The Stash Database App (or How I organize patterns, fabrics and yarns) [or How to feed your sewing obsession further]

People from the sewing, knitting and all-around crafting kind, hi,

this is the post on how I use an app, on my phone and tablet, to keep track of sewing patterns, fabrics and yarns I have in stash.

The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.


Note: This post is based on my personal use of the app, which was first featured by Coletterie here, as a pattern organizer. Please check it, and take this post as a deep-dive view and a perspective on using its relational feature with your fabric and yarn stash.

Better start with the advantages of this method before diving into its madness:

  1. I can browse, search and favorite my sewing patterns anytime, anywhere. This means I know exactly how much yardage and notions I need when I see the perfect pattern for that pattern that is in my queue for so long. Also, it serves as a list of the patterns I want to make and fabrics I want to use next, without forgetting those that otherwise would be left on the back and decay, forever. Finally, it gets my blood pumping when I am thinking of sewing, but I can’t actually get to it.
  2. I keep track of the fabrics I already have, and match them to the right patterns. This works primarily for those times when I buy the exact yardage for that favorite pattern, but haven’t got to it yet. In addition, many of the fabrics I have there are those gifts, leftovers and I-have-to-have-it fabrics, that I can then browse for the perfect pattern and match them. This works for inspirations, as well, looking at what you have with new eyes and from different perspectives.
  3. I track the characteristics that matter to me, and customize them as I go. I use metric instead of imperial system, I prefer technical drawings over the cover photos of the patterns, I am still learning fabrication (which means my pick list has things like cotton, as well as batiste, lawn or twill). But the great thing is: I can change my mind anytime and re-customize the forms.

Now, I made it sound relevant, right?

Because the time I spend with this app is insane. With every new Burda issue, I manually enter the details of each pattern. Every time I buy or get new fabric, I measure it, photograph it and catalog ideas and details for each piece. And still… I didn’t manage to upload every pattern. There are just too many, *swoon*.

The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.The app is Tap Forms, and I first heard about it from a Coletterie article on how to organize your stash. I don’t intend to make any special endorsement of this app, in particular, but this is the one I found with all my database criteria: (i) customizable, (ii) multi-device and (iii) with a lite try-out version. I sure don’t like the fact that you pay by device, or that it is only available for Apple devices, or that I cannot customize its manly-ugly look. There is some discussion on alternative database apps, that I am not qualified to enter, e.g. here, as well as on the aforementioned article.

So, how do I use it?

Browsing through my pattern library

I started with the pattern library, Costuroteca (in English, Sew-otheca), which as of now holds *205 patterns* (90% from Burda magazine, thanks to my brother and sister’s Christmas gift of a Burda subscription, holla!). Each record has a picture, preferentially from the technical drawing, name and company, and is ordered according to type of garment – because I sew clothes, mainly, but again – fully customizable. While name is a regular text field, type of garment and company are pick lists, where the first has pretty much all categories I need, the latter is a growing list with each new company I try. After these, I have a full form with all the fields I thought of – including a tick mark for patterns I already used or a notes field for all the ideas or whatever notes I want to save. (see snapshot above, featuring Burda’s famous Peplum Top)

I can search the patterns by text on any of these fields. One that I use frequently is the ease, which I separate into no stretch, some stretch, gotta stretch, so to match with fabrics I have, or to choose what I feel like sewing. I also search through favoriteswhich are records you can flag with a star, for stuff that I want to do *right now*. (see snapshot below)

The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.

The app is also a relational database, which means I can link records between libraries. For example, two fabrics that match for a little color-blocking or pattern-matching, or that fabric I bought for that particular piece or set of pieces. (see snapshots below, featuring Dress It Up pattern from Peppermintmag’s sewing school)

     The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.

The libraries I use so far:

  • Costuroteca – pattern pictures, details and ideas (see initial snapshots)
  • Measurements – mine, my friends or sizing charts from pattern companies
  • Refash Pile – with a before pic and the status of wearability of pieces to refashion
  • Stash N Queue – of fabrics, ordered by type and colors, with pretty pictures and details of where I got them (see snapshots above)
  • Trico-stash (in English, Knit-o-stash) – with my yarns, either waiting…, on the needles or done!, according to the project for which they are destined (see snapshot below)

The Stash Database App | Catdoesit.

Finally, it syncs with the cloud and dropbox easily, backups and exports/imports on different formats (even unzips files!).*

* Really, Tap Forms doesn’t even know who I am, let alone pay me – this is really how I talk. Like a car-salesman.

Hope you find this helpful. If anyone is interested in knowing more, feel free to ask, by comment or mail.


4 thoughts on “The Stash Database App (or How I organize patterns, fabrics and yarns) [or How to feed your sewing obsession further]

  1. Are you able to export a Form as a template – with fields but empty of data – to share? Would save me from re-inventing your wheel, which looks very nice.


  2. Thanks for the wonderfully detailed rundown! I just started my own form for patterns. Here’s a question, how do you handle yardage – especially when it comes to different sizes?


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