Downloadable patterns are as close to instant gratification as a sewist can get. You never know when creativity will hit. It could be midnight or 5 a.m. The beauty of the downloadable is that when you’re itching to sew, you can find a pattern, buy it, download it and start sewing within a matter of minutes. No trip to the store. No waiting for the mail. You don’t even need to get out of your jammies. Just print and sew!
The technical machinations of purchasing, downloading, printing and creating a downloadable pattern for the first time can be a bit intimidating. All steps you’ll be able to accomplish with ease once you understand what each entails.
Step 1: Purchasing
PDF patterns contain the words ‘Downloadable Pattern’ in their product listing titles. To make browsing for a project easy, we’ve created categories that contain PDF patterns by project type including areas like Aprons, Clothing, and Quilts. To purchase a PDF pattern, add the item to your shopping cart just like any other product and checkout.
Step 2: Downloading
First off, you’ll need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader (available for free) to view and print the PDF file on your computer. Just about any document download requires this software so chances are a copy is already installed on your machine.
Immediately after checkout, you’ll be greeted by our order confirmation page. The page includes a download button to copy the PDF file you just purchased to your computer. You can also download the purchase later by logging back into your Pink Chalk Fabrics account and following our download instructions. You never need to worry about ‘losing’ the pattern file. It is permanently associated with your Pink Chalk Fabrics account.
Step 3: Printing
You’ll need to decide if you want to print out the pattern or work off a computer screen. Alicia and I like to print the pattern pieces only, then work off the laptop or iPad for instructions. With the laptop/iPad placed next to the cutting mat it’s easy to scroll up and down the pattern as needed. Carrie and Jacqui prefer to print the whole file and work off the printed page.
All downloadable patterns at Pink Chalk Fabrics can be printed on your home printer using 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper. Easy peasy, right? Be careful here. When you select Print there is a window that comes up for the printer. On that page there will be a box that says shrink to fit or no scaling. Make sure none or no scaling is selected. You may have to look under the properties button to find this setting. The goal is to print the pattern at 100%, also called actual size. Some designers place a 1″ square box on the pattern pieces to check your scale. Be sure to check the scale before cutting your fabric!
Step 4: Creating
Once you have the pattern pages printed, align the tabs that indicate how the pages go together, tape it, and cut it out. You’re ready to start sewing!
Now to share a personal story of forgetting to check the ‘do not scale’ box when printing the pattern. Above are two Modern Vintage Designs Crazy Daisy Aprons I made with the same pattern. One was printed without checking the printer settings. Notice how much smaller the front apron is? By not checking the scaling the apron was at least 2 inches smaller than it should be. When a pattern piece is off by even 1/2 inch, by the time that 1/2 inch is multiplied by 4 pattern pieces sewn together the shortage starts to add up quickly. A great lesson! One I’m sure I will never forget and hopefully you won’t need to experience!
Happy downloadable pattern sewing!