Right before Christmas, my computer completely failed. It’s sucked, a lot. I hadn’t backed up my files for… over a year. I couldn’t recover anything, a group of IT pro’s couldn’t recover anything. So all of my test and promo photos, all of my graphics I had created, fonts, etc… all just gone. Luckily, for those of us in the indie sewing world, most of our pictures are shared on social media so getting copies of them isn’t too hard – just time consuming.
One of the major things that would be heartbreaking would be losing PDF pattern files. Can you imagine? We all accumulate so many patterns, and while some are free and some are saved in our accounts… could you find them all again? My saving grace on that front was that I had all of my patterns already saved in Google Drive. I had done this so that I could get to them from my phone and while out of the house. It’s helpful for checking fabric requirements while on the go but also for checking instructions while at my machine (we always have our phones within reach, right?).
I took the opportunity of doing this digital organization to complete something I’ve started before but never finished. I’ve always wanted some way to reference what patterns I have and sort through for options. AirTable once again made the perfect tool for me to do this.
I’ve always renamed my pattern files to be similar, which means they’re alphabetical in Drive. I use a 3 part initial for the designer if possible and then the pattern name. This meant I was able to break up adding them in to AirTable, one designer at a time. Once the designer and pattern name was entered, I went back and added fields for adult/child, male/female/unisex, garment type and fabric type. These offer the basic needs for sorting through to pick a pattern, for me.
As I thought about sorting through and finding patterns, and more specifically not buying patterns for similar garments, I decided to add more options that are still a work in progress. Though, hopefully they can give you an idea of the possibilities. One is an all encompassing set of pattern features. This means I could filter to only show set in sleeves, dolman sleeves, princess seams, button up, different necklines, etc. The next, which is something I won’t need to filter often but is nice to have for reference, is a maximum hip measurement. You could also add fields for cup size, bust or hip measurements, body shape or more. Whatever can work for your needs, and you can always add fields in later. So don’t stress about getting it perfect first try.
My final, and arguably most important, field is a hyperlink to the actual file stored in Drive. This means that I can open it right from whatever search/filter I’ve created without having to go into another program. I can check fabric requirements and suggestions, directions and other pattern information.
Keep an eye out for the final installment where I tie all of these together and plan out my projects!