Slow Fashion: How to Put a PDF Pattern Together and Start Sewing Your Own Clothes

Learn how to assemble a PDF pattern on CreativeLive

Making your own clothes gratifies like none other. That compliment on your lemon yellow sun dress? It suddenly means a lot more when you spent some of your hours stitching it together. The only trouble with making your own clothes is that it can be a real pain in the neck to find the right pattern in the overstuffed drawers of your local fabric shop. That is where PDF patterns come in to play. PDF sewing patterns are those awesome digital patterns you purchase online and print from the comfort of home.

When assembling a PDF pattern, “you are essentially recreating the tissue that you would buy if you had bought the printed version,” Christine Haynes explains.

Christine is a pattern maker and the creator of the vintage-inspired Sylvie Dress. She has tons of experience sewing with and creating PDF patterns so when we visited her L.A. studio we asked her to share some tips for working with them.

Learn how to make the Sylvie Dress on CreativeLive!
The Sylvie Dress!

One of the chief reasons people opt for PDF patterns instead of their tissue paper counterparts is because they can be printed (and worked with) again and again. The fact that they are digital also means you can buy patterns from makers around the world. They literally open you up to a world of sewing ideas.

However, PDF patterns also introduce an additional DIY element to your sewing prep and you must be sure to get the assembly right if you want the project to end up the size you had in mind.

Here are Christine’s 4 tips for ensuring your printed PDF pattern works for you:

1. Print test page at 100% scale. The test page is designed to assure you that every subsequent page comes out as expected so you don’t waste 40 pages of paper.

2. Measure your test square. You can verify your pattern is going to print as planned by measuring the test square and verifying it matches the measurement designated on the page.

3. Trim the right and bottom edges of the paper. PDF patterns don’t end at the paper’s edge. Get rid of excess paper by simply trimming it off. Just be sure you use your paper scissors, not your sewing shears!

4. Overlap and tape pages together. Your complete pattern will come into view once you’ve connected each row.

Learn how to connect a pdf sewing pattern on CreativeLive!
A completed top row.

Christine demonstrates the complete assembly process in the video below:

If you are ready to try your hand at sewing from a PDF pattern – check out The Sylvie Dress on CreativeLive and get step-by-step instructions for getting it right from the pattern-maker herself, Christine Haynes.

Or check out our complete collection of sewing and upcycling classes. You can learn how to make everything from quilts to jewelry out of the awesome stuff you already have at home.

Are you ready to start selling your handmade craft projects?

Download our free PDF: Etsy 101: A Guide to Getting Started! This comprehensive collection of notes, worksheets, and slides from Marlo Miyashiro’s class, Etsy 101: Launch Your Handmade Shop gives you the tips and insights you need to launch a successful Etsy shop!

[subscribe2download link=’’ title=’Enter Your Email to Download the Guide’ source=‘Etsy-101-Guide’ type=’Download’ channel=’Craft & Maker’]



Rachel Gregg FOLLOW >

Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.