- Instant gratification. You don't have to run out to a store or wait for it to arrive via snail mail. I want it, then it's on my computer, ready to go
- Multiple prints. How many of you trace your clothing patterns so that you can make them in multiple sizes? I do that. It's extra work. With PIY patterns you just print it off for every size. Or, let's say you're not being careful and you accidentally cut the pattern or nick off a corner. No problem, print off another copy!
- (Potentially) Less paper. I don't actually print off the instructions, I just read them from my computer or phone. If you feel the need to print, do it double sided (except for pattern pieces). For my printer that means printing odd pages, then feeding them back through and printing even pages.
- Lower cost. Have you even seen how much professional pattern printing costs? Even for basic stuff, it gets pricey. With PIY patterns, you still save money (even with your own ink and paper costs). And the designer doesn't have to invest lots of $$ upfront, meaning they can keep working on fun new patterns!
- Harder to lose, easier to store. Unless your computer crashes, you have that awesome digital copy that you can always go back to. And create organized folders to sort everything. Even better, you can burn your patterns to a CD, just to be sure that they aren't going anywhere.
I have 4 tools that I think are imperative for PIY patterns:
- straight edge - I just use my smallest rotary ruler. This is used for cutting straight edges of your pattern
- paper scissors - All my paper scissors have black handles; my fabric scissors have orange handles. There's no reason for confusion by others living with me. I use scissors for the curvy bits or for small patterns
- paper rotary cutter - My paper rotary cutter is pink (and it was super cheap), my fabric rotary cutter is yellow. Again, no confusion. Save your old fabric blades to use on your paper rotary cutter.
- tape - I use whatever cheap tape I can find, it doesn't have to be super wide or fancy. I also don't tape all the way across unless I'm taping large distances. A piece of tape at either end that wraps around to the back is enough.
- MEASURE THE TEST SQUARE! Designers include it for a reason. Seriously, just print the first page and measure the test square. If it's not the right size (usually 1" x 1" or 2.5cm x 2.5cm) check the scaling options in your printer dialogue. I make this mistake more often than I wish to admit...
- Always leave an overhang to attach the next piece to. My rule is to leave the overhang on the bottom or right hand sides, that way you don't end up trying to tape two pieces of overhang together. I like to leave 1/2" inch overhang, or to the end of the page if there's less and 1"
- Lay the tape along the edge of the piece without the overhang. Then line up the pieces and smoosh the tape in place. Since I use cheap tape, I can reposition it a little before it sticks really well.
- Wrap the tape around the edges. No need to tape the back side though.
- Assemble the pattern pieces first, then cut out the pattern. (The photo above is wrong) This will ensure that your pieces match correctly and that you cut them all the same way. This is especially important for garments so that you cut out the right size or can make adjustments (like grading from one size to another).
I keep all of my patterns in folders in a binder. I use plastic sleeves for my printed patterns and pieces. This is also where I keep ideas for future projects.
Do you have any PIY tips? How do you feel about PIY patterns?