True Confessions – I Often Can’t Remember If I Already Own The Pattern

What are you, crazy! Of course these aren’t all the patterns I own. They’re a selection. Edited highlights. The cream of the crop. (The duds are hidden in a drawer whilst I take several years to resign myself to getting rid.)

This is quite a recent guilty secret. Ah, how I remember the youth of my sewing career! I’d see a pattern, be inspired and buy it. So simple. So uncluttered. So utterly lacking in guilt.

Then the pattern stacking started… I can’t recall the first day I hesitated before clicking the ‘Buy’ button. Didn’t I get that one last month? The worm of doubt wriggled into my head, so that I had to go check. Oh, boy. I was on a slippery slope and I haven’t looked back since.

It gets worse. I am currently the proud owner of four patterns that haven’t even been taken out of their postal packing. Don’t ask me which patterns are in those packages – I have no idea.

Forgive me, pattern makers of the world. I am a Pattern Slattern. What about you? Buying too many? Remember what you have? Are YOU the owner of multiple copies of the same pattern? I’m not here to judge … simply curious.

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59 Responses to True Confessions – I Often Can’t Remember If I Already Own The Pattern

  1. Danielle says:

    Well, im new here but i am so excited – the other day i just ordered my first patterns. I hope i actually use them….

  2. Bohdana says:

    Oh I love a good pattern stash. I’ve definitely one for seeing a pattern used on a blog, finding it online and hitting buy before even having finished reading the post. Just remember the mantra ‘I’ll use them all one day’

  3. ooobop! says:

    If I had the time, I’m sure I’d use each and every one! So best I keep them all until I do! I love sitting down with my boxes and going through them every now and then to keep the intentions alive!

  4. MrsC says:

    My worst transgression is buying on two separate occasions, a priest’s cassock pattern. I now have two of them. So useful! 😉

  5. Sam says:

    I don’t have a huge number of patterns, but I do find it hard to remember which ones I have! I’m worse with knitting patterns – so easy to download – that I see a new one, think “I must knit that NOW” and then it stays unknitted for soooo long!

  6. I recently did a pattern stock take and took me eye opening for me to know what I had and what I sew are two different

  7. The pattern stash, fabric stash and yarn stash are currently completing against each other. The fabric stash is definitely winning, the pattern stash is a close second and the yarn stash is lagging behind (this is not a bad thing). So many beautiful colours, textures and inspirations in one room (my crafting is contained to one room). Let’s not talk about the the bulging book shelf of sewing books flicked through but rarely looked at in detail! A new Japanese pattern book in English, oh yes, I must have that!

  8. I don’t have an awefully large amount of patterns yet, but I could see this happening to me. I could also see that I might develop the urge to put them into a list, like an inventory. Doesn’t mean it would ever happen for me, mind you, but I dream of order… Have you ever been tempted to do that?

  9. Vicki Kate says:

    My collection isn’t too huge yet – I can contain it in one basket (as long as I don’t count the ones that came with books like Gertie’s or Sarai’s!). I haven’t managed to duplicate (yet) but I do forget what I’ve got! I think I’m going to have to do some sort of wall poster with the line drawings on so I remember what’s there! I’ve already got swatches of all my fabrics on Mena’s fabric swatch organiser pages stuck to the wall (can you tell that collection isn’t too huge either?!).

  10. kokorimbaud says:

    My pattern collection isn’t growing at the same alarming rate as my stash (be that fabric or yarn, actually), but I think I’m getting to a point where I could easily loose track and buy duplicates. For some reason, I have a tendency to buy several similar patterns – like, 3 jackets with similar design elements. I should learn to visit patternreview before I buy, and check all contenders in a category before I make a decision which one I buy …
    And I love the wall poster with the line drawings idea – I need that now! 😀

  11. Anne says:

    I have my pattern envelopes filed in polypockets in loose leaf binders whilst the innards are all in polypockets filed in numerical order in banker boxes. I find it much easier to go through my patterns if I’m only looking through the binder with “bottoms”, “tops”, “dresses” or whatever it is I’m looking for. When I eventually decide on the pattern, I just go to the banker box with that number in and find the pattern really easily. At the moment I have 5 binders and 3 banker boxes full of patterns … but there were more before I did a major cull last year!

