Assembling .pdf Paper Patterns

Nearly all of my free sewing projects on this blog come with a printable pattern. Some even require multiple sheets to be taped together. I try to make the format similar to other websites in case you’ve used .pdf patterns in the past. But if you’re new to .pdf patterns or are otherwise having issues, here’s how to assemble them!

1. I save my patterns as .pdf file, which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. It’s a pretty standard program and file type so it’s likely already installed on your computer, but if you need an update, here’s the source: Before printing, check the pattern to be sure you’re printing the correct pages (unless you want to print the step by step photos). At the print dialog box, check the box that says print at “Actual Size.” Any other selection will distort the pattern so it’s slightly larger or smaller and we don’t want that.

2. Print the pages needed for the file. You might have one or more. Either way, be sure you have the full collection by noting the page numbers in the corner.

3. It’s likely your printer will have a margin that ensures your image doesn’t print to the very edge. Assembly will be easier if you trim off this blank margin edge. This will give you pages that overlap slightly during assembly. If you trim across the gray outline boxes, this will give you pages that don’t overlap but rather butt against each other.

4. To line up the pattern pages, match up the corresponding diamond shapes. Each diamond will have a letter, so it’s simply a matter of matching A1 to A2, B3 to B4 and so on. The faint gray lines indicate the border of every page, you should be able to line those up as well. When the diamond goes together, tape it in place.
If you have many pages, it’s easier to tape up the pages into rows first. Then tape the rows together into a full block.

5. If you prefer your pattern to be on a different kind of paper, now is when you can trace the pattern pieces. Be sure to also trace other important symbols like the grain line, notches, dots, and other lines that mark placement.
You can also just cut them straight from the printer paper — be sure that each piece is fully taped together along the joins so they don’t fall apart when you cut them. Be aware that the paper will be harder to pin through than typical tissue used for patterns. But if you’re not picky or you use pattern weights you should be fine. 😀

15 thoughts on “Assembling .pdf Paper Patterns”

    1. They do include seam allowances! 🙂 You’ll see on the pattern both a dotted line (that’s the seam line) and a solid line (that’s the cutting line). And the seam allowance is listed both on the pattern piece and in the instructions.

  1. Hello my name is shai, I’m from Israel. Your site is amazing. I would be happy if you could make a guide how to create a pattren for a doll and print it professionally. Thank you very much whether you can or not. you’re amazing.

  2. can you please make nessie pattern free? really want to sew but can not find any good pattern but yours and I think its too pricy for what it is.

      1. I completely understand 🙂 That’s why I offer so many free patterns is to help with people who can’t afford them.
        The sale will take at least 20% off — more if you buy more. Though you could also use coupon code SEWDESU1 to get $1 off right now.

  3. Ich finde es toll, dass sich jemand die Zeit nimmt um anderen zu erklären, wie sie diese tollen Kinderspielsachen entstehen lassen können, wie bekommt man das Schnittmuster für Duck und Turtle Duck Plush? danke schön

  4. I am trying to print your free Love dragon plushie pattern but for some reason the only thing that gets printed is the eyes eyebrows 4 arrows and the line margins of the paper. When I try to open the pdf it asks me for a password and I’ve looked high and low on your site and in the free patterns to find a password and can not find one

  5. for the patterns, does the solid black line going around each piece mean seam allowance? if so, can I cut to the seam line so I could trace the seam line onto the fabric? I find that easier so I can sew directly onto the seam line, and cut out my own seam allowance since it doesn’t need to be perfect.


    1. Yes, the solid black line around the template is your cutting line, and the dashed line is the stitching line 🙂 So if you wanted to remove the seam allowance, just cut along the dashed line instead of the solid line. Then you can draw in your own seam allowance ♥

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