Introduction to PDF Patterns

Hello! I’m Nellie from Sorry About the Mess and I see you have found your way into the fantastic world of PDF patterns. And you’ve stumbled across one of the best companies. Welcome to Eunoia!
This is me! In my very favorite Eunoia pattern, the Derby.
Let’s start out on the right foot with an explanation of what exactly a PDF pattern is. For some people, this basic explanation is going to be overkill, but for others, we need to know and understand how these things work to really enjoy them. So, I am going to try my best.
A PDF is a Portable Document Format. Basically, it’s a file format that allows you to open an exact copy of someone’s document and see it EXACTLY how they meant for you to see it. It’s kind of like taking a photocopy of something and being able to transfer it digitally. Which also means that you can’t change the document, only the owner can change and edit. This is good because it means you can’t accidentally move lines or delete important text.
The first thing you need to know when looking at PDF patterns is that when you find a pattern you want and add it to your cart, you are not going to receive a physical product. Yes, you are getting a pattern with lots of sizes and details and options, but it’s going to be digital. Make sure you make an account. This is VITAL, as in if you save your patterns to the computer and it crashes, or if you forget to download right away and accidentally delete the email, if you make an account, your pattern is not lost. It will always be saved in your account for you to download (please note, not all PDF pattern companies are created equal, and not all PDF pattern companies hold your patterns forever, so be sure to download and save right away, every time).  Eunoia does not have a download limit and you can find your purchased patterns in the “my downloads” section of your account.
My daughter in the adorable LOI pattern.
You’ve purchased a pattern, now what?
Now comes the part where you figure out how to actually hold this pattern in your hands so you can make something wonderful. To start, you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, here is a link. No, you do not have to pay for this service. You should not pay for it. This is just an extension or app that allows you to view and print PDF documents. Please do not skip this step! It is essential to help get the right size, layout, and quality of print from each pattern.
Nice, next on our list is to print the pattern!
Open your pattern in Adobe. I’m not going to walk you through this step because different devices will want you to do this in different ways. When the pattern is open, you will notice a few essential things. The size chart, the fabric requirements, instruction for how to print the pattern and put the pattern together, instructions to actually sew the pattern, and then the pattern. Sometimes the pattern is in a separate file, or there will be multiple files to download, pay attention to the names of these files because some of them have to be printed in different ways. For example, an A0 file is a large format PDF or sometimes called copy shop print (33 x 46.5in), that needs to be printed on a large format printer and not an at-home printer. Files for at-home printing are going to be called “letter” or “A4.” A file that is labeled “letter” is to be printed on the American National Standard Institute letter (8.5 x 11in) sheets of paper. Any kind of printer paper works, you don’t need anything special.
Files labeled as A4 are designed for printers that use the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) A4 paper (8.3 x 11.7in). A4 paper is the basic standard paper size used outside of North America. But please don’t fret if you only see a Letter file and your printer used A4 paper. Most PDF patterns can print a Letter file onto A4 paper with little problem, especially if they are “trim” patterns. I’ll go over this in more detail in a moment, but basically, a “trim” pattern will print within A4 range and all the important parts will be inside the “trim” so it won’t really matter which size of paper you are printing on.
If you happen to open the A0 file and try to print it on a home printer you will only print one small section or the whole thing will print on one page and then it will be too small for a Barbie. So double-check and be sure you are printing the proper file for your printer.
While you are in Adobe making sure you’re using the right file you have two options. You can print the whole pattern to trace out the sizes you want onto tracing paper (there are many different ways to trace a pattern and everyone has their own favorite method, so I won’t tell you how to do it right now). This way you will only ever have to print one copy. With everything all in one place, you can manage grading and adjustments and always have a clean copy for the next size. On the other hand, having the ability to print only the sizes you need without all those extra lines to interfere is pretty enticing using the “Layers” features on the left side of the screen when Adobe is pulled up. You will click on the icon that looks like a stack of paper and there will be a dropdown menu where you can select the layers (or sizes) that you want to turn off. If there are any layers that state that they should stay on, or must be printed, or should be kept on, you should leave them on or your pattern isn’t going to go together well. Whichever way you decide to do it, try to stay consistent or you could find yourself printing the same pattern in the same sizes over and over again. Ask me how I know.
Before you go printing your whole pattern and run the risk of ruining 10-50 blank pages, I highly recommend you check your printer settings. Make sure that your page size is set to 100% custom scale or none or actual size. Check to see that orientation is set to auto portrait/landscape or auto-rotate and center. Also, make sure that you are not printing on both sides of the paper, it is awfully annoying to find you’ve printed a whole pattern back to back and have to throw away ALL that paper and get absolutely nothing out of it.
One more thing you need to do before printing the whole pattern. Usually, on the first page, there is going to be a “test square.” Print this page with all your settings set correctly. Measure the square, with a non-flexible ruler, to be sure that the scale of the pattern is correct. Be exact in this. Even 1/16 of an inch off can spell disaster in the fit of the final product.
One last step before there is a full pattern sitting in front of you. You gotta put the pattern together! This is probably simultaneously the easiest and hardest part of this whole process. But Eunoia makes the process easier by giving you options, so many options! And so many ways to gain help with your pattern. First, look at the pattern. There are instructions for putting the pattern together in the pattern itself. Next, check out their website, here is a link, and the FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) will help in so many ways. You’ll find all the quick answers to your questions here. And if you still aren’t finding what you need to know, you can contact Eunoia through this simple form that can be found here and it gets even better! Eunoia and most other PDF pattern companies have Facebook pages and groups where you can go to ask your questions. Eunoia’s Facebook page is going to allow you to contact through messenger. Eunoia’s Facebook group allows you to connect to other sewists and show off your makes. This is a great way to make friends that have the same sewing interests and questions as you! You also have the ability to search the group for the answers you need, for albums of photos of the pattern you’re looking at, and for the answers to the questions you have. They may also be found on other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more.
There are so many patterns and resources at your fingertips! It’s so exciting to have your join in on this wonderful sewing process that is PDF patterns. Welcome to this whole new world of experiences of sewing!

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