How to Store Quilt Patterns

QuiltNotes Learning Center

Last Updated January 02, 2018

Quilt pattern storage doesn’t have to be a problem or cost a lot of money. Patterns sold in quilt shops are generally packaged in a see-through plastic envelop. Patterns on single sheets of paper or card stock are also popular. Then there is the multitude of downloadable patterns in PDF format. These are purchased or offered free. This article describes a few easy and inexpensive ways to organize and store your quilt patterns.

how to store quilt patterns

Now, what is a quilt pattern but a digital file or a set of papers?  So why not treat them just like any other papers we want to organize. Let’s look at two methods: Binders and Hanging files.

Binders for Pattern Storage

Early in my quilting odyssey, I subscribed to many quilting magazines. Before the internet took off, this was how we got a lot of information. (Oh my gosh, just how old am I?) Anyway, the magazines started piling up. It took me forever to go through those stacks to find the pattern I was looking for.

So I decided to go through each magazine and start tearing out pages. I ripped from the pages whatever interested me. I put these pages into sheet protectors and put them in a large, zippered binder I had laying around.

quilt pattern storage ideas

These are pages ripped from magazines long ago. They are in sheet protectors and placed in the binder in no particular order.

quilt pattern storage ideas

I started adding print-outs of Electric Quilt patterns. I also started putting patterns, still in their plastic envelops, in sheet protectors. This binder originally held all my patterns and it was full. I am in the process of organizing these now and putting them in hanging file folders.

If you choose to organize your patterns in a binder you will need or want the following supplies:

 binders for quilt pattern storage Binders

Choose the binder or binders that fit your needs. I use the large, 3″ binder. When full, this size can be cumbersome to handle.

sheet protectors for quilt pattern storage Sheet Protectors

These don’t have to be the heavy duty kind. The lightweight sheet protectors can be hard to handle and rip easily. I recommend you choose a medium weight to save money.

 dividers for quilt pattern storage Dividers

Choose a set of dividers that fit your needs. Divide patterns by designer, publisher, alphabetically or by pattern type.

label maker for quilt pattern storage Label Maker

If you’re really into organization you might want to try a label maker. This is not the exact one I use (it has long been discontinued) but I do use a Brother P-Touch.

Hanging File Holders

When I started making paper pieced patterns, I realized the binder and sheet protector method wouldn’t work. The paper piecing patterns I was buying were what I call stuffed patterns. A stuffed quilt pattern is a pattern that includes the pattern AND something else. The something else can be drawings for applique, foundations for paper piecing or even bits of fabric for Block of the Month patterns. Some of these patterns can be quite thick so I started using hanging file holders for these patterns.

hanging files for quilt pattern storage

I moved some of the patterns from the binders to the hanging file holders. The patterns are ordered by pattern name. The 1-4 page patterns I like to keep in the binders because I can flip through them. There is a multitude of ways to store hanging file folders. The bin here was purchased at the office supply and it stacks. You can use file cabinets, crates or even boxes made to hold hanging file folders.

In addition to the thing that holds the hanging file holders, you will need hanging folders. You might want to use file folders as well. Put each pattern in it’s own folder. Combine folders from the same designer and place the set into one hanging folder. Stuffed patterns do not need file folders.

 hanging file folders for quilt pattern storage Hanging File Folders with Tabs

These do not need to be heavy duty

 file folders for quilt pattern storage File Folders

Any file folders will do. I like to write in pencil on these so I can reuse them if needed.

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2 thoughts on “How to Store Quilt Patterns”

  1. Thank You Carol, I’ve been recovering from an illness for…ever! I’m getting back in the scheme of things. Loved this article. I recently have the need for it. Since you were one of the biggest contributors to my Paper Piecing addiction. Ha! Really I love it. So I am almost finished with quilting my Dragon Star/ Glacier Star. Soon I’ll be headed to the Binding stretch! Had a good time doing it even though I wasn’t able to work often, so the love of quilting can keep you going through sickness and health.

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