Tracing PDF’s

One of the most tedious things about sewing from PDF patterns is laying out and taping the patterns. Often you are left with a huge piece of tacked together paper, that will not fold well. And, once the entire thing is taped together, you have to go through the whole process again, to trace the pattern, because copy paper is rarely great to pin to fabric. Yes you can get a pattern printed in A0, but I often want to jump straight into a pattern, not wait till I next have time to get to the printers.

Last weekend I taped together a craftsy pattern, and that was a tiresome exercise. I thought there had to be a better way…… especially when I tried to fold the blinking thing back up. Then I remembered someone commented on a topic somewhere, about tracing each page individually, skipping the taping. I had no other directions, but I decided to give it a go.

Key I think, is if your pattern has a layout guide. This tells you which pages go where.

Tracing PDF's

Then, start at your top left page, and place it at the corner of your tracing material (I use Trace’n’Toile, but you could use interfacing or any other type of material you can see through). Trace not only cutting lines and markings, but also the cutting edge of the page (I used dashed lines).

Tracing PDF's

Continue, lining up subsequent pages with the page edge lines, and the patterns lines as well. Remember to mark what the piece is, and any grainlines as well.

Tracing PDF's

Your pattern will be interspersed with dashed lines, but as long as you don’t use those to indicate other parts of the pattern, they should be easy enough to ignore.

Tracing PDF's

NB: I traced the pants legs in two parts, but the edges are marked with dashed lines, so I can line them up and sew them together, or just layer them when pining to fabric.

Best of all ….. a very tedious step has been totally removed. Yay!

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4 Responses to Tracing PDF’s

  1. PatCSM says:

    This sounds like a great tip! I’m eager to try it out.

  2. Gillian says:

    Thank you for this!
    Where are you getting your pattern fabric from – spotlight? Or an alternative location – Remnant Warehouse? (Are you Sydney based?)
    I’ve been increasing my number of PDF downloads and having a right palaver with the taping ‘delights’!! So this week I’ve just tried the A0 printing option at Officeworks – which worked fairly well – but I haven’t yet tried sewing from the patterns themselves!
    With the A4 taped sheets, I then trace the specific size that I then need! So your suggestion of tracing without taping seems heaven sent.
    Thank you!
    Gillian – in Sydney.

  3. Dani says:

    Gillian, I bought my tracing fabric (AKA Trace and Toile) from Spotlight. Its usually around $1.50 a metre, and extremely good value. My Spotlight has it with the interfacing rolls, and they are happy to sell me 10-15m at a time, and roll it onto a tube for me. I hope that info helps. Dani

  4. I also buy the Trace and Toile, it’s the best fabric/stuff I’ve ever used for pattern tracing. I’m currently using some other non-woven interfacing from Textile Traders, and it’s nowhere near as good.

    I don’t generally assemble my pdf patterns either, however my method is slightly different. I only mark the corners of the page, with a small cross. I’ve found that’s enough to line up the pieces.

    On Stitcher’s Guild I mentioned that I do assemble pdf’s for very fiddly patterns, or print the AO size – having seen your method, with the lines marked, I don’t think I’ll need to do that any more. This would be much more accurate. Thanks!

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