Today, my dear readers, I'm going to talk a bit about keeping track of a large pattern collection. If you've been collecting as long as I have, you know that you can loose track of whether or not you have a specific pattern in your collection. More than once over the years, I've bought a pattern on Ebay or Etsy, only to realize later that I already have the same one in some box or other I've forgotten about.
Recently, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, I downloaded an app called Evernote to my iPad and tried cataloging 15 patterns to see how I liked it. This was on a Friday afternoon, and I liked it so much, that I then spent the rest of the entire weekend photographing and logging a vast section of my collection. It has taken me a while (months, really, the hoard is that big), but slowly and surely I have added my entire collection of sewing patterns and I am so glad that I did (more on that later).
(I'm just going to point out quickly that this isn't a sponsored blog post - I haven't been compensated for writing this, I just really love this app!)
The app is pretty user friendly and can sync across your mobile and desktop devices quite seamlessly once downloaded. To give you an idea of how handy that is, a few days ago, I was killing time in a doctor's office waiting room and scrolling through patterns on Ebay using my phone to pass the time. I found a great dress pattern and thought, I should buy that, but it does look a bit familiar... So I switched to my Evernote app briefly and typed in the pattern name and number, and sure enough, there it was in my collection! I saved $20!
|The pattern in question... though having two of this gem wouldn't be the worst thing ever...|
Once you've downloaded the app to your chosen device (phone, tablet, or computer) you create a notebook. Think of the notebook as a file, and in that file, you can add multiple items. I have my whole pattern collection in one notebook, and other notebooks are dedicated to my pattern catalog collection, my Fashion Service magazine collection, my sewing book collection, etc.
|Just some of my notebooks, most of them not fully catalogued yet.|
Then as a title, use the pattern company and number - in this case Vogue 7989...
And once you have that, you can type notes along with it, like where you bought it (you can include links, too!), for how much, the condition, if the pattern is missing pieces, etc.
And you can even add tags if you like, which will act as search keywords. If you have 300 patterns and you want to quickly find a 1950's short sleeve dress, this can be handy!
This is done on my desktop computer, but the process is almost identical for mobile devices as well.
And now, let's look at the benefits of cataloging your collection.
- If, God forbid, your home should fall victim to disaster, you have an online, backed up catalog of your collection for your home/ renter's insurance so that you can be accurately compensated for your losses. I plan on cataloging my antique/ rare book collection next - that's gonna take me a while...
- If you loan patterns to friends occasionally, it's easy to add a note to your collection about who has what pattern so you can keep track.
- The searchable database is great for hard-core collectors to research their patterns and learn even more about their favorite pieces.
That's right. I searched for McCall 4932 and since I had previously photographed the list of patterns featured in the back of my magazine and added it to the note, I found this:
Which when I pulled the magazine in question out, showed me this:
Pretty handy, eh?
If you're a pattern nerd like I am (as my clever friend Miss Y calls herself) then Evernote will be your best friend for pattern research - if you take the time to build up your collection and photograph your patterns, catalogs, and what-have-you.
All of that lovely research meant that I could not only offer a pretty pattern, but very accurate historical references and sewing tools to go along with it!
|Pattern #3065 can be found here.|
And that's all I have to gush about for now. How about you? Do you have a tried and true method for keeping track of your stash? Have you used Evernote to catalog your button hoard or rare French magazine collection (yeah, I'm getting to it).