  12. Sewing princess says:

    Karen, I will have to blame (and thank) you for one of my pattern purchases… The coat you made last winter 😉 I own 12 patterns, several books and burdas… Plus patterns I drafted at the sewing course…. It’s already more than I can handle!

  13. nothy says:

    I buy a lot of patterns and I am slowly getting through them…but there have been a few times when I wanted to buy a pattern and then had a vague idea that I may already own it…..

  14. velosewer says:

    I have bought duplicate patterns and had a couple of head slapping moments.
    I can however walk in my sewing room and still have an uncluttered exit route. I hope this explains my fabric/pattern dilemma. DH is happy if I can close the door.

  15. My problem is slightly different. I have lots of patterns (some that I’ve bought, some that were given to me) but almost always insist on reusing the same two or three!

  16. Like many sewers, I too have a large stash of patterns. And I love looking thru every one of them every so often….the planning and preparing to make whatever garment is on the pattern. Only twice have I bought the same pattern (thankfully, during one of those 99cent sales, or something like that).

    Recently I created a “Pattern Stash” notebook in Evernote and made a new note for each pattern which included the photo / front of the pattern and the back of the pattern. I can sort by whatever tag I gave the note (knits, wovens, dresses, tops, etc) or by pattern number or name. Now, whenever I’m tempted to buy a new pattern, I go to Evernote on my phone (if I’m in a store), or look thru Evernote on my Mac and it is easy to see if I own the pattern, or something similar.

    It hasn’t really stopped me from adding to the stash, but at least I don’t buy duplicates any more.

  17. rehanon says:

    Gah it’s something that needs to be tackled this week. I’ve been putting off dealing with what I the sewing chair of wonder as I wonder exactly what is on there. Currently a mountain of fabric and a huge bag of patterns :s Need to sort it out because I think it’s creating bad sewing feng shui.

  18. Anna says:

    I use a free programme called Evernote that you can download. I entered all my patterns into it (that’s a lie, I still have to do the vintage separates, but everything else is in there) and took photos, it was boring work and took a long time, thus not quite finishing yet, but so worth it. They are all given a category so if I want to make a dress I can go through the dress patterns only and when new patterns arrive in the post they don’t go into the pattern chest of drawers until I have entered them (new patterns I grab a pattern photo off the net). It was well worth the work and looking through them is really inspiring when I don’t know what to make next!

  19. Roobeedoo says:

    My downfall is the ebay mystery multi-buy box. So I spot one “must have” pattern in the photo of “more than 50” patterns being sold in aid of charity and then bid like a woman possessed. And then I have to live with the consequences as I discover that pattern-of-dreams is nowhere near my size and everything else in the box looks like Princess Diana dressed to go a Wham gig.
    This is why I have an Etsy shop. But it is time I actually filled my shelves!

  20. Nettie says:

    Guilty. I have been know to buy two (or maybe even more) of the same pattern. Oooh, I really like that pattern! Well, no wonder! I also liked it a few months ago. Sheesh. I really need to buy the pattern, then use it! Now there’s an idea.

  21. Just have to say- “Pattern slattern”- I love your way with words! 🙂
    I very nearly succumbed to duplicate buying last week, but saved myself at the last minute…

  22. sewbusylizzy says:

    I sometimes ‘lose’ a pattern (in my sewing room) and replace it – only to find it the next day… oops

  23. Mary says:

    I seem to have collected so many patterns now that the large box containing them is bulging. And yes, I do have a repeat or two in there. Need to buy some additional smaller boxes and file the patterns by categories so I don’t have to look through the bulk of them, when all I want to find is a dress or jacket pattern. Of course, one box should be for the go-to patterns alone-the three or four I use all the time. And then again, I should name one box: “What was I thinking?”

  24. Marie says:

    Now, this sounds familiar!!! As I’m currently re-arranging and de-stashing (evidenced over on my blog), I’m discovering that I do a lot of silly things. Like buying the same vintage patterns twice…I mean what are the chances!?! Vintage ones I like are hard enough to come across, let alone two in the right size. But I guess I know what I love, even if I do forget owning it already ;o) And the whole unopened mail with new purchases inside…me too! I think that’s a true sign of over-buying…not being excited enough to rip the packaging open, because I already have too much!

  25. Andrea says:

    I just admit that I am a pattern collector — I have WAY more than I can use in a lifetime, and most are vintage and not necessarily appropriate to the life I actually have anyhow. I do have them filed in boxes by era, brand, and pattern number. To keep from buying duplicates, I put all my patterns on Flickr: I can do a quick search by pattern number before clicking “Buy it Now”. Flickr is a better way to browse my collection when I’m deciding what to make next, too.

