Thursday, November 28, 2013

PDF Pattern Assembly Tips (Oh, and a minor disaster!)...

So, my Andy Coat is under way. PDF assembled, pieces traced and toile/muslin cut out. Next on the agenda was to machine the shell of my toile and check the fit. That is, if it hadn't have been for my machine's motor seizing after a fabric chewing incident!! Luckily this was my toile fabric and not my gorgeous boiled wool!! Try as I might to clear the obstruction (which I did in the end) I still wasn't able to get her going again. Just that buzzing sound when I pressed the foot pedal. I don't have anyone locally who can repair her so have had to send her off to the manufacturer (luckily still under warranty). The upshot of this is, my sewing hands are kinda tied at the moment which means Andy has been put on hold until I get my machine back :(
On the upside...I have allowed myself to start playing with my new overlocker (the results of which I'll share shortly. Suffice to say I'm addicted!) and have had to revert to my refashioning roots (and some hand sewing) to sort out my winter coat dilemma now that Andy is temporarily on hold. (Also to be shared soon :)

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a few little tips I use when assembling a PDF pattern. Let's face it, PDF's are a bit of a time consuming faff. I'm not a big fan of them on more complex patterns. (Andy's an exception because I love her and am prepared to put the effort into that particular relationship!) But they are convenient in the sense that you can get your hands on your pattern without waiting for shipping, and depending on the level of simplicity inherent in the pattern, they can even be quite quick to assemble. But my main issue with them is the margin for error when assembling and lining up all the pieces. No matter how many PDF's I assemble, I never get them spot on. Unless the pattern is really simple/basic. BUT, there are a few tips that I employ to get them as accurately assembled as I can. First up is the test square. When you print a PDF you always print it with "no scaling". We all know that. But juuuuuust in case there's even a smidgen of doubt that you checked that box before clicking print....always worth checking the test square before going to all the effort of assembling the thing...

Next lay out your pattern pieces in the correct places. This part is comprised of 2 horizontal rows; each of 3 x A4 sheets...

I assemble my PDF's in horizontal rows. Starting with the bottom row here, numbered 1-3...

I slice the right hand margin of pages 1 & 2...

Like so...

Page 1 (on the left) has no right hand margin. Page 2 (on the right of the pic) retains it's left hand margin...now they can overlap and line up perfectly :)

Apply glue to the left hand margin of page 2; then overlap page 1 onto and up to this margin line, making sure everything is lined up...

TIP: Sometimes all the wiggling around and lining up takes a few tries, during which time the glue can lose some of it's stickiness. The heat from a dry iron placed over the join will reactivate the glue and allow it another chance to adhere properly...

Bottom row done...repeat with the next row up...and so on until all rows are completed...

Then it's just a question of joining horizontal rows together....in the same way as the individual sheets...

So the top row of sheets still has it's margin. The bottom row has had the margin trimmed off from along it's top edge to allow them to overlap and line up...

Et voila!  The only part slightly out of kilter is where the top of what was page 3, joins the row above. Like I said, I never get it completely perfect! But that little corner of that one pattern piece is easily rectified. For starters I wanted to trace the light grey lines; and that only overlaps by a few mm on that join and is only out of kilter by about 2mm. So when I trace, I simply "true" or blend those lines and it's problem solved :)

TIP:  I reinforce the joins on the back of my pattern sheet, with masking tape for extra stability, once everything is in place...

Do you have any great tips on PDF assembly? Marie did an interesting post about it as part of her sewalong for Named's Dakota dress. Worth checking out!

6 comments :

  1. Thanks for the tips! I've just been trying to piece together patterns with tape alone, but I like your process of using glue and then reinforcing with tape at the back. This will be very helpful on my next go!

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  2. brilliant tips, thank you. I am a newbie to pdf patterns and although I have brought a couple, I have never printed them off! I feel braver now...

    http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Portia, I just tape mine loosely, but accurately, then put cheap pattern tracing paper over it and trace it off. That means that I can retrace a different size next time. It takes no time at all. I do love your tip of using heat to reactivate glue though, genius!!!

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  4. I'm sooo glad to hear I'm not the only one with issues with the pdf patterns. I spent all of yesterday assembling and preparing the Andy pattern - I really hope it's worth it in the end. Please pass my wishes for a speedy recovery on to your sewing machine. I know it's hard when a close friend is ill!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I've just been trying to piece together patterns with tape alone, but I like your process of using glue and then reinforcing with tape at the back.
    Ukash

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  6. Thanks for sharing your tips on putting the patterns together...ive been avoiding buying the pdf patterns. Hope you have your machine back. Sure do miss reading your posts.

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