8 March 2024

How to Use Layered PDF Sewing Patterns

How to use layered PDF sewing patterns

We have recently started adding layered sizes to our PDF sewing patterns - hooray! This has been a regularly requested feature from the PDF pattern aficionados amongst you - thank you for your patience while we changed our processes to allow this feature. The Thea trousers is our first sewing pattern with layers, and future patterns - including those in our forthcoming book Mini Makes - will also feature layered sizes.

If you're new to using layered PDF sewing patterns, this post will show you how to use this snazzy feature. It's very simple, I promise!

What is a layered PDF sewing pattern?

Layered PDF sewing patterns are set up with each size placed on its own individual layer, kind of like pieces of tracing paper all stacked one on top of the other. This allows you to hide the sizes you don’t need and print just the ones you do. There are two main benefits to printing patterns in this way:
  1. You'll save ink by printing just the sizes you need
  2. It makes it easier to see your size line more clearly, making cutting out your pattern a smoother and more straightforward process.

How do I use layered PDF sewing patterns?

The process of using layered PDF patterns is satisfyingly simple!

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader showing how to open a PDF sewing pattern
First, open your PDF pattern in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't have this programme already installed, you can download it from Adobe for free.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader with the "layers" icon on the right-hand side circled in pink, with a pink arrow pointing to it
Next, click on the layers icon to open the layers menu.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader with the layers menu on the right-hand side highlighted in pink
In the layers menu, you'll see all of the layers, i.e. sizes, that make up the pattern.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader with a pink arrow pointing to the "eye" icon on the right-hand side
Click the eye icon next to each of the sizes you don't want to print, to hide these layers.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader with the "padlock" icon on the right-hand side circled in pink, with a pink arrow pointing to it
You'll notice that there's one layer called "Pattern Info" that has a padlock next to it, instead of the usual eye icon - this means that this layer cannot be hidden, and we've done this on purpose to make sure your pattern always prints with all the vital information included.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader with sizes 6 and 7 only showing, and the eye icon belonging to each of these layers circled in pink
Once you’ve hidden all of the sizes you don't need by clicking the eye icon, if you scroll through the pattern you'll see that the only lines left on the page are the ones for your chosen size or sizes. In this example, you can see we've hidden all sizes apart from size 6 and size 7.

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat Reader showing the print settings required for printing the pattern. The buttons labeled "poster", "tile scale: 100%", and "portrait" are circled in pink
Once you're happy that all the sizes you don't need are hidden, you're ready to print your pattern! 

What print settings do I need for a PDF sewing pattern?

Go to File > Print, check you're printing "actual size" or "100%" scale, set the orientation to "Portrait", and you may also need to select "Poster" to centre the tile.

You can now tape the sheets together in the usual way to assemble the full pattern - you'll find more information on how to do this in our blog post all about using PDF sewing patterns.

Can I use layers when printing an A0 copyshop file?

Layers are enabled on the A0 version of the file as well as the A4/Letter size version. You will not be able to save a new version of the file with some layers hidden to send to a copyshop, as the file isn't editable for copyright reasons. Check with the pattern printing service that you're using if they are able to select and print certain layers for you - some will do this, while others won't, so it's worth an ask.

We hope layered sizing helps give you a smoother, happier sewing experience!

Handwritten script which says "love Tilly and the Buttons xxx"
Author: Frances Buddery