We are asked, from time to time, where people can have the full-sized pattern sheets in our PDF patterns printed.
Our first suggestion is always to look for a dependable local print shop. Search the internet or your local phone book for “copy shop,” “print shop,” or “blueprint printing.” (Don’t overlook specialty architectural printers! We used one that was close to our studio in Brooklyn. They do good work, and they’re usually much cheaper than other types of print shops for this sort of printing. Here in Madrid, we use a local copy shop.) If you’re lucky, you’ll find a few mom-and-pop shops in your area that specialize in small printing jobs. Call them and ask if they can print a 36″-wide black-and-white print job from a roll of paper. If they can, you’re in luck! Get an estimate and send off your job. Make sure, when you pick up your print out, to check the scale indicator. All our patterns are set, by default, to print to scale. But sometimes print shops override these defaults when they send a job to print. It’s best to make sure the pattern is printed correctly to scale before you leave the store.
If you can’t find a small shop, check for one of the chain office supply stores like Staples or Office Depot in the United States. These stores often have attached print shops that have a 36″-wide printer. But before sending your print job, make sure to get an estimate! Each store sets its own prices, and sometimes they are ridiculous. We’ve heard of people paying everywhere from $3-$20 to print one pattern sheet at different Staples stores. Again, check the scale indicator when picking up your print out to make sure it was printed correctly to scale.
What if you live outside the United States? In countries that use A-sized papers (like the United Kingdom and Australia), most print shops do not stock 36″-wide roll paper. I’ve never understood why this is because the printers they use are the same as those used in the United States, and they are capable of printing from a roll. Our local copy shop here in Spain stocks both A0 and 36″-wide paper, and there’s no reason a shop in the United Kingdom or Australia can’t as well. But because they don’t, we’ve started including A0-sized pages in our patterns in recent years. If you’re using a pattern that doesn’t have A0 pages included, you can always ask if the shop has a 36″-wide roll in stock or if they can tile your job to print on multiple A0 sheets.
But what if you don’t have any local options, or what if your only local option wants to charge you $18 to print one pattern sheet? Well, thank goodness for the internet! As PDF sewing patterns have increased in popularity, a few printing companies have started doing internet-based business in printing large-format PDF patterns. Here are some we are familiar with. The good thing about these businesses is that they know and understand sewing pattern printing. You’re practically guaranteed that they’ll make sure to print to scale and that you’ll be happy with the result when it arrives in your mailbox.
United States: PDF Plotting can print your 36″-wide pattern sheets in lengths up to 100″. You can submit your order via their black and white sewing pattern page.
United Kingdom: Netprinter is now specializing in printing sewing patterns. They have a special sewing pattern printing page where you can upload your PDF pattern sheets. And here’s a little secret: Netprinter can print from a 36″-wide roll, so they can handle our patterns that don’t include an A0 option! The upload page doesn’t mention this, but if you select A0 as your size and upload a 36″-wide sheet that is longer than A0, their system will accept it and calculate the cost based on the length of the sheet. And your job will print from a 36″-wide roll. Good to know, right!
Australia: CAD to Print is an Australia-based printer that specialize in large-format printing. They cannot handle 36″-wide sheets, but they do print A0, and they ship quickly to all destinations in Australia.
I hope this information is helpful. Do you have a PDF printer not mentioned here that you would recommend to others? Please share that information in the comments!