A man digitising paper sewing patterns using a scanner and Adobe Illustrator.

How to Digitise Paper Sewing Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

Basic Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator

Embracing the digital age in pattern making doesn’t have to be daunting. With Adobe Illustrator, you can easily transform your physical sewing patterns into editable digital files. This pattern making project is ideal for those looking to save space, share designs quickly, or kickstart an online sewing pattern business. Instead of incurring hefty costs by outsourcing the digitisation to pattern graders, we offer a straightforward, budget-friendly solution.

In this patern making project, we demonstrate a cost effective but time consuming method to convert paper patterns to SVG digital formats that can be modified within Adobe Illustrator. Even if you consider yourself not so tech-savvy, our step-by-step tutorial will walk you through the process using basic equipment you likely already have at home.

By the end of our guide, you’ll be well-versed in digitising paper sewing patterns, ready to create, distribute, or sell your patterns with ease.

New to pattern making in Adobe Illustrator? Learn the fundamental pattern making techniques with our comprehensive online course. Read more…

Essentials for Following Along

Before we dive in, you’ll need a bodice basic block to keep up with this pattern-making project. We offer two types of basic blocks for your selection. Standardized basic blocks are ready for immediate use, allowing you to start drafting right away, though they might not match your measurements perfectly. On the other hand, a bespoke basic block, tailored to your specific measurements, offers a precise fit but requires time to create, as we’ll need 28 of your body measurements. Choose the one that best suits your needs!

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Standardized Basic Block

Start pattern making immediately

Visit our partner site, DesignLab.London, for a variety of bodice basic blocks available in multiple sizes. These serve as an ideal starting point or base pattern for your pattern-making project. Explore the collection, select your preferred style and size, and download it to proceed with your project.

Master Digital Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator with our Free course Adapt basic blocks into finished patterns

Bespoke Basic Blocks

Craft a personalized basic block designed for your unique measurements

Looking for a tailor-made basic block for this project? You’re in the right place. Construct your personalised basic block in the Lab by providing your measurements. Simply create a profile, input your measurements, and utilise this profile to design a range of basic block styles. You’ll need the bodice basic block for this project.

What’s Next?

You’re not done there though! If you want to share it online or print it off at home, you’ll need to add seam allowance and transform it into a PDF sewing pattern. Check out the projects below to find out how.

Screenshot of Adobe Illustrator showing the 'Offset Path' function being used to add seam allowance to a basic block of a halter-neck swimsuit pattern.

Learn How to Add Seam Allowance to Your Patterns

Learn how to add seam allowance, to your basic blocks and finished patterns, in Adobe Illustrator, using our simple pattern making tutorial.

Computer screen with a digital pattern making program, Adobe Illustrator open, showing a dress basic block pattern, on a desk with modern design tools.

Master Pattern Making Techniques in Adobe Illustrator

Transform Basic Blocks into Precision Finished Patterns

Learn the fundamental techiques of pattern making with our Free comprehensive pattern making in Adobe Illustrator course

Screenshot of a dress basic block layout in Adobe Illustrator, showcasing the process to create PDF sewing patterns.

Learn How to Create PDF Sewing Patterns

Transform your finished patterns into multi-page PDF sewing patterns in a range of paper sizes. Then save, print from home, or share and sell your PDF sewing patterns online.

9 Comments

  1. Lucy Kay

    Hi,

    will this also work for patterns for bags? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Yes, Absolutely. Any physical pattern can be translated into a digital pattern using this technique. God luck with your project!

      Reply
  2. Asiye

    Hello!
    I am so thankful for all the videos you´re sharing. It is very helpful.
    But there is one information I am still looking for: digital pattern grading with Illustrator!
    That would be so perfect!
    Thanks Asiye 🙂

    Reply
  3. linda

    Hi I want to know how to locate the measurement on store brought pattern so I can alter using the skill learnt thus far /Users/lindabarnes/Desktop/Screen Shot 2022-01-03 at 10.41.00 AM.png

    Reply
  4. Linda

    Can you maybe do a video on how to alter a pattern once scan and digital with how to find the bust waist and hip or bicep or forearm in relation to the scanned pattern because store brought pattern do not have these labelled so alteration can be made to the pattern to custom fit.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Can you maybe do a video on how to alter a pattern once scan and digital with how to find the bust waist and hip or bicep or forearm in relation to the scanned pattern because store brought pattern do not have these labelled so alteration can be made to the pattern to custom fit.

    Reply
  6. Linda

    Can you maybe show how to digitalise using a photograph ?

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      We could certainly try, but it would not be very accurate when copying patterns. We’ll have a think and add it to the tutorial list. Thanks Linda!

      Reply

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