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PDF Patterns – Can you help?

I know I’ve said in the past I’m not a big fan of PDF patterns but I have to say, after working with some of them recently, I’ve changed my mind.  They’re super convenient in that a person can purchase them and instantly have a pattern without even leaving their own home, and they’re usually very reasonably priced.  So what’s with the lack of love some people have for PDF patterns?  Well for me personally, it had to do challenges I have with piecing them together.  (For the record, this is not always the case but when it does happen, I’m lost when it comes to knowing how to correct it.)

I know, you’re probably thinking “it’s not rocket science.  You tape the pages together, cut out the pieces and voila, you have pattern pieces!”  Well, no matter how precise I cut the paper, no matter how precise I line up the markers for each page, at some point the lines stop matching up part way through on some of the pages.  See?

This is where it starts to go down hill.

This is where it starts to go down hill.

You can see the “7C” marker & the lines above and below are off and getting worse going down the page.  Whyyyyyyyyy?!?!  I always double-check my 3″ grid to be sure it printed accurately, and it always does.

Forgive my troll-like hands.

I know it looks like the lines are slightly off but trust me, they’re bang-on.

Am I panicking to much?  Is it not as big of a deal as I’m making it?  More importantly, do you now where I’m going wrong?  I can’t figure it out.

I am confident it’s something I’m doing and that it’s not the pattern designer.  I’ve tried to leave the name of the designer out of this post because who designed the PDF pattern and personal opinions about a specific pattern is definitely not the point of this post.  This post is about learning what to do when a person runs into difficulties putting a PDF pattern together.  I’ve tried searching the internet to see if I could find other posts or articles on this very topic but I didn’t haven’t had much luck.  Maybe you know of one?  If so, please post the link below!

I want to share what I do when this happens and maybe you can give me some feedback to let me know if what I’m doing will work or if what I’m doing will cause me to run into problems later.  Plus, I can’t be the only one in the sewing world who has this problem.  (Or am I???)

Okay, so if my lines don’t match up (like in the picture above), and if the edge of the page isn’t in the middle of an actual pattern piece, then I don’t really worry about it.  What I do concern myself with is making sure the lines match up where there is an actual pattern piece.  Like this:

This is the top part of the page with the "7C" marker in the picture above.

This is the top part of the page with the “7C” marker in the picture above.

The line closest to the middle of the piece (the smallest size) is slightly off, but the lines for the size I need match perfectly.  (I’m still a little confused as to how all the other lines match up but that one but I clearly have bigger problems to worry about.)  However, doing this sometimes causes there to be a warble in the piece.  Like this:

Some warble-action happening.

Some warble-action happening.

So, while the piece looks normal and the measurements seem okay, I’m worried it’s actually not.  The garment seems to turn out but in all honesty, I don’t have anything to compare it to in order to know for sure.

I’ve tried printing the pattern out on different printers but the same thing happens, which is why I’m so sure it’s something I’m doing.  I’ve read reviews posted by other bloggers who have used the same PDF patterns and I haven’t read about any challenges with putting the pattern together.

Okay fellow sewcialists, I’m hoping those of you who know how to trouble-shoot when piecing together PDF patterns will take the time to comment.  I’m open to any suggestion!

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. This sometimes happens to me as well and it is really frustrating. One thing that I do now is to assemble the sheets as much as possible per pattern piece. As soon as I finish for example the sleeve piece I’ll cut it off from the rest so that I don’t end up with several square meters (slight exaggeration) of pattern. This seems to help somewhat, but I still often get that slight warping where I’m not really sure how two sheets are exactly supposed to match up. .

    October 24, 2013
    • Oh, that sounds like a good way to do it – I’m going to try that out next time! I have to admit, I too find it a bit frustrating. Let’s hope some others post as well so we can see what they have to say!

      October 24, 2013
  2. This happens to me all the time as well, and it really infuriates me! I mean, how can it happen?! I’ve tried different tactics – I used to start at top left corner, move across that row, then start the next row, taping it to the first row as I went. I then thought that maybe it would work better if I taped each row separately, and then stuck them all together afterwards, but I still get things that don’t line up! I’ve had little warbles like your as well at times. The perfectionist in me hates it, but I have just started to think that, if something is out by a mm or two, then it probably won’t make a HUGE difference (the same thing I try to think when I struggle to get my pattern pieces on fabric perfectly on grain), especially by the time you’ve taken into account other human errors like not cutting exactly on the line, and the seam allowance not being EXACTLY what it should be. But it still annoys me, and it’s definitely not just you!

    November 21, 2013

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