Making PDF Doll Clothes Patterns: Bumps, Snags and Joy

So I have been converting my original patterns to PDF. This is hard work!
So far I have two completed patterns. This is what I had to do get there:

Think should I even do this?
Give self a pep-talk.
Decide on what pattern to PDF-ify--not too hard, not too pedantic.
Do some research to make sure someone didn't beat me to it--really, even though my patterns are all created by me, there are only so many clothing looks that are appropriate for toddler dolls and I don't want to step on any toes.
Gather my pattern pieces from my files and sew up an outfit--make sure it fits impeccably.
Make little changes to pattern shape and size.
Draw pattern by hand, neatly (challenging for me).
Scan the patterns:
After many frustrations, I found the best way to do this was cut out the pattern first-then scan as it was easier to re-size in Word as a jpeg.
Open patterns in Word--add all the goodies--pattern markings etc. I used text boxes to do this.
Wonder if my patterns pieces look unprofessional.
Research to see how other doll pattern-maker's patterns look.
Feel Better.
Convert Word document to PDF file.
Test Print.
Realize pattern has changed size.
Spend many hours trying to fix this--turns out what Word and PDF think are 100% sized copies are 16% off.
Test Print.
Experience Joy.
Set up a photography area near my sewing machine.
Sew through the entire pattern, stopping at every point to photograph the garment in construction and making notes of the steps.
Upload photos.
Edit photos.
Open a new Word document.
Write my headers, footers decide on a layout for the document.
Write out legal stuff, front matter for pattern.
Write out instructions and add photos to the document.
Chase my photos all around the document. 
Curse times 50.
Wonder if my instructions and photos are clear enough.
Decide to find a pattern tester--put out feelers on my blog's FB page and page for the doll community my pattern is for.--I had very good luck in finding an excellent pattern tester-she was quick, professional and simply awesome.
Reward pattern tester for her awesomeness.
Feel good about pattern.
Revise pattern x 20.
Convert to PDF--my version of Word does this automatically.
Find mistake--revise in Word--reconvert to PDF times 10.
Photograph finished looks. Take 100 photos. 
Edit photos.
Create a PNG file of photo for use on pattern cover.
Play with and settle on idea for naming pattern and design pattern front cover--this was my favorite part I spent hours on it :)
Experience JOY.
Compile all the PDF's into one big PDF
Review Pattern--find tiny flaw-Revise, Reconvert, Compile, times 3.
Feel like checking pattern one last time--don't.
Experience Insecurity. Who will buy it? Is it good enough? Will people criticize it? Will someone steal it and resell it? Will the whole endeavor turn in to a cautionary tale for my children and aspiring PDF pattern makers?
Give self pep-talk.
Decide to do more research on Selling PDFs.

I hope this helps you if you are in the "thinking about it" stage about making PDF's of your patterns (I was there for years)--bottom line--it is totally do-able and you should do it!!!

Next up... really trying to figure out how and where to best sell my baby pattern.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have briefly thought about it, but it seems too daunting for me. I wish you success in your endeavour. I'm sure it will get easier as you get more experience.

    1. Thank you Allenoel- The beauty of the struggle above is that now I have a template and lessons learned :)

  2. Yes, it is a lot of work - that's one of the reasons I haven't ventured there. However, I wouldn't be downhearted about selling your patterns - I'm sure they will sell. You could try Etsy - everyone seems to have a store there. I would also suggest you check out/contact It is run by the people who own Liberty Jane doll patterns but they sell patterns for all sorts of dolls (including the Disney Animator dolls) from other independent doll pattern businesses. I signed up to be a Liberty Jane partner (which gives me the right to sell clothes made from their patterns) and they are very helpful and supportive ,

    1. It is a BIG task--but I am up for it. Pixie Faire has approved my pattern designs and I want to sell with them. I'm trying to decide between Etsy and Ebay--weighing options while I get to the required 4 completed patterns for PF.

  3. I have been missing your posts. Any new ones in the works

  4. I have been missing your posts. Any new ones in the works

  5. Thank you Betty--I actually finally began to unpack into my new space--hope to begin to do many doll related fun things soon!


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