How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

Using Adobe Acrobat Reader to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers.

When I first started to sew, the task I dreaded was cutting out the pattern pieces from the flimsy folded up tissue paper. It would tear easily and had to be ironed first before you could start to decipher all the different pattern pieces and sizes. Nowadays I much prefer a Pdf Pattern - not only do you instantly receive it by email or download but if it has the Layers feature you can print just the size (or sizes) that you need.

Information can be stored on different layers of a PDF. The layers that appear in the PDF are based on the layers created in the original application. Use the Layers panel to examine layers and show or hide the content associated with each layer. Source.

The advantages of printing with layers are:

  • Your original pdf file will not be altered - you will always have a copy of the pattern with all the sizes

  • Printing just the size (or sizes if you are blending) makes it so much easier to see your pattern line and cut accurately

  • You can save ink - I make sure to print in grayscale too

When you purchase a Pdf Pattern it may be emailed to you or made available to download from the designer's website. It is important to download the Pdf Pattern to your computer as some downloads are only valid for a limited time. I would recommend creating a folder on your computer where you can save all of your Pdf Patterns perhaps categorising them by the pattern company.


To use the Layers feature you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader. This is a free program. Once you have Adobe Acrobat installed you can open your saved file. Most pattern companies provide three versions of a Pdf Pattern - A4 (paper size 210 x 297 mm), US (paper size 215.9 by 279.4 mm) and A0 (paper size 841 x 1189 mm). A4 is the standard print size for the UK whereas US is the standard print size for America. A0 is the print size you would send to a copy shop if you were using an external printing source.


To illustrate what the pdf screen will look like I've opened The I Heart You Set by George and Ginger Patterns which is a FREE Pdf Pattern reviewed here.


Your screen should look something like this. Click the arrow on the left hand side to reveal the Navigation Pane.

How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

On the Navigation Pane, click the Layers icon.

How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

The Layers may have been grouped - click the Layers Label to reveal the Layer Names.

How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

You will now see all the Layers that the designer has nested into the pattern. The different sizes are usually labelled as numbers but sometimes the designer will choose to use letters or even colours. There may be some Layers that the designer has locked so they can't be hidden - they will have a padlock icon next to them . The pdf instructions will also advise you which Layers should remain visible - in this case the BORDERS Layer should remain visible.

How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

If you want to print just one size, e.g. size 14, simply hide all of the other sizes by clicking the eye icon next to the Layer name. Only size 14 remains visible and this will be the only size that prints.

How to Print Pdf Patterns using Layers

If you want to grade between sizes e.g. size 14 waist with size 16 hips use the Layers feature to only reveal those two sizes and once printed you can grade between the sizes before cutting.


Once you have selected the Layers you need you're ready to print! Make sure that you follow the printing and construction guides that are included with the pattern instructions. I always print the page with the measuring guide on first too to make sure my printer settings are correct before printing out the whole pattern.


Note - you can't save the changes you have made to the pdf file. When you close and reopen the file you will have to reselect the appropriate layers.

Geordiehandbag's Sewing Adventures

Welcome to my Sewing Blog! 

My name is Joanne and I love to sew. Here I'll be sharing my hand-made makes and giving my honest opinion on pdf patterns and how easy they are to understand and construct.

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