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Tracing pdf pattern without taping

Though I’m not a huge fan of pdf patterns, I do realize that times change and sometimes use them, when they have a limited number of pages.
Some time ago on a Dutch sewing forum I read about tracing a pdf pattern without taping them first and it was a lightbulb moment to me. Less fuss and the pattern can be stored away easily. This is how I do it:
Take a sheet of tracing paper large enough for the pattern piece you want to trace and place the first page of the printed pages underneath.
Trace the pattern lines you want (this is a Burda pattern so it has multiple sizes) and also trace (part of) the lines for matching to the next page. Often there are notches on the lines too, so I mark those as well.
Then you slip the next page under the paper sheet, align with the notches and lines and trace that page.
The resulting pattern: there are a few extra marking lines but that does not disturb me at all. If they do disturb you could erase them.
The printed pdf is not cut and can be stored away.


  1. Thanks for the tip! I have seen several .pdf patterns I liked, but have not not ordered any because I couldn't face the hassle. I always need to alter patterns, so I always trace them. The thought of taping all those pages together, then tracing over all that tape was just too discouraging. This method will make it so much easier! Why didn't I think of that!

    As for the marks used to line up the pages, if they might be confusing (for instance if they could be confused with pocket placement) You could use a different color to mark them.

  2. Wow, I could kiss your feet!!!!!!!! Thanks

  3. Wow, I second Tee's "kiss your feet"! I loathe taping..
    Something else - you could pin the pages to a board, and trace the whole thing? Well anyway, you've opened up a whole can of imagination, thank you :-)

  4. Brilliant - such a simple solution to an onerous process - pdf's for everyone!! Thank you!!

  5. This is why I love the internet! You learn so much! Thank you for sharing this life-saving tip.

  6. Nice idea and seems like less work.

  7. Some of you might not be aware that European size copy paper (A4) is different than the standard American size (8.5x11"). I just bought a package of A4 on Amazon for not too much money. This way if I order a PDF that's meant for A4 I can print it without any problems.

  8. Fantastic tip, thank you for sharing. It is the storage of the taped together patterns that makes me think twice, but this will solve that perfectly.

  9. Absolutely brilliant! I'm going to trace a pattern using this method immediately. Thank you Sigrid!

  10. This sounds like a great idea! thanks for sharing. I will try it out next time!

  11. Love it - that's so logical and efficient! I have a Named pattern to trace soon, and will definitely use this technique then. Thanks!

  12. Why didn't I think of this before..... Thanks for sharing!

  13. Wow! Great idea! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. Fabulous tip, and the comment about A4 paper explains why my sizing is always slightly off. You rock!

  15. WHOAH. what a v-8 moment. thank you for sharing!

  16. Thank you so much for this wonderful tip. I will definitely be doing this in future but using plastic film instead (our local hardware store sells 20m packs of this primarily for painters to use as drop sheets).

  17. Such a great idea! I would rather trace than stick plus I can trace on to Swedish paper that is a lot easier to fold and store than copier paper. Thankyou! Found from Clothing Engineer's blog mention

  18. Thanks for your tip. Very handy to know that and so logical when you think about it.

  19. Absolute brilliance! Will definitely use this technique. Came here from Clothing Engineer.

  20. This makes SO much sense! Great tip!! Maybe now I won't give PDF patterns so much side-eye. =)

  21. I tried this once, thinking I must be a genius to have thought of it, but I must be less of a drafter than you because my pattern ended up very weird...I found it difficult to be sure I was lining the pieces up properly and I suspect the pattern ended up bigger in one direction than it was supposed to be. I'm glad to know it works in theory!

  22. Thanks for the post aboutsewing patterns and fit. This one is one my "someday" list and I'll take note of all the info!

  23. What I found works well for taping print out pages is a large sheet of glass (picture window, sliding glass door, or a glass table top with a lamp under it). Line up the various pages, tape them together or to the glass, if you don't want them shifting, then put the tracing paper or a piece of interfacing over them & trace the pattern off.

    Take the tracing off & clip the bits of tape on the pages to file them in a folder - with the folded tracing paper (after you've used it).

    Then we moved and I no longer have a large enough window that has just one pane of glass in it to let me do any tracing. This method would work on my cutting table...

  24. Oh my goodness, that is brilliant! I have several patterns here that I've printed and not yet taped/glued as it's so much work. Such a simple idea, but so effective and space saving!


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