For those of you not familiar, a "PDF" is just a type of file, (like jpeg, tiff, or png ) and stands for "Portable Document Format." It's essentially an image file like any other you might encounter, and usually requires Adobe Reader to open, (which I might add, is on just about every computer these days).
|Make do and Mend|
I like to think that I and a couple of other people sort of pioneered the PDF vintage pattern and booklet medium and now it has really taken off with more and more people realizing that they can digitize hard to find vintage paper ephemera. This is a great thing as long as we're all abiding by the rules (most of us do) but we won't get into that in this post.
The great thing is, wonderful, beautiful, rare things are being digitized and protected from decay and disappearance, and made available at the click of a button for research, education, or just pure pleasure reading.
|Butterick Fashion News|
I have stopped buying fashion magazines and have started buying digital vintage magazines and pattern booklets from other sellers. I pull them up on my iPad (super easy) and enjoy them with my morning coffee.
What else are they good for? Say you have a vintage 1930's simplicity pattern in your collection and you're not sure what year exactly it was created. They're not always dated so what can you do? Downloading a copy or two of Simplicity Prevue to see if you can narrow it down is one way to find out.
Most PDF sewing patterns, new or vintage, are just images of parts of a pattern that, when printed and taped together, make a full sized pattern ready to cut out and sew. For example, below is a picture of the French Corset pattern that we used in the Ooh La La Pin-Up Sew-Along. I printed it at home on a normal printer and just taped the pages together.
The quality of the pattern that prints out depends on the skill and experience level of the person creating the pattern, and perhaps how good their design software is. I have downloaded patterns that were simply scans of an original, and some that have been designed with professional pattern drafting software. One is not necessarily better than the other, though the price is usually quite different.
Other digital patterns can be drafting instructions or diagrams that you can print at home and draft your own patterns from. Take for instance this pattern:
To get a pattern you first print out the measuring band and miniature pattern, then use them to draft a full-sized patterns scaled to your measurements, much like the Lutterloh system.
I would love to hear your thoughts!