I tried it: PDF patterns

20160805_085427I love my smartphone and live my life through a multitude of apps. I have not, however, warmed to online shopping. I like to touch the things I’m buying. I like to know exactly what I’m getting.

Imagine my dismay when I fell in love with this ruffled blouse pattern on the Burda website, only to discover it was only available for download. Maybe this is better, I thought, I can start today – I don’t even need to go out!

Before I tell you about my experience, I feel I need to dislose that the jury is still out on whether I like print-at-home patterns. I vow to try at least one more before I totally poo-poo it. I’ll start with the pros before I get into all of the problems I had.

PDF patterns are:

  1. Cheaper.
  2. Faster. Yes, you do have to spend time cutting and pasting on your livingroom floor, but when you factor in the time it would have taken you to get to the store, it’s less time. Also, you get to bingewatch the new season of the Mindy Project on Netflix, so that’s a win.
  3. Not too complicated. I was surprised at how simple it was to piece together all of the paper. I did, granted, choose a fairly simple, small pattern with a minimum of fussy pieces.

But that’s about it. So, this is how it went down:

8:05 a.m.: Log on to Netflix, put on Mindy. Yay!

8:06 a.m.: Download pattern and press print. Watch Mindy while listening to printer hum in the next room. Oggle brightly coloured, elaborately printed shift dress with matching Chanel purse. Ooh! Aah!

8:06 a.m.: Sprint to office when printer begins to beep crazily and realize it is out of paper.

8:06 a.m.: Race around office looking for paper only to remember the last sheets were used last week to print train tickets. Crap.

8:07 a.m.: Rummage around in recyling bin for in tact sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Find 5 sheets with washed out photos of the scratch on the rental car that couldn’t be sent to the insurance agency because we’re out of colour ink. Insert papers into printer. Return to Mindy.

8:09 a.m.: Sprint, once more, to the office as printer angrily beeps for the second time. Realize there are still three pages to print and you are out of letter paper. Lined paper is about the same size, right?

20160805_1006228:11 a.m.: Retrieve all pages from the printer. Skim instructions. Notice borders and labeled notches. Realize this won’t be that bad after all. Start cutting out borders and matching notches.

20160805_1006408:16 a.m.: Notice there is an entire row missing the notches on one side. Refer to instructions. Re-read section discussing paper selection. Is A-4 different than letter? Crap. I’m missing strips of pattern all over the place.

8:17 a.m.: Problem solve. I can use tracing paper to connect the patterns! Using a pattern piece with a curve, I can figure out the distance between pages! Yay me! I’m so smart!

20160805_1021488:24 a.m.: Remember seam allowance needs to be added. Ugh.

8:25 a.m.: Notice a small grid showing the scale and realize yout 4 inches and Burda’s 4 inches are not the same. Unfortunately Burda is right.

20160805_1035598:26 a.m.: Re-read instructions again, playing close attention to printing directions. Realize I missed the very important detail about un-checking the “scale to fit page” box when printing.

8:27 a.m.: Decide that the scale differential makes up for the seam allowance. I’m making a muslin anyway…

8:28 a.m.: Cut out pieces and transport to diningroom to lay out on fabric.

8:34 a.m.: Puzzle over the mysterious extra swirly piece not mentioned in the instructions. Also wonder where all of the ruffle pieces are.

8:36 a.m.: Re-read instructions for what feels like the eighteenth time. Decide to email Burda and proceed with the pieces available. Question whether it even makes sense to start piecing together what will surely be (and, indeed, was) a terribly ill-fitting muslin. Decide you have nothing better to do an go for it anyway.


20160805_131943The next day, I received a reply from Burda (shockingly un-snarky) that the strange, curly piece 6 was for another pattern that uses the same pieces as my vintage ruffle blouse. Also, had I been paying close attention, I would have noticed that the table I thought was a sizing chart was actually dimensions to draft the pieces to make the ruffles. The Burda lady, however, was very kind in her wording to alert me to this. I’m sure she complained to her co-workers about the “idiots who can’t read” and ask the dumbest questions. Sorry, my bad.





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