterns piled on the cutting table, it looked like art work, a photo shot worth framing. Then I thought, she’s right, it is hoarding. I could relate to having patterns stashed all over the sewing room, and the emotional buying just because “Simplicity is .99 cents, and you buy up to 10 in one transaction, so of course I am going to get TEN! It was a lack of control and not practicing moderation, just like with food. This series is relative to so many areas in our lives and is applicable to our daily operations. I have not “tackled” the fabric and patterns, but it is on my To Do list during my Winter Break. Thank you so much for sharing and caring!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Kaija! Yes, you are so right and I’m definitely in the process of decluttering my entire life.

      I had to laugh when you said you HAD to buy 10! LOL! I was the same way. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series. Have fun decluttering during your break.

  9. Natalie

    Hi Anita,

    I use Pinterest for my patterns too – I was unable to find an app that met my needs. I usually link to the page for that pattern as it makes it easy to see reviews by other sewists BEFORE I start buying fabric if I look a pattern up in the store.

    I have similar Pinterest boards for my fabrics separated by knits and wovens and I try to at least have the length and width noted so I can tell if I have enough for a project without pulling the fabric out.

    Next step is to finish storing my fabric (there are a couple of piles I need to fold nicely) and find a good place to put my patterns.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Natalie! Don’t you just LOVE the Pinterest filing system? I love using Pattern Review to hear what others think about the patterns. I often go there before starting a pattern. There are usually great tips and helpful information. Have fun storing your fabric and patterns.

  10. Rosalind D.

    Oh my goodness Anita, I am on the train & finally got a chance to read this blog. I also found myself buying patterns just because they are on sale 99 cents (very rare). I have purchased the plastic three drawer containers from Wal-Mart. Each unit is filled up with basically the same pattern maker ( butterick, McCall, simplicity, etc), then I put them in numerical order. I was writing down the pattern numbers in a book, but when I would go to the store, I forgot the book. So I have 2 of the same pattern in some of my drawers. It’s funny how we have become so addictive. Thank you !!!!!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Rosalind! So funny about you forgetting the book, because I used to have a book too and used it probably 4 times. Always forgot it, so I started taking pictures of the back of the envelope before going to the store. I eventually gave up. LOL! At least you have them organized! That’s a good thing.

  11. Melanie Banford

    Thanks Anita, I think I own more patterns than you and don’t even so as often as you. I rarely sew and I have acquired so much stuff. Thanks to Pattern Sales! Naughty me…I am going to revise my way of thinking, because I do feel so out of control with sewing clutter and what will work in my life. So thank you for the ideas and the courage to declutter my sewing stash…!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Melanie. Yes, I hear you. A new mindset is definitely needed to make the change and maintain a new model. I’m glad to have you following the series.

  12. Kathy Dickinson

    Wow! You have/had a LOT of patterns! I mainly have PDF patterns and as a fairly new sewer have never used a “real” pattern! I own about 10 patterns but they scare me haha! I am going to college in the new year to learn how to measure the body and convert these into patterns and I am really excited. I am loving this series Anita! I have one burning question though…what are you going to do with all your unwanted patterns? Can’t wait until next week’s post! x

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Kathy! What a joy to hear you’re going to college and will learn to draft your own patterns. I’d like to learn pattern drafting myself. Have a blast! I’m so glad you’re liking the series. Thanks for joining me. I’m planning to donate some and sell the others. Just have to figure out how I’m going to do the sale though. LOL!

  13. Toni Drummond

    I love all of this- especially the part about using Pinterest to keep track of patterns! A great big lightbulb came on when I read that because I had been using a sewing app where I had to take pictures of front and back of the envelopes but not anymore! To Pinterest I go!! Thanks so much for sharing these very valuable ideas with us.

    1. Anita Morris

      Toni, I absolutely LOVE the Pinterest pattern boards. I can see everything in whatever category I’m searching at one time. Love it. Makes choosing so easy. You’re very welcome and I’m so glad you are following the series.