    I have double (and once triple!) bought Big 4 patterns when they are on special for 99 cents, because at that price I can be too lazy to haul out the smartphone and search my Flickr stream.

  26. LinB says:

    I bought a McCall’s corset pattern twice — but that’s okay. I can keep one pristine, for future bouts of Envelope Illustration Admiration, and use the other. I lent a favorite blouse pattern to a friend, then re-bought it when I despaired of ever getting it back. She gave it back the next week. I bought a New Look blouse pattern twice, when I couldn’t find my copy. I later found the original, neatly contained in a bag with cut-out pieces for a lovely summer blouse. (I had forgotten to sew it up in a rush to finish Christmas projects, and thrust it out of sight and out of mind into a laundry basket.) ((Much of my life languishes out of sight and out of mind in laundry baskets.))

  27. kathleen says:

    Guilty! I have only once bought a pattern twice. My friend takes a photocopy of the envelope of all her patterns and puts them in a file which she makes an index for. So she can go to the index, look under 1950s, go down to bottoms and read what patterns she has and then, if she wants, flip to the pages where those envelope copies are to have a look at them. I think she also has locations of where she has stored them too. I believe this has cut down on her multiple pattern buying which considering she has so many patterns you’ve got a higher chance of finding it in her collection than anywhere else… 😉

  28. LLADYBIRD says:

    I don’t have any twin-dupes (although I have lots of patterns that are essentially the same thing) – but I do have LOTS of wtf patterns. Stuff I’ll probably never make – pincushions that look like clusters of grapes, choir robes, funny hats, baby Halloween costumes (including clowns, lol), half-size instructor patterns, soft toys, crazy evening gowns, etc. I justify it because I rarely pay more than $1 for any of them. But really? I don’t need them. I hoard, ah, *collect* them.

  29. I have bought the same pattern twice, but only after I threw it away the first time because I hated it so much then decided it deserved a second chance. The second time around I’m still not crazy about The Sewing Workshop’s Tribeca jacket, but Vogue 8088 turned out to be one of my favorite TNT patterns of all time!!!

  30. Jen (NY) says:

    No duplicate patterns, but I have bought and read the same book twice. After several deja vu passages, I finally figured it out.

  31. Shari says:

    The only patterns I have duplicates of are the ones I bought as a newbie before I realized pattern sizes are different from ready to wear. I started buying patterns at the dollar sales, often 10 at a time. Finally, I took inventory and realized how many of the same type of pattern I had and that gave me pause. Also, I was shocked to realize the number of patterns I had accumulated was in huge disproportion to the amount I had actually sewn. Having (I have no smart phone) a list in numerical order of the patterns I own has helped a lot to avoid duplicating.

  32. Andi says:

    I definitely hoard patterns and am guilty of buying ones I already have because I forgot. I recently discovered and have been trying to log all my patterns in the library I have there, so when I’m online shopping (this is usually done while I’m at work so I can’t just run and check in the pattern boxes) I can double check to see if I already have it 🙂

  33. Taja says:

    Love the “pattern slattern” designation! 😀

    I’ve been drafting my own patterns since my mid-teens, so I don’t have many commercial patterns for myself. However…

    …Since the world and its brother–*ahem* more likely sister–expects me to sew for them, I sometimes end up with duplicate commercial patterns for others. Usually in different size ranges (some have two ranges within misses and one or two ranges within plus sizes). Weight tends to fluctuate significantly in my family (and most of my friends, for some reason!), so I’ve found it’s good to have sizing options available and adjust as necessary. Everyone tends to stick to the same basic styles–what works best on their body types–and I add/change fashion details to update the silhouettes periodically. And, occasionally, I’ll purchase a pattern on sale just for the fashion styling details. I can be a tad lazy at times!

    Until I downsized, I was a bit of a pattern slattern with craft patterns. Not so many duplicates, just a lot of things I knew I would not invest the time in designing patterns! Loved it when Lotus 1-2-3 came out and I could organize patterns, fabric and notions electronically. Everything is in Excel now. 🙂

  34. moonthirty says:

    Girl, this is TRUTH. Purchasing the same pattern twice? I wish I could tell you that’s happened to me once — it’s probably happened four or five times at least. I have gone to extensive measures to prevent this in the future! (Electronic pattern cataloging etc) So embarrassing and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’m not the only one!!

