In order to improve the quality of software systems and to set up a more effective process for their development, many attempts have been made in the field of software engineering. Reuse of existing knowledge is seen as a promising way to solve the outstanding problems in this field. In previous work we have integrated the design pattern concept with the formal design language SDL, resulting in a certain kind of pattern formalization. For the domain of communication systems we have also developed a pool of SDL patterns with an accompanying process model for pattern application. In this paper we present an extension that combines the SDL pattern approach with the experience base concept. This extension supports a systematic method for empirical evaluation and continuous improvement of the SDL pattern approach. Thereby the experience base serves as a repository necessary for effective reuse of the captured knowledge. A comprehensive usage scenario is described which shows the advantages of the combined approach. To demonstrate its feasibility, first results of a research case study are given.