Organize Small Pattern Pieces

If you like to make stuff, chances are you have a LOT of patterns + templates. Today I’m sharing a super-easy way to keep them all organized in a binder!

Here’s what you need:

2-inch 3-Ring Binders – Go for a 2-inch binder so you have some room – the 1-inch binders will fill up pretty fast. I prefer to have multiple 2-inch binders than trying to fit them all into a 3-inch or 4-inch binder because 3-inch + 4-inch binders are clunky + heavy.

The nice thing about having multiple binders is you can sort your patterns by project type – one for quilting/English Paper Piecing, one for plush + softies, one for clothes, one for bags, etc. etc. Of course, if you don’t have a lot of patterns yet, you can get by with just one binder for now + use dividers.

Binder Page Protector Sheets – I like the full-size sheets for larger patterns and the divided photo album sheets for smaller things.

Divider Tabs – You can make your own pretty easily but you can also buy them. These are good for organizing patterns inside the binder – maybe you have a binder all for clothes + you want to sort by type (shirts, pants, dresses, etc.) or sort them for kids, women, men, pets, etc.

Paper Clips – Not totally necessary, but I like to put them at the top of the page protector sheets because it can really save you should you ever accidentally turn the binder upside down or drop it. (I’m clumsy + easily confused with “which way is up” so this happens to me all the time!) This leads me to the next thing you need…

A binder cover that clearly makes it easy to see which way is up! If you buy a binder that already has a design on it that is pretty clear on which way is the right way up – then you probably don’t need a cover.

If you buy a binder that has a clear slot for inserting a cover it’s super easy to make one – just take a piece of paper and write “Patterns” on it + maybe doodle some arrows or a picture of a flower or something so you know what direction to hold the binder + use it. You don’t want to accidentally turn it upside down!

Alternatively, you could get a binder that has a zipper closure case or you could even sew up your own fabric cover that you can wrap around the top + close with a button or a snap.

Your Patterns – If you ever buy a sewing pattern, you’ll notice it’s on super flimsy paper. I ALWAYS make my patterns sturdier by using a glue stick to glue them to thin cardboard (think cereal box weight – file folders can work well too). This makes it easier to use them + manage them without worrying about them tearing.

Now that we have everything we need, let’s put it all together!

How to Assemble Your Binder + Organize Those Patterns

Putting your binder together is pretty self-explanatory but just in case you’re like me and sometimes need step-by-step instructions for even the most obvious of things (that’s me almost all the time!) – here’s an overview of the process I use.

Step 1: Put Your Patterns in Page Protectors

I usually put all the pieces of one pattern in one page protector sheet. This way, the plastic page protector sheet sort of acts like a folder. If your pattern has a lot of pieces, maybe for something like plush that’s a little more complicated, you could use two page protector sheets if you wanted to keep down the bulk.

For patterns I reach to again + again, I put a picture of what the pattern is for on the FRONT of the page protector + not inside of it. You can attach it with a paper clip or use a permanent glue stick + stick it on.

This is also wear our paper clips can be quite handy for making sure the pieces of the pattern don’t try to slide out of the top of the page protector. One paper clip is usually all you need, but if you’re neurotic like me, you could use 2-3 of them across the top.

Step 2: Put Your Page Protector Sheets in the Binder

This part is pretty easy – once you have your pattern in a page protector sheet, you just open up the rings of the binder and put the sheet protector inside.

If you want to divide your patterns up into different sections with page dividers, now is a good time to do that too!

Your Sewing Patterns Are Now Organized!

I told you this was pretty easy – just two steps and you’ll feel so organized afterward! I love being able to quickly reach a pattern anytime I need it – it’s also fun to just flip through the binders if I’m in need of inspiration to find something to make!

How do you organize patterns? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 🙂

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