One Woman’s Quest for the Paragon of Pattern Cataloging

Soooooo….does anyone else own enough patterns to necessitate pattern cataloging?

05 May26 TheStash

Considering there is an app for that, I take that to mean I am not alone in the struggle for premium pattern organization. I purchased the original Sewing Kit app about two weeks before the HD version was released. Not only did that leave me a little bitter that my $9 was wasted on an “old” app, but I also wasn’t impressed with it enough to convince me to drop another $9 for the HD version. And from the looks of it, the HD version isn’t too great, either.

I’ve looked at the ways others have adapted database systems to suit their pattern cataloging needs. Virtual organization could simply come down to personal preference. Sarai at Coletterie uses Tap Forms, Lula Louise has her system using Evernote, neither of which appeal to me for no good reason at all (mostly, that I don’t want to spend a lot of time cataloging and I can never remember my Evernote password).

Instead, I use Pinterest and now the world knows I own at least 385 sewing patterns (I’m sure I missed one or two).

05 May26 PatternsIOwn

My cataloging system is fairly rudimentary in that the main appeal of this system is pretty pictures. Plus, I didn’t have to take any of my own photos– I just Pinned from the pattern company’s page, etsy or the Vintage Patterns Wikia.

What I like best about my virtual catalog is the ease with which I can match my inspiration with its coordinating pattern. Just type in the pattern number, limit the results to My Pins, and any Pin matching that (usually) unique number will pop up and I can scroll through ideas for that pattern, even if I Pinned it on another Board.

For example, if I search for “5894,” for Butterick 5894, and limit the results to Your Pins…05 May26 Search

…the Pin from the Patterns I Own Board appears as well as a similar dress that I Pinned to another Board and labelled as 5894 and I can look at both at once.

05 May26 SearchResults

What if I want to search for particular garments? Since Pinterest doesn’t have an option to filter search results to just one Board, I labeled the patterns using plurals (“dresses”) with the assumption that most of the Pins on my other Boards are labeled singularly (“dress”) and will thus not show up in my search results.

Here is a visual: searching for “dress”

05 May26 SearchDress

Searching for “dresses”

05 May26 SearchDresses

The Pinterest system only works OK for garments with no singular such as, say, “pants.”

05 May25 SearchPants

Regardless, I like that I’m not limited to the usual categories. I can create my own labels, such as “open source” (y’all know your BurdaStyle patterns are Open Source, correct?) and scroll through those.

05 May26 SearchOpenSource

It’s nowhere near a perfect system, but considering how much time I spend on Pinterest, at least I can gain from the convenience of my pattern catalog being in the same virtual space. What I really want is a LibraryThing type website & coordinating app for all sewing patterns– new, vintage, and out-of-print. You could make lists of patterns you have, you want, that you’ve made, see pictures of what others have made, tag them…I really should have taken that app class in grad school.

I hope that is helpful to someone out there! And please let me know if I can explain any better (my writing skills have gone downhill since writing my FORTIETH cover letter).

Any pattern hoarders out there want to share your cataloging system? Or try to convince me of the greatness of Evernote? I’m open to convincing.


8 responses

  1. It looks like Pattern Review offers a pattern catalog feature to paid members – I don’t know how good that is, since I’m not a paid member . But I think your pinterest system looks great! (Why does my phone not know pinterest? It kept suggesting such fine words as libertarian. Really?)


    1. Blergggghhh…what kind of dictionary does Apple use?? Whenever I start to type something that starts with S, it suggests s&m. I’m PRETTY sure I don’t use the term that often.

      Anyway, topic on hand: Pattern Reviews- I know no one who has a membership but I would love to see what’s behind the paywall. I’ll have to look into whether or not they have a free trial.


      1. Ha, it’s my new Android phone – I think it must be conservative, since it doesn’t like me to swear but it does like to substitute things like titty and libertarian. 😉

        Good luck on the pattern front!


  2. I thought I had a lot of patterns! wow! I don’t use Evernote – although everyone tells me I should – and I don’t use Pinterest – I don’t always have the internet with me. I have photos of every pattern I own on my iPad, not perfect but it keeps me happy… and I don’t have 300 patterns! wow!


    1. I like to think of myself more as a “collector” than a hoarder…but also very weak-willed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m in the process of filling a spreadsheet with info but will need to add some way of adding a cover photo. Was thinking that if pattern numbers could be looked up in wikia it would be nice too (I.E. type in the publisher and number and it tries to match the entry to a picture from wikia). You choose the one that matches and it populates the rest of the spreadsheet entry.
    Will let you know how it works out but as I’m a web programmer this will more likely end up becoming a wordpress plugin or something.


    1. PLEASE DO LET US KNOW!! The tough part is finding a source for images that has a good representation of new & older/vintage patterns. Then again, maybe what I need to do is just create a Wikia myself.


  4. […] only concentrated my blatant consumerism to a particular interest (I did recently admit to having almost 400 sewing patterns), I do find it easier to keep my money in my pocket when I’m out shopping with friends when […]


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