Evernote and Pattern Cataloging

I’ve written before about using Evernote for organising my patterns so that I can access them anywhere. I also briefly reviewed the Android app. Lately I’ve had a few people ask me in real life about organising patterns and so I thought maybe I’d write an update.

Evernote has a great help page to get you started and of course, you can Google anything…so this isn’t really a tutorial per say, more of an, “this is how I use it and I think it’s great”.

So first of all, an Evernote Basic account is free to use on up to two devices with a monthly upload limit of 60Mb – trust me, you’ll be sick of entering pattern information by the time you hit that limit and happy to wait for the month to roll over I’m sure! If you’re not, or you use Evernote for loads more things, like me, then a Premium plan is worth it.

I began by using Evernote just for sewing patterns but now I have a work specific notebook, notebooks for planning holidays etc and one for all my recipes. That means I need access on my phone, my PC, my work Mac and my tablet, so Premium is my jam.

Ok let’s just jump right in then:

Here is my view on my PC. I can’t comment on Mac because I log in through the web browser at work and later I’ll show you some Android app screen shots. Sorry if you are a Mac person, well, not really 😉

On the left are my notebooks (some of them are nested), think of them as the top level folder and inside them are the files (the notes). All my sewing pattern notes live in my Patterns notebook (that makes sense right?). They are in there all together in a jumble – there is no separate notebook for pants and another one for dresses etc because the way you search is by using Tags.

I tag my patterns the way I would search for them – by brand, type of garment and sometimes more specific thing like, “Vintage/Retro” and “Festive” as examples.

I also have a tag called “Queued” so that I can find my shortlisted pattern even more quickly. (In my recipes notebook I use the tags “Planned” and “Favourites”)

Here is a note. Under the note name is the notebook (where the note lives) and it’s tags:

You can keep your tags under control by grouping them. I have two groups for my sewing patterns: Pattern Category (type of garment, e.g. “Pants”) and Pattern Designer (e.g. Butterick”)

In the first image you’ll also see tag groups for my Recipes and Fabric notebooks. I’m still deciding if I want to keep my Fabric notebook, it’s a lot of admin for how little I access it!

I really enjoy “shopping” my stash in real life 😉

I keep it pretty simple but you could tag for seasons or fabric type, pdf versus print or Big 4 and Indie, whatever you want, however you think you’ll search for a pattern.

Notes themselves can go on forever, you can type or insert pretty much anything.

Let’s look at the full note from the above example:

So much information at my finger tips – and how did I get it? I copied it from the Butterick website, easy! You can also put in photos (for vintage or OOP patterns) and the most powerful thing about Evernote is you can search inside your notes. All the text, whether typed, copied, photographed, or even in a PDF, is searchable.

So, to stick with this example: I want to find a dress pattern, so I’ll look in my Sewing Patterns Notebook at all notes tagged with “Dresses”…I might even know I want it to be a Big 4 pattern, so I can also look at all the Butterick, McCall’s etc tags. Or maybe I just know I want a vintage dress, I can look at notes tagged with “Vintage/Retro” AND “Dresses”.

While I’m searching I can order my results by “title” (the way I title my notes means I’ll see them in brand order) or “created” (to see patterns by order they were entered which for me means date purchased)

Let’s look at how it appears in the app, when I’m at the fabric store holding the most beautiful bolt of fabric that’s also on sale and I just need to check how much to buy:

Looking at a specific tag:

These examples are ordered by date, I forgot to change my settings for the screenshots.

Maybe it’s a bolt of denim, hmm, what pants can I make with this?

You’ll notice in the above tags list you can see some of my Recipe tags, that’s one of two annoying things I’ll mention later…and here are two example of full notes:

I copy my favourite pictures from the pattern website and often the text description (good for searching). I also grab the line drawings and fabric chart. If it’s a brand I don’t sew from regularly I also copy and paste the size chart/finishes measurements chart as well. I also have a Size Charts Notebook and I’m experimenting with linking notes to their brands size chart but often it’s easier to look it up or paste it into the note itself. I keep my current body measurements in a note here as well.

For the Acton Dress I also included a screenshot from Instagram of a version I love:

I have a “Wishlist” notebook for patterns I want to buy but I’m waiting for payday…or a sale…or I think I like but I want to see more versions before I commit. It’s easy to move notes between notebooks so once I buy a pattern from my Wishlist I move it to the main Patterns notebook, adding in anymore information and tags.

In the interests of total honesty (and to prove I’m not being paid for this post, I wish!) there are two things I find annoying and that I hope one day will get fixed. The first is only mildly annoying but it’s that tags are not associated with a Notebook. What that means is that as I’m writing a new note and I want to tag it for example “Cardigan”, all the other possible tags pop up as I type.

Mmmm, Chicken patterns…this list whittles down as you type more letters but I wish it would only show the Tags for Patterns.

