How to Print a PDF Pattern Using Layers in Adobe Acrobat

How to Print a PDF Pattern with layers using Adobe Acrobat

If you sew with PDF patterns you are likely aware of the growing trend to provide patterns that use layers. Today we’re going to give you a step-by-step on how to print a pdf pattern with layers if they are an option with your pattern.

What are layers in a PDF pattern?

Layers are a function in a PDF that allow you to print specific parts of a document and NOT print others. In PDF patterns this is most commonly used to allow the sewer to print only the sizes that they want to sew. This saves ink because you aren’t printing unused size lines, and can make taping, cutting, and tracing all significantly easier and faster.

Sounds great, can I print all patterns this way?

Patterns must be designed with layers. Only certain software supports this. For this reason not all patterns can be printed in layers, though many offer this feature. All of our OUSM designs patterns include layer printing as an option.

So How do I print a PDF Pattern using layers?

1. First of all you need to open your pattern in Adobe Acrobat. The icon will look similar to the image below. I’m using the paid version so you’ll see mine ends DC. The free download is all you need to print successfully.

how to print PDF pattern using layers in Adobe Acrobat

Many printing problems in PDF patterns start by not printing from Adobe. Preview modes and other programs tend to lead to scaling problems. Even a tiny mistake in scaling can add up to big fit issues. Double check!  Windows 8 in particular is notoriously bad for opening up using a different app when you think you’re in Adobe.

2.  When you look at your file you’ll have a small sidebar on the left. It will likely look like this when you first open the file:

how to print PDF pattern using layers in Adobe Acrobat

See that stack of papers? Click on it.

3. This will open up the next level. You’ll see the name of your pattern, or whatever the designer has named the pattern file. This will almost always have the pattern name in it. Click the + sign next to it.

how to print PDF pattern using layers in Adobe Acrobat

4. Now you’ll see your layers! Our OUSM Designs patterns will list each size and then a notations and tiling box. You always keep notations and tiling ON. These are the labels, markings, and guts of the pattern. Click on the eyeball next to the sizes you do NOT want to print. As the eyeballs disappear so will those size lines.

how to print PDF pattern using layers in Adobe Acrobat

In the example below we are going to print size 18 months and 5 years.

How to print a PDF pattern with layers in adobe acrobat

5. Print! Make sure you are printing actual size with auto rotation selected. You can see in my preview window only my selected layers will print.

How to print a PDF pattern with layers in adobe acrobat

Now you’re all set to print smarter!

Happy Sewing,


P.S. Are you sewing for a boy? Join us in the Sewing for Boys: Sew along group on Facebook this week. We’re hosting a sew along for the Harvey Vneck this week. We’re offering an exclusive coupon code for group members. We hope you can sew with us!


{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Kennis Wong April 18, 2016, 10:50 am

    Thanks for explaining! I know a lot of people still haven’t tried this feature before, and it’s so so so useful!

  • Linda April 21, 2016, 2:54 am

    Now that is a clever way of doing patterns! I’ve not come across these before but sounds so much better than going cross eyed trying to follow a line!

  • Phyllis Vaughn November 19, 2020, 7:11 pm

    A friend printed off the pattern and sent to me. For peasant dress. I t does not have size. Can you give me an idea how I could figure out the size of the two patterns are.
    Thank you,

Leave a Comment