Today’s post is a feature on using PDF patterns meant to eliminate the fear that some sewers have of them. I realize that they aren’t the most convenient way to receive a pattern because they must be pieced together but I think they are not as much work as someone who has never used one would think! Actually, compared to printed tissue patterns, the taping process is really the only extra step because it is necessary to cut out tissue patterns just as you would a PDF pattern.
Another interesting comparison was pointed out to me by my co-worker, a professional seamstress. She has never used PDF patterns before but when I explained them to her she laughed and said that even though sewers are embracing new technology, to her it just seems like history is repeating itself! She explained that her grandmother used to lay out pieces of paper on the kitchen floor to assemble her quilt patterns. Instead of printing them off of the computer she would spend weeks and weeks collecting them from her local newspaper which offered one quilt square an issue. Each square contain a pattern for piecing or embroidery which could be completed each week while the sewer anticipated the next square. Now that’s devotion!
My tips for using PDF patterns are probably pretty self explanatory to some but I thought I might as well share them in case they will help someone save some time and create a stronger and easier to store pattern.
Tape thoroughly: Our patterns print so that the top left corner ends up on the top of your stack of papers. Simply lay out the sheets in rows from left to right. We include a layout sheet and instructions to help you out. I like to cut off one of the margins and tape and overlap all the columns and then piece the four columns together as the last step.
For added strength, tape the back of the sheets as well. When taping, you only need to tape areas where a pattern piece extends to the next page – no point wasting tape on blank areas!
You will end up with a single sheet of pattern pieces (which our cat thought would make a perfect bed):
I simply fold them up crisply in a ziploc bag labelled with the pattern name and size and when I go to use them again I iron them out using an iron with no steam and a press cloth to ensure that I don’t melt the tape.
If you prefer, you could always tape the sheets together and, instead of cutting out the pieces, you could trace them using tracing paper (I find white tissue paper works well enough for this but you could also buy the paper designed for this which is available at most fabric stores) and a pencil. Then you can cut out your tissue paper pieces and use those just like a normal pattern.
If you are really worried about preserving the pattern you could roll up your un-cut paper pattern after tracing and store it as a tube to re-trace a different size at a later point.
Also (though this next option isn’t very tree-friendly), once downloaded you could simply save our pattern and re-print it to use when needed. This would work especially well if you need to use a different size next time.
We are considering offering a version of our pattern for download that is a single sheet fit for printing professionally. Would you like this option made available to you? Let us know by leaving a comment and we will prepare it to add to the store!