As the readership here at So Sew Easy has been increasing, and I've got more and more pattern downloads every month, so the number of emails I get asking for advice on how to download and print PDF sewing patterns has also increased. This also seems to coincide with the increase in mobile devices since Christmas, and so I thought it was about time I shared with you the best way to access the patterns, download and print them.
Take a look at the video where I will go through a couple of examples of how to download patterns and open and unzip them, with examples from Facebook, Google Drive, Craftsy, Unzipping, Adobe Reader and printing.
Examples used in this video:
- Easy Cosmetics Bag pattern – Facebook fan-only pattern
- Wear Everywhere dress – free pattern via Craftsy
Where will you find the patterns and downloads
Over the last 18 months as the site has evolved, I've tried various different options for the best and most reliable way to bring you access to downloads and patterns. I've tried Dropbox and Google Drive for documents and spreadsheets, and Craftsy for patterns and tutorials. The Craftsy platform caters to high traffic and has been the most successful and reliable for me, and I like it because it adds the pattern to your ‘Pattern Library' so it is kept there safely for you which means you can download it at any time. It's still there if you change computers or suffer a loss of your data.
But no one way has proved to be trouble free for all users and this seems to be simply because of the huge variety of ways in which readers try to access, download and print the patterns.
Which Devices to Use
Almost all of the problems with downloading and printing are coming from users with mobile devices. These are now a really popular way of browsing the internet, but are really intended for just that – browsing. Once you try to use the same mobile devices for file management, downloading and printing – then the problems begin. Many mobile devices and browsers are not optimised to download all document types, so while you may be able to download e-books to your reader, you may NOT be able to download and open .zip files. And printing is another problem.
So, I highly recommend that if you want to download a pattern, document, spreadsheet etc, that you use a ‘regular' computer to get the easiest and most trouble-free results. Use a laptop, or a desktop computer, or one at the office instead of your Smart Phone or Ipad etc. Technology will no doubt evolve and improve over time, but for now, if you have trouble with your mobile device, it probably doesn't have the apps/software you need for what you are trying to do. Switch to a regular computer and browser such as Chrome.
UPDATE: WINZIP and others are now available for Ipads and Android, but you need to have the app on your device before downloading will work. Check out these links:
- WINZIP – app for Galaxy https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.winzip.android&hl=en_GB
- For IPAD – iTunes
- For IPAD – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zip-viewer-archiver-manager/id603570331?mt=8
What Software Do You Need?
It depends on what you are downloading.
I do offer some spreadsheets I think you will find useful for sewing:
- How to make a custom fit pattern for leggings
- How to draw a custom fit skirt pattern
- How to calculate continuous bias binding sizes
These will need to open in a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel, Open Office Calc, MS Works.
Most of the sewing patterns and tutorials will come as a PDF File. This is a standard file type used for sharing, and is easily opened with free software from Adobe. Most computers will come with Adobe Reader installed, so when you click a PDF file it will open automatically. But if yours doesn't or you need to upgrade to the latest version (highly recomended), then you can download Adobe Reader for free from here – ADOBE READER. If you want to print some of the free sewing patterns, they require the poster printing option which is only available in more recent upgrades so if you have trouble – upgrade to the latest version.
Zip files are needed where a pattern contains two or more documents. To make printing easier, I usually include one PDF document with the sewing instructions and notes, and another separate PDF document with the pattern pieces for printing. For you to get this files in a single download, they are ‘zipped' together into a file with a .zip at the end.
To open the PDF documents, you first need to ‘un-zip' the file. Again, many computers will come with the right software to do this already installed, so double clicking the file will take care of the unzipping, But if not, you can use programs such as WinZip, or Express Zip.
If things still aren't working
Please watch the video above and see if you can follow through my instructions. If you still can't download or open the pattern, where to go to get more help:
Craftsy – if you are having trouble with downloading from Craftsy and you have already followed my recommendations and examples then you can get technical support by emailing them details of what you are trying to do and what error messages if any you are getting. They can help you better than I can when it comes to technical difficulties in using their platform. Email email@example.com.
Your IT friends – got a friend or colleague who knows about this sort of stuff? Or a family member such as son/daughter or even grand-daughter? It seems the younger you are, the easier it is! No offense intended to anyone, but I didn't grow up using computers and I know many of my readers didn't either, so if in doubt, ask someone for help. Often it's easy when someone shows you how to do it.
I hope this video and these tips and links will help you out if you get stuck and that you'll have no trouble downloading and printing the patterns you want to sew. Good luck!