How to assemble a PDF pattern at home

Did you know all of our sewing patterns are available in digital PDF format? That means you can buy a pattern and sew up a new dress in the very same day! In this blog post we're going to guide you through how to assemble a PDF pattern at home so you get it right every time - and we'll try to prove they're not as scary as you think! You can order a print of any of our PDF patterns on large sheets of paper with our A0 printing service, but if you just want to get on with it, you can use your printer at home. Read on to find out how to put the pattern together once you've printed it. 

What are PDF patterns?
PDF patterns are downloadable patterns which you can print at home on a normal domestic printer. You then assemble them together with glue or sellotape, and once that's done you can use them as if they're a normal tissue pattern. It's magic really!

The instructions come in a separate file so that you don't have to print these out if you don't want to. We're big fans of saving paper and helping the environment where we can, so we personally prefer to just read them off our laptops or iPads.

Saving and opening your PDF pattern correctly.
The first thing that you want to do after you have downloaded your PDF pattern is save it into a new folder on your computer, removing it from your Downloads. On our computers, when you download something, a linked button appears at the bottom of our browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc) screen. When you click on this button, the file will open, but it will open in your browser. We do not want to look at the file in our browser. We have found that printing settings for browsers can be quite limited, and often the correct printing options do not exist. (You will find out why this is important in the next step.) So always go to your Downloads folder and copy and paste the file into a new folder (in your Documents for example). Then you can right click on the file and choose Open With... Adobe Acrobat Reader. (If you don't have this software you can download it for free here.)

Printing your PDF pattern
Once you have opened the file, you will find that the pattern has been broken down into A4 size pieces that can be printed out and stuck together. The most important thing to get right here is the scaling. So when you print you need to uncheck any "fit to page" boxes, or select "actual size".

Tick "actual size".

Always uncheck "fit to page".

If you don't do this your pattern will be printed at the wrong size, which will mean eventually the sizing will be wrong on your finished garment.

You can check you're printing to the right scale by printing off the test page first  - usually the first or second page of your pattern.

The box needs to measure 10cm by 10cm. If it does, you're good to print the rest of the pages.

Once you have printed them out, try to keep them in order as this will make your life a lot easier.

Assembling the PDF pattern
In order to stick the pieces together you need to cut around the dotted line.

To make things quicker, we like to cut off just the bottom and the right hand sides, and overlap the edges. This also makes lining the pieces up a lot easier.

When it comes to sticking the pieces together, you can tell whether you're matching up the correct pieces by following the numbered and lettered guides on each edge of the pattern. So 1a and 1a should match up, and 2c and 2c for example.

We purposefully haven't removed the pattern markings from the margins for this reason - they help you line up the pattern accurately.

Top tip: you can use a glue stick to stick the pattern together, or you can use tape as we are doing. We like to cut a load of masking tape before we start sticking, it makes the whole process a lot quicker.

Once you have stuck the pattern together, you can either trace it off onto a new sheet of paper, or you can just cut out your size and use the taped-together pattern as it is.

Re-tape any bits that have come undone and then you're ready to go!

If you'd like to see a video of the whole process, check out our free online Tutorial on Stitch School here.

If all the printing and taping is just too much for you, we can print your PDF patterns for you on large sheets with our A0 printing service!

Happy sewing!

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