So you have downloaded a PDF Sewing pattern and printed off all your pattern pieces onto A4 paper, as per the instructions that came with it. Now it is time to assemble the PDF sewing patterns you are ready to use.
It is fair to say, PDF sewing patterns include a pattern layout, illustrating how your printed pieces of paper should fit together. Study this before you get started and together with the following pointers, assembling your PDF pattern should be a breeze.
Preparing Your Pattern Pieces
Sometimes pattern sheets are helpfully numbered and labeled, making assembly easy. Alternatively, most PDFs have alphanumerical notches that you can use to match up your sheets.
Instead of wasting unnecessary time trimming all four sides of your pattern sheets, just fold/cut away the bottom and right-hand side borders of each sheet. Judging by the pattern layout, you can save even more time by not folding/cutting the borders of sheets that are last in a row.
If your pattern is particularly large, you may find it easier to tape all horizontal sheets together first, followed by all the rows next.
Joining Your Pattern
To physically join your pattern sheets, sticky tape, double-sided sticky tape, or glue, do an equally good job.
The first step to assembling your PDF pattern is trimming the excess off one side of the overlap per join. This will allow you to overlap the edges accurately.
Another option is to fold the margins back rather than trimming them off. This can be a bit faster than trimming.
As you’re taping, try to put tape through any cutting lines that go across the page edges, as well as where the four corners of the pages meet. This will ensure that your pattern pieces don’t have any flapping parts. Everywhere else, put your tape pieces a few inches apart at most.
Alternatively, you can use a glue stick to assemble the pages, which makes for a very neat pattern. The only problem with this option is that you must wait for the glue to dry completely before you cut out the pattern pieces. I tend to use double-sided sticky tape to join my pattern pieces as I find it to be tidier.
Once all your pages are taped together, cut out your pattern pieces just as you would pattern tissue.
Short on Assembly Space
One of the things people seem to dislike the most about PDF patterns is the assembly. It can be a bit much to tape the entire pattern together at once and more so if you are working in a confined space.
If space is a problem for you, assemble and cut out each pattern piece as you go. This is a little trickier and a lot slower because the pattern pieces are laid out a bit like a jigsaw puzzle to fit the most efficiently on the least amount of paper. All this means to you is one PDF page might have little bits of multiple pattern pieces on it. But take your time, as it is doable.
After trimming, start assembling the pattern, and find all the pages that are involved in the first piece. This may involve going out of sequence in your stack of pages. Tape them together and cut out the pattern piece. Then move on to the next one.
Save all your paper scraps until you are sure you have assembled and cut out all the pattern pieces. Also, it pays to double-check with your pattern instructions and the cutting layout to you haven’t missed any of the pieces.
Tracing the Pattern or Layers
If you prefer, you can assemble all the pieces and then trace your size off so that if you need a different size you don’t have to reassemble the pattern.
Alternatively, the latest PDF Sewing Patterns have a Layers feature to print from. All this means to you, is you have the option to print ONE SIZE at a time.
Sewing With PDF Patterns
Now you have all your pattern pieces cut, it is time to use them exactly the same as if you are using a tissue pattern. Refer to the sewing instructions, included with the pattern, to get started.
Please NOTE: It is not necessary to print the instructions to save on both paper and printer ink. I find it easy enough to view them on my laptop or iPad, as I sew.
Using PDF Sewing Patterns is a Sign of the Times
Even though I do believe that tissue/paper-based store-bought sewing patterns will always be available, it is obvious that using PDF sewing patterns is a sign of the times.
Being able to print a pattern and have it available instantly, without having to leave the house works for me as I am 90mins away from my local sewing store.
Have you used PDF sewing patterns before and do they work for you. If you could… what would you do to improve them?
I look forward to hearing your views, as I am sure are others.
Keep on Sewing!