Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Question: Downloadable vs. Pre-printed Patterns?

The trend pattern companies seem to be going to is downloadable patterns that you print at home and piece together.  Have you used any?  Do you like them?  Or do you prefer pre-printed patterns?

Let's discuss!

44 comments:

  1. I haven't tried this yet, but I think I prefer tissue. I like using Palmer Pletsch tissue fit method, and I think tissue would be easier to store than copy paper taped together. I also would rather spend time trimming a pattern than taping one all together. One advantage to the download is that you can print it out anytime. It's a nice option, but I hope it doesn't replace tissue.

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  2. I have downloaded a few free patterns and printed some. However; I still have not used them. I find that they use a lot of paper and ink. You can also get them copied at a printshop. For me personally, I was spending too much to print when I could have bought the pattern for less.

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  3. I've tried the downloaded patterns and theyre ok. You have to be cautious of your print settings. I still prefer pre-printed. Ink cartridges aren't cheap and it adds more work if the pattern is complex.

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  4. I have printed, taped and then cut out a few. Only have sewn one, I believe. This is a pro versus con situation in my opinion. One pro: I can print on demand if I am in the immediate need to sew up something without a trip to store whichin turn would make the cost of gas equal to the cost of ink. One con: My printed patterns are layed on top of a box instead of being stored away like the tissue patterns. You really can't fold them without having a jumbled mess that's kind of hard to iron out because you run the risk of ironing the tape. After you have done a few of these printables, putting them together and getting to the fabric cutting will go a lot faster. On those points, which there are more, just giving a little light to the discussion, I use leko-mail.net more for the printables than the Big Four. I pick those up while I am already out and about. You can't beat those for .99, 1.99, and 3.99! I hope my winded input helps.

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  5. I haven't bought any yet but I will eventually. I like the idea, b/c 1. they're inexpensive (even though all my paper patterns have come from a Joann's sale so the cost matches) and 2. I like the easy instant access. I figured that once I do use a downloaded pattern what I will do is print it and then trace it on some freezer paper or something so that I have that one continuous piece.

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  6. I like the download and print ones if the pattern is interesting and cheap enough. It is a lot of work to tape it all together (and keep the cats from skidding across the floor on it!) but then I trace it on to tracing paper so I can fold and iron and reuse it. And it's nice that if I pick the completely wrong size I can just trace a different size.

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  7. I'm not crazy for downloadable patterns, I'd much rather the pre printed!

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  8. I used pattern software for years so I'm used to printed-out patterns. I much prefer them. There are tricks to it, like using liquid glue pen and trimming the overlaps with your rotary cutter. Use weights, not pins. The thicker paper works better with slinky fabrics, too. Store them by hanging rather than folding. There isn't much ink on a page, so paper is your main cost in actuality. If you live where patterns are available then buying tissue is easy. But I live in a small backward town so I'd have to mail order everything.

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  9. On a multi-size standard pattern, I would still buy the Pre-Printed, even if the download was free. That's how annoying I think printing and taping together those download patterns are. But I agree with Ginger about Pattern Software - it's worth going through all that printing and assembling, because the software makes all the alterations for fit before printing.

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  10. Since I mostly sew for my kids right now, I prefer pdf patterns. Most come in size 6months -8 years (or older) and I only have to buy one pattern that will last me a good 4-6 years. plus, If I accidentally tear, cut, or rip a pattern it's alright, because I can reprint the page.I usually buy PDF patterns that are basic staples such as pants, vest, skirt and peasant dress. You know, Items that are timeless and can be used to make multiple variations, so the pattern stays the same, but the design is different every time. when my daughter grows, I just print out the next size. I have only purchased two pdf patterns for myself, and haven't had a problem with them. I highly recommend the patterns at youcanmakethis.com especially the scientific seamstress.

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  11. Ink is waaaay to expensive. I'd rather buy the pattern. I have a review on PR for a prom dress. It was a Lekala pattern that I downloaded. Putting the pieces together was a nightmare. I won't ever do the printable thing again. (shutter)It's not cost effective and running a business from home means I need my paper. LOL!! When I saw that on Simplicity's website I almost wrote them a letter. Check out my review on PR. My handle is Anncie1!

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  12. I have printed a couple of toddler PDF patterns which were not too much hassle to tape together and cut out. However, I would absolutely not want to do this for an adult pattern with several pieces.

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  13. The downloadable patterns are great for small craft projects like handbags, but I have to say I'm with everyone else - the printing and taping is a huge pain in the arse.

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  14. I do both. I think pre-printed is best, but downloadable is still easier than tracing out a burda pattern or other magazine.

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  15. I tried one for a top once and it did not work out. It's a pain and the sizing seemed to be off. Perhaps my print settings? I'd rather buy the pattern.

