May 15th, 2020

me: portrait

Organization is da Bomb!

With Himself getting into sewing, I knew I needed to reorganize my Studio. He'd agreed to help, but I have to wait on his for the past 3 days, I've been working on my pattern problem. Since I know there's a LOT of new sewers out there, I figured I'd whip up a post - it might help someone else (even though I think I have a readership of 3. 2 of which are family.....:rofl:

For the past....century or so, patterns have come on paper, purchased from (usually) a fabric store. JoAnn's (and to a lesser extent, Hobby Lobby), has been famous for running sales - usually once a month, for one week, particular companies were put on sale for $1.99/each.....which is a HUGE savings. (Paper patterns tend to run any where from $9.95 - $20.00+ - being able to snag them for $1.99 each is a Big Deal!)

About...5 years ago? 10? Independent pattern companies hit the scene with print-at-home pdf patterns. I looked at them, and bought a few, but......seriously, why pay $7.50+ for a pattern *I* had to print myself, when I could hit JoAnn's and get a ready-to-go pattern for $2? It didn't make sense to me, because SURELY it cost a lot to print at home, right? I am ashamed to admit I never did a cost analysis of pdf patterns before Wednesday.....because it never crossed my mind. I mean, I had hauled some files to Staples to print them, because - surely! - it was cheaper to print wide-format and skip the expensive and time consuming step of taping all those (expensive!) pages together.....Staples charges $7.50/page. Or did - Herself bought a plotter for us (which I still need to get up and running; I think I have the correct drivers now on my gaming rig. :shrug: It's actually moot - you'll see...) and we haven't been back to Staples since. (Organization is coming up, I promise!)

OK. So.....I can buy a pdf pattern for $7.50 (or less!). A pack of paper from Wally-World (the closest place to me that carries copy paper) is $3.97/500 sheets. That breaks out to $0.00794 per page. Um......I don't like "messy" math, so let's round up to $0.01/page, to keep it easy. The typical pattern that I buy is 50 pages (36 or so for the actual pattern, the rest is the instructions. YES, I print the instructions; I want them on hand for note-taking, plus you never know when a small company will go out of business.) So: $0.50 to print the pattern....since I rounded up, and since pattern pages don't use a lot of ink/toner, I think we are probably safe in assuming the ink costs are built in. I did a quick online check; regular office printing runs about $0.03/page......again, patterns don't have that much printing per page.

Cost so far: $8. Now we need to tape that sucker together! Scotch brand tape runs $6.47/4 pack (at my local Wally-World) - that's $1.6175/roll. I usually buy generic, but let's run with this. I can usually tape 2 patterns together per roll, so that's $0.80875 in tape per pattern.....let's round up and our total for a print-at-home pdf pattern is $9.

******* $9.00 ********

I won't factor in the cost of tracing paper, pencils and time, since I trace ALL my patterns off as a matter of course. That way the original is safe, and I don't have to reprint it if I decide to change something, like a neckline, sleeve, or length.


I have spent the last 3 days sorting my patterns into storage boxes, both paper and pdf. I also took the time to update my pdf organization...which is the main thing I wanted to post about. I have...a LOT of pdf patterns; most free, but still. That's a LOT of files to keep track of.....what's the "best" way to go about it?

Some people use a filing cabinet; the patterns go in there while the envelope/picture from the pdf go in page protectors in a notebook. Works, do you know what you already have when you are looking a patterns in a store/online? You *could* carry a small spiral notebook around, with all your patterns hand-listed.........but that's a LOT of work.

Some people use OneNote. I looked at that......but it didn't click with me. It makes little sense - it might work for you; it does for a lot of people. I needed something else - what I wanted was basically Ravelry, but off-line. Bonus points if it works on both mobile and laptop! Oh, and it HAS to be Mac-compatible, since I am (mostly) Mac-only. (The gaming rig is nice, but......gaming. And some work. Mostly gaming. Plus my phone is Apple, so....yeah.)

What I ended up with is Tap Forms, a database that also has an app. After a LOT of work, I ended up with 2 databases - the mobile version is a list of all my patterns while the laptop version has the actual files attached. (Plus the laptop version has all my knitting pdfs, all my :sob: weaving pdfs, AND finished projects. Plus blank forms for spinning and tatting, so that all my fiber-crafts are saved in 1 spot. It's....nice. VERY nice. If I could figure out how to link the pattern entry to the finished project entry, I'd be set, but so far that's eluded me. :shrug: It's not necessary, really - it would just be nice.)

While I sorted my patterns in the Studio, I made sure they were on my phone. When I got back to the house, I sat down with the laptop and made sure most of the pdfs were also on my phone - I left off some of the free quilting patterns, and a lot of the free apron patterns. I don't care if I download them again - they're free!

All my paper patterns are in, with photos of both the front and back of the envelope - no more guessing on fabric type and amount! (The pdfs are set up the same way...mostly. If I haven't printed them yet, I don't have photos. :shrug: I tend to print them before buying fabric, works for me.) I have tags, so if I do happen across some awesome fabric that HAS to become a hat/shirt/whatever, I can pull up the patterns that have that tag. PLUS - no more duplicate patterns!

The laptop version is basically the mobile version, but with a few less details. I don't have a listing for "box" for example (which tells me WHERE the pattern is located in my Studio; if it's blank then I haven't printed it off yet), nor do I have the fabric requirements/recommendation. I do have the actual pdf attached - which is NOT on the mobile version. I also have any embroidery files attached (on the laptop) for things like plushies - it makes it easier to find them/remember I have them. (Embroidery files are also housed on a separate USB stick, for use at the machine. I don't want to have to haul my laptop out every time I want to embroider something. :lol:)

Himself came out today and started brainstorming a more efficient setup. The serger has been moved, as has my full-length mirror. The embroidery machine desk is going to be replaced with a 4x2 kallax - there will be room for a 2nd machine, should we decide we need one! (Right now, no - but the idea has been floated; the current machine for bags and things, and one with a larger hoop for clothing. I'm in no rush, but having space already set up will be nice.) The current desk will be donated. There's just enough room for a new desk for his machine, where the serger was - we're just waiting for Ikea to reopen so we can give them more money.........every day they are closed is another day I might go to Home Depot instead. :hint hint:

That's where we are right now - my Studio is all 6's and 7's right now, but will be put in order tomorrow. I have a blouse cut out (Love Notions' Rhapsody blouse with 3/4 length Bishop sleeves), then I need to make up a new shirt for Himself.

The husband wants to go get dinner - gotta skitter!