Just a bit more prep work before we can start the muslin!
PDF Pattern Storage Folder Strategy
I like to save all my sewing patterns to my Dropbox, you could also use Google Drive, iCloud or just save them to your hard drive. The thing I like about uploading to Dropbox is I can also easily access my PDF patterns while on-the-go, like when I’m at the store and forgot how much yardage a pattern calls for or which elastic size I was supposed to grab.
My main folder is called
z Sewing Patterns in my Dropbox, starts with z so that it’s consistently at the bottom of the list. In that folder I have folders named
Pajama & Swim,
Bras and Undies etc. Within each of those, I have folders named for the patterns with a 1-3 word description (as needed) the pattern maker in parenthesis. So this one would go:
Dropbox > z Sewing Patterns > Tops > Brunch Blouse - Woven Tank Top (P4P)
So far I have found this to be a good way to organize my PDF patterns without having to remember logins and re-dowload files.
Lots of people smarter than I have written & made videos much better on this topic than I can. All I can chime in is: you only need the measurements the pattern calls for, in this case, in the chart on page 3: upper arm, upper bust, bust, waist and hip. I like to measure myself in the bra/undies I want to wear under the top for going out. If I measure myself in a Sunday/pandemic lounging bralette – that top is going to fit me differently than my date night bra.
Measurement Quick Reference:
- Bust is the apex, or largest measurement at your bust line, measured level around your body at that apex.
- Upper Bust is the measurement above your bust line.
- Waist is your natural waist (not your navel), there’s a trick using an elastic to find this or by bending sideways.
- Hips is deceptively named! It’s your largest bottom measurement, which on most of us, is out butt, a few inches below the hip bone.
- Upper Arm for this pattern I measured the widest part of my upper arm.
There is a post over on The Fold Line that outlines how to measure yourself and includes a free printable chart for you to jot your measurements down for quick reference! The Sewing Pattern Tutorials 9: Measuring yourself
Match up your measurements with a size in the chart on page 3. If you cross multiple sizes I’d suggest going with the larger. To understand the “fit” of the garment you can look at the “finished” measurements. If you’re close to the line on just one measurement for a size, you can check the fit and gauge if that will be comfortable for you or if you need to size/grade up or down.
We may mark multiple sizes on the muslin, before sewing it, in order to make adjustments easier and transfer them more accurately.
Print the pattern at home
When a pattern is large enough type, I like to print instructions booklet style and stitch up the middle. In my opinion, this pattern doesn’t really fit that bill. With patterns by Pattern for Pirates I tend to print instruction pages at “fit to page” with double sided printing to conserve paper.
When it comes to printing the pattern pages the pages that fit the configuration you want to make. You can see what pages those are in the printing guide on page 2. It is IMPORTANT to print at 100% scale. These are my settings. You may need to adjust for your computer and printer.
Make sure you don’t leave double sided printing on 🤦♀️
You’ll then want to measure the 1″ or 2″ reference square with a hard ruler. Quilting ruler or desk ruler work great for this.
If the reference square is not the correct size, STOP; there’s a printing problem. Do not proceed; it will be a disaster. Solve the printing problem first then start taping & cutting.
Size Tip: Like many other modern indie patterns, the Brunch Blouse comes with layers so you can print only your size or just the two/three sizes you need to grade between. Below is an example from a different pattern, the Around the Block Hoodie.
Then, Tape Together the Pattern
The pattern shows the assembly on page 3. Line things up and tape them together like a science fair project.
When I’m done assembling I typically flip it over and tape some strategic corners and edges so they don’t get caught while I separate pieces.
Or instead…Copy Shop Printing!
This pattern includes an A0 copy shop printing file. Just put it on a thumb drive and bring it to a copy shop (or call and ask about email options for curbside pickup, cause 2020). If you do this you don’t need to print and tape at home.
Sometimes, due to cost, I treat the copyshop scrolls as a sacred original and trace sizes onto Swedish tracing paper or Pellon 830 Easy Pattern Tracing Paper. The Ella pattern fits snugly on one A0 piece and is relatively inexpensive if you decide to reprint. It’s a matter of personal preference.
If you’re looking for online printing, PDF Plotting.com is the sewing community’s go-to-site to use. They’re fast, cheap and ship in tubes/triangle packages which are also a great for storage of the scrolls.
Cutting Pattern Pieces
I use scissors that are dedicated to paper – same ones I use for wrapping paper and paper crafts. It’s very important to not use your fabric scissors on paper but really, you can use whatever scissors you want on your pattern paper as long as it cuts and does not shred.
I first rough cut the pieces to separate them from the whole printed sheet. When the pieces are rough cut and separated, that’s where I would make grading adjustments, if I needed them. Then, I cut right on the line of the size I’m cutting.
If you make adjustments you should add notes and the date to your pattern to indicate what you did. YOU WILL NOT REMEMBER NEXT TIME. That is a lie we tell ourselves. Some people keep sewing journals. I take notes, add it to my bullet journal sometimes and occasionally write blog posts so I can include photos and share it with the world.
Next up: Making a Muslin