  14. Ann Steeves

    Anita, you inspired me to go upstairs tonight and “Kondo-ize” my pattern collection. I cleared out roughly a drawer full of patterns, some of which were patterns I’ll never sew because they aren’t in my wheelhouse. Others come from pattern companies whose drafting is… less than optimal and I know won’t work, but I kept them because I hoped the drafting fairy would magically fix them. Some (not many, thankfully) were duplicates, plucked in the frenzy of a $1.99 sale. Others were just not for me. The fact is that I don’t wear many dresses, I almost never wear skirts, and I hated the whole “Year of the Sleeve” thing last year, yet I bought patterns because the ‘cool kids’ were sewing them. Thank you, thank you, thank you for inspiring this!

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh, Ann, you have me laughing. The “drafting fairy?” LOL! The “cool kinds” comment is hilarious, because I totally get it. Hahaha! I’m so glad you were inspired to “Kondo-ize” your patterns. Never heard that word before. Thanks for reading.

  15. Helen Mendoza

    Hi Anita my name is Helen Mendoza and i love all that you do, thk u so much, i fell on my job and have been out of work for 2yrs now. Because of u i started sewing again. I had a mini stroke from the fall and was so depressed but i thank God for you . I created a draw for my patterns and went to the post office and picked up free postal boxes and used them to roll my fabric on. I dont have alot but it looks so beautiful. Oh by the way,any patterns or such that you dont want i would be honored to take it off your hands lol?know u are so love and prayers are always going up. Peace n Blessing Helen

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Helen, I’m so sorry to hear about your fall and stroke. It truly blesses my heart to hear that I had anything to do with helping you get back into sewing. That’s huge to me because I know how helpful this craft is for me during this time in my life. I love how you’re creating your own storage units. That’s so awesome. Yeah, there are quite a few people who’d like to take the patterns off my hands. LOL! Thanks for your prayers and blessings to you. Thanks for being part of this series with me.

  16. Edie Warren

    Anita I am so surprised by the way I have responded to your Decluttering and Organizing process. I have not lost the desire or will to continue the process. My love for garment sewing has returned. But I have to be careful to not discard too many items because of my enthusiasm. LOL I’m in the process of decluttering my patterns now. Boy! 50% of my patterns have been eliminated. I have direction now and very eager to acquire patterns that will make my wardrobe functional.

    1. Anita Morris

      Yeeees, Edie! YES! I’m so happy to hear that it’s working for you too. I’m so thrilled with what I’m accomplishing too, Edie. I love the feeling I’m getting as I move through this process. Thank you so much for joining me in this process. WoW! 50% is awesome and I hear you about becoming over zealous and getting rid of too much. LOL! Be careful now!

  17. Angie Jackson

    This is awesome Anita. Those darn patterns are definitely the little devil on the shoulder for me, Lol. I recently bought me some drawers but haven’t gotten around to filling them up yet but I already know I will be fighting with myself on getting rid of some. This entire serious is exactly what I needed. Again, thank you.

    1. Anita Morris

      LOL! Angie, You’re gonna win the fight. I know you will. You’re very welcome. Thanks for being part of the series with me.

  18. Lisa

    Love this post, especially the organizing ideas. I recently went through my patterns and I have a crate full of the ones that I know I will never sew. I had a fabric destash sale and gave away one free pattern with purchase!

    1. Anita Morris

      Yeeesss, Lisa! Yes, I love that you had a fabric sale. I’m starting on my fabric stash today, so I’ll be ready to share next week.

  19. Peggy J.

    Hi Anita. Thank you so much for this series. I’m a late starter in it but still moving along with you. I really can’t believe how much was in my closet that I can’t wear, don’t wear and just plain forgot about. I do not have a large pattern stash but I’m so happy to receive your advice in this step. I’m using this week to catch up to the series with steps 1 and 2. Thanks again and God bless you.

    1. Anita Morris

      Ooooh, Peggy, thanks for joining us! Never too late. I’m so glad you’re finding value in the series. Isn’t it just amazing what we find during a purge?

      It’s so good you don’t have a large pattern stash and the series is here to show you how out-of-hand these things can become.

  20. Bethany W.

    Wow. You have a lot of patterns. I have about 50 commercial patterns. But can I tell you about the number of duplicates I have? LOL! I laugh because its true, reading True Style is showing me that I actually do have a style or aesthetic. I can tell because every pattern sale, I buy a duplicate of something I already have. That’s why I LOVE the pinterest idea. A catalog system is really important if I’m gonna SWAP 2019!

    1. Anita Morris

      BETHANY!!! Oh gosh, I would love to remember the day that I had only 50 patterns. The duplicates are hilarious! I had them too, but can I tell you something else? Some of my duplicates were intentional. Just shameful!

