Troubleshooting PDF Printing

PDF patterns can be daunting but once you get the hang of using them, they are great and in fact, I now prefer them to paper patterns. If you are having trouble figuring out how to print your pattern, which files to choose, putting your pattern together or if your pattern is printing out strangely and/or some of the pages just won't print, please have a look at the steps below.

  1. Make sure you are using Google Chrome or Firefox as your browser. 
  2. Open the files using the latest version of Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader (you can download them for free).
  3. When you download the pattern files, save them to your computer so you don't have to search for the link to download them again. 
  4. The files you need depend on whether you are going to print them on your home computer or have them printed at a copy shop. There are a lot of files so it is confusing but I include both Standard Fit and Curvy Fit sizes with your purchase and that makes for quite a few files to choose from. Choose which fit you want (let's say Standard for example) and then download the Standard sizes 00 - 20 INSTRUCTIONS, and whatever pattern version you need. The PRINT AT HOME PATTERN is the one that is tiled and you print it on your home computer on letter paper or A4 size paper and then piece it together using tape. The U.S. COPYSHOP PATTERN file is one you can send to a print shop that offers large scale printing that is 36" wide and however long your pattern page happens to be. If any pieces are too long for the A0 size paper, they usually fit on this long length paper, however, this type of printing is usually limited to the U.S. hence the name. The A0 COPYSHOP PATTERN file is for print shops that print on A0 size paper 841mm X 1189mm (typical of overseas print shops but are becoming very common in the U.S. as well). 
  5. The more recent layered files include a one page file that explains how to use layers in Acrobat. This allows you to turn off the sizes you don't want to print so you can just print the sizes you plan to use. However, some of my older files are not in layers so this file is only included with the layered files. 
  6. If you are printing from home, open the "PRINT AT HOME PATTERN" file in Acrobat or Foxit Reader. Then send the file to print and be sure that your printer is set at 100% scale not fit to page or any other scale. This is very important because if the scale is wrong, your size and fit will be all wrong. You can test this out by printing only the first page of the pattern that includes a box with measurements on it. Measure that box after printing and if it is to scale, go ahead and print the rest of the pattern. If your print out doesn't have margins on two of the sides, try the Poster setting in Acrobat when you open your print screen. Also, the first two (sometimes three) pages contain information about what pages to print for the various style versions as well as how to tape your pattern together. You could just view these pages on your screen and not print them out if you don't need them. Once you have printed the pages, you will see that there are borders on each page. Trim along the edges of two adjacent borders. Trim the same two borders on each page. Then tape the trimmed page to the next page, overlapping the next pages untrimmed border and tape together. The pages also have numbers and symbols to help you line up the borders. 
  7. Occasionally I have customers who can't get a few pages of their file to print. I have even had two customers who had phantom pages print with old versions of the pattern showing up on top of the correct pattern. This is rare but it is due to a computer memory issue. If this happens to you, clear the cache/cookies from your computer and if that still doesn't work, turn off one or more layers of your pattern file. It only seems to happen with layered files because they take more memory to communicate with your printer.
  8. If you'd like to send your pattern file to a copy shop, here are some printers in the U.S. where you can send the pattern files and they will mail you a printed pattern so you don't have to do any cutting and taping. 
    PDF Plotting
    Stitch Sew Shop
    Brooklyn Motif Printing
    Pattern Review for members
    Pattern Printing Company
    Blueprints Printing

       

      The Cashmerette has a blog post about pdf printing with some links to copy shops around the world. You can check that out here

      I hope this all helps. It seems like a lot to remember but it really is quite easy once you dive into it.

      Happy sewing!