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PDF patterns

Have you worked with this ever-so-modern pattern delivery device?  If not, let me explain.  There are some modern pattern designers who release their patterns directly to their customers by converting the pattern into a pdf that divides the piece layout into multiple sheets of paper. This allows me to buy a pattern like the Moss skirt from the Grainline studio and download it into my computer. 

Taping pdf.jpg

Then I print the pattern out as so many pieces of 8 1/2 by 11 paper that are all numbered to fit together.   All designers add a little print test square to make sure your printer is working with the proper scale. This is a crucial step, you want the pattern to print out the way the designer intended. You need a large table, or even better a (somewhat) clean floor to lay all the pieces out and tape them together.  And lining all those pieces up as straight as possible is crucial, otherwise your garment won't fit properly. Once you've taped it all up you've got a full set of pattern pieces that you can copy onto tracing paper, or swedish tracing paper (my preference), and now you've got a sewing pattern ready to cut out.


Some people swear by pdf's. Those are generally the folks who can't wait to get their hands on the first release of a pattern, or live somewhere where they cannot buy the pattern. Or the ones who make an impulsive decision to sew up a garment and find just the right pattern online.  I am less of a fan of pdfs, mostly because I do not love crawling around on the floor trying to line up those damn lines.  I love the whole experience of the pattern booklet, and the instructions, and the lovely design that goes into the production of many of the modern independent patterns these days.  I guess that's the book person in me.  There is a lot of thought and design that goes in to look of most patterns, I like to appreciate and savor those intentions.  There are some designers who only release pdf patterns, Grainline being one of them.  I like her aesthetic, so I bought the Moss skirt.  I'll post some pictures when I get that skirt underway.  I have made myself four or five Wiksten Tovas from a pdf pattern, when I couldn't get my hands on a paper pattern, so I am not a stickler.  But I do prefer my paper patterns.

At A Gathering of Stitches we will offer workshops on working with different types of patterns, and the elements that apply to all. Stay tuned!


A Modern log cabin baby quilt

A Modern log cabin baby quilt