To keep my patterns handy:
- I scanned the front and back of each envelope and logged each pattern into an Excel spreadsheet as I scanned them. My spreadsheet contains company, pattern #, size(s) of the pattern, brief description, and category (tops, pants, etc.).
- I stored the scanned images in folders on my computer by company (Vogue, Butterick, etc.).
- I printed each scanned image and inserted them into a sheet protector and then into a binder. You could just put the envelope original into the sheet protector but I wanted to keep all the pieces together for storage in my sewing room.
- I organize the pages of the binder by company and then numerical order.
- I have 2 printed copies of my Excel spreadsheet in the front of my binder: (1) organized in numerical order by company, and (2) organized by category (so I can quickly find a tops pattern when I'm shopping).
This system has worked for me as the binder has a shoulder strap so my hands are free while I shop. I also place swatches of fabric with each pattern when I plan a project. This helps me match up thread and notions in the store quickly.
Pictures of my "shopping" binder: