Assembling PDF Patterns

What You'll Need

  • 8.5 inch x 11 inch paper
  • a printer
  • a glue stick, tape, or tape runner
  • scissors for paper
  • scissors for fabric OR rotary cutting tool and cutting mat
  • disappearing ink pen for fabric (optional)

Paper Size and Color Requirements

Our PDF patterns are designed to print easily at home. They are print perfectly in black and white on letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11) and fit together to become life-sized. Any type of printer will work.

For this tutorial, we will be showing the printed pattern for the Nightingale Apron Dress Pattern that you can find in our shop.

Printer Settings and Size Check

Printer Settings For PDF Patterns

IMPORTANT: In your printer settings, be sure to print at 100% with no resizing.

Once printed, you will be able to check the size by measuring a "print check" black box with a ruler – if everything printed correctly, it will measure 1 inch x 1 inch.

Trimming and Assembling The Paper to Make a Full Size Print

How to put together printable PDF sewing patterns

Print all of the pieces of your pattern. Follow the cut guides and trim the top and left sides using a paper trimmer or scissors. Use the glue stick or tape match the pieces together. Alternately, you may be able to see where the diamonds match up through the paper. If so, no need to trim...just match up the diamonds on the top and bottom and tape or glue.

How to line up printable sewing patterns

Tip: I suggest Elmers Craft Glue Sticks. Avoid washable glues – they don’t always stick well. I also love transparent tape, and small craft tape runners for assembling patterns.

Once you have assembled the pattern, cut the individual pieces out so you can lay them out on your fabric. Many of the pieces in our patterns are cut on the fold to minimize the number of pages you need to print and give you the most flexibility with your fabric. I like to fold the same piece of fabric multiple times to maximize space.

Cutting Your Pattern Pieces

I suggest using a paper scissors to cut out the individual pattern pieces, then tracing them on to your fabric with a disappearing ink pen for sewing. You can also use a disappearing ink pen for fabric to mark any parts of the pattern you need to (example: darts, pocket placement, etc.)

You may also cut around the pieces with a rotary cutter and cutting mat. If your fabric has a pattern, double check the direction of each piece and how front and back pieces will match up before you cut.


The process of assembling PDF patterns and cutting out pieces takes a little time, but is pretty mindless and relaxing.

Many people I know print their PDF patterns out the night before they plan to sew them and assemble them on the floor or a large table while watching TV. They then also cut out the individual pieces and set them aside flat on their sewing table (or dining room or kitchen table for me!) for when they are ready to begin cutting their fabric out.

Don't use your rotary cutter to cut through paper. It dulls it very quickly.

If you are using a rotary cutter, use a proper self healing mat. Anything else will cause damage to your blade and possibly your surface, too.