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Organizing Pattern Collections

The following is a recommended process for organizing and storing tissue patterns. The process is simple and unscientific, but workable until such time as serious conservation and preservations can be accomplished.

Date the Pattern (if possible):

Copyright dates may be used to date patterns [not patent dates]. If no copyright date exists, contact Joy Emery for assistance.
Write the confirmed date in in pencil in a corner of the envelope and on the photocopy.

Store the Pattern in an Inert Clear Plastic Bag:

Mylar bags such as those sold for storing comic books, or
Food storage bags, open top is preferable

Note: Mylar bags are the best option if your budget can bear the cost, however, food storage bags are a viable alternative for those with small budgets.  The key is that the bags are made of inert plastic.

Photocopy the Front and Back of the Pattern Envelope:

Be sure that the pattern number and pattern logo are clear on the photocopy. If it is not, write them on the copy.
Be sure the information on the back of the envelope is not covered by the flap of the envelope.

Storing Patterns:

Acid-free storage boxes in a climate controlled space are preferable. If this is not possible, however, select a space where both temperature fluctuations and humidity are minimized as much as possible.  File cabinet size boxes or file drawers are the appropriate size for most patterns.
File the patterns by year in numerical order by company.
Set up Master Files of the photocopies.

Master File of Photocopies:

The Master File is a visual record of the pattern holdings in the collection.
Organize the Master Files by pattern company, year and number.
The Master File may be kept in file folders or in ring binders.

Assigning Archival Numbers:

Assigning Archival Numbers is part of a collections management system aimed at uniquely identifying each pattern within the collection.  The archival number has three segments, each separated by a period:
The date of issue of the pattern (four digits).
The sequential number within the date of issue year representing when the pattern was catalogued.
A letter code to identify the holding collection, based on the "OCLC" designation, if applicable.  For private collectors, use the owner’s initials.
The Archival Number should be recorded on the pattern’s storage bag, at the top on the outside of the plastic sleeve (in a position that will not obscure the Pattern Number or other pertinent information), and on the photocopy of the pattern.
Keep a notebook of numbers assigned to keep track of the last used sequential number.

Example: 1934.3.URI specifies a 1934 pattern, third of that year to be assigned a number, with the original pattern located at the University of Rhode Island. 1934.69.URI designates the sixty-ninth pattern from 1934 to be assigned an Archival Number.