How to Assemble a PDF Pattern

How To Assemble A PDF Pattern

Did you know all of our sewing patterns are available in digital PDF format? That means you can buy a pattern and sew up a new dress in the very same day! In this blog post we’re going to guide you through how to assemble a PDF pattern so you get it right every time – and we’ll try to prove they’re not as scary as you think!

What are PDF patterns?
PDF patterns are downloadable patterns which you can print at home on a normal domestic printer. You then assemble them together with glue or sellotape, and once that’s done you can use them as if they’re a normal tissue pattern. It’s magic really!

The instructions come in a separate file so that you don’t have to print these if you don’t want to. We’re big fans of saving paper and helping the environment where we can, so we personally prefer to just read them off our laptops or iPads.


Saving and opening your PDF pattern correctly.
The first thing that you want to do after you have downloaded your PDF pattern is save it into a new folder on your computer, removing it from your Downloads. On our computers, when you download something, a linked button appears at the bottom of our browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc) screen. When you click on this button, the file will open, but it will open in your browser. We do not want to look at the file in our browser. We have found that printing settings for browsers can be quite limited, and often the correct printing options do not exist. (You will find out why this is important in the next step.) So always go to your Downloads folder and copy and paste the file into a new folder (in your Documents for example). Then you can right click on the file and choose Open With… Adobe Acrobat Reader. (If you don’t have this software you can download it for free here.)

Opening Your PDF Pattern | Sew Over It Guide to Assembling Your PDF Pattern

Printing your PDF pattern
Once you have opened the file, you will find that the pattern has been broken down into A4 size pieces that can be printed out and stuck together. The most important thing to get right here is the scaling. So when you print you need to uncheck any “fit to page” boxes, or select “actual size”.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

Tick “actual size”.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

Always uncheck “fit to page”.

If you don’t do this your pattern will be printed at the wrong size, which will mean eventually the sizing will be wrong on your finished garment.

You can check you’re printing to the right scale by printing off the test page first  – usually the first or second page of your pattern.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

The box needs to measure 10cm by 10cm. If it does, you’re good to print the rest of the pages.

Once you have printed them out try to keep them in order as this will make your life a lot easier.


Assembling a PDF pattern
In order to stick the pieces together you need to cut around the dotted line.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

To make things quicker, we like to cut off just the bottom and the right hand sides, and overlap the edges. This also makes lining the pieces up a lot easier.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

When it comes to sticking the pieces together, you can tell whether you’re matching up the correct pieces by following the numbered and lettered guides on each edge of the pattern. So 1a and 1a should match up, and 2c and 2c for example.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

We purposefully haven’t removed the pattern markings from the margins for this reason – they help you line up the pattern accurately.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

Top tip: you can use a glue stick to stick the pattern together, or you can use tape as we are doing. We like to cut a load of masking tape before we start sticking, it makes the whole process a lot quicker.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

Once you have stuck the pattern together, you can either trace it off onto a new sheet of paper, or you can just cut out your size and use the taped-together pattern as it is.

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern, a handy guide from Sew Over It

Retape any bits that have come undone and then you’re ready to go!


If you’re having trouble with how to assemble a PDF pattern don’t struggle alone! Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And when you’ve finished don’t forget to send us a picture of your finished garment! We’d love to see what you’ve been up to.

Alternatively, you can order A0 prints of your PDF patterns through our copyshop service. Click here to find out more!

Want to save our guide on How To Assemble a PDF Pattern for later? Pin the image below to Pinterest and you’ll always be able to find it!

How to Assemble a PDF Pattern

37 thoughts on “How to Assemble a PDF Pattern”

  1. Sarah J says:

    I would like to try your patterns. Just wondering if they can be printed on 8 1/2 x 11 letter size paper? Or. Are the ptterns available in the US?

    Thank you! 🙂

    1. Brenda says:

      It has been awhile I know but I wanted to answer this as I just had an issue with a printing a pattern. You do have to change your printer to A4, it will not print the proper size on Letter size setting. Make sure you check the sizing test box before printing. I checked all the boxes as said and then printed. 33 pages later I discovered it printed the wrong size because it was on letter size setting. I didn’t realize there was a difference.
      Regards from a Canadian customer.

  2. Alice says:

    Hi, I’m having problems printing 🙁 I’ve opened the pattern in adobe, I’ve ticked the actual size box but it only prints one small section. It doesn’t seem to break the whole file down into multiple pages, it only prints one small section. What am I doing wrong? Help!

    1. Alex says:

      Hi Alice, it sounds like you might be trying to print the copyshop file? Make sure you’re printing the A4 pattern file. If that doesn’t solve the problem just drop us an email with a screenshot and photo of your print-out and we’ll do our best to help!

  3. Naomi Habedank says:

    Same question as Sarah, can your patterns be printed on 8.5×11 inch paper?

    1. Alex says:

      Yes they can – we provide a US letter paper version of all PDF patterns within the downloads

  4. Liz says:

    I don’t understand how to get the folder to the copy shop, I am presuming it’s via email but don’t know how to do this, can you advise me please?