  35. Far says:

    My name is Far and I am a pattern hoarder!! 🙂 i really like going to my pattern containers and look at all of them before i start a project.usually it starts with a fabric and an idea, then i sit for hours going through my patterns,choosing a few contenders,and mull over them some more.i really should sort them out into categories…i dont have pattern duplicates surprisingly, save for one blouse pattern.first one was bought at thrift store.when i want to make the blouse realized that the instruction portion were missing..thought i would wing it,but after months of thinking how i buckled down and bought a brand new version. 🙂

  36. Carolyn says:

    Not only do I own an ever expanding pattern stash, I also own a real-life pattern file (yes, what the stores keep them in before they’re sold) to keep them in. I don’t think I have too many duplicates, just a few where I have the same pattern in several sizes.

  37. I have tried to avoid stashing patterns. I have far too much fabric and I can only compulsively purchase one thing at a time. I am also a sucker for supporting the independents so when they launch a pattern and offer a small discount, I’ll buy 2 or 3 but that is managable. What I did have a problem with was the Lekala patterns. When they have put free patterns in two sizes in the past, one of the sizes just needs a FBA and a centimetre here or there. I downloaded a ton of them but I have only printed off a few.

  38. Luckily my generally good memory has stopped duplicates showing up, which is great as my pattern stash numbers into the hundreds. My memory is starting to show signs of wear however so I think this sort of thing is nigh. I used to use excel to list all my patterns, but am now in the process of doing what people have mentioned above in Evernote, but using Springpad, which I love. These organizational apps are awesome!

  39. Abby says:

    Me too! I have more than 150 patterns, and I’ve used about 5 of them. I use the Sewing Kit app on my iPad to keep track of them all so I don’t buy duplicates. The problem is when I leave my iPad at home and JoAnn is having a pattern sale…

  40. Crystal says:

    I have duplicated a pattern purchase twice. I own a lot of patterns and have sewn relatively few. So I guess that is wasted money, but as you know I’m “going” to sew them sometime! Patterns are very cheap to buy through sales where I live and I love to flip through my binder and daydream (they are organized well!), so all in all its a very cheap indulgence. I stash very little fabric, though…yet.

  41. Wendy says:

    I keep all my patterns recorded in my Pattern catalogue on PR, which works well for me, since I do most of my purchasing online. I also keep my wishlist on PR too, and a copy printed in my handbag, in case I come across a pattern sale.
    However, like a previous person mentioned, I’ve bought a few bulk pattern boxes off TradeMe/Ebay. I have quite a number of duplicates of vintage patterns from those …..

  42. Faye Lewis says:

    Sorry to report – I’m in the very same boat! I am a true pattern-a-holic! But I do love them so.

  43. my main issue is that I have a lot of patterns that are more or less the same once you look at the technical drawings 🙂

  44. LBB says:

    I have to have a spreadsheet listing them all with a formula I type the number into and it tells me if I already have it. I also have all of my patterns ordered by company and number and am working on cataloging scans of all of them and uploading to an online picture gallery so I can access by phone/iPad……I promise I’m not crazy…just a little a anal….and have 500+ patterns….

  45. Jamie says:

    I put all of mine in a database and set up another WordPress site so I can look at them (complete with photos!) anytime, anywhere! I’ve scanned the backs as well as the fronts so when I’m shopping for fabric I can look up how much I need. It’s a lot of work to scan them all (I have about 300, I think) but it’s worth it. Plus when I’m having a stressful day at work I can pull up my web page and cheer myself up by looking at all the lovely things I’ll never have enough time to make. 🙂

  46. symondezyn says:

    I went nutso buying patterns when I started sewing a year ago, and I did end up with some that make me wonder what I was thinking, as well as one duplicate, which I recently released back into the sewing blogiverse wild in the form of a giveaway ^_^

  47. Sabs says:

    Hi Karen, as an gesture of goodwill (it’s Christmas after all) I will offer to take any of the patterns that you don’t want/haven’t opened/duplicates off your hands to add my my really small stash… It’s a win win situation, right? You get to destash and feel really good about decluttering and I get to emulate a really cool blogger!! No?…Oh ok. Thought I’d try my luck!

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