Sewing Patterns

What You Need to Know about PDF Sewing Patterns

The future is here. Sewing pattern manufacturers create more digital patterns than physical ones. Indie pattern companies are leading the way in the push to digital. What does this mean for the average sewist?

PDF or digital sewing patterns are not new. It’s been at least a decade or more since the first ones came on the scene. Here is how they work. Instead of a physical pattern printed onto tissue or sturdy white paper, the pattern is created in a digital format. A PDF reader is required to view and print the file. Patterns are printed at home, some are sent off to a local or online print shop. Others skip paper all together and use an overhead projector.

How do you print a PDF pattern? It depends on the format. All are in PDF format. Lindsey, from Inside the Hem on YouTube, has a great video about printing PDF patterns. Some are in A4, Legal or Letter size. These are called print-at-home patterns. Others are in A0 or Copyshop size, sometime called large format. This size is usually 36” wide by 48” long but it can be much longer than that. Copyshop is too large for most home printers to handle. It got its name because you had to take it to a print shop to get it printed.

Print-at-home patterns require time, patience, lots of paper, ink, and tape or glue. Many pages print out which are then trimmed and taped together. Most, but not all, have some form of registration mark to verify the print is to scale. This is usually a one-inch square somewhere on the first page. To print this type of pattern, open the file with a PDF reader, select print, and be sure to select print actual size or do not scale. When printing is complete; trim, assemble and cut out your pattern pieces. We offer a service that electronically assembles these patterns into 1 large sheet for printing.

A0 or copyshop size prints require a printing service. Most cities have a local print shop where you can bring the file to be printed. Or, you can use an online printing service like Sublime Grafx who can print the file for you.

Sublime Grafx offers options that other printers do not, we print on 3 types of paper, charge by the pattern not by the page, charge the same for color and black and white, offer printing layers (if possible) and offer both folded and rolled shipping.