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Get the software set up [Pattern Drafting in Sketch Tutorial 1]

by Amelia Greenhall - 04/02/2019

This the first tutorial in a series about Pattern Drafting in Sketch. The previous post is about why I'm using Sketch instead of Illustrator for making PDF sewing patterns.

Time estimate: 10 minutes Supplies needed:

  • Mac with OS version High Sierra (10.13.4) or higher
  • Internet connection enough to download a 37mb file quickly (for reference, that’s the size of about 10 or 20 cell phone pictures).

Download the Software

  1. Download the 30 day free trial of Sketch App. Once your download finishes, open the zip file and it should be ready to use. If you need help with installation, here are Sketch’s docs.

  2. Download Craft plugins. (These are free, but you’ll get emailed by the company InVision, that makes it, and need to unsubscribe from their emails after.) You can get Craft Manager at This will make a tiny “C” icon appear in your top menu bar. Click it to make a dropdown appear, and under “Tools” select Install for the Sketch tools. You can just leave all the options selected.


Test it out

Now, open up Sketch. You start with a a blank file. You should see a sidebar with the Craft plugins along the right side panel. In this screenshot, I’ve shown it with the “duplicate” tool open.


Ok, the software works!

To try it out a tiny bit, let’s make a rectangle that’s 1inch by 1inch. Type “r” on your keyboard and your cursor will turn into a + with a little square floating by it. Now drag with your mouse to make a rectangle. Now edit the W and H inputs in the inspector (the right panel) to each be 72 pixels. Cool.  3

Now you’ve got a 1” square. It’s filled in though, and for patterns we want outlined shapes, so let’s edit the STYLE section of the shape we just made, to remove the color fill and add an outline.


Excellent! Now, just for fun let’s export it as a PDF. Even though it’s a humble square, we can start small…

Type “a” on your keyboard to make a new Artboard, and draw a rectangle surrounding your square.

Click on the word “Artboard” either directly on the screen, or in the left sidebar. Command R to rename it and type “Hello Pattern PDF” and push enter.

Now (the artboard should still be selected) edit the size from “Custom” to pick a “Paper Size” and then choose Letter or A4. The artboard will change shape a bit.  5

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. With the page artboard selected, the inspector should look like this now:  6

Great! Final step. 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.

Voila! Your first PDF pattern. It's just one page, and a square, but you can see where you'll go. If you wanted, you could print it off and measure to make sure that the square is the exactly 1” dimension you intended.

Everything is working well, and you’re set up with the software!

We’ll use these in the tutorials that follow.

Email me (in the footer, and more on /contact) if you have any questions. I'd love to hear if you try it out.

— Amelia Greenhall


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