The second thing is much more annoying. It’s that you can’t choose which image shows as the thumbnail in your notes list. This is strongly and regularly complained about in the Evernote forums. What this means is that I can’t guarantee the hero image, the image I paste in first, the image I want to see, is displayed in the notes list, see example:

No consistency at all. Well there is, through some weird algorithm that picks the image with the smallest biggest measurement or something equally absurd sounding. It’s actually one more reason why I paid for Premium, to lend more weight to the many requests to allow us to control this.

Anyway, I don’t want to end on a bad note. It’s not stopped me from continuing to use Evernote and I’ll stick with it for the foreseeable future. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve pulled out my phone in the fabric shop or at someone’s house or at work, to show someone a pattern. I also look up recipes while out food shopping!

I use my tablet in the kitchen when I’m cooking and for work I have a notebook with all my technical notes and software tutorials. I also planned our recent overseas holiday with Evernote, sharing the notebook with Nerdy Husband. I had notes for each city we visited with lists of attractions and our accommodation details. I also uploaded all our important pdfs and scans of important documents (tickets, booking confirmations, health insurance, passports etc) so that I could access them on the fly or in an emergency.

So, that’s it. Any questions? Suggestions, tips or tricks? Do you catalog your patterns and if so, what do you use?


For a bit more accountability I thought I’d elaborate a little on my Instagram #2017makenine montage 😉

I have five completed makes from 2016 waiting for photographs and blog posts. It’s currently raining so I was stalking everyone’s exciting #2017makenine montages instead.

Hello bandwagon! 🙃

I’m cheating a little and including some fabrics I want to use (one of them is from the precious stash shelf!), two items already cut out for too long, a pattern high in the queue, my first Lekala pattern, and two that will challenge my normal (i.e. comfortable) silhouette!

So, from the top left:

Decades of Style #3007 1930s Button Dress

The first of the silhouette challenges. I really love this pattern and I ummed and ahhed for ages before finally buying it. I love Lauren’s and Amy’s versions and this pattern has sat in the stash for too long…

Pauline Alice Quart Coat

The first “cheat” pattern because this is already cut out and has been for some time while I worked up the energy to start on the bound button holes that I don’t currently have buttons for. The sad thing is that I need a new wool coat for winter…actually I really needed a new wool coat LAST winter!

Vogue 1499 – Anna Klein

A recent addition to the stash, this will be an easy one, interesting seaming and pleats on a silhouette I know I love to wear, there’s not much else to say 🙂


Ok now this is properly cheating. I’ve snuck in some fabric because why should patterns have all the fun? 😉 I’ll cover all three selections together:

First up, 1.5 meters from the “precious” shelf of my stash: Some ridiculously expensive DKNY polyester (yeah I know but it is fabulous, trust me!). It’s quite stiff and I bought enough for a skirt. Maybe the Named Eleonora or McCall’s 7166 (to help you get past the hideous McCall’s styling check out this version on the Tessuti blog).

The next two are cottons from two of my favourite designers: Atlas in Tourmaline from Eden by Tula Pink. One of the Five Unblogged is also in an Eden fabric. And lastly, 2013-21 in Shibuya Violet from Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts for Cotton and Steel. I pre-washed these some time ago so it’s time they got cut up!

Lekala 4282

I have a few Lekala patterns but I’ve never sewn any of them. This is one of my favourites so it’s in the list. I’m really interested in how the fit will turn out using custom measurements and I’m already planning a quick muslin of the bodice.

The Curious Corset Experiment

Hey remember this post? Yeah, apparently me neither! 😉

Named Kielo Wrap Dress

The second silhouette challenge. There are lots of great Kielo dresses out there but I think Lizzie’s was the first short version I saw blogged. I’ll definitely be making a short version but I also love it in a stripe like Katy’s and since I have the same fabric as fellow Wellingtonian Sandra I might just copy her for a guaranteed success. I know she won’t mind, right Sandra? 😉

Ok, so that’s probably enough procrastinating writing, happy new year and all that, see you on the other side…of the sewing machine 😉

M. xx


Honeymoon Vogue 1353

Recently, Finished Items have been far and few between, as have blog posts about them. A little while ago I tried to concentrate on Works In Progress but two in a row turned into big fails so one weekend I exclaimed “harumpfh!” and clean slated my cutting table.

Then I picked out a new dress pattern, paired it with the fabric I bought with my Sewing Indie Month prize and got to work.

Crappy night-time cellphone photo, sorry

I still have WIPs but most of them can wait. I’ll just pick them up when the mood strikes and there is no guilt.


So, my new dress: I love it so much I immediately cut out a second one in a fabric I’m calling “hidden tigers“. I can’t wait to wear it and see if anyone notices.


This is a Vogue 1353 Kay Unger in Cotton and Steel Honeymoon by Sarah Watts – Morning Dew (black) that I bought it from Blackbird Fabrics.

I love Cotton and Steel fabric.

