Saturday, January 27, 2018

PDF Patterns: Gluing, Adjusting Height, Storage

Pretty much every PDF pattern company has their own "how to" post about pattern assembly but sometimes it helps to hear it another way.   

Step one: a cup of coffee and a relaxing playlist. Since I only get to sew on the weekends and assembling a pattern is the first step, this is basically my Saturday morning routine. I just got an echo dot for my sewing table. There's a three month free trial of Amazon music unlimited so I'm taking advantage of being able to just say "Alexa, play foo fighters radio". Love her!  Try Amazon Music Unlimited Free Trial

Step two: print. If the pattern has layers, they're great! I usually print the size bigger and smaller than my size so I can grade if I need more or less room in certain areas. (Nothing fancy, I just switch between lines while maintaining the overall shape). I have a black and white laser printer that I bought used in 2007 and the original ink is still going two college degrees and a ton of patterns later.  Get a fast printer. It'll make your sewing time so much more efficient!

Step three: Glue. I do it just quickly and lightly because I'm going to end up taking it apart to add height.  Most patterns work the same - just match the edge of one page to the line on the other. (In this photo, match the two arrows).  Some patterns don't have "no trim" pages.  In this case I still don't trim, I just overlap the two lines.

With some pattern companies like Made for Mermaids or Patterns for Pirates you'll know to go to a new row because they'll start a new letter or number.  With others like Ellie and Mac or Five out of Four it's more subtle because the pages are numbered consecutively.  Look for the last piece not to have an edge line. (teal check-mark in the photo above).

You'll get the hang of knowing what's the end.   It's also helpful to consult the pattern's map if you get lost.   Sorry, I have to blur the intellectual property here, but you get the idea?

Put them all together until you have a big sheet.

At this point I usually do a big sloppy cut to separate all the pattern pieces so I can see them individually but I don't cut to my size (so that once I lengthen, I can round out curves as needed).  If not shortening/lengthening, just cut now.

You might have noticed I sharpie'd "paper only" onto my scissors. This is so they're super sharp and can slice through the printer paper with the same satisfaction that makes wrapping presents fun.  Also I just like labeling everything with the clicky top sharpie.  It makes me feel in control 😉

Step four: add or subtract length.  If you know what height the pattern is drafted for, the rule is to add 1\2" per 1" of height you're different by.  So M4M and P4P are drafted for 5 '5" and I'm 5'6".  Therefore I pick one spot around the waist and unpeel the pages, then reglue overlapping by 1/2" less.  Ellie and Mac is usually drafted for 5'4" so I'll lengthen twice.  If there isn't a good spot where there's a natural paper overlap, you'll need to cut and add a strip of paper.

If you're reducing the height it's really easy - just unpeel and overlap by 1/2" extra (gluing further above the line rather than below).

If the pattern doesn't tell you what height it's drafted for, check the finished measurements.  For this one I'm working on, I measured from armpit to where I want the dress to end (work appropriate length means making sure to include my rear in the measurement!). I compared the finished measurement and it turns out I need to add a lot of length.  So I'll add some length at all of the paper overlaps including the very bottom, as shown above.

Step five:  cut closely around the pattern pieces and use this opportunity to even out any areas where you added or subtracted length.  In other words, it's okay not to follow the lines if they no longer match up.  You want to have even, curved lines that match the original shape of the piece.

As I'm cutting, I'll be able to see where I need to add more glue.  I only did it lightly before, so I do it thoroughly this time.  I use an Elmer's glue stick (they're vegan!).  I had some Hobby Lobby generic brand ones before but I was going through a whole glue stick for one pattern because I kept having to reglue and use a ton to make it stick. The Elmers seems to go a lot further and stick better.

Pattern Storage

I store my patterns in oversize manila envelopes in a plastic container.  I really like this method (without a lid) because I can put the pieces away quickly as I'm cutting my fabric.  The cats like to rip my pattern pieces apart if given access. I use these same storage containers to put my half-done projects to keep them safe from the cats too.

I also sometimes put multiple items in one envelope.  Especially skirts that are only one pattern piece - those all go in the same envelope with a list on the front in sharpie of everything that's in there.  I always hand write the size on the pattern piece too. Once I cut it, I can't always tell what line that was.  This helps me remember in case I need to adjust before I make the pattern again (like if I noticed I wanted it tighter or looser).

I usually know what pattern I'm looking for before I sort through the bin, so I don't organize them in any certain way.  I have my patterns curated in my google drive account. That way I can see which ones I own from my phone, computer or tablet and don't buy a duplicate of the same pattern.

When I'm working on a project, I have my kindle fire tablet open on the table with the tutorial.

I recently upgraded from the 7 to the HD 8.  Who knew an inch made such a difference? 😉

I just started using Photofy on my Kindle Fire to make these edited photos and it seems like they're helpful?  Let me know on instagram @kittymakesit

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