      I’m so glad you’re finding your style, and I absolutely LOVE that the duplicates help you to see that even more. Have fun setting up your Pinterest boards. Yeeesss! We’re on our way!!!

  21. Alethia

    I knew I wasn’t ready, LOL! BUT, THIS MUST BE DONE! And, just think, back inthe Summer, I just aquired 2 large bins of patterns that were GIVEN to me. I gave several away, but I have so many more, not to mention the several banker boxes,bins…well, let’s just say THIS STEP IS A MUST for me!
    Truthfully Dreading

    1. Anita Morris

      Hahahahaaa!!! Ooohhh, Alethia!!! The gifted patterns always come is huge quantities, don’t they? I had a box of them too. Sigh! Well, you better get ready if it MUST BE DONE!!! You’ve got this girl! You’ve GOT THIS!!!

  22. Stephani Gioia

    What a wonderful post Anita!

    I recently went through mine as well. I still had all the cute ones from my first baby girl. Guess how old she is? In high school and about to turn 15.

    I was also a slave to the sales and “must have All the pretty patterns” mentality. I went through all my fabrics, UFOs, and patterns at the same time. Organized fabric according to color because that’s how my brain works. UFOs…sent to someone who will finish them (yes, maternity clothes in progress!).

    Patterns I thought way too long about, but finally thought I didn’t want to have to spend time thinking so much about making it so hard.

    I purged and donated all except for what I know I love and make. With the exception of keeping the first pattern I bought for my firstborn (even with 4 kids, I stopped there).

    I have one small tote that holds about 75 patterns organize by type. PDFs, I initially added all of them to iBooks so the pattetnand instructions would be accessible on my iPad but then realized I don’t want to always look at a screen.

    I bought waterproof/spill proof mailers that are white and just a bit bigger than a piece of paper. Wrote in marker on the top what pattern it is and inside keep the instructions and pieces (I’m a tracer – use medical table paper) inside. They are safe from spills (yes I had to reprint about 25 pdf patterns I had sitting on my shelf beside my sewing table Starbucks ? I also tape the sheet with the drawing, fabric requirements etc to the outside of the envelope.

    I finally created a lttle document I keep in notes on my phone with a list of all the patterns by name … whether I want to try it or tried it and hate it, or if I have it, in case I want to look and know if I have it and if I really need it!

    1. Anita Morris

      Whoa!!! Stephani, you’re AMAZING! Now that’s what I called ORGANIZED!!! You go girl! I love it! Oh gosh, I can’t wait to have my entire space decluttered. WooHoo! Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Jasmine

    Dear Anita,
    I am so enjoying your SWAP series! I love decluttering — even just looking at your pictures makes me feel happy and calm. I am a beginner and don’t have too many patterns yet (although I have never counted so now I am wondering!), but I do buy PDF patterns online, so I need to work on keeping my digital stash under control. I can see how that would really creep up without me even noticing since they don’t take up space until I print them.

    My big stash problem is my scraps — I feel guilty throwing them out, and I do have some good scrap projects (I’m working on a scrap quilt right now), but I still feel like I haven’t even made a dent. And then my scrap projects make even more, tinier scraps.

    1. Stephani

      I donated all of my fabric scraps to my childrens’ school! They loved them and I didn’t feel so guilty at the prospect of throwing them away.

    2. Anita Morris

      Hey Jasmine! Oh gosh, the SCRAPS! “We’ll be addressing fabric next week so make sure you come back and joint the conversation then. I’m starting today! YIKES!!! I love Stephani’s tip about donating to the school. I’m going to keep that in mind.

  24. Nancy S.

    What wonderful suggestions. One of my issues seems to be a nostalgic hold on some very vintage patterns, things I made in the 60s or 70s and hate to give up. One is for the McCalls beautiful Christening dress I made not only when my daughter was born but for several other people including recently when I was tasked with taking apart a wedding gown to make a Christening gown, boy’s Christening romper, a coat to go over either as well as a bonnet. Note to self: think very hard before agreeing to that venture again! When an old pattern also contains very good memories, it is hard to let go and I have a LOT of those old patterns. Others are for things I made for my daughter in the 80s, ones I saw myself wearing too – eventually. Add in about a hundred or so AG doll patterns, and I have a mess. If nothing else, color analysis taught me not only what colors look best on me but what styles are best also. I should be able to weed out, but memories have a strong pull. I will promise you that I will try.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Nancy! Sounds like you have a situation. I wouldn’t get rid of anything your heart doesn’t want to let go of. Keep what you want to keep. When the time is right to let go, if ever, you’ll know. Don’t force it.

