How Do You Organize Your Burda Stash?

It feels like forever since I have been able to sew anything… And I am afraid to say I haven’t quite started back yet.  I got some necessary mending done… but not much else.  I am still organizing the sewing space.  Mostly because it sort of became an all-purpose storage space when I moved home from school.  Since I can now actually walk into my bedroom and get into bed without having to move mounds of stuff, the sewing space is my next area to tackle, so I should be back in action by next week.  With any luck.  I hope.

Anyway, in light of the fact that I have been organizing like crazy, I thought I would do a post about pattern organization.  Especially since a few posts ago Sewing Sveta asked how I organize my Burda stash.  I have to admit, it takes a fair bit of effort to keep things organized.  Personally, when I want to start a new project I tend to think about the garment type first (dress, pants, jacket, etc.) then look for a pattern similar to what I had in mind.  A long time ago I did a post about my digital pattern catalog.  I still use this method of organizing/cataloging/searching through my pattern stash.  Basically, I take a screen shot or scan of the pattern and then store the digital picture file under the pattern name and number within a category.  Since I started doing this when I started collecting Burda magazines, it only takes me about an hour to catalog new patterns each month when the new issue goes up on the Russian archive site.  It takes me a bit longer if I get a Patrones or Knipmode, because then I have to scan the actual magazine pages, but since I don’t have a subscription to those magazines I only have to do that on a rare occasion.

Pattern Catalog subdivided by pattern type.
I scroll through the patterns to look for something suitable.
Patterns I have used are highlighted with a color.
Red = TNT, Blue = Needs adjustments, Grey = Bad pattern

I have refined the method a bit over the years, since I now have so many patterns, mostly due to my ever increasing Burda stash.  I now have the following categories and subcategories:

  • Coats & Jackets (Bolero, Capes, Coats-Long, Coats-Short, Coats-Trench, Fancy, Favorites, Jackets-Blazers, Jackets-Casual, Jackets-Formal, PlusSize)
  • Costumes
  • Dresses (Casual, Fall, Fancy-Gowns, Fancy-Short, Favorites, Knits, MaxiDress, PlusSize, SackDresses, Sheath, ShirtDress, Summer)
  • Kids
  • Maternity
  • Men
  • Pants (Capri, Casual, Favorites, Harem, Jeans, Jumpsuit, PJ/Exercise, PlusSize, Shorts, Skinny, Straight, Suit)
  • Skating
  • Skirts (A-Line, Casual, Circle, Fancy, Favorites, Flare, Jean, Maxi, Mini, Pencil, Pleats, PlusSize, Wrap)
  • Sleep/Other
  • Sweaters, Cardigans, Wraps
  • Tops (Blouse, ButtonDown, Cami/Tank, Corset, Favorites, Knits, PlusSize, T-Shirts, Tunic, Turtleneck)
  • Toys/Crafts
  • Vests

Usually I look through my “Favorites” folders first – they are patterns I really liked when I saw them or ones where I have fabric stashed and ready for a project.  If I don’t have something appropriate in the Favorites folder I look in the sub-category folder most likely to have what I want.  I also have a “Wishlist” folder where I store screen shots of envelope patterns I want to get, but don’t have yet.  If/when I get them then I re-file in the appropriate place.  For wardrobe patterns I put a copy of the pattern image in each appropriate location.

After I look through my digital catalog and select 2-3 posible patterns I head to the actual pattern stash to look at the fabric requirements. (For envelope patterns I can usually look at the requirements online, unless the pattern is OOP.  For magazine patterns I don’t have a reliable source to look up fabric/notion requirements – the Russian Burda website has it for the newer magazines, but not the older ones – so I usually have to actually look through the magazine.  Which is ok.  I like looking through my magazines!)

My Envelope patterns are stored in plastic drawers by brand, then in numerical order.
Burda Magazines are stored by year.
(Yeah, I also have a thing for dragons.)

I also have another shelf with non-Burda sewing magazines and Jalie patterns by my sewing machine with my sewing library.  Though I need to replace the shelves.  The shelf I was using is older than I am and they kinda sorta broke.  Ooops.  Sewing books tend to be a little heavy…

Once I have use a pattern and have a traced/altered pattern I put it in a manilla envelope labeled with the pattern name/number.  I store these separate from the original pattern in their own filing cabinate.  I store alphabetical by brand name, then numerical so they are easy to sort through.  For Burda magazines, I store multiple patterns in one envelope if they come from the same issue, and I write which pattern numbers they are on the front.  Sometimes I also do a little line drawing of what the pattern looks like as well.  Sometimes I will also make a photocopy of the instructions and write notes on them and store these with the pattern, or I might leave notes for future adjustments or notes about construction order.  It is really easy to find a previously used pattern and whip up something with a TNT.  My only exception are my skating patterns – I use these so often I keep them more accessible and don’t really store them with everything else.

So, that’s my method to tame the madness.  Anyone have any suggestions to streamline the process?  What sort of pattern storage solutions have you all come up with?

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9 thoughts on “How Do You Organize Your Burda Stash?

  1. Oh my gosh, this puts me to shame. I've got my envelopes sorted by garment type and my Burda magazines sorted chronologically. And then there is the stack of favorites/new patterns/patterns I'm considering that temporarily live on the nightstand. But I don't have any kind of catalog. I was just thinking the other day how difficult it is to find anything in Burda since I don't have any kind of catalogue.

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  2. Your system seems already very streamlined!

    I have my patterns in shoe boxes and a couple of wooden crates – one for sewing books and magazines and one for knitting stuff. It's a bit of a mess really.

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  3. Thank you for the post! This is exactly which I need%) I am trying to make a digital catalog of patterns but because I bought a lot of magazines in short period of time the process is a little bit overwhelming.
    I need to make folder favorite too, this will help to organize sewing list.
    BTW Osinka is one of the main sewing community for Russian speaking persons%)

    Thanks!

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  4. I just remembered that I have my knitting patterns listed in a library page on my Ravelry account. I wish the Burdastyle website had a similar facility.

    After reading this blog entry I have decided to do a fabric stash audit.

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  5. I have every.single.tax return I ever filed, and they're not that well organized. Come to my house and organize them for me.

    And yes, I have had to go back a decade in returns to make a correction. Don't believe that 'only need to hold on to 5 years.'

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