Tearing My Hair Out: My First PDF Pattern

It all starts quite innocently: I want to sew a pair of jeans. I always thought that jeans are not for the home sewist, but I have seen so many great results amongst your blogs that I thought I should give it a try. Now if you look at my blog you will realise that I sew exclusively from Burda sewing magazines. I am a subscriber and have around three years’ worth of subscriptions and quite a few back issues at home – so finding a pattern for the jeans should not be a problem. I thought.
Because I realised that in all the issues that I have there is not a single 5-pocket back yoke jeans pattern that is not petite or plus size. Can you believe that? There must be hundreds of patterns but not one jeans pattern! Not one!
But not to worry, I thought, pdf patterns is the answer. I surfed around a little and read good things about this pattern. It’s a Burda pattern again, from an issue that I don’t own and because Burda trousers fit me quite well I thought going for this might be good. No experiments with jeans, ey?!ย  It was bought and printed quickly – and now I have been cutting and glueing for about an hour!

Without any doubt this has been the most annoying sewing related task I have done in a long time (and that includes ripping the quilting out of half a full size quilt!). Tracing the patterns from the most convoluted Burda pattern sheet would have been accomplished in half the time – and I have not even cut the pattern pieces yet, I have only glued the sheets together.

So I wonder: How do you stand it? So many of you seem to be really into online patterns – is there a secret? Am I doing this wrong? Or is just me? Is my tolerance for papercraft unusually low?


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19 thoughts on “Tearing My Hair Out: My First PDF Pattern

  1. sewbusylizzy October 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm Reply

    I found my first PDFs really difficult. After a while the pages didn’t quite line up and it was frustrating. Now I cut out the pieces as I go and find that the paper piecing gets less out of whack. I’ve come to like ‘proper paper’ as I can trace around the edges onto the fabric rather than pinning. Some brands produce better PDFs than others – the best ones produce a copy shop version!

    • Chris October 16, 2013 at 10:37 pm Reply

      Yes, maybe I get better with time. Do you realise what I just did: I cut out the actual pattern now WITHOUT ADDING SEAM ALLOWANCES. I really should have a large glass of wine and then go to bed…

      • sewbusylizzy October 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

        Could you trace the pattern onto your fabric and use that line as your stitching line?
        I hate adding seam allowances – it puts me off using patterns without them – they are worse than PDFs!

      • Chris October 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        In fact, I have only ever added seam allowances to the pattern once before – and discovered what a great idea that was. Here in Germany we do it the hard way – we trace the pattern on the fabric and then eyeball the seam allowances while cutting, so I will just do that when making the jeans. But I could have used the newly discovered comfort of adding the seam allowances to the pattern if I had paid better attention. Dooh…

      • sewbusylizzy October 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        I like having the drawn stitching line. I think it’s comforting ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ali October 16, 2013 at 10:51 pm Reply

    I’ve tried 3 different companies for downloading patterns – skinny bitch curvy chick, the sew magazine and Lakale. They’re all different how they join together but Lakale was definitely the easiest.
    I cut out a sheet at a time then stick them together.
    If you google Lakale they have some free patterns. As an added bonus you enter your measurements and the pattern is emailed in your size! I used one today for the first time and it was fab! I’ll be adding it to my blog shortly if you want to take a look. โœ‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜€โœ‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜€โœ‚๏ธ

    • Chris October 17, 2013 at 1:30 pm Reply

      Thanks for tip. I just googled Lakale and their business model sounds great. I love how your jersey top turned out.

      • Ali October 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

        Thanks, I’ve downloaded 2 patterns today – a dress and a top. Can’t wait to get started! I paid for these tho, ยฃ1.40 each is a steal ๐ŸŒŸโœจ๐ŸŒŸโœจ๐ŸŒŸ

    • Ali October 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm Reply

      Oops, if you were looking its lekala, sorry โœ‚๏ธโœ‚๏ธ

  3. Anne W October 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm Reply

    I have to admit they do nothing for me! I’d rather trace an entire issue of Burda patterns that piece together a pdf. But that’s just me. Re jeans pattern – there is (what seems to be) a pretty good pair from Jalie that has good results. http://www.jalie.com/jalie2908-women-s-stretch-jeans-sewing-pattern.html

  4. Valerie October 17, 2013 at 1:17 am Reply

    I only ever used a PDF once and then it cut it out in the wrong size because I hadn’t checked that it was to scale. They are a PITA. By the time I had fiddled with it to make it fit I was very exasperated.
    BTW Are you going to sew the jeans with small seam allowances? If your fabric has stretch a snug fit might turn out fine.

    • Chris October 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm Reply

      I will try and pattern fit first (another thing that inexplainably I have never done) and then see how to go from there. My fabric has a lot of stretch I think, so it might all turn out fine.

  5. macinic October 17, 2013 at 5:25 am Reply

    I hear you ๐Ÿ˜‰ I really am not fond of tiled .pdfs & am more than happy to pay the extra at a copy shop to have a big page & minimal taping – more and more of the indie companies are coming on board, so lets keep asking them all!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I traced my last one (the Disparate Discipline Dandelion) two pages at a time, so no taping the tiled pages. I use interfacing so like Lizzy, no pins (I dislike pins almost as much as tape!)
    Maybe there’s a small business just waiting for those who like taping to do it for us! I like tracing, so maybe the imaginary people & I can swap ;)p

  6. Clipped Curves October 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm Reply

    Dare I stand up for PDFs?! I buy them because it’s cheaper than paying international postage (I have a limited sewing budget), there’s some new pattern makers that I like to support who have PDFs available on their blogs and almost instantly the file is in my email inbox. I ease the hassle of trying to align the pages by using stick glue (can be moved or peeled back after attaching unlike tape) and I check the page lay out to see if I can divide up into smaller more manageable sections.

    • Chris October 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm Reply

      Checking the page layout!!! Yes – I realised that might be a good idea last night after I cut through the whole sheebang that I has just glued together… Live and learn, ey ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Wendyp October 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm Reply

    I sometimes buy PDF-patterns but I hate putting them together! It takes such a huge amount of time, paper and tape… Ugh!

  8. littlestonecottage October 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm Reply

    I’ve only just recently put together my first PDF pattern. Didn’t like doing it at all but I am rather impatient. I think if a pattern designer has a copy shop option I would take that next time.
    Having said that, there are some awesome patterns out there that are just PDF so I think I’m going to have to master it anyway!

  9. Pella October 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm Reply

    I cannot pdf. I have downloaded freebies a couple of times,full of resolve, but the thought of messing about with sticky tape for hours brought the project to a halt. No seam allowances I’m ok with, in fact in some ways its preferable. Pdf fans, after you have downloaded, printed, cut, taped, altered to fit, cut and taped the alterations, how do you fold and store this criss crossed treasure?

    • SewingElle October 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

      Yes, storage of those bulky taped together patterns. That’s my biggest grizzle about PDF patterns. I don’t like the cutting or sticking together either. It does much business sense though..

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