Friday, September 18, 2009

My storage solution for Lutterloh patterns

I've been cleaning up my sewing room this week and decided that my semi-permanent storage for my Lutterloh patterns just wasn't working anymore. I thought I would share with you my more permanent solution.

Since I draw my Lutterloh on butcher paper the finished patterns just don't fold up as small as the tissue paper ones you buy at the store. I had been folding my patterns with the largest pieces on the bottom so when they were folded most of the pieces would be inside the larger ones. This was working fine until I discovered that I needed to put away another six patterns and they just weren't going to fit into the few envelopes where I had been stuffing my other Lutterloh patterns.

Now that I have switched over to using Lutterloh almost exclusively I decided that my filing drawer for patterns had to be purged. This left plenty of room for my Lutterloh patterns which I folded neatly into their own individual 9" x 12" envelopes from the office supply store. I figured since I already copy my patterns to prevent them from damage then why not copy the fashion photo as well to paste onto the outside of my storage envelope? Here is a photo of one of my pattern envelopes complete with sizing notes.

You'll see at the top I added information about the supplement number and year the pattern was published. Below that I've noted the size it was drawn. We all know that from season to season our weight and thus our measurements can fluctuate. If you have the size the pattern is drawn marked on the envelope then you can see at a glance whether or not these measurements are close to your current size or perhaps you need to draw a new one. Since I've made up this pattern once already I know how much fabric I used so I noted that at the bottom under the fashion photo.

Sometimes you're in a hurry and don't feel like messing around with adding the information in your photo software. In this case I just print the fashion photo and hand write the pertinent information in later as pictured above. From this photo I only made up the skirt pattern so I only marked my bust and hip measurements at the top. There was no need to mark my high bust because I didn't use it. I circled the numbers for just the skirt pattern to tell me that's the only pattern in the envelope, I didn't draw the top patterns.

Notice that I didn't note my fabric requirement at the bottom. From my earlier post "Make it work" you may remember that I made my skirt from a remnant left from another project. If I were to buy fabric specifically to make another skirt from this pattern I would need to measure my fabric requirement from a new full width of fabric.

My Lutterloh patterns fit in my pattern filing drawer much better this way now. I can file them in categories such as skirts, pants and dresses and waste a lot less time trying to find a pattern I've already drawn. For now I'm just pretty happy to get these patterns put away and off my table. If you can think of any information that could be included on the outside of the envelopes or even a better filing system altogether I would certainly welcome your comments.


  1. Great organizing tip. I put mine in clear plastic ziptop bags and print the picture also. I am visual and like to see everything at a glance. Now I just need to find time to sew :o)

  2. Thanks for posting Ann. Now that I plan to sew with Lutterloh more, this helps with storage and keeping them organized.

  3. Well this was very helpful organizing info. Thanks for sharing your method.

  4. How are you getting those great pictures to put on your envelopes?

  5. I think Ann does what I do, I scan my photo and then print and tape it on.

  6. Another organizational option is to use page protectors and large 3 ring binders,label each binder for skirts, pants, blouses etc.
    I find this easy for my own personal patterns.
    I keep my customers patterns in 6 x 9 envelopes in a file cabinet and have no room for my own personal patterns

  7. Great to see so many patternmakers out there. I thought you might like my system for storage as I have hundreds, nay thousands of patterns.
    I use tissue wrap paper & join lengths as required with a glue stick. Generally one sheet of paper will make a bodice pattern & two for pants & full skirts. I always mark on each pattern piece the pattern number & book number it's from & I add the bust & hip size, as I make for different people. You can colour code your patterns by using different colour tissue. I then copy & print the pic on a sheet & store the entire pattern in a plastic pouch for a ring binder. I have many folders for skirts pants jackets etc I can find my patterns by quickly looking through my books, I use weights instead of pins which helps keep my patterns from wearing in the corners. Hope my system works for others too as you can store your patterns in your bookshelf & create a reference book that you can show others through

  8. Any pattern I draft, whether it's my own or from an altered commercial pattern, gets sized, dated and numbered if necessary. I then punch a hole at the top of the pattern piece, and slip the pieces on one of those small silver circle clips you can buy at a office supply store. A picture of the pattern - drawn or copied - is also hole-punched and hung at the front of the pieces for that pattern. If it's not obvious, I also put the number of pattern pieces on the picture. Then I loop several of these through a larger circle clip, and hang them from hooks or shelves, depending.

    Maybe this system would also work for others. :-)

  9. For the past 10 years, I principally draft all my patterns from Lutterloh. I just wish sometimes I could send them some design ideas that they could add to their catalog.
    However I get my paper for drafting from the medical supply office. I use to store my patterns by putting them in plastic bags, but because I am a visual person and I want to see it right now, I found a different way to store my sheets. I use a paper roll that looks similar to a paper towel roll. I take a picture of the pattern from the book, glue to the outside of the roll. Now just place all cut pattern pieces together, roll then place inside of tube. Organize by pants, tops dresses, etc in containers standing up. It is all visual immediately.

  10. Thank you for your handy tips. I thought it was just me having issues. Lol!