The dress pattern features a scooped neckline with small pleats in the front, a princess seamed bodice, pleated skirt, invisible back zipper and is fully lined with a deep hem facing.

I have an extensive collection of “Big 4” patterns but it’s been a while since I’ve shuffled through them. I actually grabbed this out of the drawers after seeing Nikki’s and both of Sandra’s versions (1 and 2).

I underlined in a black cotton/silk blend.

My only regret is that I intended to ignore the instructions, which leave you hand stitching the lining at the shoulder seam, and use the “burrito” method to attach the lining. It’s a neat sewing magic trick I learnt courtesy of Colette Patterns while I was making my Birthday Rooibos. Google it 😉

Unfortunately after I tried the dress on for the first time I was so excited about how great it made me feel after a couple of sewing bombs that I just zoomed ahead until it was too late to turn back. Next time…

What I love most about this pattern is the deep hem facing, it’s about 14cm deep when finished.

This is the first time I’ve hemmed this way and it’s great! It adds weight extra and body to the bottom of this dress which really helps flare the skirt out below the pleats.

You are supposed to hand stitch the top of the hem facing with fancy thread but…bahahahahaha!



Pattern – Vogue 1353 Kay Unger, size 14 graded to 16 at the waist

Fabric – Cotton and Steel Honeymoon by Sarah Watts – Morning Dew (black) from Blackbird Fabrics and black cotton/silk blend from The Fabric Store, Wellington

Other notions – Invisible zipper, interfacing


Posh as Cushions

Hello readers 🙂

Well I haven’t managed to photograph any of my most recent dresses but I have acquired another vintage machine…or two. The “or two” will most likely get repaired and flicked on as it was only $1.00 and not at all what I thought it was when I picked it up. The other comes close to ticking all the boxes on a list for a machine that I thought unlikely to ever find in NZ, let alone at a price I could afford/justify.

I wanted a late 1800s hand-cranked vibrating shuttle machine, perhaps a Frister and Rossmann and what I got was a late 1800s hand-cranked vibrating shuttle Frister and Rossmann machine re-badged by Beale and Company (Australia) because…well in the late 1800s let’s just say we weren’t too pleased with Germany so other companies re-badge their machines to keep sales going.

I spent way too much to get her and she’s definitely got some history – which is a polite way of saying she’s old and she looks it!

I have no year of manufacture but she does sew. She also needs a new bobbin winder bumper and a replacement key for the case which is possibly oak. The machine base is also oak and needing some preemptive borer treatment. Ugh, borer, why do you eat all the pretty timber?!

The case has the the most beautiful mixed timber inlay which makes up for the extremely worn gold leaf decoration on the machine body and distinct lack of pearl inlay that I’ve seen on other models.

I want to catch up by posting all my vintage machines in the order that I acquired them but this gorgeous girl makes me want to just drop everything…but I will be good, do my research, buy my parts, get her sewing smoothly and enjoy the journey 🙂

Also I sewed some cushion covers!

If you follow me on Instagram then you would have seen these photos already:

I bought several different fabrics a while ago from fabric.com after going shopping and not finding a single cushion cover I liked (and just as an aside, curtains will be next…, ugh, home dec sewing, why do you mock me?!)

I cut them all out the weekend after the fabric arrived and bought zippers the following week but I put off sewing them up, well, because I find straight line sewing so BORING!

Last weekend, after some not-so-subtle hints from NH, I sucked it up and tackled them production line style. I knew if I sewed them up individually I’d finish two, maybe three, then give up and find an excuse to sew a dress instead. So I did all the pressing, then the overlocking, then zippers and finally outside seams and in about 2 hours (with dinner and wine drinks breaks) they were done!

View this post on Instagram

#DONE! #homedecsewing #timeforadrink 🍷

A post shared by Melissa (@thecuriouskiwi) on


They look super chubby because the inserts I bought were a little flat so I double stuffed them 🙂 They look great on the couch but will look even better on the new couch scheduled for purchase after the kitchen reno.

So that’s a little update. I’ve been trying to get back into my blogging, I enjoy writing about my sewing and my machines and while I’ve never been a post-a-day kind of blogger I do miss writing here.

I should also mention that Kat and I have been super busy over on The Monthly Stitch gearing up for Indie Pattern Month. It’s a lot of work but it always gives me a sew-jo boost and it’s a lot of fun to give away so many prizes.

As with previous years we’ve got four contests running during June with lots of great prizes from 29 fabulous sponsors. Everything you need to know is here.

This year we’ve also been working hard to try something new- we’re launching three different PDF pattern bundles for sale, one every two weeks, so that you can get lots of indie inspiration and patterns at a heavily discounted price. We launched the first bundle yesterday, you can check it out here. We also have an FAQ post that explains how the bundles work (launch dates etc) and how you can get some sneak peeks of what will be in each bundle.

We’re really looking forward to seeing all the great Indie Pattern Month entries this year and we hope you love the bundle sales too.

Happy sewing 🙂