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How to Use Sew4Home PDFs: Articles + Patterns
Technology can be a wonderful thing. The ability to have immediate access to a PDF sewing pattern is one of those wonderful things, as is being able to save an entire S4H article as a PDF to use or refer to later. Not so wonderful: having trouble saving, printing and/or assembling those PDFs. We’ve answered countless emails from users who have fairly simple issues – an old version of Adobe Reader or failure to properly set their Page Scaling. We can’t solve every issue unique to the way your individual computer is configured, but this guide summarizes how best to print our PDF articles and patterns, as well as how to assemble patterns that require more than one page.
Saving a S4H Article/Project as a PDF
All of our S4H articles include a vertical tool bar that sits to the left edge and moves with the content as you scroll.
With our recent website upgrade, we implemented brand new PDF functionality that allows you to manage the size of both the images and the font to tailor the printout to your needs as well as to conserve your paper and ink if you choose to print your downloaded PDF.
Click the red PDF button at the top of the vertical tool bar.
This will open an overlay screen. The speed at which this screen opens is dependent on the local speed of your computer and internet connection.
The overlay screen will display the article/project with the DEFAULT IMAGE size of 25% and the DEFAULT FONT size of 100%.
To change the size of the images, click the percentage button.
This will open a menu showing options of 0 to 100%.
Click the size you wish to use. The images will instantly change to the new size so it’s easy to see if this is the look you want. Below you see the image size difference between 25% (left) and 75% (right).
You can even select 0 from the menu, which will eliminate ALL the images entirely. The comparison below shows you images at 25% (left) and all removed at 0 (right).
The font adjustment works in a similar manner. Click to open that menu.
Here you can select from 70% to 130%, and as with the images, the size will change instantly. In the comparison below, you can see the difference between the font at 100% (left) and at 130% (right).
These helpful tools allow you to get the readability you prefer and also let you determine the number of pages you will print, if you decide to print the PDF.
With your image size and font size determined, Click the PDF button at the top left of the overlay screen.
A second overlay window will open, indicating the final PDF is building. When done, you‘ll see a bright green DOWNLOAD YOUR PDF button that indicates the PDF is ready. Again, how quickly this second overlay window appears and how quickly the PDF builds is dependent on your local computer and internet connection.
At this point, you can also select Letter format or A4 format. Within the US, the most common format is Letter. Outside the US, your best format may be A4.
With this selection made, click the green button to download your PDF.
The completed PDF download will appear wherever your computer is set-up to save downloads. You might see a PDF icon along the bottom of your browser window.
You might see it in your computer’s standard downloads folder. Or, you may have a special folder you’ve customized on your machine to direct downloads. All those choices are dependent on your personal computer/browser set up. Once downloaded, you can open and re-save or print as you would with any PDF.
To return to the article/project page, click the X in the upper right of each overlay window.
What about Printing, Emailing or Sharing an Article/Project?
As you can see in the images above, the vertical tool bar on the main overlay window includes buttons for you to print an article, email an article or share the article on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
The PRINT button will take you to the same initial overlay window as the PDF button. Simply click the printer icon at the far left along the top of the window to open your printer’s command window. From there, your steps for printing will be dependent on your particular computer system and printer, but will likely include options for you to print in color or black and white, customize the scale to enlarge or reduce what appears on each page, print two-sided, etc.
Clicking the EMAIL button from the vertical toolbar will open up an email with the article already set as a link. All you need to do is fill in the address of the person you wish to send it to and click send.
The main overlay window also includes an email option, which works similarly. The only real difference if that rather than simply including a link, it will send a snippet of the article’s introduction along with a “Read More” link to take the email’s recipient to the S4H site.
The social media sharing buttons operate just as you’d expect. Each will bring you to that particular social media platform with the main photo from the article as well as the article link.
Printing PDF Patterns
One important thing to remember: the PDF pattern(s) is a separate file from the PDF you generate of the entire article. This means if you save and/or print a PDF of the step-by-step instructions, you still need to click the link to download any PDF pattern(s) within those instructions. It is a two-step process because the files are generated separately by two entirely different pieces of software. This ensures the accuracy of the pattern while allowing for user flexibility in the PDF download font and image sizing described above.
