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When I was a kid and learning how to sew, there was only one kind of pattern – the tissue paper ones. I didn’t know anything different until about three years. Somehow I discovered the world of PDF patterns and I haven’t looked back.
There are several reasons I like PDF patterns over the traditional tissue paper ones. Here are my top five.
Facebook groups – When you buy a paper pattern, there’s no talking to the maker or other people who have used that pattern. There’s no pretty, full color pictures for each step. You’re pretty much on your own. With PDF patterns there’s a whole world of personal support & inspiration. Almost all makers have some sort of Facebook group, Instagram account, a Pinterest page, some kid of way to reach them and to see what others have made and to share what you’ve made. There’s also a Facebook group dedicated to PDF patterns and one for free PDF patterns (I’m sure there are others, but these are the two I like).
Easier to print sizes you need – Many patterns come with layers meaning you can print only the size you need. If you’re mashing sizes, you can pick the two or three sizes you need and print them. There’s also usually a guide so you only print the pages you need. Once you get the hang of it, gluing/taping pages really doesn’t take that long. Plus, if you want another size, you can just reprint it.
Include all sizes from infant to 12 or 14 – this is a big one for me. I love to be able to buy one pattern and use it for several years. Yes, you pay more initially, but remember, you don’t have to buy the same pattern two or three times if you’re trying to make matching outfits. Also, most designers have sales once or twice a year and when a new pattern comes out, it’s offered at a discounted price. Sometimes patterns have options for both boys and girls – that’s a win in my book!
Often there’s a Mama pattern too – So often patterns for kids would be perfect for adults and vice versa. Often times designers will design a pattern for one and then if there’s enough interest, they’ll design a pattern for the other.
Able to sell what you make – As a seamstress with an online shop, this is probably the biggest one for me! Tissue paper patterns say for personal use only. Every PDF pattern I’ve bought says that I can sell items made with the pattern (obviously I can’t resell the PDF file). For instance, I recently needed a size 6 shirt pattern. Nothing fancy, just a basic shirt with long and short sleeve options. Stacey by Made for Mermaids was perfect – I was able to hack the pattern to make the sleeve I needed.
Now that I’ve convinced you to try PDF patterns, here are my favorite designers. Go check them out. If you find one you think you might like, look for one of their free patterns so you can get a feel for their style.
Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop (she also has an awesome fabric shop with basic knits and adorable custom knits)
Itch to Stitch (one caveat – I have not actually made the Angelia shorts pattern I purchased, but I love her stuff)
Did I forget any? Who’s your favorite?