There are many benefits to buying and downloading a digital, or PDF sewing pattern. Instant gratification is one, and also storage. If you buy a lot of patterns, you will have to put them somewhere! The ability to endlessly print instead of tracing off a pattern or even worse- mistakingly cutting out the wrong size on a tissue pattern that you will have to repurchase and start over, whereas with a digital pattern, you can just re-print specific pages. Like with so many things, the internet has provided a way for independent designers offer their patterns without having huge overhead and a financial backing from a large pattern company.
PDF sewing patterns are designed to be printed on a home printer using A4 or US Letter sized paper. To begin, you will need:
A4/US letter paper
Tape (scotch tape or washi work great)
Download your pattern and save it to your computer files. Open it in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader, which you can download for free. There are other PDF readers available, but you may find that some scale the pattern to the wrong size. I offer my patterns through Etsy. To further assist, Etsy has provided a handy guide to downloading digital items.
Depending on the size of the pattern, you will likely be printing several pages that may look a little crazy. I promise that they will assemble with a little effort and look similar to a traditional tissue paper pattern- but much sturdier. And you will not suffer the added challenge of refolding the pattern and trying to stuff in back in the envelope.
Before you print, read through the pattern's printing instructions. In your Print Dialogue Box, set print scale at 100%. Do not check, "scale to fit". Identify the test square. If you don't see it, check your pattern printing instructions again. You will want to print the page with that scale square first. Measure the square to be sure that the scale is correct. If it is not, check your print settings. Additionally, you can change the print quality, opting for draft or fast printing to use less ink. Also, printing in black and white (even though all of those colors are so pretty!) It saves ink.
It is not necessary to print every page. Just print the pattern and view the instructions on your screen. It will save ink, time and paper. READ through the instructions first, they will guide you to which pages to print.
The pattern pages will need to be trimmed before being taped together. It can be a bit tedious to assemble the pattern and tape the entire thing together, but once you have done it a time or two, they come together pretty quickly.
Trim around the border of each page.
I find it easiest to work one row at a time. I begin by laying out each row, then trimming each page. Then I align the quarter circles and tape.
Continue to tape. It's starting to look like a real pattern!
Once I have the entire pattern assembled, I rough cut around each piece to separate.
Since the patterns are multi-sized and you may not have printed in color, it may help to take a pen or marker and highlight your correct size. Do you see how each size has a coordinating line (stroke) design? Look at the pattern's size chart to determine your size then refer to the size key to find your size.
Cut out each piece and get your fabric ready! At this point you can lay the pieces directly on your fabric and following the layout and cutting instructions, begin pinning, tracing, transferring and cutting. I think that you will find this paper much easier and more durable than standard tissue paper.
Do you have any tips or tricks to add? Have you used a PDF sewing pattern yet?