Assemble PDF Patterns with Contact Paper

Today I’d like to share a trick for making PDF pattern assembly easier.

Two words: contact paper.

Instead of laying out pages and taping them together, worrying that you’ve made the pieces crooked, try lining up and sticking your pieces to contact paper. I’m sure there are some of you out there who already use this method, but I thought I’d share it anyway.

Something I really like about this method is that you can peel and re-stick if you make a mistake. An added bonus to the use of contact paper is that your patterns are more durable. I would advise using pattern weights when cutting fabric out, as putting pins through the contact paper will cause them to be sticky.

Here are some ways that you can go about assembling a PDF pattern with contact paper.

Assemble the tiled pages

Cut pages out along the frame lines and smooth the pages onto the contact paper, aligning the frame lines.

Cut your pattern pieces out.

It’s that simple!

Skip cutting out the tiled pages

If you’re especially brave and confident in your computer skills, you can forgo cutting out the tiled pages by printing directly from the copy shop version. Once you’ve done this, you can simply line up the 8.5×11 pages (just make sure to keep them in the correct order).

Here’s how to do it:

Open the copy shop size PDF, and select print.

Choose your printer, and select “Tile pages”. Select 8.5×10 paper size (or whatever paper size you’re working with) and change the overlap to 0.

Print the first page first, so you can measure the test square before printing the rest of the pattern.

If your printer won’t let you print borderless or very close to the edge of the page, then this is not an advisable method for you to use because you may lose markings or pattern edges in the borders.

Skip lining up every page

If you’ll permit me, I’m going to be so bold as to suggest cutting out around the pattern pieces first and lining up the pattern lines, rather than matching up all of the pages. I only suggest this because I have managed it successfully myself with several PDF patterns. DO NOT do this if you are not very confident in your ability to keep everything organized and match the pieces. If you mix things up, I suppose it’s not the end of the world, just a waste of time and paper. 😉

Below are some pictures of some pieces I put together using this method. I cut roughly around the pattern pieces and lined them up on the contact paper.

IMG_8724You can see that my printer didn’t let me print very far into the borders, so I ended up with a few missing markings on some of the pieces. If you have the same problem with your printer, I’d advise against this method, unless you are very confident in your ability to do without a few markings.

IMG_8723Here are the pieces all cut out.

IMG_9087I love how stiff they feel, because I know that means they’ll last forever. I also really like the way that the contact paper makes them so smooth on the bottom; it makes it much easier to maneuver them around on the material, and it protects the material from getting snagged, etc.

Anyway, I hope that some of you will find this a useful tip. Although, I have no doubt there are probably some of you smarty pants out there who already do this. 🙂

  1. Ashley

    September 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Omg such a good idea! I hate taping soooo much!

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Me too! Anything to make that part easier and faster. 🙂

  2. Alessa

    September 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Cool tip! Though I’m not quite sure where to get compact paper in Germany (or how it is called – it’s not like tape, but in sheets right, if you can peel the paper off again?).
    I also always cut out the pattern pieces before taping them together. Well, I guess I tape them together while cutting out, or otherwise I’d never know what goes together…

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:48 am

      I’m not sure where you might find it in Germany. Here in the states, it’s often sold in the kitchen section of stores because it’s used as shelf liner. Sometimes craft stores carry it, too.

      Yeah, that makes sense to cut one piece out at a time and tape it together before moving on. I do the same thing. 🙂

      1. Rachel V Nunes

        September 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

        If you can’t find it in a store look online. Amazon and other places like that might have some.

        1. Becca

          September 23, 2013 at 1:27 pm

          Very true! Thanks for pointing that out, Rachel. 🙂

  3. Grace

    September 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Ooh this is so clever!! Love it going out to buy contact paper tomorrow!

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

      I’m glad you like the idea. Let me know how it goes!

  4. sewamysew

    September 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Such a great tip, thanks so much! Anything to make this step faster and easier .

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

      No problem! 🙂 I agree! Many people think about that step with dread, so anything to make it easier to swallow.

  5. Sally {thequirkypeach}

    September 12, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    This is genius! I have a roll of white contact paper sitting around that I didn’t know what to do with! Can’t wait to try it out 🙂

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Aw, thanks! I hope it ends up being a helpful tip. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  6. Shanniloves

    September 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Well I would of never thought of this! Thanks for sharing and I’m definitely going to give it a try

    1. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Glad to share! I hope you find it a bit easier. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  7. Ayana

    September 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Thank you so much for this great idea! I was not looking forward to all the taping necessary to put together 8 pages for each of 3 pattern pieces for a dress I’m making. This came at just the right time! I will link this to my blog.

    1. Ayana

      September 14, 2013 at 11:52 pm

      Update: It turned out great! Thanks again.

      1. Becca

        September 16, 2013 at 9:47 am

        Yay! I’m so happy that it worked welll for you. I found it so much easier. No problem, I’m happy to share any tips that can help fellow seamstresses out. 🙂

    2. Becca

      September 16, 2013 at 9:46 am

      Yeah, sometimes the idea of taping pattern pages together can be intimidating. I’m so glad it was helpful to you. 🙂

  8. decori

    October 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Such a great idea! Please check us out for your contact paper needs!

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