Thursday, March 7, 2013

How to store printouts of tiled PDF patterns

One of the great sewing-related things about the Internet is the advent of tiled PDF patterns. Yay for instant gratification! Yay for no shipping charges!

(And I was going to say Yay for the long tail, but it turns out that means something different than I thought--I always thought it was about the Internet's ability to keep more things available over time, that is, to prevent books, albums, patterns, etc. from going out of print. But that's not quite it. Anyway, Yay for whatever phrase actually does describe that phenomenon!)

But the trouble with tiled PDFs is that once you get them printed out and taped together, they are hard to store. Folding them up to manila-envelope size makes them horribly bulky and unwieldy, for example. (And even though I tend to trace my patterns onto Swedish tracing paper, I often like to keep the copy paper printouts around, in case I want to make another size of a garment.)

But I've just hit upon a tidier, more efficient way to store these patterns. You will need an empty wrapping paper tube, a rubber band, some tape, and a tag and pen for labeling.

Roll the pattern sheet around the wrapping paper tube. (I rolled with the printed side out, as I think that will make it easier to keep the paper flat with pattern weights when I unroll it again.) Secure with a rubber band. Write the name of the pattern on the tag and tape the tag to the inside of the tube.


When I have more patterns to store this way, I plan to simply remove the rubber band and wrap the new pattern around the existing one on the tube, then add it to the list of pattern names on the tag.

Pretty simple but I thought it might be a useful tip.

(In case you're curious, the pattern shown in these pictures is this one, and it's free--Yay Internet!)

How do you wrangle your patterns, PDF and otherwise?


  1. This is an awesome idea. And your hunch is correct, when I learned to hand-draft (buildings not patterns) we were taught to roll our paper with the drawing on the outside to have the curl work for us instead of against when it was unrolled again (all the edges want to be on the table instead of pulling away from the table).

    Oh, and I just noticed the plan to wrap all the patterns in one tube - I like that too. Mailing tubes are an alternative to a wrapping paper tube (art & drafting stores will also sell plastic length-adjusting tubes).

  2. Thanks, Hilary!

    And anotheryarn, I'm glad to know my hunch was right. I like those other tube options, too--perhaps one day I'll upgrade!