How to assemble PDF patterns

The concept of a PDF sewing pattern is to be printable it at home with just a regular printer. But to be able to do so, the whole pattern must be divided into smaller rectangles fitting into A4 or Letter. These formats are the most popular for home printers and A4 will be mostly used in Europe and letter in North America. Once all the rectangles are printed, they must be assembled together in the right order.

First, if you are not sure which format your paper is, measure it to see which format it matches.

  • A4: 210 × 297 millimeters or 8.27 × 11.69 inches.
  • Letter: 8.5 x 11.0 inches or 215.9 x 279.4 millimeters.

The printing zone on all our PDF patterns is adapted for both formats, however, it is important that you know which one you use for troubleshooting eventual printing issues.

PDF stands for 'Portable Document Format' which is a file format to open with Acrobat Reader. If you do not have it, you can get it for free here. Once the file is open in Acrobat Reader, check your print settings. In the section 'Page Sizing & Handling', be sure that the 'ACTUAL SIZE' option is ticked, or that the scale is 100%.

Do not skip this step because your printer could resize the printing zone and change the pattern dimensions. Also, print the one page with the test square and measure it with a ruler to check that the dimensions are still 10x10cm or 4x4in.

If it's not the case, check your printer settings and switch to another measuring tool.

  • A measuring tape lack in precision because it is soft and often stretched. Be sure that you measure your test square with a solid ruler.
  • The printer settings can be viewed through the system settings of your computer, which are usually called 'printers & scanners'. Then check that the default paper format matches with the paper format that you print with.

To assemble your pattern, cut or fold the margins of each sheet along the dashed lines.

Tape them together in the right order using the plan provided with the pattern. Each rectangle is identified with a combination of letters and numbers that match with the ones in the plan. The letters indicate the row (top to bottom) and numbers the columns (from left to right).

Here's a little tip: wait until you have taped all the sides before you tape the corners.

Your pattern is now ready. You can trace it or cut directly into the pattern board. All the seam and hem allowances are already built-in. The hem allowances vary from one pattern to another and are indicated on the pattern. However, the seam allowance of 12mm (½") remains the same and is mentioned at the beginning of the 'construction' section of the document.