How to download and print PDF sewing patterns

Tips and a video on how to download, open and print PDF sewing patterns.

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.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:

Examples used in this video:

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

mobile-devicesAlmost 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:


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:

These will need to open in a spreadsheet program, such as MS Excel, Open Office Calc, MS Works.

PDF Files

reader_windowsMost 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

demoZip 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

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!

Opt In Image
Get more free patterns
Be the first to hear about my new patterns

If you love to sew and love free patterns, then you'll love being on the mailing list at So Sew Easy.  Join me and never miss another fab free pattern!  

No spam promise.  A once a week round up of new posts and patterns.

Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to How to download and print PDF sewing patterns

  1. moira says:

    big thank you for advice video very helpful

  2. Julie says:

    What’s the best way to join the pieces of paper together? I’m using bits of sticky tape but wondering whether you’d recommend double sided tape or glue of some kind instead? Great site. Thank you 🙂

  3. Marya Vistad says:

    I enjoyed your vedio, I don’t have a fax machine so how can I get the pattern?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Marya, you need a printer not a fax machine. If you do not have one downloaded into a memory stick and take it to a printing shop they will be able to do it for you.

  4. Mel says:

    is there a way of downloading this pattern using desktop instead of APPS?

  5. Where is the pattern? I would like to download the free pattern, but can’t find a link?

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      Hi Tarryn, not really sure which pattern you’re talking about? This article is about how you download and print PDF patterns generally. You can find a large selection of free PDF patterns here in our gallery: Just download and follow the instructions in the article. Hope this helps and kind regards.

  6. Judy Livingston says:

    Should the So-Sew-Easy Tunic be printed out in Portrait or Landscape?

  7. Donna says:

    Deby: I have absolutely no idea how to ask a question so I am asking via this route. If it is wrong, I apologize and send me the correct link. I am looking for an easy backpack pattern. Can you help me?
    I love your other stuff and you make it easy to follow you.

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Very thorough tutorial Deby. For those without access to the latest adobe version, you can use Libre Office, which has a ’tiled printing’ option. Works exactly like the ‘poster print’ in adobe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *