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Export your sewing pattern as a big copy shop PDF

by Amelia Greenhall - 04/12/2019

Most sewing patterns by independent designers offer both “copy shop PDF” and “print at home” versions.

This post teaches you how to use Sketch to export your self drafted sewing pattern as a copy shop PDF in A0 size or US standard (36 x 48”). You can find other tutorials in the Pattern Drafting In Sketch series.

Print at home is definitely a standard for people purchasing indie sewing patterns online - it’s awesome for immediate gratification. Pretty small patterns around 8-16 pages don’t take too long to assemble. But for a big pattern or one with a lot of detailed graded sizes or lines, getting it printed on one or two really big sheets can really save people a lot of time. There’s a time cost involved for paper, ink, and tape, not to mention the time spent trimming and taping 20-100 pages together, and it can be difficult to keep all the lines straight.

## How to export a sewing pattern as a copy shop pdf from Sketch

Time estimate: 2 minutes

Supplies needed:

Open a new file in Sketch. First, we’re going to make an artboard and size it A0, which is 841 x 1189 mm (33.1 x 46.8 in).

Type “a” to begin making an artboard. Instead of dragging to create a rectangle, choose the size A0 from the right sidebar.

Zoom out to see your artboard. It’s 2384 pixels wide by 3370 pixels in height, because PDFs export from Sketch at 72 pixels/inch.

Now, you can arrange your pattern pieces on the page. I recommend copying them all over from the artboard where you’ve been developing them. You can rotate pieces to fit them if you need.

Let’s set it up to export the PDF. Click back on the title of the Artboard (either in the sidebar or the title on the canvas) to select it. In the right sidebar you’ll see the Export settings.

In the right inspector, click the + next to “Make Exportable” to add a PDF export here. Choose white as a background color to include in the export, and choose PDF as the type.

Find “Export Selected” button on the very bottom of the right inspector panel. (Depending on your screen size, you might need to scroll a bit.) Save your file somewhere on your computer.

Now you’ve learned how to export your file at A0 size, but you might want to export it at other sizes. Just edit the size of the artboard you make to size it how you’d like.

Printing Copyshop Size Sewing Patterns

People use get copyshop files printed by companies offer architectural and engineering sized printing. See this post about how to print your big PDF out locally or online.

Size considerations

  • US Copyshop Standard is 36” wide x variable length (often 48”)
  • A0 size is the worldwide standard - 841 x 1189 mm (33.1 x 46.8 in)

So you can have different strategies for your business - one is to offer both US and A0 size copy shop files, or you could just size it as A0 and let there be a bit of extra space on the ones printed in the US. This can also help when pricing out printing your own patterns, or making the copy shop version as inexpensive to print as possible for people using your pattern.

To determine the outside dimensions of a custom sized art board so you can list the size of your one page PDF on your instructions and product sales page, click on the artboard and look at the width and height in the sidebar. (Labeled W and H, this value is in pixels.) Divide each pixel value by 72 to get the size in inches. From there, you can convert to centimeters.


The next post will teach you how to export your sewing pattern as a multi-page PDF for printing at home.)

— Amelia Greenhall

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