31 January 2013

How to Use Digital Sewing Patterns

How to use digital sewing patterns

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!

You will need:

For A0
  • Home / office / copy shop printer
  • A0 paper
For A4 or US Letter
  • Home / office / copy shop printer
  • A4 or US letter paper
  • Paper scissors or guillotine 
  • Glue stick or tape

For both A0 and A4/US Letter, download your pattern and save to your computer files. Open the file 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).

Scaling 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.



To Print A0
Ensure the print settings are set to 100%. After printing, measure the test square to check it's exactly 60mm x 60mm.

To Print A4
1. Go into your print settings, under 'page size' click 'poster' to centre the tile and ensure the scale is set to 100% (or 'actual size' - NOT 'fit' or 'shrink pages') to print the pattern at full scale.

How to use digital sewing patterns

2. Print page 1 only to check the print settings are correct. On Tilly and the Buttons digital sewing 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.

3. Once you’re happy with the scale settings, print the full pattern.

How to use digital sewing patterns

4. Cut along the rectangular border lines - one long side and one short side - on each piece of paper.

How to use digital sewing patterns

5. Align the little triangles to match up the pages (1A with 1A, 1B with 1B… etc) and glue or tape them together.

How to use digital sewing patterns

Et voilà! Your pattern is now ready to use. Take a look at Tilly and the Buttons digital sewing patterns in my shop.