How to Tape, Cut and Organize Your PDF Sewing Patterns

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STOP! Need help on printing patterns correctly? View our video tutorial here!

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to tape and cut patterns plus my super, awesomesauce way of storing them.

So to start you’ll be needing a few things:

  • Your pattern pieces printed at full scale in your size (as we learned how to do in the last lesson). Note: Save some chedda and print these in black and white
  • The cover page printed to fit the page in color
  • The page with your size chart and fabric requirements
  • The page with your cut list
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 10″ x 13″ Manila Envelope

P.S. the pattern I’m using in this tutorial is the Dreamy Drape Top by Mummykins and Me

Prepping Your Pattern Storage

prepping pattern storage

The first thing you’re going to do is take your cover page and tape it to the front of the envelope. I used to just write the name of the pattern on it, but after my first dozen patterns, it became sooooo much easier to locate what I wanted with a picture I can identify the pattern by at a glance.

Taping on image

Next, you’re going to take the page that has your sizing chart and fabric requirements and tape it to the back of the envelope. The pattern I’m using in this example had the two bits of information on separate pages, so I just cut out the fabric requirements and stuck it to the bottom of the page with my sizing chart.

I love having this information close at hand so that when I’m going through my stack of fabric deciding what I want to sew up, I can quickly see whether I have enough of the right fabric to get the job done. Or if I know I want to sew up a particular pattern I can quickly see how much I need to go shopping for.

Adding fabric requirements to printed pattern

Back of pattern pocket

Taping and Cutting Your Pattern Pieces

Now that our envelope is ready to take on these gorgeous pattern pieces, we need to double check that we have printed them correctly. Find your measuring square and make sure it was printed out at the right size. The pattern in my example uses a 1″ tester square, but I have seen some patterns with 4″, 2.5cm or other dimensions. All that matters is that they measure what they say they should measure. If they don’t, you NEED to reprint.

Checking pattern size

Now when it comes to aligning your pattern pages, this is going to vary a decent amount between PDF pattern makers. Most of the PDF patterns these days are “no trim” patterns. This means you don’t need to trim around the edges of the pages to line up your alignment markers. The few that do require trimming will specify where you need to trim.

TIP: You can totally use your fabric scissors to cut out your paper patterns. JUST KIDDING! Please don’t do that! Cutting paper with fabric scissors blunts the blades, which will give you the sads when it’s time to use them on your fabric.

Do your best to align your alignment markings as you tape your pages together. Inkjet printers are known for not always printing completely straight so don’t stress out if it takes a teensy bit of adjusting to make them line up (e.g. Notice how my pages in my example picture aren’t perfectly flush at the bottom when I align my markers) Just go slowly and be as precise as possible.

If you are having a hard time seeing the lines to line up, you can use a large window as a make-shift lightbox, and tape them together on the window in the daylight. The sun will shine through your pages and make it really easy to locate your alignment markings.

Aligning your image

As you are taping, make sure you tape over the lines of your size on the pattern piece. That way when you cut out your pieces they are taped together at all of the joining ends.

Taping edge of sides

And if any of your pieces are extra large, put some tape throughout the middles of the pages to help stabilize the pattern piece.

Taping large spaces

Once you have completely taped your pages together, cut out your pattern pieces then flip them over to tape in a few places along the backside for extra stabilization. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, but it sure makes your pieces stay in better condition throughout their use.

The places I like to tape on the back are:

Any place that has a group of smaller paper cuts overlapping one another…

Reinforcing Pattern Back

The joining edges of the pages…

Reinforcing Pattern Back

Anywhere that I have an overlapping four corners.

Reinforcing pattern back



Rebecca Page Baby Wearing DIBY Club Tutorial

When I’m sewing for myself, I tend to just print my size if the pattern has layers. But if you sew to sell, or are sewing for growing children, you can save time & money by printing all the sizes and just tracing off the size you need.

Tracing is a great technique to use if you need to blend between sizes too. For example if you’ve got a tall, skinny child who straddles two sizes, you can trace just the sections of each you need. It makes for much more accurate cutting.

When blending sizes, make sure to adjust all areas for height, like the armholes, not just the hemline.

– Rebecca Page, Rebecca Page Sewing Patterns

Storing the Pattern Pieces

Now that you have your pieces cut, it’s time to store them! I have tried many different methods of pattern storage before I settled on this one. I’ve hung them, rolled them, stored them flat. None of it sung to me like this has for a few reasons:

  • You can identify your patterns at a glance
  • It keeps all of the pattern pieces together
  • It is super compact
  • It doesn’t look cluttered

First, write the size you have cut out on each of the pattern pieces if it’s not clear. Then fold them up small enough to fit inside of your 10″ x 13″ envelope. Once they are all folded I like to nest my smaller pieces inside of a big piece so it easy to pull them out of the envelope all together.

Folded pattern pieces

Then all you have left to do is tuck those pattern pieces into your envelope along with your cut list.

Pattern pieces and cut pieces

I have all of my envelopes stored in a cute little crate box that I don’t mind keeping out in plain sight for me to rummage through whenever I feel like.

Patterns in a Box

Now you can move on to adding add-ons to your PDF patterns - such as maternity, hoods, pockets, and other accessories! View the tutorial here!

-- Archived by Holly Hetzner

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