|My pattern storage system is similar to others I have read about here, but a little different. When I was sewing for other people, I arranged the patterns in my binders by sizes within the types of garments. The advantage of this system for me is twofold: I don't have to try to get all the pattern pieces back in a small envelope and I can preserve the integrity of the pattern envelope. Well, really there are three advantages, because I can go directly to a certain section of a binder to look for a pattern, and even check the guide sheet, without pawing through boxes of patterns.
My pattern system is this: I pull the pattern 'guts' (tissue pattern pieces) and put them in 9X12 envelopes and write the pattern # on each of 3 edges (vertical top, and both horizontal edges). I include the pattern company name, and size or sizes under the number at the vertical top. These envelopes are filed by number in a file cabinet, horizontally. The PATTERN ENVELOPES with their GUIDE SHEETS in them, are put in sheet protectors and filed in binders by type of garment.
When I start a project, both the pattern envelope + guide sheet in the sheet protector and the envelope with the tissue pattern pieces go in my jumbo ziplock project bag, along with the fabric and notions.
The pattern as it comes out of the pattern envelope is my "master pattern" and is never cut, except to cut the pieces apart. I trace the pieces and make my adjustments on exam table paper until I get a pattern that fits me. Then I make another 9X12 envelope labeled with the pattern info plus my name and date for my personal version of that pattern. (I include my name because I still sew for other people sometimes. Mostly my mother.)
I have had rousing debates with my best friend about separating envelope from pattern pieces, to the point that we can no longer discuss the issue, but I LOVE my intact pattern envelopes and keep my mouth shut when she folds and irons her patterns to get them back into their now bulging envelopes!