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How Do PDF Sewing Patterns Work?

PDF sewing patterns are “regular” sewing patterns created in a digital file. What this means is that you can be sitting in the comfort of your own home with your robe and slippers on, decide to make a project, and simply print the pattern from your standard, at-home printer. There’s no need to ever walk into a store.

Easy right?

How To Print Pdf Sewing Patterns

When you purchase a Pdf sewing pattern, you will never receive anything in the mail either. Instead, once the order is complete, you’ll get an email with the file attachment or be redirected to a page where you can download the file.

Usually, the file is super-simple to open. After it’s clicked, a screen will pop up to review and print it. I recommend saving the file in a designated space in your computer to print again in the future if needed.

Before actually printing the file, check your printer settings. Be sure to unclick the “fit to page” box or click the “actual size” box if your printer has one. The reason for this is that you don’t want to scale or resize the sewing pattern. It would alter the eventual fit of your entire project.

To be sure this doesn’t happen and make your patterns fail proof, most files have a measurement square on the first page.

When you are ready to print, only print the very first page first. This way, you can take your ruler to the measurement square and be sure it’s printing correctly. It can be such a headache to print an entire file only to print it again with the correct settings. If your measurement square is off, go back to your printer settings and be sure to unclick “fit to page” before you try again.

Once you know your printer settings are correct, it’s time to print the rest of the file.

How To Use Pdf Sewing Patterns

Now, your pdf sewing pattern looks like a pile of printer paper. How can this possibly make a full-size pattern?

This is where you get to assemble the pages together.

An example of a Pdf Sewing Pattern:

How To Assemble A Pdf Sewing Pattern

Each page in a pdf sewing pattern has a number, letter, or other simple code to guide you through how to assemble the pages. I label my patterns from ModernSewingPatterns.com with a light (but large) page number in the background of each page to make it simple to determine the order.

Each page also has a small notch, triangle, or other marking at the perimeter of your sewing pattern. These small notches are made to be lined up to create a seamless, easy-to-follow sewing pattern.

As you get your sewing pages in order, you should notice a thin box surrounding each page of your pattern. This is to outline the sewing pattern itself and accommodate the un-printable space around the border from your printer. The border of each printed page can be trimmed off to make your sewing pattern fit together flawlessly.

Personally, I like trimming just the bottom and the right side of each printed page. This allows me to overlap the sewing pattern pages and tape them together easier.

Once your pattern pages are taped together at the notches, take a quick look at your pattern before you cut it out. Are there pattern pieces that will need to be taped before you begin cutting? Make sure all your pieces are taped to the page next to it within the sewing pattern itself.

Now it’s time to cut! Use regular paper scissors to cut out your sewing pattern the way you would a regular pattern. If your project comes in different sizes, there should be a size key on the same page as your measurement key to follow along.

Benefits & Helpful Tools

I recommend leaving the sewing pattern instructions on your computer and pulling them up alongside your workspace if you can. Not only does this save paper, it alos gives you all the extra benefits in using a pdf sewing pattern. Often, instructions come with clickable links to video sew-alongs, detailed techniques, and clarification on tricky steps.

If the instructions file is a seperate download than your sewing pattern itself, I save it in the same folder on my computer for easy reference.

How To Store Your Patterns

After you’ve created your project and are happy with the results, it’s time to clean up! Keeping your pdf sewing patterns organized is really simple. I like to use a standard manilla envelope because the larger size accommodates bulkier sewing patterns (they are printed on printer paper and not tissue after all) and slide all of the pattern pieces inside.

Then, print the first page of the instructions or other page that contains an image of the finished project. I like printing this page in color but it’s really your preference.

Next, tape the page to the front of your manilla envelope by surrounding the perimeter of your page with tape. This keeps everything in place and prevents tearing once it’s in storage.

I love how crisp and organized the manilla envelopes look and how easily they stand up on their own in a filing cabinet. When I’m ready to start a new project, everything is perfectly organized and I can flip through my patterns easily.

Since the instructional files are all stored on my computer, I can easily pull them up as well since they are saved in a folder specifically created to organize my pdf sewing patterns.

I really hope this resource guide answered all of your questions when it comes to printing, using, and storing your pdf sewing patterns. If there is anything I forgot to cover, please let me know in the comments below and I would be happy to help!

how to store pdf sewing patterns..

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Lisa Mecham

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