You’ve bought the PDF sewing pattern, and opted to print it on your home printer instead of printing it at the copy shop. But how do you actually stick PDF patterns together?
That is what I’m going to teach you in this quick tutorial.
I should note that all pattern designers I’ve bought patterns from seem to have their own ‘directions’ on how to assemble their PDF patterns. And this is probably where the confusion comes in.
It would be great if every indie designer stuck to the same method, but alas, we always seem to think our way is the best way. So first and foremost, always check the instructions that come with your sewing pattern for how that particular PDF pattern should be assembled.
How To Assemble PDF Patterns – The ‘Standard’ Way
Most PDF sewing patterns come with a ‘page allowance’. They are created within a frame which you need to cut around in order to put the pages together as a pattern.
This means you need a few tools:
- Paper scissors
- Glue stick or tape
- Plenty of time
Granted item 3 isn’t really a ‘tool’ but you will need plenty of it to stick a PDF together this way.
Prepping The Pattern Pages
When patterns are printed with a frame, you’ll need to prep tha pages prior to sticking them together.
Standard process is to trim down one long side and one short side so that the pages can be lined up at key points and stuck together.
I personally like to cut down the right hand side of the page, and then along the top of the page, simply because I find it easier to stick a new row on top of the previous row.
Assembling The First Row Of A PDF Pattern
Whether assembling my own patterns or those of other designers, I always stick PDF patterns together row by row. I start by putting together the top row first, usually row A.
I work from left to right and using a glue stick I place the second page onto the first, the third onto the second and so on until the row is completed.
Completing The Pattern Layout
Once the first row has been completed, I continue in the same way for the additional rows. As each row is completed, I stick the trimmed top section onto the ‘allowance’ of the previous row, so that the pattern builds up steadily.
Completing the pattern construction in this way means that the pattern can ‘fall’ over the back of the table edge which allows me enough room to work. I just make sure to weigh the pattern down to prevent it falling to the floor.
How To Stick PDF Patterns Together – My Way
The method that I use to stick together the PDF sewing patterns that I have designed and created is less time consuming and simpler to follow.
Whether printed on A4 or US letter paper, this method requires no cutting or gluing but you will need some type of tape.Again, make sure that you have printed the PDF pattern at 100% scale. You’ll see that there are ‘unprinted’ sections on the edges of the pages and that is fine. I make sure that no important information for the sewing pattern is included in this section.
Take the first pages of the pattern, line up the two edges of paper as shown in the image below.
Again, don’t worry about the gap with no ink. For the next step you can either use paper weights to hold the pages in place, or place a thumb and finger of one hand on the join – some distance apart of course to prevent shifting! – and then apply tape to connect the pages with your other hand.
Repeat for as many pages as there are in the PDF sewing pattern. Once the pattern is fully assembled, you can cut out the various pattern pieces.
If the ‘gaps’ in the printed lines give you all the feels, you can take a ruler or pattern master and a pen, and then fill those lines in. But honestly, for my own patterns I make sure that there are no important markings in this ‘unprinted’ section, so you should be fine.
Finally, the photo below shows what the sewing pattern will look like from the reverse when assembled with this simple method.
Once you have all the pages assembled, you’re ready to either cut out your size or trace it off to modify the pattern. And the great thing about tracing your size out is that you can roll up the original and store it away for future use as well.
Video Tutorial – How To Assemble PDF Patterns The Standard Way
I hope this was a super helpful tutorial. If anything doesn’t make sense, do let me know in the comments below!
Best Sewing Patterns
Now that you know how to assemble sewing patterns of mine and other sewing pattern designers, check out the different guides I have for various sewing patterns!
- Best jumpsuit sewing patterns
- Scandinavian sewing patterns
- Free and easy sewing patterns for beginners
- Simple summer sewing patterns
- Best plus sized sewing patterns
- My own sewing patterns
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.