Storing Vintage Patterns

or the method to my madness...

First off, I dislike separating the pattern from it's envelope and instructions. Why? Because I've got ADHD (SRSLY!) and I will lose the parts if they don't stay together. I know some bloggers prefer to use a binder/sleeve/drawer multi-step process, but keeping them all together in one spot works best for me.

To keep the papers safe from degradation over time, I use silver size comic book sleeves and silver age cardboard backers. Both are acid free, 100% archival safe.

I store them upright in medium fabric bins from Bed, Bath & Beyond and categorized by type.

My categories are:
  • Vintage Women's
  • Vintage Repro
  • Vintage Children's
  • Current Children's
  • Current Women's
  • Costumes/Outerwear/Unisex/Men's&Boy's (these are those father/son patterns)
  • Infant Layette/Accessories/Home Dec/Aprons/Crafts
  • Toys/Dolls/Clothes/Animals
I just handwrite with Sharpie pen on the little cardboard inserts that come with the bins. This makes it easy because if I need to shift anything around, then I can without wasting too much time/money on labels.

Which leads me back to my pattern storage. I use my labeler machine to make a label with the Pattern Company - Pattern Number - Date and affix it to the upper left hand corner of the cardboard backer. Currently, I'm only doing this for my truly vintage patterns.

The fabric bins then reside inside a Closetmaid Cubeicals storage system from Target. I have a 6 cube in espresso and a 9 cube in celery green (discontinued).


I'm about to get a 2 cube in espresso to go with the 6 cube so that all 8 of my bins of patterns can be together and I can free up 2 cubbies in the 9 cube for projects/manuals. I love the versatility of these pieces. They aren't huge, they aren't ugly and they're moderately reasonably priced *and* they are easy to assemble. Even if they are heavy as a mofo when you're trying to wrangle them into and out of your cart at the store.

I recently took some pictures of my sewing space and they show the bins/cubes pretty well. I'll see if I can't upload them in the near future. Blogger is being a PITB today regarding picture uploads so it might take a while.

Just so you know, I don't get anything in return if you click a link and decide to purchase anything. I'm just putting the links there so you can see how much it might run you if you decide you want to do something similar to what I'm doing.

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