Do you know how to do PDF Patterns? Sometimes it can feel completely daunting! Where do you start? How do you print it? How do you figure out all of the jigsaw pieces of paper? Don’t worry, our Essential Guide to PDF Patterns is here to help!
We are here to show you how we do it – step by step and with lots of pictures! Our essential guide to PDF Patterns will be split into three separate blog posts to make things super simple. Each blog will explain the different parts of the PDF pattern. Part 1 is for Printing the pattern, Part 2 is Tiling & Sticking and Part 3 is Cutting.
So, if you don’t know how to do PDF patterns, our Essential Guide to PDF Patterns is all you need!
Download your chosen PDF
Once you have chosen and bought your pattern, the PDF will either be available for you to download to your computer from the companies website or they will email you with the PDF attached to download. Once you download to your computer the file will look something like the one above.
TIP – If this is your first PDF pattern, pick something small! For example, a t-shirt or simple dress. The more complex the pattern, the more complex the PDF is to put together.
What does A0 mean?
As illustrated in the picture, you can see that we have a A0 copy shop version, the instructions and a tiled pattern. The A0 document is for printing at companies such as The Foldline or NetPrinter. These sites enable you to upload your selected pattern to their website and they print it off on large scale printers on huge A0 pages, and send it to you in the post.
What does A4 or tiled mean?
A4 or tiled is the print from home version of the pattern, using A4 paper in your home printer. This means you can print the pattern directly for yourself but as it is printed on smaller pieces of paper you need to stick them all together before you get your completed pattern pieces.
More complex PDF patterns
Unfortunately PDF’s can sometimes be a bit more complex, as illustrated in the above picture. This dress is a good example of a more complex download, but it’s not as tricky as it seems.
The document has 3 different variations, so although it looks complicated, actually you just print the version that you need. This means there is no need to print a huge amount of pieces you just don’t need.
You also have the option to print them all, if you wish. The wide option is the pattern on only one giant sheet of paper (very specialist) and the A0 is the same as we discussed above.
Don’t be daunted by the amount of documents, just try and go through them one by one and find the one you need. The amount of documents in the PDF can be daunting when it comes to how to do PDF patterns.
Incidentally, you can always open a document on your computer and you will be able to see if it appears as a recognisable A4 size, or larger. If you are in any doubt, feel free to drop the designer an email and I am sure they will be happy to confirm the right one for you.
Printing the PDF Pattern
Once you have found the correct document, the next step is to print it on your home printer. Firstly, make sure you have enough paper in the printer, you can see how many pages you are about to print in the top left hand corner. You will be printing in A4 size and usually printing all of the pages.
You can now select your printer and choose whether you want to print the document in black & white or in colour. We always print in Black and White as the designers always identify the different sizes clearly with different lines, as you can see in the picture above.
The importance of scale
One of the most important things to check is the Scale. This is found towards the bottom of your print screen and you can see it below. The scale should always be 100. This means you are printing the pages at the exact size designed for the pattern, and not making it any larger or smaller. For example, if you were to print at 120, this would print it larger than it is meant to be. The pages may not fit together and the garment would definitely not be the size it was meant to be.
Most importantly, ALWAYS check the scale and make sure it is at 100! This is one of the most important parts of how to do PDF patterns.
Finally, once you have done all your checks and changes, its time to press that print button! If you are nervous and want to check it first, we recommend printing the first page only. The first page usually included a Test Square which you can measure to make sure you have the scale correct.
How to use sewing patterns is a fundamental skill, and commercial sewing patterns offer huge variety and value for money. In this class, we walk you through every aspect of using them to help build your confidence – from calculating fabric to getting a good fit.
Check back tomorrow for the next steps on How to do PDF Patterns Part 2 – Tiling & Sticking the PDF Pattern