I’m interested in hearing people’s experiences, thoughts and suggestions about the supply of PDF patterns – and I think people are interested in talking about it too.
I’m not talking about the companies, independent vs Big 4, their designs, grading, ease or sizing… just simply the supply of PDF patterns.
Over the Christmas break I decided to sew a shirt using a PDF pattern I’d purchased in a sale. It turned out I didn’t sew that shirt as I couldn’t stomach sticking together 40+ A4 pages on an exceptionally hot summer afternoon.
I decided to clean my sewing room instead. It’s interesting that I considered my time was better invested spending days tidying my sewing room rather than sticking together A4 pages on one afternoon. I think that’s because no one else could/would tidy my sewing room but there are other ways a pattern can be supplied or printed.
I posted on Instagram, curious how other people felt about PDF patterns, how many disliked the A4/letter assembly… was I just precious?
The post generated over 180 comments. Some people love pdfs, some loathe them and others lie in that 50/50 camp of love/hate. And for some, such as myself, the love is conditional on how the print file is supplied.
I do like PDFs as storage isn’t an issue until you print them. I usually trace them off & read the instructions on my phone/iPad or print the instructions (if I feel I need them) in booklet format to save paper. I rarely keep the actual printed pattern once it’s traced.
I do like paper patterns and have an extensive collection. However with some paper patterns I’ve purchased online I often pay at least $10 postage in addition to the cost of the pattern. I can print an A0 sheet for $4.10. So in some cases the cost is much the same.
PDF A4 (or US letter) assembly patterns
I have tried glue, sticky tape, a paper trimmer, using a huge window, doing them in sections. I can do it quickly, efficiently and precisely. That’s not my issue. It’s not that I can’t do it – I loathe doing it. Like many people, I am time poor and I have become very ruthless with how I allocate my time. I’m also quite intolerant of having my time treated as ‘disposable’.
I’m OK with about 15 or so pages. I think once you reach in excess of 25 pages, as a business you may like to consider the customer experience of the pattern.
I think there will always been a need to supply A4/letter print formats – the availability of this type of printer is widely available & often in the home or workplace.
Some people do not have access to commercial large format printers. So the choice will always be paper patterns (commercial or independent) or using their home printer for smaller A4 or US letter sheets.
I don’t print my patterns at work. I print at home or use Officeworks (a chain stationary store that also supplies printing services) for large format printing. I have a strong preference for PDF patterns that are provided in A0 format. I dislike patterns that require me to find a commercial printer with a plotter – the patterns which require ‘roll printing’. They are often located in professional design/engineering offices that often don’t supply printing as a normal business service so that in itself is cumbersome to navigate – and frankly… I can’t be bothered.
Here in Australia, many larger regional centres and most city areas have access to a stationary supplies chain store Officeworks which offers A0 printing services for $4.10 per sheet. I know it’s not the case for everyone but I’d rather pay that & I have my time back.
I understand the ‘immediate satisfaction’ that some love, being able to print & immediately start sewing. I tend to plan in advance due to my limited time to sew. So that for me isn’t an issue.
I have been contacted by a few designers since that Instagram post. And one of the things that stuck in my mind from those emails and messages was that some companies hadn’t considered the end-user experience or how we might access printing for PDF patterns.
They also inquired what printing was available. From the instagram comments, it’s evident that printing is largely dependent on location in a metro or regional area – and country.
I did think about creating a Google Forms document to collate the data – however I’m not in the business of advising companies how to run their businesses. I just see this as a discussion forum. If they are interested (and the response to the Instagram posts indicates they are) they can read your comments.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that a company has a target market and will supply their product accordingly. If they aren’t interested in growing their market share by modifying their product to suit the needs of a new set of customers – that’s absolutely fine. It’s their business.
How you would like your PDF files supplied? What’s your country of residence, printing costs/availability and file type preferences?
Note: I have no financial interest or affiliation with any pattern company. I’m also not in the business of advising pattern companies. This is simply a sewing community discussion.
… I’m going to let this discussion run its course so I may not reply to every comment. I’ll be reading them though. I’ve got a lot going on right now so if I’m quiet that’s why.