Well done if you have just completely Part 1 of our Essential Guide to PDF Patterns!
So far you will have bought your pattern and printed it out ready for the next step. If you need to revisit Part 1 you can do it here. In this blog we will be covering the trimming, tiling and sticking of the pattern together.
For this stage you will need some space, ideally a table that you can use or the floor. You will often find that you need quite a bit of space to get the tiling done, so bear this in mind.
Understanding the pattern
Before we start trimming or cutting anything, you should take a moment to check the out pattern. Firstly, make sure that you have printed all of the pages you were supposed to. Then we want to take a look at the tiling for the pattern, sometimes this can be shown on your PDF instructions, but you can also ‘read’ the printed pages of the pattern to understand how it goes together.
Looking at my pattern (above) you can see that it has letters and numbers at the top of each page. This shows there are three rows (A, B & C) and seven pages to each row. You should look for letters, numbers and markings (such as triangles) that will match up to help you align the pages correctly. Separate your pattern into sections for each row, for this pattern I separated the pages for Row A, Row B and Row C.
Now the majority of PDF patterns are put together in portrait (short side at the top and long side at the side), but we have on occasion had a few which adept together in landscape (long side at the top and short side at the side). If in doubt, check your PDF instructions.
Trimming the pages
The next step is to trim the pattern pages so that we can attach them together accurately. Usually there is a wide edge around the pattern piece itself, like a frame. This is there to help you put the pieces together accurately. On occasion we have found PDF patterns with very small frames, or no frames at all. If this happens to you, check back to your PDF instructions as to whether they wish you to trim or they may wish you to simply overlap. These are quite rare and the majority will come with a large frame around the pattern piece.
To trim the frame, we use a rotary cutter and a quilters ruler. This helps us do this quickly and accurately. Our recommendation is that you keep an old, used blade for the rotary cutter to use for cutting your PDF patterns. Alternatively, you can also use paper scissors and cut by hand but the rotary cutter is definitely quicker!
You need to trim one of the long vertical sides and one of the horizontal sides. For example, we always trim the top edge and the right hand side edge. The reason you don’t trim off all the edges, is that you use the remaining edges to help attach the next page to. Go ahead and trim the edges on all of your rows.
Creating your first row
Take your first two pages and line them up next to each other. You should be be able to see markings, either as part of the pattern, or provided by the pattern maker, to help you line up the pages. The aim is to overlap the cut page onto of the edge that has not been cut, so you have something to work with to attach them together.
Tape or Glue?
You can attach the pages together either with cellotape or with a glue stick. Layer the cut page ontop of the uncut page. Either tape it down or use your glue stick on the uncut edge.
We prefer the glue stick method, as the pages are much easier to manipulate into position while not tearing the paper. If you do use cellotape, we recommend you use a tape dispenser as it makes the job a whole lot quicker! Go ahead and attach your first two pages together in your preferred method.
Continue for the rest of the row
The next step is to attach all of the remaining pages of your first row together. You can see now why we need quite a lot of space to put together PDF patterns!
The Second Row
The process is very similar to what we have just done but we need to attach the pages to the top row, as well as each other. We usually start by attaching page A1 to page B1. Line it up and attach as before. Take the next page for your second row and do the same, this time you need to line up both the horizontal and vertical edges. This is where the glue can be beneficial as you can make slight adjustments easily. Continue for the rest of your row and any further rows you have until all of your pages are attached.
You can see from my finished pattern (Lemon Drop Dress from Our Lady of Leisure) that sometimes you have an incomplete row. This is designed so you don’t waste paper but don’t worry if you have an incomplete row. If in doubt, double check on your pattern instructions.
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Check back tomorrow for the final steps on How to do PDF Patterns Part 3 – The Cutting