  25. Janine Helligar

    Hi, Anita.

    OK. There is no denying the truth: You HAD a lot of sewing patterns! WOW!

    I have 78 sewing patterns (I just counted) — and that amount is bugging me! Because I know that all designs are derived from basically just 5 shapes: bodice front, bodice back, skirt front, skirt back, and sleeve. Seriously, how many princess seam, sheath dress patterns does a girl need?!

    However, in my defense, I did buy some of the patterns in my collection because they included some interesting design detail that I want to learn how to sew.

    My personal goal is to get my collection of patterns to 25 or less, and then unleash my pattern hacking skills to create any design I can dream up with my small collection. In other words, free myself from pattern “slavery.”

    It can be done. It will be done. I just have to keep working on it!

    Anyhoo, thanks for sharing your progress. You did REAL good!

    1. Anita Morris

      Janine! Yes! Yes! Yes! Music to my ears. I love your way of thinking. Yes, the design detail in some patterns make them worth adding to the collection. Love your personal goal. You go GIRL! You will do it! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Monique Garner

    What a great plan. You make it easy to do. You have me see my way!!!

  27. Cynthia Willis

    Such great ideas! I have no where near as many patterns, but Had I not moved so many times in adulthood, I would have surpassed your number. Since the beginning of this year, I have begun to sew with renewed fervor, so I must purge my accumulation to a more respectable number. Thanks for encouraging fellow seamstresses.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey Cynthia! Good for you for not having an overwhelming amount of patterns. It’s not necessary. It really isn’t. You’re very welcome and thank you for joining me in this series.

  28. CHARLA

    thank you for the post I did this when I started to put my sewing room together, question what are you going to do with the old patterns?

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey Charla! I’m donating and selling them.

  29. Teresa Penson

    Thank you Anita for this series. I’m always looking forward to what you will amaze us with next! This is a really great idea on destashing and creating a “Collection!”
    Wow, I love that word! Lol
    It’s ironic that you are doing this because I had recently gone thru the same thing with decluttering my stashes of clothes, fabric and yes, patterns too! I actually have given away 3 large trash bags of clothing!!! And still have closets full! Uggggghh! But I’m getting there!
    My patterns are stored in a 5 drawer metal file cabinet. Each drawer is separated by company and then in numerical order. This system has worked for me for 30+ years!!!
    Much love to you and all our Sew-Sistas!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey Teresa! Wow! You’ve got a lot of clothes. It’s so good that your patterns are already organized. I still can’t believe I’ve gone all this time with no organization. Thirty years is long enough to know what works for you so that’s awesome. Thanks so much for following the series.

  30. Susan Child

    I have done the same thing that Carmen has done with her patterns – I have created my own “pattern book”. However, I do need to purge those patterns that will no longer contribute to my personal style and lifestyle. I am hoping to reduce the current pattern collection by half.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anita Morris

      Awesome, Susan! You can do it! It’s the greatest feeling. I’m cheering for you, sister.

  31. PAM

    I’m thoroughly enjoying your SWAP series, Anita. I purchased a pattern cabinet from my local Hancock Fabrics when they were closing two years ago. I thought $75 was a great deal for that large, metal cabinet. It has five drawers, so I store my sewing patterns (just under 300 in count, ugh!) in the top two drawers. I own a small handbag supply business on Etsy, so I use the bottom three drawers to store part of my business inventory. I must say, the cabinet is not very attractive and it is rather bulky. I store it in my garage, which actually works quite well. I used to scan my pattern envelopes with my Neat scanner and store them in my software that accompanied my scanner. My computer hard drive crashed, but I do have a back up. BUT, Neat company stopped supporting the software that came with the product. They now require the use of Cloud storage and a subscription plan to use their software. I plan to use your idea of the Pinterest boards to record patterns. That is such a great idea and I plan to get moving on setting one up this week. Thank you for all your inspiration. And thank you and Shari for the great planner giveaway. I am one of the winners and I am looking forward to planning my sewing in 2019.

