It’s no secret around here that I love PDF patterns! These patterns, with their detailed instructions, have helped me learn SO much.
If you’re used to the standard tissue paper patterns or if you’re completely new to sewing, let’s talk about how to print and use PDF patterns! There’s also a bonus COUPON for printing below!
The community of independent pattern designers is growing so you are no longer constrained to only buying tissue patterns from the sewing or craft store.
Once you have purchased your PDF pattern, you will need to download and print it. Depending on the pattern company, some pattern files will be emailed to you after purchase and others will require to you log into your account at that company’s website to download the file. I recommend you store all your PDF patterns in a designated “sewing pattern” folder so you can find them easily. No worries though if you can’t find the pattern file you downloaded, you can always download it again!
Once you have received your pattern files, you need to decide how you want your pattern printed. Most companies now offer two pattern sizes, letter and A0. The letter size file is used for printing on your home computer as the pattern is broken into letter sized pieces that you assemble to create the whole pattern. The A0 file is used for print shops to print the pattern in large format, so you don’t have to tape the pattern together yourself.
To print A0 Files:
To print A0 files, you will need to either email/upload them to your local shop, or put them on a thumb drive to take with you to the shop. You can also upload the files to online print shops and have the patterns shipped to you. The most popular choice is PDFPlotting.com. They have fast shipping and offer both color and black and white pattern printing. I recommend printing in color so it’s easier to trace what size you need.
To get a jump on all the patterns you need to print, PDF Plotting is offering a 15% in all orders until October 13 with the code SEWINGTIME.
To print at home:
To print patterns on your home computer, download the letter size file and open in Adobe Acrobat. Opening in any other document viewer may distort the size when printing. Most patterns now have a layers feature, where you print only the pattern sizes you select. I prefer doing this over having all the sizes printed at once, since I mainly sew for myself. The pdf file may also list the page numbers for the pattern, in case you just want to print the pattern and not the instructions. When you are ready to print, enter in your page number selection (if you are only printing the pattern) and make the print size is custom 100%, not fit to page or any other option. The other options can print at the wrong size. All patterns will have a page with a 1 inch or 2 inch square so I recommend printing off that page first and measuring the box to make sure the printer is printing at the correct size.
To assemble the pattern, follow the pattern designer’s instructions, usually listed in the pattern file. The pages are usually assembled in numerical or alphabetical order, where you match a symbol in each corner to align the pages. Some patterns may require you to trim the pages so you tape or glue them together, while others have trimless edges that you can just overlap.
It does take a extra time to print and assemble the pattern yourself but I really love having easy access to sewing patterns without a trip to the store. I also love the huge variety of patterns you can find from indie pattern companies!