Top Tip: Use Trouser Hangers to Hang your PDF Patterns

I have a love hate relationship with PDF Patterns. I love the fact that you can download them in an instant without having to wait for the post. They are cheaper than print patterns. In fact there are many that are free to download! Whoop! If you mess them up in some way, you can just print a new one. They allow indie pattern designers to get their designs out there without the huge investment of time and money that a printed pattern line would entail. And I’m all for indie pattern designers.

On the downside, they are time consuming  and often fiddly to put together AND they don’t come with a pattern envelope to keep everything neatly stored together. Add to that that pdf patterns are printed on normal printer paper and well, they don’t fold up that great either. Pressing creases out of printer paper is not as easy as pressing a tissue pattern, amirght?! This is how I store my pdf patterns….

top tip - hanging paper and pdf patterns

Good old trouser hangers. I can keep the pattern pieces all together. The instruction pages clip in there too. The pieces are easy to find , and there are no folds to press. That means I can get to the sewing part quicker because I haven’t got to faff with pressing my patterns flat every time I want to use them. Getting to the sewing part quicker always makes me happy!

Do you use PDF patterns? Love em or hate em? And how do you store yours? Please share!

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19 Comments

  1. Vicky Gorry March 16, 2015

    I recently spent almost 2 hours painstakingly taping together a PDF pattern, which used up all of the time I had to devote to sewing that week, only to discover that my lovely husband had printed it off without checking that it was printing the right scale…. Yep, should have checked that first, I know, but it’s put me off PDFs for a while. It was a free one (Colette’s Aberdeen) and it’s a fairly relaxed fit, so I might be able to fudge it a bit using a larger size to make up for the 1/4″ lost in printing. We’ll see. Next time I’ll try the print shop option, where they can print it up on gigantic paper. More expensive, but much easier.

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      Aw man! How annoying! Print shops are great. Sadly we don’t have one so masking tape a guillotine and A4 paper it is for me, lol!

      Reply
  2. cynthia March 16, 2015

    I haven’t used pdf patterns but something I do with tissue patterns that I use frequently might be helpful to you. Trace them onto lightweight interfacing. It is much more durable than tissue and you can fold them up and store them in a quart size Ziploc bag. Print a pic to tape on the front of the bag so you will know what is inside

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      Nice! A similar idea is to iron fusible interfacing onto the back of your tissue pattern. Saves the tracing! Px

      Reply
  3. Constance Jackson March 16, 2015

    I use large binder clips. The kind that you have to squeeze and then have the silver things you push down to secure. I leave one of the silver things up and use that to hang from a clip on the wall.

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      Nice! Similar principle 🙂 Saves all the ironing of paper!

      Reply
  4. Hélène March 16, 2015

    PDF patterns are great if you want to get them right away and usually they are less expensive than the paper version. I prefer to have them printed at the print shop. It is not so expensive. For storing them, I like to roll them with an elastic, but your idea to use a hanger is great. I shall try it out.

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      I’d say rolling is the next best thing if there’s no space for hanging! Thanks Helene 🙂 Px

      Reply
  5. Marilla March 16, 2015

    I love PDF’s (obvs) and clip the pieces together with a bulldog clip which hangs off a butchers hook on a wall rail thingy. I store them like this if I use them regularly, but once I’m done for a while it all gets folded and stored in an A3 document folder. 🙂

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      I like your pdfs 🙂 Still have my Maya to blog!

      Reply
  6. Rosemary March 16, 2015

    I love PDF’s. Sometimes it’s the only way to get the independent patterns. I like to do puzzles so I don’t mind taping the pages together while I watch TV.

    I use to hang all my patterns on hangers now I fold the pieces in place each pattern in it’s own folder and file the folders in a file boxes according to type: tops, dresses, jackets, and misc: active wear, skirts and pants. So if I want to make a top, I just look in the top box and the patterns are in the box by companies. I use to work in a library.

    Reply
    • portia March 16, 2015

      Lol, the library background sounds like it comes in handy! I wish I could be that organised! I can get everything organised fine….but keeping it that way? That’s another matter!

      Reply
  7. Alison March 17, 2015

    I really hate PDF patterns. I don’t like taping them together and I think it’s hard to pin the paper to my fabric (vs tissue paper patterns). I always jab my fingers when I’m trying to pin and then I bleed all over everything….Ew. If given the option, I will pay more money for the tissue paper and so that I don’t have to print out and tape all those pages together.

    Side Note: Printer ink is so expensive – I wonder if the cost of ink makes up the price difference between PDF and printed patterns. It may actually be cheaper to pay “more” for printed patterns…

    Reply
    • portia March 17, 2015

      I hear you on all points Alison! Of course we could trace the pattern onto tissue paper but that takes even longer! Gah! I’m with you Alison. I would rather pay the extra for a print pattern if it’s available…but if I like the design enough I’ll go with a pdf.

      Reply
  8. Nathalie March 17, 2015

    I keep my PDF patterns folded in plastic envelopes in a spiral binder. I fold the PDF pieces on the lines where I tape them together. That way I don’t make extra creases.

    Reply
  9. Giselle March 28, 2015

    I only just started to use pdf downloads. The first pattern was great so far! I really love that you can get them customised to your measurements, even to the point of advanced options like short-waisted etc.
    I don’t put pins through printer paper: it would distort the fabric underneath too much. It also takes long and I keep pricking my fingers way too much already. I use pattern weights (glass tile drinks coasters work fab!) and a rotary cutter. You could use books or food tins as well.
    I printed off some labels with the pattern graphic and number on it and stuck that to the main pattern pieces and instruction sheet: so easy to see which pattern it is. I have lost tissue pattern pieces before (I just found one today, had to google which pattern it was for, now I have to hunt down that pattern envelope to re-unite them! Oh darn)

    Reply
  10. kathryn April 26, 2015

    What I do can take a little more time but I find its well worth it. I use a guillotine cutter and get my pages taped, it works best for ones that have multiple sizes on one printout, then I lay wax paper over it amd trace the size needed then cut it out. I store these on hangers on the wall. The original pages get rolled up and store for when I need to get another size. I file them by type of garment so I just go to the box I want. The advantage of the wax paper is that you can iron it to your fabric and then cut. It doesn’t move at all and it works great for slippery fabrics. Once cut just peel it off and you can use it over and over. It has saved my life with slippery fabrics.

    Reply
    • portia April 26, 2015

      Oooh I like that idea!

      Reply
  11. aristocrathomewares July 27, 2015

    Many garments look their best when hung on proper hangers in closets that … And trousers hang nicely over the sturdy rods of wooden hangers

    Reply

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