Printing and Assembling PDF Patterns


So you’ve downloaded your first PDF pattern or perhaps you’re thinking about it and want to know a bit more before diving in. What next? Read on and find out what this whole PDF lark is all about.

Firstly, you need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to view and print your pattern.

Your PDF is a document of pages that you will print out and stick together with either tape or glue. Once together, these sheets of paper will make up your full size paper pattern from which you can cut out your garment.


It is vital that you print your PDF to 100% SCALE or ACTUAL SIZE, depending on your printing software. To ensure you are printing correctly, print out page 1. Measure the size box. This should measure 5cm (2 inch) square. If this is wrong, your whole garment will be wrong. Once you are happy your print settings are correct, fire ahead and print the rest of the pattern.

Measure Box.png

Each page has a number and letter indicating the sequence for assembling the pages and a box outline which you will use as a guide for sticking the pages together. The sequence runs from left to right then top to bottom.

Numer Letter.png


If your paper is thin enough to see the box lines through the page, then you don’t really need to cut the pages. This will save you time for sure but be careful you are matching the guides accurately. Just a millimetre out and your pattern can become tricky to assemble after a few pages.


For accuracy, I recommend the cutting method. Simply cut the right side and bottom edges off your pages using the box line as a guide.

Edge Cutting.png

Align the cut edge of the page to the box line of the next page and stick with tape or a glue stick.
First, stick each page together horizontally in rows according to their number.

Row Horiz.png

Once the rows are complete, join them vertically to complete the full spread.

Row Verti.png

Now that you have your complete spread ready, carefully cut around each pattern piece, cutting into all notches and punching through pattern marks.

cut out-10.png


The more patterns I’ve cut, the more I take short cuts where I can. Here are a few things I tend to do to make sticking your pattern together a little less hassle, especially is you don’t have much space to work in.

  1. Look at the PDF overview in the instruction manual before printing. There may be a section that can be stuck together separately meaning a smaller spread to handle. You may also spot the odd page that includes just a single pattern piece so you may not need to stick it at all.

  2. As you join your rows together, you may find that you’ve completed a full pattern piece so it might be easier to cut it away before you join the next row.

  3. Use a large window pane to help align your pages if you’re not using the cutting method. The daylight makes is super easy to see the box lines. Just tape the pages to the window as you go. You might get a few funny looks off your neighbours but I bet they can’t make their own clothes so I think you win!

  4. Break the monotony of PDF assembly and decide to just do your edge cutting one evening. Stick together your rows in another sitting. Don’t feel like you need to get it all done at once. Making a garment is a slow process. Embrace it!