A PDF sewing pattern is the digital cousin to the tissue pattern.
There are a lot of free and paid beautiful PDF patterns out there.
And do you know what two of the best features of PDF patterns are?!
Well, we don’t have to leave home, drive to a store, and rummage through drawers overstuffed with patterns hoping that they will have the one we want and in our size range.
And we don’t have to duplicate it, because we can always reprint as needed!
Now, how fabulous is that?!
But PDF patterns are truly like a puzzle, so we do have to put them together.
And while it can seem crazy printing, cutting and taping the pages together, it can be worthwhile…
So if you’re ready, let’s learn what we need to know to print and assemble a PDF pattern as painlessly as possible…
NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE!
What You Need
- A laptop or desktop computer with a PDF reader installed
- Paper scissors (I love my Fiskars Nonstick Titanium Softgrip Scissors!)
- Removable tape
- A little bit of patience
How to Print a PDF Pattern
FIRST, it is important that you print your PDF pattern properly if you are to get an accurate pattern!
PDF patterns usually include printing instructions. And this is one of those times you will need to read the instructions provided by the maker of the PDF!
But I do have some bad news…
PDF patterns, as far as I know, still cannot be properly printed from mobile devices. Because mobile devices are primarily designed for you to hang out on the Internet and browse.
So if you want to print a PDF pattern, you will need to do so from a laptop or from a desktop computer (remember those?!)
And here’s how you would do it for most PDF patterns:
- Open your PDF file on your computer.
- Next, press CTRL + P at the same time to open your Printer’s dialog box. You need to make sure that it is set to print at a 100% or actual size. Page scaling must be turned OFF or deselect “fit to page!”
- Now, scroll the file and look for the page that contains a test or calibration square — this is usually page 1. Print ONLY this page.
- Once you’ve printed the page, it will tell you what the test square should measure. Measure it to make sure it is the specified size. This will ensure that when you print your pattern it is true to size.
- If the test square is the right size, you can print the remaining pages.
Once you’ve printed all of the pages, you are ready to assemble your PDF pattern…
How to Assemble a PDF Pattern
How you begin the assembly process will depend on how the PDF maker drafted the pattern.
But there are certain tips you can always use regardless of whose PDF pattern you are assembling:
The pages of the PDF pattern will be labeled either numerically, alphabetically, or a combination of both. This labeling will help you make sense of how all those pages join together.
Most PDF makers include margins on two sides — one long side and one short side. Other PDF makers may not include any margins.
To determine what is what, get your pages in order and start by placing a handful of pages together. You’ll immediately be able to tell which margins you have to trim. For example:
So if your PDF pattern has margins, you will need to be cut off one long side and one short side.
And no! You most certainly do not have to do one page at a time. Because that would be unbearable. Just layer three to five pages on top of each other and trim the margins.
Now, you’re ready to begin the overlapping process. You need to take your time and get this right. Because overlapping too much or too little will throw the sizing off.
And that’s it! You’re done!
Sew easy tip #1: I will tell you that after assembling many PDF patterns, I’ve never been able to get every single thing lined up perfectly. So I would recommend that you do your best, but don’t be too anal about it. Or, it will drive you nutso!
Sew easy tip #2: Make a muslin, please.
Alright, at this point, you know quite a bit about using sewing patterns. You know…
And now you know how to print and assemble a PDF Pattern.
So guess what?!
I think it’s time we conquer how to read a ruler.
And best of all…
You can put all fear aside because I’m going to make understanding how to read a ruler super simple.
Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!
RELATED: Click HERE to learn everything you need to know about sewing patterns!
RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to unleash your dressmaking super powers and learn how to sew a simple dress! Warning: This is a MEGA 5-part series!