    1. Anita Morris

      Aaaahhhh!!! Congratulations Pam! You’re gonna love this beautiful planner. OMGosh, I’ve seen other sew sisters purchase those large metal file cabinets from fabric stores going out of business. One lady painted and stenciled hers to match the decor in her sewing space. Great idea to store your business supplies there too.

      Oh gosh, sorry to hear that your computer crashed. Have fun setting up your Pinterest Pattern boards. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the series. I’ll be contacting you later today.

  32. Ann Carbone

    It feels like I am writing this series.. well the first half of each post.. i now need to cull, and reduce..
    Thank you for sharing and inspiring

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Ann, you are so welcome. I’m so glad that you’ve joined me here and are gaining encouragement. Thank you.

  33. Timesa Johnson

    Hi Mrs Anita. I need to go through my patterns also. I thought I was suppose to have a pattern stash lol. They are organized. So I have put all the pattern covers in protected sheets. Place those in binders by categories. I put the actual patterns in envelopes with the name and number written on them. They are filed away in alpha order in totes. But I need to turn it into a collection. This is a hard one for me. Thanks for all you insights and information.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey Timeas! LOL! The pattern stash is another thing that was new to me when I returned to sewing in 2015. When I first learned to sew I only bought patterns for the garments I was sewing, one at a time. I blame the internet. LOL!!! I came back and saw people stashing patterns, so I jumped on board.

      I’ve seen others use the pattern storage system that you have set up. It seems very organized so good for you. You’re right, this wasn’t an easy step, but the result is very rewarding.

  34. Dela

    Dear Anita,
    I am so enjoying this pattern project. While sipping my coffee, reading your blog, when I came to the part about maybe wear a dust mask if you’re patterns have been stored in a open space, I laughed out loud and almost sprayed coffee. Hmmm, you mean I am not the only one with a ton of patterns… which may, or may not be dusty? Too funny. Thanks so much, this whole project is fun, and so are you dear lady.

    1. Anita Morris

      Dela! Hahahahaaa!!! Thanks so much for joining me in the series. I’m having fun too.

  35. Dara

    Thank you Anita! I did this earlier this year but I will continue to do so. Your series is SO timely and such a Blessing! THANK YOU!

    1. Anita Morris

      Awesome Dara! Yes, I plan to stay on top of it too. You’re very welcome.

  36. Carmen Salome

    This is so timely. I just purchased a new sewing machine and cabinet and took the time to get organized. I don’t have a large pattern collection but enough to full a large tote bag. I made a copy of front and back of each pattern envelope and placed it in a 3 ring binder using similar categories (pants, tops, dresses, etc). The binder is easier to have in front of me when shopping fabric online. I can also take the binder to Joanne and have my pattern collection in front of me when i find the perfect fabric. I am pretty good about talking myself out of pattern sales. This exercise did help me see that i do need 1 or 2 patterns to add for a complete collection to include an easy jacket or cardigans. I’m ready to sew with purpose in 2019. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Carmen, congratulations on your new machine and cabinet. WooHoo!!! In 2016 I started a 3-ring binder too and took it with me to the stores when shopping. I even took it with me to my first Mimi G Style Conference so I could be organized when shopping. As my pattern stash grew it became too much work for me, especially when I didn’t copy and enter the patterns right after purchasing them. I started to dread copying piles of patterns. I think this is a great system for a small collection and if you stay on top of it. Good for you that you’re managing that system well and staying focused.

  37. Linda

    Where was this post a couple of months ago before i bought 2 plastic bins and sesrched the internet for boxes (who knew! Comic book boxes!) Thanks for the enlightenment

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Linda, isn’t it a clever idea? I saw several people mention them when I was searching for solutions to share in today’s post.

  38. Sara

    I love this! Thanks. I don’t have a large pattern collection per se, though I keep a file cabinet drawer full of old Burda magazines. I look forward to sharing this article with my ASG NG friends, and you have inspired me to work on some filing organization in my home office/sewing room.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey Sara! You’re very welcome and thank you for sharing. Yes, I’m totally decluttering my entire life. The sewing space is just the beginning.

  39. Florence

    Thank you for this series. It is proving to be a great resource in helping me get purposeful in my sewing. You are a blessing, Ms. Anita!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Florence! You are so very welcome. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series.

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