PDF Sewing Pattern Prep Made Easy!

df prepOne of the down sides of PDF sewing patterns (and the only one I think) can be the time it takes to get the pattern set up to sew. After many attempts to speed up the process, I have come up with a strategy that works great and makes the whole process go much faster.

Here are the items I use to prep my PDF patterns:

    • freezer paper
    • drafting dots
    • pencil and eraser
    • paper cutter
    • pattern


    1. Make sure all pattern pieces are stacked together with all pages going in the same direction.IMG_2285
    2. Divide the stack in half.Pattern stack in half
    3. Take one stack and insure all edged are lined up. I like to tap them on the table.
    4. Place the first stack in the paper cutter and cut along the line at the top of the page. Repeat on the second stack.IMG_2289
    5. Next, cut the along the line on the right side of the paper stack.Repeat on the other stack and set paper cutter out of the way.IMG_2292
    6. Now, line up all the pattern rectangles that make up the pattern in order.IMG_2295
    7. With the top and right sides cut away the pattern rectangles easily overlap each other and make lining up the pattern rectangles simple and fast.
    8. Next, use drafting dots to holdthe the rectangles together. I like to use a dot to hold the 4 corners together where they intersect, as well as, on the sides. I love drafting dots because the are easy to reposition and are reusable if you want to do that.
    9. Once you have your dots holding your pattern rectangles together, it is time to trace your size of the pattern. I prefer to trace my patterns on to freezer paper.
    10. Roll out a piece of freezer paper the length of your pattern. For the pattern I am doing, I need 2 pieces one for each pattern piece.IMG_2306
    11. Work with on pattern piece at a time. Use a few drafting dots to hold you freezer paper to the pattern and make sure the shiny side of the freezer paper in facing down!
    12. Repeat for how ever many pattern pieces you may have. Smaller pattern pieces can be fit on the same piece of freezer paper.
    13. Now trace your size. The freezer paper is quite transparent and you should easily be able to see through it.
    14. Make sure to transfer all the pattern piece information and markings.
    15. Now using paper scissors cut out the freezer paper pattern pieces and go cut out your fabric.


Where to buy the supplies I use:

Freezer paper is sold at grocery stores. I typically pay around 3.50 a box. Call ahead to make sure they carry it. Some do not.

Drafting Dots can be bought at office supply stores or online. I buy them at the school I work at and pay around 4.00 a box. The box last a while and they can be reused if you are frugal.

Paper cutter most anywhere office supply, or Target. I have had mine a long time 10+ years. No idea how much it cost but is one of my favorite office supplies.


These are affiliate links below,so you can see what I use. The prices are a little more than I pay for drafting dots and freezer paper but it is nice to have it delivered to your door.

note: This is not my exact drafting dots or paper cutter but are similar.

1 Comment on PDF Sewing Pattern Prep Made Easy!

  1. Shayna
    April 28, 2015 at 4:16 pm (3 years ago)

    This is a great idea. I bet it would work even better with the printable freezer paper designed for quilting appliqué (though more expensive). You wouldn’t have to transfer anything at all!


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