How To: Digitally Organize Your Patterns

If you’ve seen my sewing room tour then you know that I keep all my sewing patterns in a tall dresser. However, with over 400 patterns it’s hard to know what I have. I have been using Trello.com to digitally organize my pattern stash to keep track of my makes, what I currently own, and general information about each pattern.


Scroll down to read how to organize your pattern stash and be sure to check out my YouTube tutorial to follow along and learn more about Trello.


Now Trello is set up similarly to Pinterest. You have your separate boards, like folders to keep similar items together. I have two; one for my patterns and one for my fabric.


Within your board you have Lists. The lists are used to further break-down and categorize the cards you have. Each card represents one pattern


So I have my patterns organized by the garment type. I have a list for dresses, tops, jumpsuits, outerwear, mens, lounge/ intimates, pants & shorts, skirts, athletic-wear, separates, swimsuits, and crafts/ extras. My dresses list is by far the longest. I love dresses!


So here I’m going to scroll down the dresses category and click on this Butterick pattern. If I click on a card this popup will appear. This information is what you can customize with each card.


Here I have created labels. I personally chose to make two kinds of labels. One for type of fabric if it's woven or knit. And another to break down what sizes I have. Below that you can write in a detailed description if you would like.



But the only other thing that I do for each pattern is to upload the corresponding photos from the McCalls website. Every time I order or purchase a pattern I immediately go to McCalls.com or the corresponding site and download three things:


1. I download the cover image. This is the image on the packaging, so I know what to look for when I need to search for this pattern.

2. Then I take screenshots of the tech flats or line drawings to better see the details of each version.

3. And I also screenshot the size chart which has all the information like the fabric type, what sewing notions you need, and of course how much fabric you need for this pattern.


This is the most helpful when I am out shopping and I come across a fabric that I would know would look great in a pattern I have. I can pull up the Trello app on my phone and easily find out how much fabric I need.


The same thing works for Indie patterns. Most of them have a website or downloadable patterns which include a photo of the finished garment, a size chart, and detailed photos or tech flats.


Another added feature with Trello is that you can place stickers on your cards. I like to add a checkmark to each pattern that I have sewn, so I can keep track of what I’ve used. I try to use each pattern at least once.

If you go to the upper right corner and click on ‘show menu’ this bar will appear. From here you can click on stickers.


They have a variety of stickers to choose from, but the checkmark is the first one to appear. You can just click and hold the sticker you want and drag it over to the card you want to place it on. The sticker can be placed anywhere on the card.



From the menu you can also search your cards by the labels you have created. And you can also set deadlines for each card. Say you need to make McCalls M7156 by Friday. You can set that date and Trello will help you keep your projects organized.


We are going to click on the pattern and open it up. On the right hand side we are going to click Due Date. From here you can choose the date and time. You can also set a reminder notification.


At the top of your Trello page you have a search bar, from here you can search for a pattern directly, say you want to know if you’ve already purchased the new McCalls Alister top. Just type it in and Trello will tell you if you have made a card for it or not.


Then you can open the card and look to see what size you have purchased, and all the details to make the garment. This is a great feature if you know the pattern number that you are looking for. I have used this countless times when I find myself leafing through the catalog at JoAnn’s. Of course, if you’re just browsing for ideas you can return to your board and scroll through each list.


Next to the search bar you can also easily switch between your boards. I will show you my fabric board. This one is not as organized. I have a few fabrics that I had purchased on a trip to Mood that I have put here.


Right now I have two lists, printed cotton and African Wax print. Each card contains one fabric.


I took a photo of my fabric and added in details like a link to the fabric on Mood.com. I put the amount of fabric in the headline, but if I were to organize this further, I would probably create labels including the yardage, fabric type, color, and even print variety.



I’ll show you how to add a new card for your fabric or pattern. At the bottom of the list you will see a button with a plus sign that says Add another card.


Click on this button and it immediately prompts you to name your card. I name mine with the pattern company first, followed by the pattern number.

Then press Add Card.



Once it's added, click on the new card and it will open up.

From here you can add your labels, and also add your photos.




Let me show you how I retrieve the photos first.


I go to McCall.com and click on the pattern company on the top left corner.

From there I search for the pattern number

Then click on the pattern.



Once you get to the pattern page, scroll down through the list of photos on the left hand side and find the pattern envelope. Click on the image and click again to make it appear larger on your screen. Now at this point if you are on a Mac you can use two fingers to right click and select Save Image As….

OR you can click and hold Command+Shift+4 to select the image to screenshot on a Mac.


The same goes for the size chart and tech flats. If you scroll down the page you will see them. I will take a screenshot and save it to my desktop. *Make sure you zoom out to view the entire image before you screenshot the page.



Click on Attachment and choose where your files are saved. I saved mine to my desktop so I will click on computer. From here you will be prompted to upload your files. So I am going to select the three photos that I have for Vogue V1697



Once they are uploaded you have the option to select your cover image. This is the image that will display in your list. I always select the pattern envelope image.

Now your card will look like this. Once you have uploaded your attachments that are forever saved. You can delete the files you have on your computer.


At the top of each list are three little dots. Click on this and you have the option to sort your list. I choose to sort my list Alphabetically. Since I titled my cards the same, they are grouped together first by pattern company and then sorted numerically by pattern number.


Once you’ve made a card you can also make changes and move it.


If you hover over the right-hand side of the card, a pencil icon will appear. Click on this and several options will appear.


These are things you can quickly change, including moving your card.

If you select move you can see which board it is in, which list it is under and which position within the list it is. All of these items can be changed.



A cool thing you can do to organize your projects is to put your patterns and fabrics together. Say you want to make this pattern with one of the fabrics in your stash. From here you can move it to your fabric board or, to keep your pattern board all together and organized you can just move a copy of this pattern.

So instead of move, click on Copy, from here you can choose to keep or remove your labels and attachments and you can move your copy immediately to a different board or list.



Trello isn’t just for new patterns. I also use it to keep track of the older patterns in my stash.


For example I will click on this vintage Butterick pattern. I’ve added labels just the same as the other patterns but instead of uploading photos from the website, I have scanned in the pattern envelope. I chose to scan in the front with the fashion illustrations so that I know what to look for. And I scanned in the back which has the tech flats at the top, the fabric types and notions needed and the size chart.



I hope this has been helpful! If you have any questions or suggestions of your own, leave them in the comments below. Be sure to check out my full tutorial for step-by-step instructions. And visit Trello.com and download the Trello app to your phone. It is all free to use and so helpful!



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