There are many pros to printing a .pdf pattern rather than buying a paper patterns.
- instant gratification - I want to make it now!
- flexibility - if you mess up or want to make a different size you can print it again.
- variety -many patterns are only available in this format these days.
- price - they tend to be cheaper.
I love all these aspects of printing a downloadable pattern. But MAKE SURE you have your printer setting right when you print your pattern. And ALWAYS print the test square page first! And measure your test square! My printer is not in my sewing studio and I had become lazy about this step. The one in the picture is perfect. This is exactly what it should look like.
Sadly last week I had totally pieced together an entire pattern for a pair of pants. When I finished and started cutting out the pattern (not the fabric fortunately) I thought "gee this looks small!?!" maybe I should measure and check the sizing.
I measured the pieces and they were not matching up to the pattern size info at all. Then I saw the test square. I measured it and realized it was off by 1/4 of an inch. Which does not sound like a lot. But take away 1/4 inch from every pattern piece and your pants are 2 inches too small! The only thing left to do was to scrap it and re-print!
- takes a lot of paper and ink
- you have to cut all those pieces and stick them together
- you have to either print the directions or read them on your computer or tablet (this is a pro and a con, I sort of like to have the directions on my ipad)
- you really really have to read the directions because the seam allowance is not consistent. For example Burda patterns do not include seam allowance at all and you need to add it!
- you don't have that lovely envelope with all that nice info on it.
Personally I have come around to the thought that the pros outweigh the cons. I mostly go by which pattern makers I like and buy whatever it is that they offer.
- Use a paper cutter rather than scissors. Makes it go so much faster and you get much straighter lines.
- Cut one side, leave the extra paper on the other side so you have space to piece them together
- Use glue stick to put them together.
- Only use scrap paper IF whatever is printed on it IS NOT a pattern and IS NOT sewing related in any way. I use my husbands old physics scrap paper. But I once used my own scrap paper and it was too similar to what I was printing and was way too confusing.
- If you must tape things, use clear tape. Solid tape covers up information that might be important to your project.
To save on printer ink costs I use HP Instant Ink. It saves both time and money, they send you new ink when they detect you are low on ink. You must have an HP printer that can connect to the inter-webs for this service.
Some fun places to get patterns
Noodlehead - Great Bag Patterns
Colette - If you subscribe to their Seamwork Magazine (online) you get a few free patterns a month I LOVE these patterns and use them frequently.
Kate & Rose - beautiful clothing and embroidery patterns.
Made by Rae - Great patterns for kids & women's clothes.
Burda Style - All kinds of patterns, tend to be more modern and has tons of variety.