Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pattern PDF's

After being without internet for four years I am so enjoying the internet and all it has to offer - especially in the realm of craft patterns.  With much success, I have enjoyed downloading free  knitting patterns from ravelry and ordering Jane Richmond patterns from Magpie.  Knitting patterns are easy to order as a PDF since they require no assembly and generally can be printed in the same manner as when purchasing from the store - but sewing patterns are a whole difference cookie.

As part of Casey's Swing Dress Sew Along, I decided to order the PDF version of the pattern (because I am cheap and wanted to get the pattern right away).  After printing out all of the pages it seemed a little intimidating and I wasn't sure if I had made the right decision.  My printer was giving me some issues which added to the fear factor.  However, once it was all printed out, it was quite easy.

I figure I would offer a few of my tips on how to put a PDF pattern together to help ease the mind of anyone facing this task.

After printing out all of the pages, I placed them on my table (which is a little too small for this, but it worked out okay).  Here is what this looked like for Sheet 2 of the Swing Dress pattern:

All the pieces are laid out in the way I want to tape them together.

Next I find a good place to cut the pattern in half or thirds.  The purpose of this is to reduce the size of the pieces as you tape them together.  (Mostly because my sliding glass door isn't that large)
For this part of the dress, I chose to divide the pattern between the skirt back and the rest of the pattern.  To do this, I took my scissors and just separated the two sections of the paper.

I then start piecing the skirt back together.  I started from the bottom of the pattern and taped all five pieces together.  I taped the first sheet to my sliding glass door on a sunny day to make sure the lines connected correctly.
Here are the first seven pieces.

Next, the second half of the pattern is put together.  I started by taping each column of three sheets together.  The first three were no problem, as there were plenty of lines to match up.  The fourth column I left alone.  The last column I was only able to connect the bottom two pieces.

I also decided that dividing the pattern one more time would be beneficial here.  I decided to separate the sleeve from the other two pieces.  Next I taped together the bodice & sash and sleeve piece.

Once all of the pieces were connected as they should be, I made sure to trace the lines where the overlap covered up part of the pattern.

Yeah, the pattern is now ready to cut out and size for you muslin!

What are your experiences in working with PDF patterns?  Do you prefer buying the original pattern?

Live the moment, love life!


  1. Awww, brilliant!! Thanks Annabelle. This has really encouraged me to face the task. Taping it to the window is inspired!

  2. Miss P I am so glad you found this inspiring! Getting the PDF is a great alternative when you want to spend less $.