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How to Print a Layered PDF Sewing Pattern

From here on out, SeamstressErin Designs patterns are being published as layered pdfs (wahoo!). What does this mean? It means that each size is on a different layer so that you can select only the size you want to sew for printing. You can also select a cluster of sizes in case you need to grade between sizes or even two totally different sizes if you want to print out your size and your best friend’s size at the same time!

Why bother, you might be asking? Of course you can still print all of the sizes like before (pattern pieces are still nested). But you might find it handy to print fewer sizes at a time because the markings on nested patterns can get a bit hard to discern, especially on small pattern pieces.

Start by opening your pattern in Adobe Reader. (There are many different programs that open .pdf files but Adobe Reader is the standard. You can download it for free.)

Once your file is open, on the left hand side there will be a line of icons. The bottom one represents Layers, so click on it.

Now you see a list of all the layers in the pdf. For SeamstressErin Designs, each size is on its own layer and there are two extra layers – “Pattern Piece Markings” and “Page Markings”. You can select which layers you want to be visible by clicking on the eye icon next to the name of each layer. Make sure that you keep “Pattern Piece Markings” and “Page Markings” selected no matter which sizes you decide to print.

In this example I have deselected most sizes but have left Size 10, Size 12, and Size 14 (as well as the Pattern Piece Markings and Page Markings).

Once you have selected your layers, it’s time to print! The important thing with printing is to make sure that your pattern is printing at the right scale. For SeamstressErin Designs, each sheet is 7.5″ x 10″ so that it will print on 8.5″ x 11″ or A4 paper. Select “Actual Size” or manually set the scale to 100% (your print program may look slightly different or have slightly different wording but it will definitely have these options). Do NOT select “Fit” or “Fit to page” as this will stretch the pattern larger.

SeamstressErin Designs patterns always tell you exactly what pages you will need to print for your size and sewing options to help you minimize the number of pages you need to print. For example, the Laminaria Swimsuit, View A, cup size A-C has you print 1-4, 6-9, 11-14, 16-17, 20, 22-24, 27-30, 33-37, and 39-40. Of course you always can just print all the pages of the pattern for simplicity’s sake, but if you want to print only the necessary pages, you can enter the range into the “Pages” box as it is written in the instructions.

All SeamstressErin Designs patterns have a test square on them that tells you what size it should be after printing. Usually this is on the first page of the pattern (the instructions always tell you what page you can find it on). Test to make sure that your pattern is printing at the right size based on print options you have selected by printing just the first page, measuring the test square, and then printing the rest of the pattern.

Finally, all SeamstressErin Designs have a light grey border around all the edges of each page. Make sure that the grey border has printed around all the sides of your page and make sure that you don’t cut off the border when you assemble your pattern.

Comments 2

  1. Having all the page sizes on the individual pages is the way it was all the years I was buying patterns…you just cut on the line for the correct size….did they not do this for a while?

    1. Post
      Author

      Vintage patterns usually came with only one size per envelope. Most modern patterns have many sizes in the same envelope (or .pdf file). However not all pattern companies nest their pattern pieces – if the pieces aren’t nested it’s easier to see markings for your specific size but it’s harder to grade between sizes. Having a nested .pdf pattern where you can select only the sizes you want is the best of both worlds.

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