How to assemble a PDF pattern

Lorna Malkin Pattern Review 1 Comment

When it comes to sewing patterns, are you Team Digital or Team Print? For many of us, we fall somewhere in the middle. There are pros and cons to both options. For instance, PDF patterns are instant but take some time to assemble. Printed patterns come with all the pattern pieces ready on one sheet along with the instructions in pretty booklet. However, some people may find tissue paper tricky to work with, and of course you have to wait for your pattern to arrive.

Today we’re going to talk you through how to assemble a PDF pattern. This method requires a little more effort but there are some useful shortcuts to help you get your pattern assembled quickly.

Step 1: Printing out the PDF Pattern

Once you have purchased your digital sewing pattern, the pattern and instructions can usually be downloaded within seconds (yay!). Most pattern companies will send you A4, tiled versions whereby the pattern pieces are spread across multiple A4 pages that will need to be printed, cut out and stuck together.

An alternative format to the A4 pattern is a copyshop file. A copyshop file shows all the pattern pieces on one sheet of paper meaning you’ll have to take it to a printing shop in order for it to be printed to the correct scale on one sheet. Pattern pieces can then to be cut out from this piece as is the case with a regular paper patterns. So let’s talk about the most common, A4 size. Once you have downloaded your pattern, save it to a new folder on your computer. You’ll then want to open the file with Adobe Acrobat Reader, usually the default software for this type of file.

When the printer dialog box pops up, select ‘actual size.’


You will need to ensure you’re printing your A4 pages to the correct scale. Patterns usually come with a test square page included, print this page out first, measure the square to ensure the measurements align with the measurements shown on the square.


Step 2: Cutting out your pattern pieces

Your Simple Sew pattern will show you the order in which your pages will need to be assembled on the first page of the dowloaded pattern.


PDF patterns include a border on each A4 sheet of paper that you will need to cut around. Usually, you can simply cut off the top and bottom borders and then overlap the long sides of the A4 pages to make the assembly process quicker. If you’re struggling to see the lines, hold your paper pieces up against the window to help.



Top Tip!

You can stick your pieces of paper together using glue or tape. If using tape, pre-cut small pieces in preparation as this will make it much simpler to assemble your paper pieces.

Step 3: Cut out your size

Once you have stuck all the paper pieces together and everything is lining up correctly, cut out the pattern pieces as per your size. Want to trace the pattern? You can use pattern tissue paper to trace over the pattern pieces, you can find Burda tissue paper over on the Simple Sew shop.

Other useful tools

There are plenty of sewing tools available over at Simple Sew that can help with pattern assembly. Here are some of our faves:

Korbond Precision Dressmaking Scissors










Stix2 Double Sided Flushedge Tissue Tape High Tack










Archer Haberdashery Standard Tape Measure










We hope you enjoyed this post on how to assemble a PDF pattern. Want more sewing hints and tips? Visit our blog for pattern reviews and much more! You can also find step-by-step tutorial videos here.


Comments 1

  1. I suggest cutting off just the bottom and right sides of each A4 sheet. If you cut off the top and bottom then lining them up is very difficult. If you don’t cut off either the right of the left sides then the pieces will lie over the pattern each time they meet.

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