I was really interested in learning about PDF patterns, how they work and the home sewing market in general. I’ve been pattern cutting in manufacturing for so many years, PDF home sewing patterns were an enigma and something I knew very little about.
In industry we always working to millimeter accuracy for mass production. In my ignorance I was adamant that you cannot print off a paper pattern at home, stick it together and it be accurate, no way, no how.
This is the main reason that it took me so long to get around to creating a range of patterns for the home sewing market. I just didn’t know how it could be done. Sticking patterns together sounded like a farce and to go to all that effort and then have a pattern that was going to fit together badly seemed like a pointless exercise.
I was lucky enough to get a job a few days a week working in a fabric shop. It was just for a few months last summer. It got me out of the house and away from my sewing machine which was a welcome break when you work from home. Chatting to people most of the day about making clothes which was lovely.
At the shop they sold an array of Indie paper patterns and it started the ball rolling in my thoughts as to why I wasn’t doing the same. I just didn’t know how to do get from being able to make patterns on a table to getting them out to people in their home.
People were coming into the shop asking for fabrics to make their PDF patterns up in. I couldn’t stop asking questions. It was so interesting! People of all ages are buying PDF patterns online and printing at home. It’s not a youngster’s game by any means!
One day at work I saw my boss (who was heavily pregnant at the time) sticking together a maternity pattern she had bought online. It was just as I suspected, nothing fitted together. The lines were all off and I was torn between being smug that I had been right all this time or disappointed that I hadn’t been proved wrong. She did assure me that this wasn’t always the case. Just a bad pattern company.
I decided to go home and have a go and see if I could teach myself a way to do it. I drew a pattern, cut it up into A4 pages, scanned it and printed it off again. It was awful, looked my child had done it in art class. Epic Fail!
Next job was to go online and buy a PDF purely for research. I bought a Sew Over It Betty dress. It printed off a dream, stuck together easily and lined up well. It was 100% accurate! SO much easier than I ever thought. I was sold! Now how can I achieve this??
I gave up my job at the fabric shop. PDF Patterns was something I had to pursue full time. My boss was very understanding. After a few months, eventually I cracked it, I was so excited!
How did I do it? I sat down at my laptop for weeks, bought some very expensive software (My good friend Greg helped me when I got stuck trying to use it), mucking about, creating and grading patterns and instructions to go with them, printing off PDF after PDF to check they’re perfect and accurate. Doing layplans, size charts, making samples and getting an awesome bunch of ladies to test them out for me. I found them on various sewing groups and I’m so grateful for all their help.