This post first appeared on the blog in 2014, and I’m bringing it back with some edits because I still love PDF sewing patterns three years later!
When you walk into my sewing room, one thing that instantly grabs you (other than how messy it is) is how many PDF sewing patterns I own. They hang on the walls and are held up by binder clips and nails, and some of them haven’t even been blogged about. Either way, I love them.
From first glance, PDF sewing patterns don’t seem so appealing…they seem like a lot of work. You have to download a file, print it out, tape it together and THEN cut your size(s) out. There are a lot of steps, and it’s very different than what you may be used to, especially if you learned to sew from Big 4 patterns like I did growing up. But PDF sewing patterns have taken the online sewing community by storm over the past several years, and it seems like new designers pop up every day and they are here to stay.
The biggest pro of PDF sewing patterns is the versatility they offer. After you download the pattern and save it to where you want (a Google Drive folder for me) you can print it out again. Yes, you have to do all the steps again, but you essentially have a pattern that you can continue to use over and over again no matter if your size changes or you want to make a gift for someone who isn’t your size. That has been such a lifesaver for me as I slowly (but surely!) work back to my pre-preggo body. But that’s not the only reason I love them!
5 Reasons I (still) love PDF sewing patterns:
- Durability. You don’t have to worry about ripping them like tissue patterns. I’ve used packing tape and have found that works best for sturdiness. You can also use a tape runner or even washi tape if you’re in a pinch.
- Easy to store. As seen above, I store my most used PDF sewing patterns with binder clips hung on nails. But there are a lot of different ways to store them! See here and here.
- User-friendly. Many designers, like Hey June and Love Notions, have different styles available for their patterns, and they allow you to print only the pages you need depending on the option you choose. Some even offer trimless pages and the ability to choose your sizes with the layers function. HEART EYES!
- Budget-friendly. Print patterns are gorgeous, and they are especially beautifully packaged from indie companies. However, they can hit your wallet pretty hard. PDF sewing patterns are normally half the cost of a print pattern. Save your cash for your stash!
- Three words: peace of mind. Let’s say you are a newbie (or even a pro) who didn’t trace your print pattern to tracing paper. And you cut the wrong size out. If you have a PDF sewing pattern you don’t have to worry about that! Just print again. Takes a little more time in the long run, but no wasted money or (too many) tears.
Don’t know if you’ll be a fan? Check out these free PDF patterns to get your feet wet:
- Envelope Clutch by See Kate Sew — perfect for beginners, this pattern doesn’t kill too many trees, and you can get so creative with the design!
- Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio — this is the first PDF pattern I ever put together. After that, I was hooked. You have to sign-up for the Grainline Studio newsletter now to get it, but it’s worth a try!
- Plantain T-Shirt by Deer and Doe Patterns — I’ve had this one printed out for ages, and I still haven’t used it yet!
- Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti Fabrics — probably my favorite free pattern. I haven’t blogged about this one, but it is one size fits all. You can definitely make some edits to make it work for you.
So, PDF patterns. Do you love them or hate them?