Like many dedicated sewers I have a lot of sewing patterns. And I mean a lot. At present count 587 individual pattern envelopes, plus those in the Burda magazines and the vintage Australian Home Journal magazines (a sort of mid century Australian version of Burda). And I cannot bring myself to destash in any way, even the fugliest patterns I know I'll never use, but who knows if some distant future relative of mine won't think it's a goldmine they way we love vintage patterns now.
I’ve tried a number of systems to keep track of them. Firstly I had them all in square archive boxes, grouped together by type of pattern (dresses, skirts, shirts etc) but this was complicated by those wardrobe patterns with multiple patterns in the one, still having to rummage through the boxes and the six boxes required to house them when stacked on top of each other reached the ceiling. So the next phase was to scan all the patterns one time when I was home sick with the flu for two weeks, which meant I didn’t have to rummage through the boxes to see what patterns I had but still meant they physically took up a lot of space.
Then I stumbled across an unassuming but oh so helpful piece of furniture from Ikea of all places: the Aneboda chest of drawers. Three drawers, deep enough for patterns to stand on end, even the big Vogue envelopes, and wide enough to fit five rows of standard pattern envelopes across.
I managed to fit all 587 pattern envelopes in the chest of drawers and there’s room for more (oh don’t worry I’ll fill it in time and will have to get a sister for it). It takes up so little room, but fits them in so efficiently and neatly, all the patterns are lined up nicely like little soldiers ready to take on the fabric stash. I have them ordered by pattern company in numerical order (the whole top drawer are Simplicity patterns alone!). So now I can browse through the scanned patterns to see what I have and which I want to use, and easily find what I’m looking for.
Over at Ikea Hacker someone customized their Aneboda by covering up the semi opaque plastic fronts with coloured paper, but I like being able to see the patterns in there, all those lovely ladies on the covers begging me silently with their eyes to be the next chosen one.
Anyway, Ikea is all over the world and it’s more than likely that there is one near you. Give the Aneboda a go, it may just change your world (or at least clean up your sewing room). And the best thing? My husband congratulated me on coming to my senses and throwing out some patterns. Ha ha ha, little does he know!