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Printing sewing patterns

(79 Posts)
Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 12:08:46

How do you print a PDF sewing pattern? Has anyone used a print shop? If so did you email it or take the file on a memory stick? Lots of A4 sheets needing sticking together seems too much of a faff!

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 12:16:28

I print them myself - and yes it is a faff sticking them together . I don't have a print shop nearby. There are some companies who specifically print patterns but I haven't used them myself. I presume you email them the link. Of course that will bump up the cost of your pattern

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 12:19:12

sidelined, I mostly use pdf patterns these days. You need adobe acrobat, r click to open with adobe. Then you untick layers until that just leaves the size(s) you want, maybe 2 sizes if you want to grade. The pattern will then print just those sizes in A4.

AO downloads are also available when purchasing pdf and they can be printed by the likes of foldline or guthrie and ghanni, there are other online printers for patterns. The downloads typically contain files for A4, AO and instructions. I download each, pop them into a specific file on my desktop and then move that file into the file I have for that particular designer

A4 sheets are easy to do, I often use A4 when printing for a top or skirt. If I am buying from foldline anyway then I get pattern printing while at it, you just need to follow the instructions and browse to upload the particular file. I always use AO for dresses and coats and maybe for trousers

All my pdf patterns are nicely stored in files on my desktop and I have backed up twice, as it must be quite valuable

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 12:28:20

Just to add that if I am pretty sure of the designer sizing then I cut the printed pattern straight off in my size. If I am not sure then I will trace first with patterntrace, swedish racing paper. It is fantastic for tracing. I can pin it or tack it to check things eg if I am moving a dart.

I use foldline a lot, their printing charges are very resonable and patterns very rarely use more than 2 sheets. – 1 page £4
– 2 pages £5
– 3 pages £6
– 4 pages £7

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 12:39:26

some sewists use this company, I did once but the print is very this tissue. I prefer foldline

This next one is good but again, tissue paper. This is the only one I have found which will print syle arc patterns, which are not always available as the printed pattern in uk

Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 12:50:05

Thank You! I’m dithering about getting started with dressmaking after a 20 year gap and everything has changed.

Karmalady, you are very organised - do you sew for yourself or professionally?

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 13:06:01

I like Itchtostitch patterns as they come in different cup sizes but have also used Sinclair . Stylearc have a lot of fans but I've been put off by comments that the instructions are limited

Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 13:39:54

I’m a 22 off the peg B cup, more tummy than bust so I know I’m already in need of a lot of adjustments including bust reduction- woe is me! I measured up recently and I need +1 size for tops and +2 sizes for the bottom half so any pattern range needs to go beyond the standard upper range of 22 - recommendations welcome?

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 13:58:02

I'm a bit smaller than you but my tummy is also 2 sizes bigger than my bust - that's the main reason I make my own clothes these days. The pdf companies do seem to have a much bigger size range than the traditional companies and when you print them you can select several sizes all at once and then Grade between them. It's always useful to know what the "finished measurements" are - some have so much ease that you might need a smaller size than you first thought. Also if you choose a style that is fairly loose round your tummy you may find a pattern that is right for your bust measurement and will also be ok further down - or not need much adjustment .
I went back to sewing about 10 years ago and started choosing patterns because I liked how they looked on the envelope - but have reluctantly accepted that some styles do me no favours. I've now got about half a dozen patterns which I have adapted and go back to time and time again because I know they suit me

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 14:07:37

P .S you've probably already realised that ready-to-wear sizes have nothing to do with sew-it-youtself sizes! You always need to go by your actual measurements

Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 14:12:08

eddicat that's exactly what I'm hoping to do. I'm a bit nervous because I didn't need to alter or grade patterns when I made clothes before so I've no experience. And being chunky I tend to wear fabrics with give but I read they are difficult to use at home on domestic sewing machines - is that true?

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 14:27:21

I've got a fairly basic non-computerised machine and no overlocker and sew stretch -(cotton with a bit of lycra t-shirt type) fabrics all the time with no problems. My machine does have a stretch stitch but it takes ages so I just use a very narrow zig zag stitch. I suppose you might have problems if your machine only does straight stitches. I would recommend getting decent quality fabric though or you might end up with something too stretchy. 1stforfabrics are my favourite online suppliers if you don't have a proper shop nearby. I'd say Go For It! When I was younger I used to sew as quickly and cheaply as possible but I've now accepted that it is my hobby and taking time on the fit is part of the process - and get some fabric you really like or you'll spend a lot of time but end up with something you're not keen on!

Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 14:57:52

Thank you. I've a good machine with lots of stitches so I'll have a go. And thank you for the online shop tip - I'm with you about quality mattering nowadays. As a teenager I could pick up a cheap cotton off-cut from our market and make something for that night and get away with it but not today.

