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How to print PDF patterns

Size Layered PDF Blocks & Patterns

For anybody who has just embarked on their pattern cutting or sewing journey PDF patterns can be overwhelming. Throw size layers into the mix - just to add to the confusion - and you may well give up before you've even started. However, navigating these game changing files is actually easier than you think. Just follow my guide below.

What is a size layered PDF?

Simply put it is a digital file with stacked layers of different sizes. The layers can be switched on and off for easy size selection.


The majority of us have vital statistics that fluctuate between sizes. You may be a size 12 at your bust line a size 14 at your waist and a size 16 at your hip. Size layered patterns enable you to overcome this common dilemma. Simply join the size differences on the pattern with a pencil and cut it out. Remember to toile it before cutting it out in good fabric.

What computer programme should I use to print my pattern?

The most commonly used PDF reader

The most commonly used PDF reader is the Adobe Acrobat Reader. You can download it from Adobe for free.

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  1. Open the PDF block or pattern in Adobe Acrobat
  2. Locate the Layers panel on the left hand side
  3. Click on the layers icon which looks like a stack of papers, to view all the layers nestled in the PDF pattern.
  4. Select the EYE icon to access layer visibility next to the size or sizes you require. When the eye is visible the layer is visible. When the eye is absent the layer is hidden.
  5. Print the test square on the first page. Press File and select Print in the drop down box. Select Pages in the section Pages to Print and type in 1 - 1. Make sure that Actual size or Custom Scale - set at - 100% is selected.
  6. Measure the test square for accuracy. If you have followed the steps correctly the size should measure 5cm by 5cm. If not, go over the steps again to make sure that you have selected the correct boxes.
  7. Prepare the pattern for printing. Select the required sizes in the layers section. Press File and select Print in the drop down box. Make sure that Actual size or Custom Scale - set at - 100% is selected. Print in Grayscale (black and white). When printing a pattern always print a sample page before doing the entire pattern.
  8. Ensure that your printer is loaded with enough paper and then print your size layered block or pattern.
  9. Trim the border off from the right side and bottom edge of the A4 sheets.
  10. Tape your block or pattern pieces together.