If you enjoy designing apparel, accessories, and accents with your sewing machine, you’re probably accustomed to using printed patterns. Though these traditional templates are essential guides for the finished project, modern PDF patterns are rapidly emerging as the more convenient option for sewing enthusiasts. Here’s what you should know about this digitized alternative to the print pattern.

What Are PDF Patterns?

sewing machine

“PDF” stands for portable document format or a type of document that electronic devices like computers and tablets can open. Unlike printed patterns, which are pieces of tissue paper packaged in envelopes, a PDF pattern is simply an electronic version of the same thing. You’ll receive the pattern in a ZIP file, which you must unzip to access the contents. 

This typically consists of two pattern versions, including one that you can print at home and one that can be printed at a copy shop. The distinction is important because if you print them at a copy shop, the pattern will print on just a couple of large paper sheets. But at home, it will print on multiple pages, which you must then hold together with matte tape to create the full pattern. Either option can work depending on your process. The ZIP file also contains instructions for using your sewing machine to make the pattern.

What Are the Advantages?  

For avid sewers, the greatest advantage is the sheer variety. There are many different PDF patterns available, so you can easily make a wide range of products. Unlike printed patterns, you don’t have to place an order and wait for it to arrive by mail or visit a retailer to purchase them. You can simply download it and print it out right away. 

PDF patterns also make it easy to create different sizes of the same item. You can simply reprint the pattern repeatedly, unlike print patterns that require you to cut the size into the tissue paper. It can be tricky to reuse the same pattern over and over again. Going digital spares you that challenge. You’ll also save space since you can simply print your pattern when you’re ready instead of storing batches of patterns around your sewing machine.


If you’re seeking new patterns or in the market for a new sewing machine, visit Dothan Sewing Center in Alabama. The area’s leading craft store for all things sewing, they carry an extensive range of products to help make your design dreams a reality. Visit them online for more information, or call (334) 794-3177 to speak with a representative.