options for large-format pdf printing

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.

PDF Pattern Printing

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!

14 Comments

  1. María

    Girl on the go!
    Sounds good!!!

  2. Very helpful. Thank you!

  3. Lake

    PDF Plotting uses bond paper to print patterns. It’s regular letter paper. You can’t see through it and it’s too stiff. Todd, do you know of a company that can print pattern sheets on tracing or pattern paper?

    1. No, I don’t. Most large format printers will use a heavier weight paper.

  4. There is a print shop in the UK that will print and ship quite reasonably – but prices on printing do vary in Staples here in Canada. One place charged me $12 and another $18. I now use a local shop (Victoria, BC) that prints them for about $12.

    1. Suzanne

      Name of Victoria shop? I live upisland but often visit.
      Thanks!!

  5. Sinead

    There is a company in the UK which I’ve not used but looks good, they print on thin 24gsm paper: patternsy.weebly.com

  6. Peggy D

    In Australia, I get my copyshop patterns printed at OfficeWorks which has multiple branches all over the country. Cost is about $4, which I am definitely prepared to pay in preference to wrangling multiple sheets of A4 and tape! And in the US/CAN, Pattern Review (patternreview.com) also does copyshop printing.

  7. Mary Morrison

    Hi. Can you tell me the size of your AO patterns. Even after opening in Adobe Acrobat I can’t tell the actual size so I can order online. Thanks!

    1. It’s the standard 841 x 1189 mm.

  8. After years of searching, and being quoted up to $90 for printing A0 (and then having to tile those!) I finally found a printer in Australia that can do 36″ wide for about $3 to $10 per pattern (depending on the meterage), they know all about not scaling, and will post if you’re not local.
    Creffield Digital Printing.
    Can’t say enough good things about them.
    My local one (Spencer St, West Melbourne) even has a coffee machine and cycling magazines for while I’m waiting on the printing!

  9. /anne...

    I think the reason almost no printers in Australia bother with 36″ wide paper is that Australia started changing to metric in 1970, and by the end of the 70s was effectively metric. The last remaining holdouts of the imperial system were removed by 1988.

    This was done by legislation and education – it was, apparently, illegal for some years to bring anything into the country marked in imperial measurements, although that has been relaxed.

    If you asked anyone under the age of 50 what a quarto sized piece of paper looks like, they’d almost certainly look at you blankly.

    No printer would ever go broke in Australia if they only offered A and B series sized paper – until the advent of PDF patterns, they’d probably never get a request for 36″ wide paper.

    1. Very interesting! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sally

    I’m in Germany and use the plotservice feature on https://www.repro-online.de/. Costs about €2 per page with about €5 postage per order (I try to save them up to save on postage). Always printed correctly to scale and arrives quickly.

Post a comment