During lockdown I made a kimono-style dressing gown out of a lovely 50s-style cotton fabric - bright pansies, it was glorious - but I never wore it. It was too bright! It's be sent to the charity shop so someone will make good use of it one way or another grin

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 15:22:13

Important to read the instructions first and work out the amount of ease eg stretch t shirts have negative ease and the finished measurements will be smaller than actual body measurements. Woven fabrics normally have positive ease and finished measurements allow for movement ie bending over etc

To accurately work out the pattern size, you need to compare both

I love stylearc patterns, they are amazingly well drafted and very up to date but not for a complete beginner. Helens closet eg the ashton top is a lovely pattern and a good intro to sewing that does not need much knowledge. HC patterns are very hand holding

ITS is in my favourites, love notions too. I have many designers in my inventory. Bust sizes are not bra sizes. eg over bust is 38, full bust with bra is 40. 40-38 = 2" which is cup size B. Cup size C is 3" etc. Many designers offer different cup sizes, as different pieces and it certainly saves the angst of doing a full bust adjustment

Pattern emporium, Tessuti, I have many favourite companies but I would suggest to get used to one designer to start with and beware of different seam allowances. Some use 3/8 inch and some 5/8 inch. I prefer 3/8 which is 1cm

Sidlined, never a professional sewist. The love and care would never be cost effective. I have been sewing for 69 years and started on a dining table like most. Now, on my own, I have a fully equipped sewing room, my haven

Right now I am working on a Helens closet pattern, yanta overalls and the instructions are wonderful

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 15:24:44

oh just to say that there is a sewing thread called maraflex. You use a longer stitch and it stretches. Perfect for sewing stretch fabrics on a normal machine

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 15:34:55

All my fabrics are good quality, like many I learnt the hard way.

sew me sunshine
guthrie and ghani
lady mcelroy
drapers daughter
higgs and higgs
make at 140
vintage sweetheart
croft mill ( be selective but real value to be had)

Just a few of my good fabric suppliers. I cannot buy anything good locally

I just spent £72 on the best quality and unusual fabric ever, for top notch dungarees for me. They will be worth £200 when I have finished but will probably be my christmas project as I like to buy myself a treat for the long holiday

karmalady Fri 18-Aug-23 15:38:37

A fab resource for curvy people

Sidelined Fri 18-Aug-23 16:09:22

Thank you so much for all this insight, it's much appreciated. When I made the kimono during lockdown I had a go at a blouse without realising that off-the-peg sizes are different - end result very disappointing and the lot went into the bin in disgust. But I'm wiser and willing to learn so thank you for the advice and pointers.

I wonder if either of you are part of the online/instagram SewOver50 group? I see some amazing outfits there - a real source of inspiration!

eddiecat78 Fri 18-Aug-23 16:18:47

I'm not but thanks for the tip off.
If you have any practical queries you could try The Sewing Place forum. I'm not there anymore but there are some very knowledgeable members who could answer pretty much anything you wanted to know

karmalady Sat 19-Aug-23 13:02:07

There are masses of tips on the sewing thread on here, worth reading with a notepad ready

btw the yanta overalls are fab, a perfect fit. I did insert the optional side zip and will never need to undo the top straps for wiggling into or out of them. I just have 2 buttonholes to make and hemming

I keep a list of go-to patterns, when I can guarantee the result. I am adding yanta and also harlene grin

Sidelined Sat 19-Aug-23 15:15:59

That's a good idea, I'm happy to trawl through and take notes. I'm doing the same on Instagramm. The internet is the next best thing when you don't have an 'in the flesh' person to turn to. I read a post elsewhere this morning that mentioned all the changes someone had to make (made my eyes boggle and my head spin just thinking about them) - clearly knowing your own size and shape goes a long way to making items that fit perfectly.

I'm making slow progress - I've downloaded a couple of PDF patterns and have one coming in the post and I've found fabric to order, am busy making notes and comparing sizes and gathering bits and bobs. Still have to work out how I'm going to print the pattern though grin

twinnytwin Sat 19-Aug-23 15:41:27

I've also been sewing for over 60 years - not so much when the kids were teenagers but really got back into it around 20 years ago. I'm are obsessed with sewing and always have something on the go. I love StyleArc patterns - I have so many. Over 60 at the last count (and I also love Itch to Stitch and Love Notions). Each month StyleArc have a couple of free patterns that you can choose from when ordering a full price pattern from their website, hence the number that I've got. Instructions are a little short, but they've started putting videos and extra instructions on their website to help out.
I'm weird but I love putting the pdf patterns together. I find it really exciting.

karmalady Sat 19-Aug-23 15:56:07

Oh me too twinnytwin. Did you ever do clothkits kits? They were such good quality, my girls wore them for many years and I wore clothkits skirts. In the 80s. Then there was the cheap ready to wear emergence and it was not worth making clothes, all now in landfill. Thankfully there has been a re-emergence of home sewing

My new yanta overalls are exciting to wear, a perfect fit and now hanging in my wardrobe. I am stash busting and have two more garments ie cloth and pattern in boxes. ITS envigado is cut out and has been for a year, my second one in fluorescent yellow for cycling. The second box has a jennifer lauren pippi in it and cheap fabric as I will need to do a toile. The fabric feels like a polyester and looks like babycord. I am just printing the instructions and will cut out later

Jennifer lauren patterns are some of the best for quality drafting and for different cup sizes. I would say a neater fit than the likes of Helens Closet, a toile is recommended

Remember twinnytwin when none of us had a serger nor any fancy cutting rollers. I made do fine for a long time via my dining table. Mind you, those days the figure was short but neat. Now everything is squashed into shorter again and definitely rounded

karmalady Sat 19-Aug-23 15:58:02

For youtube learning: far and away the very best teacher is lifting pins and needles. She is a wonderful teacher and demonstrator and has dozens of good videos

Sidelined Sat 19-Aug-23 16:08:16

Thanks for the reminder about negative ease etc - another thing I never considered when I sewed years ago. I was looking at the measurements of a pattern to compare (out of curiosity) the measurements of a much-loved top and my item matched the finished article measurements exactly (great, I thought) but the body measurements were more! That baffled me!

Does anyone use a bodyform? I bought a big one a few years ago then padded it up to match my shape and size - it was so depressing and didn't really help so it's in the loft! Shame because it should have inspired me to do something about the problem!!!