    1. Alex says:

      Hi Liz. If you look in your downloads in your account on our website, you should be able to find the copyshop files in there. If not, just drop us an email with your order number and we’ll send them across 🙂

  5. Christine Adamson says:

    I’d like to print the instructions as a booklet but no matter what paper (A4 or A5) I use, the pages don’t come out full size on the page.

  6. mod.t says:

    presumably I put the shop copy file on a USB and give to the shop. How much does it usually cost to print and do you know anyone in the Islington area who is use to printing such documents?

    Many thanks in advance.


    1. admin says:

      Hi Annette,
      If you’re visiting a local copyshop you can put the file on a usb stick and bring it with you, or if you get in touch with them you can email it over. I’m afraid we don’t know of any printing shops local to Islington however we use a website called http://www.netprinter.co.uk who print patterns for as little as £0.75 a page, and send them out very quickly. You’d just need to upload the pattern that you wanted printing on their website 🙂

      1. moloughnan says:

        I’ve been comparing local copy shops (in Canada) and came back here because I remembered seeing the cost listed here. Out of curiosity I checked the link above and I see their price has doubled since last June!! It’s now 1 pound 50. That’s still cheaper than every quote I’ve heard here so far.

        1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

          If you use the Plan Printing option it’s still 75p 🙂

  7. anita_hill1941 says:

    My test box doesn’t measure 10cm x 10cm so how do I alter the size please (reduce it)

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      You’ll need to reprint it with the scale on your print settings set to 100%

  8. Dorothy Sulzmann says:

    Hi there, is the seam allowance included within the pattern or do you need to add on the extra 1.5cm?
    Thank you

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      It’s already included

  9. Judy says:

    I am trying to print Ava skirt on letter size paper 8.5×11 using the US letter pattern through Adobe. Printing at 100% actual fit and bottom cut line does not print. The test box is good. Help!

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      If you drop us an email Judy we’ll do our best to help 🙂

  10. Anna Clayton says:

    Hi if you take it to a cope shop what size do you have to get the pattern printed on please? Sorry new to all this and finding it a bit confusing



    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      You want to get it printed on A0 size paper!

      1. Ann says:

        My local copy shop quoted £8 per sheet for A0, meaning one pattern would cost £16 on top of whatever I had paid originally! I am going to round up single-side printed pages and re-use them in my domestic printer .

        1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

          Hi Ann! Ooh that’s quite expensive. We offer a printing service ourselves now for just £2 per sheet. You can find it here: https://sewoverit.co.uk/product/print-your-pdf-sewing-pattern-copyshop-service/


    Had you ever thought of charging a bit more to provide a ready to use paper pattern if customers prefer it?
    I’m thinking about making the knit t shirt and might take a chance on the PDF because it’s a smallish simple shape. But I honestly wouldn’t fancy trying to stick a dress pattern together.


    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      We do! You can order all your patterns to be printed if you wish here: https://sewoverit.co.uk/product/print-your-pdf-sewing-pattern-copyshop-service/ 🙂

  12. Chetna Patel says:


    I would like some clarification as their appears to be mix comments on how to print your patterns on a home printer in the USA. Could you please provide a simple step by step on how to do this, similar to how you have done a step by step for those who live in the UK.
    I am trying to print out the us letter pdf Betty dress pattern.
    Thank you very much

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      It should be exactly the same process no matter where you are in the world! If you’re still having trouble, email us a screenshot of your print settings and details on the problems you’re having and we’ll try to help 🙂

  13. Lorna Lastovich says:

    Hi, I’m trying to print the libby shirt pattern on US Letter size paper according to the directions here and each time the test square measures 9.8cm. Any suggestions?

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      Are you definitely printing at 100% scale? If you’re still having trouble just drop us an email

  14. Patricia Kirker says:

    I am having a very difficult time assembling multiple size Whitley pattern. I need a c cup size. HELP!!

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      Oh, sorry to hear that! If you drop us an email we’ll be sure to help 🙂

  15. Dalia Avidar says:

    I have purchased the “my capsule wardrobe summer dreaming eBook” and I can’t open a pdf to print the patterns as A4s to put together to get the perfect pattern, please I need your help.
    Thank you

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      If you drop us an email we’ll be able to help 🙂

  16. Ana says:

    Hiya, I’ve just assembled my ‘ultimate shift dress’ pdf and was wondering whether the seam allowance is included in the pattern? Or do I have to add it before I cut out. Thanks

    1. Alex - Sew Over It says:

      Seam allowance is included in all of our patterns 🙂 No need to add it!

  17. sandra snowdon says:

    Hi. Thanks for the help in how to assemble PDF pattern’s. Do you assemble all the pieces before you cut or trace the paper pattern pieces out first or as you go?

    1. admin says:

      Hi Sandra,

      You can do either really! I tend to find that I assemble all the pieces before I cut, but if the pattern gets a bit too big for my table I’ll chop it in half and do it a bit at a time. Do whatever is easiest for you 🙂

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