Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Quick Way to Organize Your PDF Patterns!

This past weekend Deby over at So Sew Easy sent out a call for pattern testers. I had found Deby several months ago when I downloaded a wrap dress pattern she has listed for free on Craftsy. While I haven't had the opportunity to put together the wrap dress, I am very excited to be one of her pattern testers and am looking forward to giving her new patterns a review.

In the meantime, the projects have been building up and I started feeling a bit overwhelmed by the downloads from the past couple of days. I had downloaded my two bag patterns from Emmaline Bags, a sweet chiffon maxi dress pattern and then today, one from Deby, the Amelia Bag.
Essential Supplies
So with some time off  I decided to get organized! I don't know about you but as I have gotten older and busier, there is not much spare time in my life and I hate to waste it. Sure, I would much rather be sewing  right now! But, I have found that if my sewing and sewing room are not organized not much happens. I simply can't sew. I sit in my sewing chair, look around and wonder what to do next.

To help keep my area tidy several months ago I began keeping my downloaded patterns in spiral notebooks. This has worked really well, is economical, the notebooks are reusable and easy to store and label.

The patterns are organized by the order they will be sewn. The printed instructions are placed in the notebook, followed by the pattern themselves in plastic protective sheets. I take the time to cut out and tape the pieces together as I place them in the notebook. When it is time to sew, I don't want to be putting the pattern together!

It is a good idea to test the scale of the pattern as you are organizing. Your PDF downloadable pattern should come with a test square and the designer will give you the dimensions. This was a 2" test square so it is good to go!

Next comes the tedious and sometimes frustrating part. Piecing the pattern together. The Weekender Knit Dress was a PDF pattern with 30 something pages and required a fair amount of space to assemble. The thing is, if you are off just a tad at the start of your piecing the error grows and grows as you go along and could possibly be off by 1/4 to 1/2 inch by the last piece.. My hubby suggested starting from the middle and working out which I haven't tried yet but plan to. One very nice thing about the Emmaline Bags patterns is a nice gray shaded area for matching pieces that she places on the edges of her patterns. This is by far the most user friendly way of matching up pieces  I have used.

Pattern pieces awaiting fabric!
Once cut and pieced they go into their plastic sheets. Don't worry if you need to fold your pieces a bit to fit them in the plastic protective sheets. A light touch with your iron will smooth them back out when you are ready to use them.

The last step in organizing the patterns is a good sticky tab for dividing patterns and for ease in flipping through your book!
My notebook of current patterns in use is placed near my machine. When I am done with the pattern if I don't like it, I give it away or recycle the paper. I never hang on to a pattern I don't like or will never use again. There are too many patterns I do/will like and they need space!

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