Home generalEverything about patterns - instructions, tips and tricks

Everything about patterns - instructions, tips and tricks

  • patterns
    • Paper pattern
    • EBook / PDF Download
    • Handling of patterns
  • storage
    • In folders
    • cabinet order

Anyone who has a sewing hobby knows that many things have to be considered. Of course it starts with the right choice of fabric, the right sewing thread and suitable needles for the sewing machine. But it can only start with a pattern.

New sewing beginners always resort to prefabricated patterns at the beginning. Because designing and designing such patterns requires a lot of knowledge and creativity. If you prefer to leave it to the professionals, you have a wide range of ready-made patterns to choose from. On blogs and websites are always offered free patterns. In special sewing magazines you get these as an encore. In the course of time, quite a few patterns, or SM for short, accumulate. Now the question arises how best to deal with these. How and where to keep them and which tips and tricks help to work better and faster with you. This guidebook is intended to provide information about this and certainly holds some interesting and unknown hints open for one or the other sewing enthusiast.


Type of pattern

Sewing patterns are available in different sizes and shapes. And that's not just the clothing sizes meant, but the SM itself.

There are:

  • pre-made paper cut patterns and
  • SM as e-book or PDF

Now it can be assumed that there is no big difference behind it. However, the effort and the work with the various SM differ in some cases considerably.

Paper pattern

Such a SM is usually found in newspapers, but now more and more designers are printing their patterns in this form and sell.


  • no extra glue
  • do not print errors by "wrong" (see below)


  • more expensive than e-book, partially sold out
  • must wait for shipping
  • SM for each size must be copied out (see later)

EBook / PDF Download

In times of digitization, this field has increased enormously. The cuts are simply bought and downloaded online. Many designers offer their patterns both in paper and as an e-book.


  • directly available, no wait
  • cheaper than paper SM


  • The pattern must first be glued and then cut out in the appropriate size, or you can copy it out
  • Page customization error in print may cause fit errors
  • Cost by pressure and gluing

Advantages and disadvantages almost outweigh each other. Here everyone has to decide for themselves which variety works better. And what resources are available to one.

Tip: You do not have a printer at home "> Attention: Some SM are only available in ONE of the two variants, if it is necessary to have this SM, you have to get involved in the respective variant.

Handling of patterns

Dealing with the paper cut pattern

The paper pattern comes already "ready" to you. This means annoying sticking falls away. On a sheet are all sizes for the selected garment. In magazines, these patterns are usually a bit confusing at the beginning. Here you should look for a legend. The different lines then show you which pattern belongs to which garment.

Attention: Paper patterns should never be cut. Often, many patterns are on a sheet of paper (paper size A1), so if you grab the scissors here, you cut out only one of the available patterns, but the others are then "cut". The composition need unnecessary time and is almost impossible with small parts.

How to proceed correctly:

  • Paper SM unfolded lying down in front of you
  • search the line for required garment / required clothing size
  • choose a colorful pen (highlighter)
  • trace the lines of the selected size

This is how you keep track of the jumble of lines. This procedure is particularly suitable for patterns from magazines. Because these usually involve several cuts on one side, to different garments. And also in different sizes.

Many designers make it easier for you. They sell single paper SM to just one garment. So you just have to choose your own size and do not have to pay attention to other cuts. In addition, the designers usually create colorful prints. That means the different clothing sizes are already in different colors.

Example: clothing size 36 is outlined with a light blue line, clothing size 38 with yellow, clothing size 40 with red ... etc.

Tip: Pay attention to the type of line. Whether paper SM, magazine or e-book. For simplicity, the lines of sizes are often designed differently. Here size 36 is a solid line (_______________), size 38 consists of the order dot-dot-dash (..-..-..-..-..-..-..-..-..- ) and size 40 consists of a dash-dot combination (__ ... __ ... __ ... __ ... __ ...).

Dealing with e-books

The e-book lands after your purchase (usually directly after the payment) in your e-mail inbox. Sometimes there is only a link that will take you to the download page.

Attention: Some of these links have an expiration date. This is often mentioned in the terms and conditions or terms of use. It is best to download the e-book immediately after purchase after the link has been provided. Otherwise the code will expire and you will have to pay the ebook again.

