When you purchase a digital file you will be able to download your file(s) immediately after completing the transaction (unless you pay with a bank transfer, that may take several days to clear in some cases). For many projects, especially those with printable patterns, you’ll be able to download a US Letter format and an A4 format. Those are the two most common ‘printer paper’ sizes in the world. As you can probably infer, US Letter is most common in the United States of America, while A4 is more common in metric friendly areas. Choose the version that applies to you. If you are downloading your files sometime after your purchase them you’ll need to sign into your account, click “My Profile” (at the top of the screen), then click the “My Downloads” tab under your profile picture (far left.)
All files are PDFs because they offer great print quality at a lower file size across different kinds of computers. You’ll need some software that will open PDFs to be able to use your files. The most common choice is Adobe Acrobat, which can be downloaded for free from their website (click here.) That’s what we use at HDYMT headquarters because we’ve found it most likely that patterns print accurately from Acrobat. Most Macs include a copy of Preview that will also open PDFs. Many smart phones can open PDFs with a variety of free apps so you can access your files on the go. Some browsers open PDFs instead of downloading them. If your file opens in your browser rather than downloading, you can go to ‘File > Save As’, or some software will display a menu when you hover over your document with your mouse.
If your download is just a tutorial without any pattern pieces, you can either print off the pages you need or access your file(s) from your computer. I often keep my laptop at my work table so I can refer to steps without bothering to print. This is a personal choice. Print projects without patterns set at “fit to page” or whatever setting your printer has that makes sure the entire page is printed.
If your download includes pattern pieces, the first page you’ll want to print is the test page. Computers and printers are full of idiosyncrasies that can affect the exact print size, and by testing first you can save a lot of wasted paper (and maybe fabric). Print the test page at 100% and either use borderless printing or let the edges trim if your printer doesn’t do borderless printing. The test page includes a 4 inch square and 10 cm square that you can measure to make sure your computer and printer agree with your ruler about what 100% is. If the square measures correctly at 4 inches or 10 cm you’re good to go – print your pattern and skip below to the assembly instructions. If your square doesn’t measure true to size you’ll need to follow the instructions on the page and do a little math. Then try printing the page again at the adjusted percentage – something like 103% or 97%, and measure again. When you have your scale percentage figured out print the whole pattern at that scale percentage. You should do this independently for every separate pattern download, computers can crunch up files in lots of creative ways.
For patterns that are larger than a full sheet of paper, the pattern downloads from HowDidYouMakeThis? will have a layout template to guide you in arranging and assembling your pattern.
The guide sheet will look similar to this.
After you have used the Print Test Page (How to Print) sheet that is included with your download to get your printer set correctly, print all the pattern pages. The front page of the download will tell you what page numbers need to be printed for the different sizes (if you bought a pattern with multiple sizes).
To assemble the pattern, you simply need tape and scissors (but a few other tools can help the assembly process).
The patterns are designed to start with page 1 in the top left corner and pages are added to the right. The layout template will help you arrange each printed sheet if you have questions. The pattern prints have numbers on the pages that will also help with arranging.
Use the ‘howdidyoumakethis.com’ markings along the edges as match marks to overlap and align the pattern pages. Working on top of a light colored surface (or just placing something light colors like white paper under the spot you are working to align) can help you see the alignment marks.
If you have a cutting mat, good ruler (like a cork back ruler), and a straight edge blade, you can use them to easily trim the printer margins. This is completely optional but it can be very helpful.
Use a straight edge blade and a ruler to cut a clean line to remove the margin. Careful cutting with scissors can also work.
Shown here are two printed pages that overlap, and the text helps to align the pages. Do your best to overlap and align the text, the text is how you get the correct positioning of the pages.
Use a few pieces of tape to hold the pages together at the correct alignment. I have found that it is best to tape is the line where you will cut out the pattern pieces.
Continue placing pages working left to right.
When you have reached the end of the first row, begin the second row working in the same way.
When adding additional rows, you will need to use the text marking to match the pages on two sides. I typically place 1 piece of tape on each side, check the alignment of both edges and make any adjustments before…
When you are comfortable with the way the pages overlap, add a couple more pieces of tape to secure the pages.
Sometimes we omit pages to save paper.The layout template will help guide you in these instances so you know which page to work from when beginning a new row.
Once all the pages are together, they should resemble the layout template. At this point you can cut out each pattern piece along the solid lines.
It will be easier to work with the pattern if you tape the back as well.I try to tape alternate to where things are taped in the front to secure more of the paper. Add tape over the corners of the papers as well.