Sewing Patterns: Why I've switched from Paper to PDFs.

When I started sewing paper patterns were the only option so I had gotten used to tracing off the size I needed and then sewing. About two years ago I really wanted to sew some new tops for myself but all my paper patterns were in storage and we'd moved far from Quebec where I could easily buy Jalie patterns in store. Have I mentioned my love for them lately? I decided to try the PDF option available from their website. I did enjoy being able to skip the tracing step and just printing off the size I needed, but quickly realized how tedious the taping stage can be when making a garment in various sizes. With that and working through the next 36 or so patterns I've accumulated over the last couple years. I've also developed a storage and organization system that I'm quite proud of. Can you tell I'm not overly organized in my life in general?

Basically I make myself the paper pattern to keep for future sizes.

Here's what I do:

Print off all sizes of the pattern and assemble. Then for most of the patterns I cut around the pieces and trace them off onto plastic drop cloth. Something like this . I prefer medium to heavy weight plastic that comes on the rolls. It is easy to trace off with Sharpie Marker and allows you to see through the pattern piece to match up or centre fabric patterns. Shown below is lightweight and it's a bit flimsy but still works

Then I fold up everything and place into clear plastic binder pockets like these. Instructions and back of the pattern in the first pocket, Master assembled pattern for tracing future sizes in the next, and each size traced off in it's own pocket.

Next goal is to get some printable labels to identify the traced off patterns.

Sewing for the whole family means I'm constantly tracing off different sizes of patterns so this saves me printing and taping over and over again. I also find working with the individual pieces I've cut around much easier than messing with the large format pattern pages (A0).

As fun as it is to have a collection of paper patterns, spend time pulling them out and flipping though to decide the next projects I think I prefer having them all organized in a binder (or 3 now as my collection has expanded) that I can flip through and grab and go.

I also appreciate saving about $5/pattern* (versus buying paper and qualifying for free shipping) for only a small amount of additional work. Taping together the pattern the one time takes about 30 minutes while sitting at the table watching a show on Netflix. If you detest the taping there is always the option of Copy Shop printing. Just make sure you ask for Engineering Draft Quality. This will print in black and white for you, but save you quite a bit versus full colour which is not needed. I believe you could get them printed there for about $6/page, but at that point personally I'd rather just order the printed pattern. The one advantage to the copy shop version locally is you would only need to buy 3 patterns to get the discount, rather than 5 patterns to qualify for free shipping. 

*Saving $5/pattern is based on buying 3 patterns using Jalie's promotional code that gives you 20% off 3 or more digital patterns


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