Tip & Tricks 4 PDF Sewing Patterns: Saving and Organizing

I’ve been sewing for a long time.  Sometimes I totally forget what its like to be new to sewing and organizing pdf sewing patterns. Even more confusing can be those that come from a paper pattern background, but are trying out PDF sewing patterns for the first time.  I was raised on paper patterns, so y’all have my empathy. PDF’s can be a little confusing at first. That’s why I wanted to write a blog series just for you guys. The newbies. Whether you are new to sewing entirely, or just new to PDF sewing patterns, these posts should help you navigate using a PDF sewing pattern for the first time. And maybe those that have been sewing with PDF sewing patterns for a while will find a helpful tip or two.

Saving & Organizing PDF Sewing Patterns

How to organize & save pdf sewing patterns - Great tips!
I know this seems super simple. Buy your pattern, download and save it to a location of your choosing, and BAM, you’re done. While that’s great when you only have a few patterns, it can get super confusing when your PDF sewing pattern collection grows. Awesome sewing patterns are as addictive as buying fabric. You can literally end up with hundreds of patterns. Those cute little leggings by your favorite designer? You thought you bought them, but you can’t for the life of you find them. So you buy them again, and oops! You bought them twice!! Side note: If you are logged in on my website while shopping, the website will tell you if you already bought the pattern before. You can’t thank me later.

The struggle is real guys. And trust me, you don’t want to have to be organizing PDF sewing patterns after you collect hundred of them. It’s better to have an organization system right from the beginning. Ask me how I know.

If you ask how others are organizing pdf sewing patterns, you will get a million different answers.  Some people like to print them all out and put them in a binder (holy printer ink, batman!) I personally like to have them organized into separate folders on my computer. That way I can quickly access what I’m looking for.

How to organize & save pdf sewing patterns - Great tips!

I start by having a folder just for my patterns. Inventive, I know.  I promise, my tips get better.

How to organize & save pdf sewing patterns - Great tips!

 

Under that, I separate it by pattern type.  Makes sense, right?  I have a folder for clothes as well as for other misc items like toys and bags.  These may vary depending on the type of sewing that you do.

How to organize & save pdf sewing patterns - Great tips!

Then I separate it by size ranges. There’s nothing more irritating than having a pattern in both girls and woman’s sizing but not being able to find the version that you want. How to organize & save pdf sewing patterns - Great tips!

Here’s where it gets detailed. I like to make a folder for each type of pattern. I find normally when I got to sew something, I have a general idea of what I like to make… Pants? Dresses? Just go to the file I need and browse.

OK, here’s my best tip. Create your own file naming system. Its harder to find the pattern you need if every single pattern you own is named differently. Here’s now I like to name my files:

(Designer Initials)_(Pattern Name)_(Size Ranges).pdf

So for example, my Bow Tie Leggings and Shorts pattern would be named like this:

BSD_Bow Tie Leggings Shorts_12M-10.pdf

This will automatically sort your patterns by designer. Want to sew that new pattern you picked up by Seaside Notions?  Want to make an awesome handbag from Swoon? All their patterns will be together for your choosing. I also find putting the size range in the file name super helpful. I have two little ones on the small end of the size ranges. If I want to sew something for my baby, but the pattern only goes down to size 2T, then I will know that it won’t work for her without even having to open up the file.  Side note… some of you may notice there are no BSD patterns listed in my folders.  That’s because their awesomeness needs a whole folder all to their own.  Ha ha!  All kidding aside, I like to keep my business files separate.

Because I love you, I’ll give you a download for my file structure (sorry, no pdf’s included.  You’ll have to buy them from all those awesome pattern designers). Feel free to customize it how you want. Click here for a free download to get you started.

So those of you that have been sewing PDF patterns for awhile, what are you favorite tips when it comes to organizing pdf sewing patterns?  Let me know in the comments.

Did you enjoy this post?  Be sure to check out on any of the installment that you missed:

Day 1: Organizing Your PDF Sewing Patterns
Day 2: Using the Layers Feature
Day 3: Printing your PDF Sewing Pattern