If you’re new to digital print-at-home PDF sewing patterns, this post will guide you through the simple steps to turn the file on your computer into a full-size paper pattern.
While assembling a digital pattern does add an extra step to your sewing project, there are soooo many benefits to using them:
- They’re cheaper to buy than hard copy patterns, as you’re not paying for professional printing, packaging or postage
- If you accidentally cut the wrong size or spill your tea all over it, you can reprint the file
- You can support independent designers who can’t afford the costs or minimum print numbers involved in hard copy patterns
- You can get your hands of them instantly as soon as you get that urge to sew… Oh go on then… buy the Mathilde Blouse or Miette Skirt!
You will need:
- Home / office / copy shop printer
- A4 or US letter paper
- Paper scissors or guillotine
- Glue stick or tape
1. Download your pattern and save it to your computer files. Open it in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader, which you can download for free. Other PDF readers are available, but you may find that some scale the pattern to the wrong size (see below).
2. This bit is super important! You need to ensure that the pattern is printed at full scale so your garment turns out the size it was intended to be. Just a few % out and your garment could end up annoyingly tight. Go into your print settings and select “actual size” or “set scaling to 100%” or “turn off scaling” (depending on what options your system gives you).
3. Print page 1 only to check the print settings are correct. On the Mathilde and Miette patterns, page 1 has a test square on it. If you're using another pattern, the test square is often somewhere in the middle of the pattern - locate the square and print that page only. Measure the test square – on my patterns it should measure exactly 60mm x 60mm. If it’s a even a couple of mm out, check your print settings or PDF reader and try again.
4. Once you’re happy with the scale settings, print the full pattern.
5. Cut along the frame lines - one long side and one short side - on each piece of paper.
6. Align the little triangles, matching up page markers – 1A with 1A, 1B with 1B… etc. Stick the pages together with glue or tape.
Et voilà! Your pattern is now ready to use as normal.