Pattern Organizing Tip

One of the ladies on my Quilting Friends group asked for helpful tips and I shared this over there and thought I would share it here too (I am all about sharing, I used to teach Kindergarten.)

I am not sure why this didn’t occur to me before but this weekend I had an amazing revelation about how to organize my quilting patterns and pages I’ve saved from quilting magazines. Before, I just took patterns I liked from magazines or had printed off the Internet and put them into page protectors in one main binder.  Also, if I purchased a pattern at a quilt store that came in one of those nifty plastic bags, I would take it out of the baggy and put it into a page protector. Then I could use the plastic baggy later when I needed to organize pieces in a quilt. Well, over time the binder sort of got full, or I ran out of page protectors and used a hole punch instead and patterns got put into another binder as well. Then I thought, “Gee, why don’t I just sort these patterns into different categories to make them easier to find?” DUH!! So here are the categories I ended up with, please realize that if you do this your categories might be different based on the types of patterns you have.

Quilt Patterns: Mostly those I had saved from magazines, putting them in the protectors made it easy to keep track of several pages and when I wanted to use it I could just grab the particular page protector it was in.

Applique patterns/instructions: I made sure that the pattern pieces were right behind the instructions and if I had several from the same magazine I grouped those together with the pieces behind it. (They are usually printed on one large fold out pattern piece.)

Tote bag patterns: I love totes and have collected a lot of patterns.

Quilting Tips: Ever seen the pages at the front or the back of your quilt magazines with helpful hints? Sometimes I would tear those out of the magazine and they end up in this binder. Much easier than having to go back later to dig through a magzine to find a helpful hint.

I also have one binder with torn out pages from Better Homes and Gardens magazines with recipes and decorating ideas. This saves a lot of space and the rest of the magazines can be sent to a recycling center.

The neatest thing, I think, is my trusty electronic label maker. I totally love that gadget!  I made labels for each of the binders (they were mostly 1″ binders I’ve collected over time) and put them on the binding side so I can see at a glance which binder I want.  I think this will make it a lot easier to find stuff in the future. So, anyone else have any great suggestions to share?

Happy Organizing,



April 28, 2009. Organizing.


  1. Liz replied:

    Instead of binders, I use hanging folders to organize the pages I cut out of magazines. You can get a variety of boxes to hold the folders – some close up and are very easy to grab and go.

    I am still going through old magazines and sometimes I just pull out the picture of the quilts because I am more interesting in the color combinations, the border or something else in the quilt.

    I also save those tips pages as well as anything that deals with the history of quilting.

  2. Brenda Severa replied:

    I leave my patterns in the plastic bags or envelopes but instead have them in the pattern boxes in Alpha order. I have an excel spreadsheet with all the info on it and then download that spreadsheet to my blackberry so that I don’t buy duplicates!!

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