[Craft Clutter] 2: Patterns

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.

I did have a few patterns that were missing from Drive, but they were recently tested that I was easily able to get copies of. Fingers crossed there aren’t others missing.

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?).

Patterns in AirTable sorted alphabetically by name, no filters

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.

Adult patterns (with features filled in) and a view of filtering options

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.

All patterns with princess seams (some may be missing because the feature field isn’t done, especially for child patterns)

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.

Adult Female patterns with a maximum hip size equal or larger than 58″

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!

AirTable | Part 1: Fabric | Part 3: Projects


  1. I love Airtable, but haven’t added pictures for any of my patterns. Sortly was better for this, because it would pull the data from the barcode (for paper patterns), including a picture. Do you import a pic for each pattern?


    • I didn’t add pictures into airtable for the patterns, since I’m linking it to Google Drive. Drive (in the tile view) shows the first page of the document, so for PDFs that have everything all in one file it works great. For this that have an instruction and pattern file I linked to the instruction file so I could more easily get to the information I might need.

      I haven’t added paper patterns yet, and I don’t have too many. I don’t think I’ll add a picture then, either… but who knows.


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