Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Organize Your Patterns with Evernote

I have a craft room, but in my opinion, it's quite tiny, only 10 by 12.  And I enjoy a great number of crafts to include sewing, knitting and crochet, embroidery and cross stitch, beading, and scrapbooking.  Many of these crafts take up a lot of room, so it's key to be organized.

It doesn't help that I'm a pattern junkie.  

Whenever JoAnn's has a 99 cents sale, I'm there, picking up 10 of my favorite patterns for 10 bucks.

I also belong to ClubBMV so I get notices of their sales, buy vintage patterns from ebay, shop for patterns from Burda, Craftsy,  and  any number of indie designers, and get patterns from books I buy and magazine subscriptions.  And I just don't sew clothing, but accessories, home decor, and gifts.   I have hundreds of patterns, and I keep them organized in pattern boxes, hat boxes, and binders.

Keeping them organized in my craft room is great, but what I really need is to have the information about a particular pattern while I'm shopping for material or notions, or when I'm shopping for other patterns (I don't want to duplicate purchases).  It's a bit inconvenient to have to remember to collect the pattern from the craft room before I go shopping, or to browse through patterns when I'm deciding to make something.

I want an app that will help with the job.

I've been waiting for the perfect craft organizer application, available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac and Windows Desktop.  Unfortunately, that application has not come along yet, although there are some good applications like Ravelry, Craftster or Pattern Review that offer a number of organization features.  Still, those applications are not quite what I'm looking for.  I've tried a few applications that were available from the App store, but I'm loath to spend a lot of time uploading information and images when the app might be only useful for a single platform.  So until that perfect app comes along, I need to come up with a solution to help organize my craft room.

Evernote comes to the rescue.

So I looked around, and decided that I could use Evernote to fill the bill for the time being.  Evernote, is a free application that is available for multiple platforms to include ……  To start, I created a Notebook in Evernote that I called Patterns.  I then added the Patterns Notebook to a Stack that I created and called Craft Room.

Then I created a singe note that I call Pattern List, that I organize by vendor.

Then I go through each box/book of patterns and I start listing them on this note.  I changed my mind over time, what information I keep on this list.  For example, I only sew clothes for myself, so no need to mark the sizes on this list.  I'm also frequently making changes to this list so I don't want to make it difficult to edit.  As time goes on, the list is getting quite long so I'm thinking about breaking down this PatternList into separate lists for different vendors.   This is the primary list that I refer to whenever I'm shopping for patterns.  It's a quick way for me to see if I already have a pattern on file.

Next I create an individual note for each pattern and I use the Pattern Number or Title as my way of organizing them.  I link to that note from the main Pattern List, so I can drill down into individual patterns when I need more information such as fabric type, notions or how much fabric to buy.  You can link to another note, by going to the note you want to link to, right click over that note, and select Copy Link.  Then go to the note that you want to link from, and highlight the word that will hold the link.  There are instructions for creating a link to to a note here in Evernote.

I will scan the picture side of the pattern.  I like having a good picture with acceptable resolution so that you can see detail.  This helps me in choosing the right pattern.  You might choose to scan the detail side of the pattern as well but I don't because I want to capture the information that i need that is essential when I go shopping, and I want to have this information in a format that is easy for me to read.

Use Tags

I also use tags to help me organize the patterns, such as top, skirt, pants, wardrobe, etc.  This way, I can do a search through my patterns for all dresses without having to flip through them individually.  When you're searching through your patterns, Evernote will display an icon of the note so you can see a tiny image of the pattern.  That will help you make your selection.

I also reduce the size of the picture to 600-800 pixel width using either Paint or just copy from Image Browser (Mac).  I crop the picture so I'm only getting the pattern image, and then I copy the picture into Evernote.  Just keep track of the size of these images, as there is a 60 mb limit on the free Evernote account, although the premium service is not that expensive.

A side effect of organizing my patterns on Evernote has meant an opportunity to do some housecleaning, noting patterns that were missing pieces, setting aside patterns that I might sell on Ebay because the they're duplicates, etc.  If you have ideas for how you can use Evernote to organize your craft supplies, send me a note.


  1. Wow. I'm impressed. I'm wondering if I might want to do my knitting patterns and some of my weaving drafts this way. Hmmm.

  2. I have an excel file on my desktop computer that I copy to my phone whenever I remember which lists all my sewing patterns. Brand, number, size, type (eg skirt, top, dancewear etc) description (usually from the back of the envelope), and whether it's new or used. I also havea file in my phone's picture gallery called sewing where I keep scans of the front and back of every pattern envelope (divided into sub folders by brand and then sorted by pattern number) so I have my whole pattern catalogue with me wherever I go.
    Wish we had a joanns here that offered such cheap patterns. I just ordered 6 patterns on clubbmv and an paying over$40 and have to wait about2 weeks for them to arrive in Oz.