E-Patterns Explained

epattern 200x300 E Patterns ExplainedMany of the patterns available on the Sew News site are e-patterns. These PDF patterns are designed to easily download and print on 8 1/2” x 11” paper.  That said, if you are new to the e-pattern world they might seem a bit daunting at first. Consult this guide to familiarize yourself and further your e-pattern expertise.

Downloading the patterns is relatively painless. On the Sew News site you will find a link to the pattern. The link will provide the pattern either in the web browser window you are reading the site in, or in a new window or tab of your browser. To view the pattern you will need Adobe PDF reader installed on your computer (if you don’t have Adobe reader, download it for free here). Once you are looking at the pattern you can choose to save it to your computer using the disk icon in the top left corner or by choosing “save page as” from the drop down browser menu. Saving the file to your computer will keep it on hand for later use or if there is a printing error you have a copy to work from that isn’t on the internet. Other sites might require you place the free pattern in your shopping cart or basket and proceed through a checkout where you pay for the pattern. Sometimes the pattern will be emailed to you. Whatever method you use make sure to save the pattern to your computer before proceeding.

Open your newly downloaded e-pattern and take a moment to read it. Many e-patterns offer a brief explanation of how to use them either as an accompanying booklet or in the pattern itself. If you are provided directions, by all means follow them. Check to see if your e-pattern has a test square that is 1”x1” to confirm that your printout will match the scale of the original pattern. Print this page first and measure the result, if your ruler confirms that it is 1”x1” then your printer is ready to rock. If not you will need to scale your e-pattern up or down depending on the difference you find upon printing.

Go ahead and print the e-pattern making sure to print at 100% or “no scale.” Some e-patterns offer a “print at a copy shop” method that is suitable for commercial printers. If yours doesn’t do not despair, your pattern is designed for your home printer. The e-patterns on Sew News are designed to be printed on pages that you must first tape together, and then cut along the pattern cutting lines. Other e-patterns print pieces on 8 1/2” x 11” that you cut out first, and then assemble. Determine which type you have before cutting.  A few of the larger patterns on Sew News provide a layout guide that is available for you to study as you piece your pattern together. This chart is helpful but not always necessary. It is more important to understand the numbers printed in the top left corner of the pattern pieces to assemble the puzzle.

Sew News patterns are laid out on a grid and each page’s position on the grid is described in the numbers in the top left corner. The first page of the pattern will be labeled (1,1) this means that this piece is in column 1 and row 1 of the grid. The first number refers to the column the second number refers to the row.  For example, page (3,2) would be the third column and second row. This diagram shows how the numbers designate the manner in which the pages are laid out in Sew News e-patterns.Epattern layout 300x300 E Patterns ExplainedUse the corner guides to align the pages. Most paper is thin enough that you can line up the page guides in good light by keeping the “L” shapes atop one another. The larger “L” shapes designate the outside corner of the specific sheet of paper you are using. The center straight lines will be atop one another as you line up each piece.  If you are having trouble aligning the pages try drawing a diagonal line across the center lines and cutting across the line of one of the pages. This way you can see the lines on the page below.

pattern photo 225x300 E Patterns ExplainedConstruct the full pattern using removable tape in case you need to reposition a piece as you go. Once all the pieces are together, cut out your pattern and start your project.

Other resources:

Sew, Mama, Sew! How to Buy & Use PDF Patterns

Sew, Mama, Sew! How to Print & Assemble PDF Patterns

Watch for the “All About E-Patterns” article in the Dec/Jan ’13 issue of Sew News.

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