Saturday, 9 June 2012

Pattern Storage database - Bento

I have just found a great pattern storage database called Bento which I am using on my MAC, ipad and iphone.

I have collected a large number of patterns which I currently keep in a 3 draw chest, however its really difficult for me to find what I want, and normally means I have to just flick through all the patterns and hope I find it sooner than later.

I mentioned to Mike I needed something and wanted to create a database, and he said he had Bento on his laptop and looked so see if it would work for my patterns.  There are already kind people who have done the hard work for you and I used an existing template, and then added some extra fields.

This screen is showing all the sewing patterns, but you can enter them into specific categories, i.e pants, skirts, tops etc.

Below is the screen for those patterns that fall into the "pants" category.

On this screen I have selected McCalls 6440 and you can see an image of the pattern cover, the line drawing, make and number of the pattern.  I have created a new field called ID so when I enter a new pattern on the system, it gives it an automatic ID number (this is an option you need to select). Once the number is allocated, I write this number on the pattern cover and I am now storing the patterns in this numerical order.

I have also added a link to PR so that before I sew I can see what other people have thought about the pattern and any problems they encountered, and lastly another link that takes me to my blog if I have made up this pattern.

This next screen is produced when you click the fabric tab, and allows you to enter the information on fabrics, notions etc.

Needless to say, I went to the respective pattern companies, and copy and pasted the photos and the information.

So far I am delighted with this system, and better still you can sync it to your iphone and ipad so if you are out shopping you can take these smaller appliances with you to look up material and notion requirements when you see some fabric and think great dress!!  Just go to the dress section and find a dress suitable for that fabric.

So far I have entered around 120 patterns - I know some of you are cringing at the thought, but I have a small box next to me while watching TV and will just do this work in batches and then any future pattern purchases can be added immediately.

FYI I have already found 2 patterns where I have bought it twice lol.

Hope you find this info helpful.

Catch you later.................


  1. What a great way to store you pattern information. I should buy it for my ipad and iphone and do my patterns. I don't have as many as you do but I do have enough.

  2. Thanks for a very helpful post. I have read the thread on Bento within the PR boards and was intrigued. Seeing the screen shots helps visualize whether or not I really need this.

    Do you use PR pattern database also with your collection?

    1. Mary, I had a look on PR for the pattern database and can't see what you mean - can you expand further please.

  3. This seems fabulous. Have to look into it. And the incredible shirt marathon continues.............

  4. I also use Bento for my patterns. Fantastic! I've used it on my iPhone many times while out and it's very handy.

    I've now also catalogued my fabric stash in there. I can do wardrobe planning without even leaving my chair! It's handy to 'see' your fabric cos I'm sure you're like me and have stuff you've forgotten about. :)

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    2. Alison, its really good isn't it. Like many people I purchase patterns when they are special offer and can buy up to 20 patterns that I have thought nice but do I really need it - then the price drops and I buy them. When patterns are in a drawer, its hard to see what you have. Even if you put them into folders and envelopes you still have to flick through. This system allows you to see groups of patterns on one screen which is great. I even found an advanced field to show me all the patterns I have completed.

      As mentioned in one of the other replies 30 years of patterns is a large undertaking, but I am getting all the current stuff (i.e last 5 years) in and then I will tackle the older vintage stuff.

      I now need to investigate the fabric stash, but that will not be until I have done the patterns first.

  5. I didn't mention it before but you can purchase Bento on itunes store for £36 and can put it on up to 5 computers

    I am getting much quicker at entering the data, and this morning I was scrolling through items I had already put on and thinking, ohhhh I must make that etc etc. I am really thrilled with this piece of software and hopefully with save me a lot of time in the long-run. I just doesn't help I have about 30 years worth of patterns. I am putting on all my current stuff first and will tackle the vintage stuff later

  6. Thanks so much for posting this. I am going to get the program. Which sewing pattern template are you using? I see there is more than one called sewing patterns. Thanks ....Janice

    1. Janice, I have just looked and it just says "sewing patterns". Mike helped me download this so I will check back with him

  7. Thanks. There are two when I search for sewing patterns named "sewing patterns". I think you have the one that is shown with pictures. I can't seem to paste the page on FileMaker.