This note is of course only for the links. If the e-book is sent to you directly, you can leave it in the e-mail compartment.

Better: download it as quickly as possible and save it on an external medium or in your cloud. So it is also in the case of a PC crash or similar. not lost.

In order to be able to unpack an e-book SM, you will need some software and a PDF reader. These can be downloaded for free on the Internet. You should also note that a PC and a printer are essential for this. Although you can now view and open most ebooks via your smartphone, some require a PC or a tablet, as some programs are not compatible with some smartphones. In the e-book (usually packed in a zip file) there are often several files in PDF format. It is useful to print all. This is not just the pattern, but also a detailed step-by-step guide.

How to proceed correctly:

  • unzip the zip file
  • Open and print the individual PDFs

Attention: Read the instructions carefully BEFORE . In 95% of cases you will need to adjust the print setting before printing. For this you usually have to print the "actual size". However, most printers automatically choose "Customize." However, important millimeters can be lost. More details can be found in the respective instructions.

After printing, you can glue the SM together. Information about this can be found in the manual. Often, you will first have to cut away a small edge (usually the right and bottom edges). Then glue the SM together at these edges. Then you have to cut out or copy out your size.


This term is understood as follows. Everyone has already copied something once. In doing so, a duplicate of an original is made. The word can also be understood as a pause. A transparent film is placed on the SM and the lines of the required size are drawn. This is what you can do with a paper cut pattern, but it is applicable to e-books. Then you can cut his size and use again and again.

You can use different slides for this:

  • baking paper
  • Painting film from the hardware store
  • correct pattern film (available online or in the fabric shop of your choice)

Among the sewing professionals, the popular Swedish paper or "Swedish Tracing Paper" is used again and again. It lies however in the more expensive price segment.

Tip: The paper should always be clear so that you can see the lines to tighten.

You also need a pencil to retighten the lines, or a copy wheel.

With the copy wheel, proceed as follows:

  • the pattern is on the copy paper
  • simply tighten the lines with the wheel
  • it creates a dividing line
  • then simply remove the SM on the foil (only suitable for thin foil)

So that you do not slip during the copying, the different layers should be attached. For example, use pins.


Easy storage by copying out

If you mainly use SM for printing yourself, you should not do without copying out. Because the thin glued together paper tears at the glue dots by frequent unfolding often. To avoid this you should transfer the "prototype" of your SM to one of the above mentioned slides. So you have no glue edges. The SM can be folded so easily. Although this is usually time consuming but later helps with storage and saves you any extra work when the SM tears on the adhesive edge and must be completely reprinted and glued together.

In folders

Storage of patterns - Storage in folders

When storing patterns, there is actually no "right or wrong". Over time, everyone will find the optimal option for themselves. Here are just a few tips and hints, which could facilitate the storage.

Ring folder:

  • create a ring binder for a clothing category eg T-shirts, trousers, clothes ...
  • on the folder back, the category can be easily noted
  • each pattern comes in a plastic wrap (or more, depending on size)
  • Divide individual SM with the help of partial cards
  • label the partial cards with the name of the respective SM

Fan folders: (mostly available in A4)

  • Here too a folder for a category
  • in each compartment comes a SM (usually about 13 compartments per folder)
  • in the upper openings comes the name of the SM

Tip: Try to create folders in different colors. So you can distinguish them better. On a tab, you can then list which color stands for which category. This makes sorting and storage even easier!

cabinet order

  • one category per subject
  • note on an index card which SM are in this subject
  • best sort of AZ or similar
  • Glue on the outside of each compartment small bookmark markers with the respective category

Toilet paper rolls (also kitchen rolls):

  • one pattern per roll
  • label the role with the name of the SM
  • the rolls can also be painted / pasted
  • You can divide large kitchen rolls 2 to 3 times
  • Roll up the pattern and push it into the roll - done!

Of course, the space available to you also plays a role. In addition, extra cabinets are expensive. Folder you get usually cheap in a double pack or more. Toilet paper or kitchen paper rolls usually fall into every household as "residual waste".

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