To begin, be sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader (it’s free), and confirm you don’t have “Internet Downloading” disabled in your browser preferences.
If the S4H tutorial you are using requires you to print a pattern piece(s), you’ll find the link as the first step in the Getting Started section of our tutorial, as shown in the example below:
The majority of our patterns are bundled into a single PDF to make the download faster and easier. Some of older projects may include individual links to pattern pieces. The newest projects feature the blue DOWNLOAD icon (shown above) that makes it even simpler to see where/how to click to get the pattern(s).
Click on the icon or link(s) and the PDF will appear in the same window once it is fully downloaded. Be patient, this may take a few moments depending on your internet connection.
To print the PDF, you can either go to your browser’s File menu and scroll down to Print, or you can use the tool bar at the top of the PDF, clicking on the little picture of the printer as shown in the image below.
Once you have your computer’s Print command window open, you need to check a couple of things prior to printing.
1) Change to Portrait or Landscape if necessary to insure the pattern lays correctly on the page.
2) Be sure you are printing at 100%. DO NOT SHRINK TO FIT, or FIT TO PAGE (exact terminology is dependent on your printer).
With these two items confirmed, you’re ready to click the Print button.
Once printed, it’s critical to confirm your pattern piece is the correct size.
Our patterns have evolved over the years, so you’ll encounter one of three different sizing confirmation tools.
On the oldest patterns, there is a one-inch-square box for sizing confirmation. If you encounter one of these, use a ruler to measure the printed box to confirm it is exactly one inch.
Some patterns have a double-arrow line at the top of the page, usually in red. This line will be 6″ – 8″ in length and the pattern will indicate the length. For example: “Confirm that your printer output is accurate. This line is 8 inches long.” Use a ruler to measure the arrow on your printout. Make sure you measure from arrow point to arrow point.
Our most recent patterns have a solid black bar. As above with the arrow, this bar will be 6″ – 8″ in length and the pattern will indicate the length. For example: “Confirm your printer output is accurate. This bar is exactly 6 inches long.” Use a ruler to measure the bar on your printout. Make sure you measure from end to end.
If your measurement does not match what it should be, go back and confirm you don’t have “Fit to Page” or “Shrink to Fit” enabled. Your pattern must be the correct size in order for you to successfully complete the project.
Once you have an accurate pattern piece, you can click on your browser’s back arrow to return to the tutorial to print any additional pattern pieces required and/or to simply start into the project instructions. As mentioned above, on the majority of recent projects, the pattern pieces are bundled into a single PDF to make the download easier.
Some patterns will fit on a single 8½” x 11″ page. Other patterns must be assembled from several printed PDF pages. In the example below, there are two pattern pieces that need to be assembled into one finished pattern. The two images on the right show the pages as they come out of the printer. After confirming your pattern is the correct size, cut along the outer solid black line (the inner dashed line is the seam allowance line). Butt together the two pieces as shown on the left; do not overlap the pieces. Align the arrows and tape the pieces together.
S4H Paper Saver Pattern™
Sew4Home works very hard to create the fewest pages possible for each of our patterns in order to conserve your printing paper and ink. One of the ways we do this on some larger projects is to design the pattern pieces for the “negative spaces.” For example, on a traditional chef’s style apron, rather than creating many, many pages to assemble the entire body of the apron (what you’d likely find with a commercial pattern), instead we create just a one or two-piece pattern for the area the will be cut-away from the main rectangle of fabric. We call it our custom S4H Paper Saver Pattern™. In the photo below, you see an assembled “arm hole cut out” pattern in position on the main folded rectangle of fabric. Once cut away through both layers and opened up flat, you have your full apron shape. Clever!
We test all our patterns prior to posting on a variety of computers, browsers, and printers. Most problems can be resolved by installing the latest version of Adobe Reader and/or adjusting your print window to insure you are printing at 100%.
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Thank you for the excellent explanations on PDF, font and printer issues. Several of my questions are answered. Well done!
I have enjoyed many of your patterns. They have all been easy to follow, and I appreciate the good photos. So many nice gift ideas.
Hi Dana — Thank you so much! We’re happy you found the info helpful. As we mention above, technology is great… until it’s confusing 🙂