Shipping patterns

I don’t imagine this solution is something that applies to everyone but who knows, this may come in handy some day.

Those of you who have to ship hard copy patterns know well the frustration of packing patterns for shipping. If the patterns are best shipped flat, your problem hinges on using an unfolded cardboard box, making a envelope of sorts although it is common the patterns end up getting folded and bent in transit. If the patterns are oversized, then the problem is finding a box long enough into which you can pack the rolled patterns. What many of us have done is to cut two boxes apart to combine them but this is an unsatisfactory solution because the seam of the two boxes isn’t stable. Even if you can find a long box suited to the task, the midsection is weak. There’s nothing to keep the sides of the box from collapsing. Hence this solution I developed last week.

I made my shipping container from two boxes as shown below. Off to the right side is the rolled up pattern I need to ship. As you can see, the two boxes together are just the right size to ship this pattern.


When I was laying the boxes on top of each other and girding myself for the task of cutting off the two ends of each in order to marry them into one long box, it occured to me that I didn’t need to cut them apart. Rather, I could just cut holes in the ends of the boxes into which I could slip the pattern (below).

The advantage of this solution was box strength, maintaining the structural integrity of all sides. With the two boxes remaining intact at their seams, this provided ribbing (below), significantly reducing the likelihood that the midway point of the box could become crushed.

If anything, it was easier to tape the boxes together with intact sides than if I’d cut them away. I don’t have a photo of it, but I stood on the midpoint of the completed box with my full body weight with nary the slightest bow ensuing. I don’t know what you think, but I was pretty pleased with the solution.

Speaking of shipping boxes, I found a great resource if you’re looking for some. This business sells new and used boxes. The new boxes are misprints or overstocks from other businesses. This won’t be of much service if you don’t need many boxes though. I think the minimum they’ll sell is 100.

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9 comments

  1. vespabelle says:

    Most cardboard box companies should be able to provide flat cardboard sheets for making your own packaging. It might be something that’s best sourced and picked up locally to avoid huge minimums.

    I’ve purchased both overstock boxes (no minimum quantity) and flat cardboard sheet from a local company called Carton Service. I highly recommend them to any of your readers in Portland, Oregon.

  2. J C Sprowls says:

    Neato! How many patterns do you have on that roll?

    The reason I ask is because I use the USPS Priority Mail tubes for the majority of my projects. The 36″ long tube is typically large enough for most one-off patterns (e.g. shirt, trouser, bodice, sheath dress).

    I haven’t ever shipped a jacket or overcoat pattern out, so I can’t attest to how that would work out – something tells me not to.

    There is a disadvantage, if the pattern is going to a humid place, it will need to be pressed with an iron to uncurl it.

  3. Sarahs says:

    My Husband occassionally has cardboard dependency issues. He gives a call to appliance stores. They happily give them freely. They get requests all the time from organizations such as local girlscouts troops.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Seriously, you are a genius. This never would have occurred to me!

    And I am dumb and commented to one of your old posts. That’s what I get for not reading carefully enough!!!!

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