Dressmaking · Sewing Plans

How to organise your sewing patterns using Google Sheets

While some might say my love for patterns is out of control….I prefer to call myself a pattern connoisseur! We all have an aspect of sewing we can’t resist, right? For some it’s fabrics, others haberdashery…well for me it’s patterns, both printed and PDF. I absolutely love my pattern collection and am perfectly happy in the knowledge it would take me years to sew through it.

You don’t have to have a big pattern collection (full stop!) to enjoy keeping it organised and looking through it. I love browsing my collection looking for inspiration for my next make or trying to match a RTW style I find on Pinterest. Up to now I have always used Google Drive to store my patterns. I organise my patterns by category of garment, then have each pattern with its instructions in a folder.

How I store my patterns in Google Drive – first folders by category of garment
They are then stored in folders within the Category folder (this is coats and jackets)

So this is pretty organised, but I was finding it hard to visualise every pattern just by browsing my Google Drive folder. So I decided to create a catalogue for my patterns to help me:

  • List all my patterns and find them more easily
  • Add information including metrage, recommended fabrics
  • Include images of the patterns to help me remember the patterns

There are lots of great tools out there to organise your pattern stash – check out this blog post from Helen’s Closet all about Trello for example.

However, I really like using spreadsheets and wanted to keep my list within my Google account so decided to go with Google Sheets.

I’m going to explain how I organise my pattern catalogue. This post assumes you have basic knowledge of Sheets, which works in a very similar way to Microsoft Excel and is very user friendly, but I will outline how I use some of the Sheets functions to personalise my sewing database!

You do need a (free) google account to use Google Sheets.

Columns

The columns go across the spreadsheet and refer to the information you want to include about each pattern. These columns will be personal to you and depend on what you think about most when selecting the pattern for your next project. But these are what I went for:

  • Pattern drawing (I’ll explain this further in the blog post!)
  • Pattern Designer
  • Pattern Name
  • Pattern Type –broadly based on garment eg shorts, trousers, dress
  • Category – whether purchased, gifted as part of a collaboration, or a freebie
  • I then list the types of fabric I work with most and whether the pattern is suitable for them – for me that is Cotton, Viscose, Linen, Knit, Denim/Twill, Wool
  • Whether I’ve made the pattern already
  • Metrage for the pattern – I keep this quite broad and will enter 1-2, 2.5, 2-3 for example
  • Whether the pattern is PDF or printed (including PDF patterns I have already printed off)
An example from my spreadsheet showing the different columns

Adding a picture to a cell

My favourite thing about this spreadsheet is having the line drawings in the first cell. Line drawings can be so helpful in picturing a pattern made up in your dreamy fabric or finding the perfect sleeve to hack onto a bodice.

Although Trello and other tools allow you to add a photo to a card, you need to upload it meaning you have to download in my case….a LOT of photos. This option is much quicker and easier!

  1. Select the cell and on the top menu select Insert – image – image in cell

2. When prompted select Insert from URL

3. Now go to the webpage of the pattern. I’m using the Seamwork Francis by Seamwork as an example. Get to the image you want to use (I always use the line drawing) and right click. Select Copy Image Address

4. Now go back to your spreadsheet and paste the URL. The preview of the image should appear. Click insert image.

5. The image will now be in your spreadsheet without having to download it first and then reupload! How handy is that?!

Completing the spreadsheet

You can now carry on with completing the rows of the spreadsheet. I use an X to indicate which column a pattern corresponds to. For example, the Blair Coat from Homer & Howells is a super versatile make that works in a variety of fabrics, and I’ve made it before, so it gets a lot of X’s!

There is also a very professional looking check box option which is also under Insert. But I am happy using my X.

Using the spreadsheet

Once all your data ie sewing patterns is inputted, is where the fun really begins! There are several tools and functions I use here to make the most of my catalogue:

Filter

Press Ctrl+A to select all of your spreadsheet and click the small filter icon at the top right. This will apply a filter and sort option to all your columns, which is really useful.

You can then sort the spreadsheet by a particular column, for example I like to sort it A-Z by Type so I have all my coats together, etc.

You can sort A-Z or if you add a colour to your cells, can sort by colour too!

You can also filter by checking or unchecking the categories you specifically want to see – for example here I’m selecting only patterns that were gifted or bought.

Example

For example, I have a nice new viscose linen blend I would like to use for trousers, but am in need of some inspiration from my stash.

I’m going to filter the Type pattern to show only trousers. I’ll then filter the Linen column so that only patterns with an X will show, as that is the main fibre content of my fabric.

As you can see, it’s super easy to filter through my pattern collection and find those that would be suitable for my fabric! I love this spreadsheet!

Other ideas

Want to take your spreadsheet even further? To add more options you could:

  • Use the Insert Link option to link to your Google Drive folder of that pattern, or to the detailed page on the designer’s website. Or even better, to the IG hashtag of that pattern for more inspiration!
  • Add a sheet of your fabrics to catalogue them, too! You could switch up the columns to be the types of garment the fabric is suitable for.
  • Use the insert comment option on a cell to add notes to your pattern, for example fitting notes or a reminder to yourself for next time
  • Fill cells with a colour to personalise your spreadsheet and make it colourful
  • If your spreadsheet is quite long and you want to be able to view the last column alongside the first, select the column and then View – Freeze – Up to Column. You can then scroll through and view certain columns side by side

Happy cataloguing!

I hope you have found this bumper blog post useful! You can also check out a highlight on my spreadsheet here on my Instagram.

What are your favourite tools for organising your patterns? I’d love to know so please do let me know in the comments!

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