If you’ve never worked with PDF patterns before it’s good to read something about how they work first. I actually prefer PDF since I don’t mind the cutting and taping of pages – the two tips below make it go pretty fast. Since there are already a couple of good tutorials for the whole process out there I’m not going give you my version of the story, but instead provide you with a short work order list. You can check the links at the bottom of the post for more elaborate tutorials on how to print and assemble your PDF patterns, or find online services where you can get your large format sheets printed.
- Download the .zip file from your account or the email we sent you. Note that this only works on a pc or mac, not a phone or tablet.
- Extract the files by right clicking the file and choosing ‘extract’
- Open the pattern file with Adobe Reader (also on Mac, don’t use Preview!)
- For the Zircon, Opal and Amber: Click on the ‘layers’ icon on the left (looks like two squares) and select the sizes you want to print. For the other patterns: go to step 5.
- Print the first page of the pattern, with scaling off or at 100%
- Check the dimensions of the square
- If it’s correct, print the rest of the pages
- Trim the right and bottom edge off
- Tape together or use a glue stick, matching the pages according to the numbers
- Cut or trace the pattern pieces
- Store in a ziplock bag or your preferred method
Tips for Cutting and Taping
One trick of my own I’d like to add is to use a paper trimmer to cut the edges off the printed pages. A paper cutter is not expensive and doing up to 3 pages at a time, it can save you a lot of time.
When it comes to taping the pages, I found that a glue stick does the job pretty well. I just use a regular Pritt glue stick. It’s faster than tape and I like that you can do the whole edge instead of a few places where you tape. I still tape the places along the edges of the pattern pieces, and in the intersection of 4 pages.
Each of these blogposts lays out the basics plus a few tips and tricks to make things easier. Note that these are written for their own patterns, things like connecting markers might be different.
- How to assemble PDF patterns quickly and efficiently by Sewaholic
- How to use PDF sewing patterns (with downloadable checklist) by Colette Patterns
- The ins and outs of PDF patterns by Thread Theory
- How to use digital sewing patterns by Tilly and the Buttons
- How to print at a Copy Shop by Sew Mama Sew
Printing at the CopyShop
All of our patterns have a large format file included, so you can have the patterns printed at the Copyshop. They are suitable for both large format in the US and A0 in Australia and Europe. Be sure you always print in black and white to keep costs down, and see if the have an ‘engineering prints’ option which is usually the cheapest. Online printing can be cheaper if you upload a couple of patterns at once, even with shipping added. If you don’t have a copyshop nearby, here’s a few sources to print them online:
- France: Express Plan. Opt for black and white and roulé as folding method. Be sure to choose the exact dimensions of the paper, you can check them in the PDF. Click on file, then properties to see the dimensions.
- Germany: Preiswert Plotten or Günstig Plotten
- UK: Look for a local reprographics shop instead of a copyshop, they’re cheaper. For online printing: check Netprinter, Plan Printing 24 or Plotgiant.
- AUS: Lena from Iconic Patterns can print your pattern at $6 AUD a meter or $7 AUD per A0 sheet. She can also digitally assemble an A4 or letter pattern onto A0 and then email it back to you, or print it. Email her.
- US: Staples or PDFPlotting.com
If you have any helpful tips in addition to these, please leave a comment.