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  16. I've used a lot of them and overall I've been happy with the experience. I usually tape the pages together and cut the pattern out while I'm watching tv at night. I like having the patterns on heavier paper, although sometimes it's a nuisance to pin to the fabric and I could solve that by training myself to use pattern weights. I like downloadable patterns because if I decide I want to make something at 3am I can. The downside is the patterns take more room to store than tissue.

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  17. My point of view is here http://mysummertouch.blogspot.com/2011/12/downloadable-vs-ready-to-use-paper.html#comment-form

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  18. I loathe the whole experience. After 30 years of sewing Vogue, it was hard enough to learn to trace Burda. And now I love the Burda Style magazine's giving me dozens of patterns for only the cost of a coffee and croissant. But the downloading/taping and fiddling is just too much for me. I've only done it a few times with the downloads from Burda Easy, but it wasn't that easy, guys.
    Thanks for asking the question, and please add me to your blogroll?

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  19. I've made a couple and don't mind them too much. Although, as others have said, the storage is a bit of a problem because they aren't easy to fold if printed on standard printer paper. The cost isn't too much of an issue for me because I've got a laser printer (picked it up for peanuts about ten years ago)which has a refillable cartridge. If I had to print them out on my inkjet printer I'd definitely think twice.

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  20. I like downloadable because it makes patterns available to seamstresses worldwide to a more affordable price (no shipping charges). Otherwise they're not more time-consuming to me because I'm a tracer so between tracing a pre-printed pattern or piecing together a downloadable one (and subsequently cutting it since I could reprint it any time), there's little difference,really.

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  21. I love downloadable patterns, cutting mistake? just reprint, add or take up? easy, I have mine on a external hard drive and that is a super space saver this works well with totes and other stuff I still buy print pattern but i have used my downloaded ones more.

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  22. I definitely prefer the preprinted patterns. I have tried the downloadable patterns, it can be costly because you use a lot paper and ink.

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  23. I've tried all sorts of patterns from Burda Mag, PDFs, and the Big Four. I prefer the Big Four from Jo-Anns. It always seem that the PDFs are distorted even after I've checked and double-checked the printer settings. I like Burda Mag, but find the tracing, adding seam allowances, and whatnot slower. I find the Big Four cheaper, easier to store and faster to get to the actual sewing.

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  24. I've used them. Pain in the butt. I'm a estimator at an excavation company and have acess to a large printer but at least the patterns from "Sewing Pattern" website will not print on the plotter.

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  25. Funnily enough I was just thinking about the same thing recently.

    I'm a late comer to Palmer/Pletsch's FFRP books. I was shocked to find out how much it cost the Big 4 to produce a design - like $40,000.

    I'm also a bit late to the sewing blogsphere & online forums. So many of the lovely designs that you girls sewn up are now out-of-print. Vogue online allow you to order some out-of-print patterns online. But they're so expensive. If you scour local shops or eBay, you can't always get the designs you want or it'll be outrageously expensive.

    So I thought wouldn't it be good if they make out-of-print patterns available as a PDF download.

    Granted, it's not as convenient as pre-printed tissues. But it should be cheap enough for the Big 4 to do - and get more out of their initial $40k investments. And for the sewers it would be better than not being able to get a pattern at all.

    On the pre-printed front, I've taken to tracing out the pattern anyway because of bad experience with losing my investment after I grew older and wider and shorter!

    Thanks Ginger for your tip. I haven't tried downloadable patterns yet, but I'll be sure to use your tip when I do.

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  26. I have purchased a Sis Boom pattern and it was fine. You have to be careful for not all downloadable patterns are equal when it comes to pattern, joining them, and storing them.

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  27. I know this may sound silly but going to the store to purchase a pre-printed pattern is such a treat for me that I would hate to give it up by downloading the pattern at home. Also printer ink is so expensive!

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  28. I don't mind printing out a pattern and piecing it for a handbag or accessory but I would not trust using this method for clothing I still prefer a full size pattern. Time being a major factor.

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  29. I am one of the few out there who don't have much choice except to use printable patterns. I live in India and pre-printed patterns simply do not exist here, so my choices are few. Here are my top 2 pros and cons for print at home patterns:

    Pros:
    1. nice that you don't need to leave home.
    2. They're never out of stock

    Cons:
    1. They use up a lot of ink (not to mention paper). Even if there aren't many lines on a page, there will be a border on each sheet you print, which uses precious ink. Even when I set my printer on "Fast Draft", I have to replace ink cartridges VERY frequently.

    2. Not convenient to store. I wind up rolling mine up when I'm done so I now have a box full of rolls. The same quantity of pre-printed patterns would take up MUCH less room.

    Yes, they are tedious to assemble, but it gives me something to do while watching TV. So until I find myself in a country where I can purchase pre-printed patterns, I will continue to download them. Once I get back to the States...I will hit those pattern sales with a vengance!

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  30. Downloadable. All the way!

