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Tips & Techniques > A visual idea for pattern organization--to carry with you anywhere!

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Posted by: Mrs4Him
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About Mrs4Him star
United States
Member since: 7/19/09
Reviews: 18 (tips: 3)
Skill level:Advanced Beginner
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Posted on: 6/7/11 8:06 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 4 people   Very Helpful by 9 people   
I thought of a way to take my pattern information with me wherever I go to look for fabric or whatever materials I might need for a project--for a quick look-see. I have a lot of patterns so this took much time over a few months, but well worth the time spent in the long run. If you have an iPod Touch (second generation and up), iPhone or iPad you can do this. I'm not sure if this can be done on other electronic portable devices such as the Android phone, etc.

I took a picture of the front and the back of each pattern envelope with a digital camera (I have a 3rd gen. iPod Touch so you can't take pics with it). I then transferred these pics to my computer to folders I set up in Windows under the Pictures folder. I made a 'Temporary Pattern Info.' folder to put these pics in while I am editing them before moving them to their permanent folder for each manufacturer inside a folder I named 'All Sewing Patterns'.

So, for editing, I right-clicked each image and edited it down--rotating or cropping as needed. Then I renamed the image for the front of the envelope as, for example, 'Kwik-Sew 3602-Misses' Sleep Pants & Shorts' (whatever the 'official' title is on the back of the envelope). The image I took of the back of the envelope info. would be named 'Kwik-Sew 3602 BOE' which I named for 'back of envelope'.

Then, once I have a set of images edited and renamed, I cut/paste them into the correlating folder name for the manufacturer, i.e. McCall's, Kwik-Sew, Amy Butler, etc. Inside each of those folders, I created folders named for a category, such as 'Girls', 'Misses', 'Mens', 'Accessories', and so on. Then, inside of each of THOSE folders, I have the pattern info. broken down into folders for 'Tops and Tunics', 'Dresses', 'Pants and Shorts', 'Sleepwear', 'Multiple Items', etc. Inside each of those folders are the actual images I edited for each pattern.

Now, comes the transfer step to your electronic portable device. After you have your folders the way you want them, you then 'sync' them in iTunes. On the 'Summary' screen for your device will be the 'Photos' drop-down menu choice. Inside of that, you can select exactly what folder name (such as 'All Sewing Patterns') you want your images to be transferred from.

If you are fortunate to have Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Elements software, or perhaps other photo editing software, you can then see the other folder names within folders, as mentioned above. I don't have that capability. So, what I see is just the manufacturer's named folder. So, on my iPod Touch unders Photos, I select the folder for 'Simplicity', for example, on the screen. When I click on that folder name, I can see all of the Simplicity patterns I have and all the pattern envelope information I need to go shopping for project supplies. So, even though I can't see the broken down folders like, Plus, or Misses'--the patterns are listed in numerical order. You can see a picture of this on my blog--

And of course, the plus to doing all this is that when you want to go 'shopping' among your patterns for your next project, you can then go into those image folders on your computer and immediately see all the envelope info. for a top, or shorts that you want to make.

I had been using an Excel-formatted worksheet with all my patterns listed on it to keep track of them all. I felt this helped to a degree, but actually being able to see the pattern photo/sketch was more helpful, especially since we sewers are usually very visual people--and I can't keep up with all of my patterns. On the other hand, if you're in Jo-Ann's and have the time to look up each pattern envelope to see it then you might not want to do all of this :-)

I know this sounds like a lot of time and effort to put in--and it is. Like I said, I did it over a few months and took each of my pattern boxes 1 at a time to take the pics and edit them. I just paced myself. And of course, each time you buy a new pattern, you do the same thing--take the pics and edit the images and then sync to your device so you always have your updated pattern info. with you. I am an organizational freak and try to think of better ways to organize that save time in the long run and are helpful and beneficial to me in other ways.

I hope these steps are NOT as clear as mud. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

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jenleeC said... (8/25/11 9:12 AM) Reply
And there is can also file your electronic images in more than one place, for example with co-ordinates you can put a copy in both your Skirts folder and your Jackets more hunting through "co-ordinates"! The other thing I have done recently is create a "current projects" folder. I put a copy of the patterns I am working on or planning to use shortly in the Current Projects folder and then they are all together for quick reference. Once the project is finished I just delete the images because the originals are still in their respective folders (skirts, dresses etc).
jenleeC said... (8/25/11 7:49 AM) Reply
I keep my pattern stash electronically as well. Like Chris Couture, I download the picture and envelope info from the website as the image quality is much better than either scanning or photographing (and quicker too). The images look fantastic on my sexy new iPad and the envelope info is large enough to actually read! I only scan my OOP patterns. The only technical hitch with downloading is that if you want the envelope info to show up under Photos, you need to save the info as a PDF and then convert it to a .jpeg file. There are a some free converters around that are pretty easy to use. The downloaded photos are fine as these are automatically saved in .jpeg format.
Princess Aurora said... (6/13/11 11:08 PM) Reply
I go to the website, look up the pattern info and download it The initial process was time consuming but certainly doable on a lazy day! I download the picture, notion sheet (aka Back of Envelope info) and the Flat of the design. I don't have an iPad (..yet..) but will transfer these files to it once I have it!
Mrs4Him said... (6/10/11 12:32 PM) Reply
ALSO NOTE: Always make a back-up copy of the photos on your computer to a flash drive or a separate hard drive.
pmcc said... (6/10/11 8:42 AM) Reply
I like this idea, now's the time for me to do it since I recently edited down my pattern stash. Thank you.
Mrs4Him said... (6/8/11 10:13 AM) Reply
I named the folders in a way that would make sense to me. I thought that if I started with the manufacturer as my top level then I'll know everything I look at in that top level will only be under Simplicity, for example. The folders can be named in whatever sequence or levels that make sense to you in how you want to look up info.
Zhiraf said... (6/8/11 7:54 AM) Reply
I love your idea! Why did you choose manufacturer as your top level? I would have guessed that Women / Men / Girl / Boy / Home / Crafts / Costume would be a more useful way to organize, since this is the way I think about projects...
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