I have a confession to make. I have no idea what PDF stands for. Don't tell my husband. He's a nerdy (yet hunky) computer geek, and would hang his head in shame if he knew. I realize I could do a quick Google search and easily find out, but I think it would be more fun to make up my own take on the acronym. So, from here on out, I will refer to PDF patterns as Pretty Dang Fantastic Patterns!
If you're wondering why, then you've obviously never tried a PDF pattern (or sometimes called E-Pattern). The benefits of PDF patterns over traditional paper patterns are numerous!! I'm not knocking all of them- one of my favorite dresses I've ever sewn for my daughter was a Children's Corner pattern- but the major companies you find in all the big-time craft stores (i.e. Simplicity, McCalls) can leave a lot to be desired. I had sewn up a criss-cross pinafore in a size 6m when my daughter was little, and she's now 2 and can still wear it. It turned out really cute...but the sizing was atrocious!
So here are my Top Ten Reasons why PDF patterns are Pretty Dang Fantastic!
10. PDF patterns get a bad rap for consuming too much paper and running down ink supplies. To combat this, simply read your pattern from your computer and only print the pages that contain the pattern pieces in the size you need. When printing out the pattern pieces, keep in mind that most computers/printers have a draft mode that uses less ink. All this to say that you can save time by printing out only the pattern pieces you need for the size you need instead of searching that huge sheet of tissue paper to find the pattern piece you need for the size you need and then tracing those patterns pieces.
9. PDF patterns are easy to store! Don't fight with the tissue paper trying to wrangle it back into the pattern envelope. If you don't want to keep up with any clutter, simply throw your pattern away after you sew it up. You'll always be able to reprint it from your computer when you need it again. If you do want to keep them, there are numerous ways to store them. Some people (myself included) buy large 3-ring binders with clear page protectors, and store each pattern print-out in a separate page protector. Some people have filing cabinets with a file folder for each pattern. Get creative and do what works for you. Bonus: When you store them on your computer, your husband won't know how many you really own... wink, wink.
8. There are pictures to guide you every step of the way! A few line drawings that don't make sense are hardly helpful. (Thanks a lot, paper patterns!) I would much rather have a full-color photograph for each step so I can see exactly what it is I'm supposed to be doing!
7. Most PDF patterns go through a rigorous testing process to ensure a good fit. I seriously wonder if the big pattern companies even test their patterns before selling them sometimes. I've had a few turn out well, but the majority made me want to cry.
6. It's easy to find what you are looking for. Since E-patterns are a virtual product you purchase online, it's very easy to do an online search that will pull up countless results. You have access to international designers/patterns that you would not even know about if all they offered were paper patterns. Literally thousands of patterns are only a click away. Easy-peasy!
5. Designers are accessible for help. Most freely give out their email address for customers just like you to contact them if you ever run into any problems, have any questions, or want to give your feedback. They also love to know how much you've enjoyed sewing up their patterns!
4. If you lose or rip a pattern piece, you can reprint it. You don't have to worry about cutting the pattern out for one size and not being able to use if for the larger sizes. To avoid this problem with paper patterns, you have to get out the freezer paper and trace. With PDF patterns, you can either print each size out separately or simply reprint the pattern and cut it out in the size you need.
3. Designers will hold your hand throughout the whole process. There are pages and pages of instructions helping you to achieve the same results the designer achieved. They explain each step in great detail and provide photos to help clarify. If you get stuck, you can always send an email to get some help! I think a lot of beginning sewists get turned off from sewing because they start off with paper patterns they can't make heads or tells of.
2. You can go shopping at 2 AM in your jammies. No driving to the store, no waiting on shipping... PDF patterns (almost all of them) are instant download so you can start sewing when the mood strikes! Instant gratification!
1. You're supporting work at home mommas and not big companies! Many of you are work at home mommas yourselves, so I know this is important to you! These ladies work long hours every day to juggle designing, responding to emails, handling business-y issues, and taking care of their families. Let them know how much you appreciate all their hard work and love they put into their craft!
Go sew something magical!!