    1. Toner is essentially free, considering the small amount the average pattern uses.
    2. No international shipping charges (this usually doubles or triples the cost of a Big 4 pattern, no joke)
    3. No international shipping waiting. I can start sewing the same day.
    4. Less storage space. I can fit thousands of patterns on a small harddrive, as opposed to massive drawer cabinets in my sewing room

    Downloading is the way forward!!

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  31. I've dl'ed some patterns for small projects - a tote bag, a bib, and a baby hat - and one medium project - Colette's Sorbeto top. All of these were free.

    For the small projects it was very convenient. They fit on one or two sheets of paper and that was fine to cut out and tape together. Doing just a tank-top was like 16 pages!

    Having to make sure your printer settings are correct, using up expensive printer ink, keeping the pages in order, cutting the pattern out, piecing them together - ALL CONS!!

    Letting independent designers sell their patterns, easy access to new patterns any time of day - PROS

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  32. I love the convenience of printing out a pattern on demand. It's great for middle of the night panics, which seem to be the norm in a house that contains teens.

    Really, I don't see much ink used per page, so it's pretty much a wash with the gas to go to the store.

    I print, tape, then trace. I find it familiarizes me with the contours of the pattern. I've learned quite a bit about patterns, fitting, and sewing just from the meditative experience of taping and tracing.

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  33. WATCH those default printer settings - make sure it is set to 100% (no matter what "error" msgs show up) and CHECK THAT SQUARE. (Pdf patterns will have a 1" or 4" square that you must measure to ensure that the printer is printing correctly.) Ugh, ask me how I know!

    Also, even though I cut and tape with NASA-like precision (har), something is always off by the end of a 16-page panel. One edge will line up perfectly but the neighbor edge will not. Fudgeable, but not perfect. My next strategy is to give up trying to make 1 giant sheet with all pattern pieces on it, I will instead just cut around and make sure the individual parts of a leg or sleeve or whatever are matched up perfectly.

    Oh, and cutting/taping patterns are BORING AS ALL GET OUT.

    But the convenience and instant gratification can't be beat! A lot of cute kids clothes by homegrown indie designers are available only in this format (check etsy, for example, but there are others all over the Internet).

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  34. I've download several pdf patterns and printed and pieced together one. The pieces went together easily however, my project ended up a wadder. If the project consist of a few pieces, I don't mind, but would prefer pre-printed patterns.

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  35. I have used both and by far I prefer pre-printed patterns. Downloadable are ok for small projects bags and whatnot. However,they require so much paper and time to cut out and tape together. It's a practice in tedium. Save yourself some time and aggravation and buy pre-printed.

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  36. While pre-printed do save time, I really love the print-at-home versions too! Mostly because I can re-print them. Sometimes when I love a pre-printed pattern I'm terrified to cut it or ruin the tissue.

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  37. I've only printed small craft projects. I refuse to piece together large projects and definitely will never do so for clothing since I can almost never use the patterns without alterations.

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  38. Good question--I like both for different reasons. As a freelance publisher, I know the insanity of rising printing costs especially at small runs so I understand why the trend is happening. It's a PITA but by the time I've taped the whole thing together (I definitely trace tissue--I rip them like mad if I don't) I feel like I know the pattern already. Although heck, I'd miss those times I peek into a new pattern and read through the instructions in bed at night. That's sorta why I subscribe to Burda! I wonder if the designer patterns will ever be downloadable--there are probably licensing legalities preventing it at the moment. The competition from independent pattern designers will get insane if it's not already--because it is so easy to make digital patterns at home.

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  39. I have used downloadable patterns a couple of times, but you should know it's twice the work of tracing them out of BurdaStyle pattern sheets. I only buy downloadable patterns when I "really need to get that pattern"

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  40. Great Discussion! I think the Big 4 companies will be moving to software that customizes the fit and allows you to print at home.

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  41. I prefer the pre-printed tissue patterns. The downloadable patterns are even more work than tracing the Burda patterns, at least I think. There's the making sure your printing is to scale, printing on lots of paper for the more involved patterns, then taping all of those patterns together.

    I prefer the "pliability" of the tissue patterns; they are just easier for me to work with.

    Besides I work on computers all day, and every so often it is nice to be able to do something without having my computer right there.

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  42. I have no problem with downloadable patterns. I use the same techniques mentioned by Ginger and others.
    It no big deal once you get used to it.
    If pattern companies would really find a way to produce patterns based on individual measurements, i would be in pig heaven. I know you'd still need to check the fit - no computer can make a perfect fit, but it would be nice to have it in the right ballpark.

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  43. I printed some free patterns, but the sheer amount of paper they take has me thinking very carefully about printing them or not. Not a bad thing, perhaps - I'll only print off the really interesting ones.

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  44. I prefer printed patterns. I made a pair of pj pants from a download and I had the hardest time taping it together. Well, at least I found out that I'm not that good at taping! LOL!

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