Printing Patterns 101

PDF patterns are the new normal if you’re a part of the sewing community. For years we all had to rely on big-box brands to produce sewing patterns that may or may not be on trend. Several years ago (right around the time I began my sewing journey) there was a shift in the market and new, self-published pattern designers were popping up left and right. And they were doing something differently: they were offering their patterns as a downloadable file! You no longer had to head to the store, sort through drawers full of patterns, hope they had your right size, head home to deal with the mess of tissue paper (hoping nothing tore or blew away!), and figure out how to stuff that thing into the envelope again (tell me I’m not the only one?). Now, with three clicks of your mouse, you could have a stack of paper in your hands ready to dive into that project that you HAD TO START at midnight. PDF patterns really did revolutionize the modern sewing industry and if you aren’t familiar with them it isn’t too late! Here are my tips for working with PDF patterns:

• Have access to a good printer. Any home printer will work, but a black and white laser printer will give you fast + fairly inexpensive results. The toner lasts a long time and the pages print at lightening speed.

Open all pattern pages in Adobe Reader (click here to download the latest version!) and print with the following settings: Size: Custom Scale: 100%. Start by printing the first page of the pattern, there will be a guide box for you to measure. Be sure the boxes measure exactly! (If you’re using a tape measure, start at the 1” mark and measure to the 2”, this will give you a more exact read.)

• Your pages can be printed on US Letter (8.5” x 11”) or A4 paper (21cm x 29.7cm). The bounding boxes for the patterns are 7” x 10” so they’ll fit nicely wherever in the world you are printing!

• Once your pattern pages are printed out, you’ll need to assemble them. There is a guide included with each pattern to show you how each pattern looks assembled. To assemble your pattern, cut along the TOP and LEFT sides of each page along the black line. Using the markers as guides, align the pages so the pattern lines continue. Tape them together as you go and soon you’ll have one giant pattern page.

• You can use pattern tracing paper to trace your size OR you can simply cut out the size you want to use. Remember, since these are PDFs you’re able to print and reprint as many times as you’d like!