Sewing Techniques / Tips & Advice / Tips & Tutorials

tutorial: how to print and use pdf sewing patterns

Have you guys downloaded the FREE Veronika skirt sewing pattern yet?! It’s available in PDF form, and, yeah, did I mention it’s free? If you’ve never used a PDF pattern before, don’t let that hold you back! I’m going to walk you through how to print and use those digital patterns so that you can get to work on your very own Veronika skirt. Not to mention, all of the Megan Nielsen Patterns are available as PDF downloads. So once you have the hang of it, maybe you will find you prefer the digital method! While it does takes a little extra work,  it is also cheaper, has no shipping cost, and allows you to re-print your pattern pieces if mess up or lose them. Worth it, right?

Ok, let’s get started.



When you purchase a PDF pattern from Megan Nielsen Patterns,  your pattern will available immediately in your account after checkout (it will also be emailed to you). Make sure to save it to your computer so you have easy access to it.

You’ll receive 3 separate files with each pattern: 1. an overview of the pattern pieces 2. the actually pattern pieces 3. the instruction booklet

When you click on your files, they should automatically open in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader. This is where you’ll be able to print from.



Ok, so now you need to print the pattern pieces. But to start, and this is very important, you will need to check the calibration of your printer. To do this, find the page that has the 2” calibration square (on Megan Nielsen Patterns, this should be the first page). Print only this page with the following settings. All computers and printers are different, but in general, you will want to make sure that your page scaling is at 100%. It may be that you have to set  page scaling to “none”, or page scaling is “turned off”, or set your size option to “actual size”.

The point of this is to make sure your pattern pieces print at the correct size.


When you print the one page with the calibration square, measure said square to make sure it is indeed exactly 2” / 5cm. If it is not, double check your page scaling again. Play around with the scaling if you have to.


Once everything is correct, you can print out all the pages of the pattern pieces.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a cute little printing assistant like I do :)



Time to patch your pages together! Start by trimming every page along the frame line at the top and right sides only.


Line up each page so that all the little numbers and triangular marks match up (1A with 1A, 1B with 1B, etc). Apply glue to left side margins to keep each page attached to the next. Or simply use clear tape to hold them together.

As you are doing this, not only make sure your marks line up, but make sure everything else is lining up straight and the papers are laying flat.



Once you have every page assembled, you should have one big paper that resembles any other printed pattern. You can now cut out your pattern pieces along your size line as you normally would. Or if you prefer, trace your size onto another paper so that your original pattern remains intact. This way, you can always try out another size if you need to!

But remember, the beauty of digital patterns is that you alway have a backup. It’s always there if you need to re-print it!

About Author

Holly writes part time for the Megan Nielsen blog– sewing like crazy, creating tutorials and sewalongs. She has been sewing since she was a little girl, and has her degree in apparel design. Now she’s a stay at home mama, and spends all her free nap times at her sewing machine.

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Catherine Pennington
Catherine Pennington
5 years ago

Hi, I’ve just bought and downloaded one of your patterns & am planning on going to a copy shop to have the A0 pages printed – should I ask them to print the calibration square to check the measurements as well? Or should it be fine in A0 (FYI I’m in the UK, not sure if that is likely to make a difference),