Organizing & Storing PDF Printable Sewing Patterns

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts,Patterns,Sewing

Lately I’m buying printable PDF sewing patterns as often as paper patterns. After trying a handful of things that didn’t work, I finally found my favorite way to organize and store them:

6 x 9 clasp envelopes.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. Print a master copy of the pattern on paper.
  2. Tape it all together and cut out roughly around each pattern piece.
  3. Trace the size I’ll be making onto pattern paper (which is actually medical exam table paper…works PERFECTLY for pattern paper!)
  4. Store Master copy in one envelope and individual sizes in another.

Tracing the pattern from printer paper to pattern paper is time consuming, but it’ll keep your rotary blade/scissors from getting dull so quickly. And pattern paper is transparent so it’s much easier to lay out on the fabric. And you can keep your master pattern in tact for future use/sizes.

The 6 x 9 clasp envelopes are just about the same size as commercial pattern envelopes (6.5 x 8) so they store well together.

Sometimes I print a picture and tape it to the front, but I also like the simple look of just the label.

I love how all my envelopes line up neatly in their little drawer. Makes me so happy…


1 Lauren January 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

A smart reminder to store a print copy of your PDF pattern! I like to keep mine in clear sheet pockets in a binder.

2 Amy mayen March 21, 2013 at 4:45 am


3 sew4my3 May 24, 2013 at 6:34 am

I use this same storage system but when I make the pdf item, I add a inexpensive paper photo to the outside of the envelope.

4 Joyce Williams November 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

I save mine in manila folders…with usually the front page of my PDF taped to the front that shows pictures of the pattern. I also have each pattern numbered. I have a notebook with all the front pages of patterns to show customers or myself. That number will take me right to the pattern. WHY?? Because I have SO MANY patterns.

5 Louise Marie February 25, 2014 at 8:05 am

///where can i get medical exam ppaper?

6 Audrey April 3, 2014 at 7:11 am

Hey, this a great idea! I recently posted about how I store my PDF patterns, and what I love about sewing PDF patterns. You can read it here:

7 Michelle Curry April 4, 2014 at 4:37 am

You can also use freezer paper. It works great!

8 Judy April 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Found I had this problem too. I like plastic zip-lock type storage. I print the instructions using 2-sided draft mode in color then print the master in 1-side draft mode. I usually trace patterns on grid pattern material, so the plastic zipper storage enables me to save the instructions, to see them easily — I need to see the pic as I probably won’t recall what it looks like by only the name. — and I can keep all the patterns I trace, neatly folded in the bag. I buy 12 x 12 scrapbook-size bags since I always have a use for them for sewing or other crafts. I keep all the bags in baskets that I spray-painted to match so they don’t look messy on my studio shelves. The opaque envelope wouldn’t work for me, but I truly appreciate this problem and your solution. Thought I’d share mine. :-)

9 Christie Archer November 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

I used to do the clear plastic too, but I do the large white envelopes and I glue the “cover page” of the pdf pattern to the front for a visual. I love being organized, lol.

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