Sick of spending half your sew sessions taping together PDF patterns? There’s an easier way….
I’m not much of a social sewer – I get too easily distracted and end up unpicking all the wine-induced damage for days after. But on a recent rare kid-free Sunday afternoon, my friend Kimberly came over for some social stitching. And while there was tea, cake, gossip and cake involved – we both had high hopes on the sewing front. I wanted to finish off a Papercut Sigma that had taken me way too long, and Kimberly came armed with about 100 A4 pages and a plan to have a t-shirt cut and a few seams done by home time.
Sewing is a great teacher of life lessons in patience, managing expectations, and setting aside a second option for that party on Saturday night – just in case the project you start on Saturday morning hits a hurdle. But no matter how many times I learn that lesson – I’m always ridiculously optimistic about how much I can achieve in a sewing session. In this case, we both were.
I spent the entire afternoon trying to work out if my new-ish sewing machine came with an invisible zipper foot – and if so, what the hell did it look like and where the f*** was it? Meanwhile Kimberly’s time was spent cutting and sticky-taping A4 pattern pages together (with no bubbles or wonky lines – she’s a Virgo), then tracing a pattern for each of us. That’s it. Social Sunday sewing session over.
PDF patterns are great in so many ways. They’re instant, cheaper than paper ones and easy to keep on file. But the cutting and taping is a total soul-destroying, time-sucking drag.
Luckily there’s an easier, more accurate (even for Virgos) way of putting together a PDF pattern – a little trick called the A0. Not all digital patterns have this option (PLEASE pattern makers, add it if you can), but next time you buy a downloadable pattern, check if it comes with an AO print option. If it does, the rest is breezy:
– Save the A0 version on a USB and take it to your local mega-printing store.
– Ask for an A0 size architects plan printout on basic photocopy paper. They should be able to do it instantly, and it should cost about $4 per copy.
– Ideally, print two – one for filing and one to cut out. That’s right – just cut it out. NO TRACING. NO STICKY TAPE. NO BUBBLES, NO SLIGHTLY DISTORTED PATTERN CAUSED BY ALL THE PIECES WARPING AND CRINKLING, NO BITS OF DOG FUR AND RANDOM BREAKFAST CRUMBS STUCK UNDER THE TAPE.
– If you want to make up the pattern again in a different size, (ie: if your kid is growing like a weed and takes a size up every six months), take the pattern back to the shop and print it out again. Just like that.
– Bonus: as illustrated in our pics, you can do this on your way home from work and fit it in your bike panier. If you want.
This printing method adds to the final cost of your pattern, but saves so much time, sticky tape and happiness that I think it’s worth it. And in other time-saving news, my machine didn’t come with an invisible zipper foot and I ended up hand sewing the zipper in about 20 minutes. Lesson learned.