Assembling a PDF pattern

There are a lot of tutorials or blog posts like this one on the internet that show you how to put together a PDF print-at-home sewing pattern.  Truthfully, this tutorial is not that different from the others.  However, being a designer and seller of PDF patterns, I do feel it is necessary to write a post that I can refer my customers to if they get stuck.  I also share MY technique and preferred method which I think works really well.  So here it is!!

Print out the first page FIRST!

It is important to print out the first page as a ‘test page’ of the PDF pattern first before printing out all the pages of the pattern.  Each PDF pattern has a TEST SQUARE that prints out, usually on the first page, so that you can check to be sure your printer is set on the right scale.  Set the scale on “NO SCALING” or “CUSTOM FIT = 100%” SCALE” depending on the settings of your computer.  See the screen shot below to see how my settings look on my PC.  After printing the first page, measure the TEST SQUARE to be sure it measures correctly, before printing out the rest of the pattern.

Print out the first page first.


Save on ink

You can save on ink, by printing in ‘draft mode’ or clicking on the box that says ‘Save ink/toner’.  You don’t have to do this, but the pattern prints out fine on this setting, and although it doesn’t make a big difference in how the pattern looks when it is printed, it does make a difference in how much ink you will use up.  And because ink, as you know, is expensive, I do recommend using this setting.


Once the settings are correct on your printer then print out all the pages


Tips on trimming

The pattern will print out with a border of empty space around each of the pages.  You will need to ‘trim’ some of this border, but not all of it.  Personally, I like to use scissors for trimming the pages.  Some like to use a paper cutter, but I personally find using scissors relaxing and a very accurate way to trim.  Of course, this is personal preference.


How to start

You do not need to trim any of the border from the very first page.  Trim only the left side of the subsequent pages of the first row.  Tape the pages together to complete the first row, carefully matching all of the lines.  Tape mostly inside the pattern pieces using short pieces of tape.  Using long pieces of tape makes it unruly to handle and is completely unnecessary.

Trim the top and left side borders of the second row, except the first page, which only requires you to trim the top.  I tape each page to the row above individually.  This is again, a personal preference.  Some tape all the pages of the row together, then tape the two rows together.  I think I am able to match the lines more easily by taping each individual page separately to the row above, and the page next to it.


Continue to the next row, trimming the top and left side borders, with the exception of the first page, which only requires you to trim the top, like in the row above, and so on………

……….until the all the pieces are taped together forming the completed pattern.  Once it is completed, rough cut the pattern pieces out so they are ready to be adjusted or placed onto your fabric.

How easy was that!??

I love PDF patterns!!  I love the instant gratification that I get when sitting in my PJ’s in the evening, wanting to make a new pattern I saw on Instagram, and being able to download it right to my computer.  I love being inspired and not having to wait to get to the store.  Of course, that requires having a fabric stash, but I am guessing if you like to sew as much as I do, you have a fabric stash just waiting for a new pattern and some inspiration, just like me!!!

Happy sewing!

ALICE & ANN PDF patterns are designed to print out on either Letter sized paper or A4 paper on a home printer which requires assembly by you.  If you prefer not to assemble, each pattern comes with a file that can be printed at your local copy shop on large sheets of paper.