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The How to Understitch Tutorial

The How to Understitch Tutorial.

I thought I’d do a little tutorial on UNDERSTITCHING, I’m sure most people know all about, but it’s something I love to do, so it will be appearing quite a bit in the instructions of Maven Patterns.

“But why Mrs M?” I hear you ask, “why such love of understitching?”

Well for a start, I feel a little sorry for it, understitching is an often neglected little process because when you’re rushing to finish a garment for yourself in between tea time and the next domestic disaster, it’s an easy thing to skip and do you know why I don’t skip it …because I’m lazy! This secretive, functional little stitch is the easiest way to make your facings, bindings and under collars (or under straps if you are making the Maria Wrap Apron) sit to the inside where they should be, without them rolling to the front.  Once you get the hang of it you’ll understitch everywhere!

Here’s how…



1. First, sew your seam. Make sure you take the right seam allowance, MAVEN PATTERNS will only have a 6mm seam allowance for bagging out facings and collars, if you have a bigger seam allowance you may need to trim it down a bit if you are stitching on a curved edge. Press all the seam allowance towards the facing.


2. With the right side of the garment up, edgestitch ON THE FACING through ALL the layers, take care not to stretch the garment as you stitch. If you are stitching on an under collar or into a shoulder, just stitch as far as you can with your machine and then stop.


3.  This is what the reverse side looks like, all the seam allowances are held flat to the facing with that edgestitch.


4. Now press it so the facing lays flat on the inside of the garment, it will naturally want to roll into place.


5. On the right side of the get a nice sharp edge and a flat facing that stays put!

There you see, so easy!

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The Maria Wrap Apron – PDF sewing pattern

The Maria Wrap Apron PDF sewing pattern

I’m very excited to announce the first PDF sewing pattern, The Maria Wrap Apron by Maven Patterns, is now available for automatic download in the SHOP.

She has a wrap over back for an easy fit or the option to have a full back under-wrap with a side tie fastening to wear as a pinafore dress. She’s been very well received so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing a little army of creative apron wearing women! The Maria Wrap Apron comes with full illustrated Maker Instructions, cutting guides and a multi-sized pattern in sizes SMALL, MEDIUM and LARGE.

EDITED TO ADD: We now have paper pattern too!



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How to Print and Tile a PDF Sewing Pattern

The joy of PDF sewing patterns is that they are instant. Also called digital sewing patterns, they are designed to be printed at home on either A4 or US letter sized paper, made up of several pages (tiles) that are joined together to make a complete pattern. Once downloaded you can print as many patterns as needed, no problems making different sizes, or losing a pattern piece, no more fragile tissue paper!

Just pick your PDF sewing pattern, download it and you are ready to start using up that stash of fabric that is slowly threatening to take over the house. Admit it you’ve got one, I’ve got one, we’ve all got one…and if you don’t have a stash of fabric…you want one!

So putting your pattern together is a very simple process, grab a cup of tea and follow this tutorial…


We now include an A0 file with each PDF pattern for printing at a copy shop on a wide format printer.

If you are only seeing 2 pages to print at home, you’ve most likely opened this file by mistake and you need to open and print from the file that is included with the Maker Instructions. All patterns from The Somerset (pattern 08) onwards, the pattern and the instruction files are separate. You will find a list of page numbers in the instructions so you can just print the pages you choose to save ink and paper.


A printer

A4/US letter paper

Paper Scissors

Tape (transparent magic tape is the best – doesn’t yellow with age, it’s invisible, you can get pins through it)



Download your pattern and save it to your computer.

Maven Patterns are also available through Etsy, and Etsy have kindly posted a guide to help with downloading digital items.

To open your digital file you need an Adobe Reader, which you can download for free.

Open you document and READ IT FIRST! You will find a set of instructions which include a cutting guide, fabric requirements, illustrated Maker Instructions and a glossary of terms as well as your pattern. It is not necessary to print everything, you can save ink and paper by just printing the pattern (in some cases just the version of the pattern you want to make) and viewing your instructions on screen. You will find a list of page numbers on the CONTENTS page.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Make a note of the page number for THE PRINT TEST SQUARE, this is ALWAYS the first page to print. A PRINT TEST SQUARE is included on all digital sewing patterns so you can check that your printer is printing your pattern accurately. My patterns have a square 10cm x 10cm, but just check the size for different pattern designers – it will be clearly marked.


How to print and tile a pattern: Adobe Acrobat screen shot

IMPORTANT: Ensure your print settings are correct, the pattern must print at actual size or it won’t fit you! These print settings all vary a little , on my computer (a PC) I use these options, yours may be different:

Select your printer in the top left corner (mine defaults to Adobe)


PAGES TO PRINT: PAGES and tap in the page number of the print test square (19 in this case),

ORIENTATION: AUTO/PORTRAIT LANDSCAPE to keep your pattern tile centralized.


Print the TEST SQUARE page.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern


Check the square measures 10cm x 10cm, if it does great – you’ll print an accurate pattern. If it doesn’t go back and fiddle with the print settings again.


  • Check you are opening with the latest version of Adobe Reader.
  • If you’re using a Mac and your pattern is opening in ‘Preview’, the default reader, reopen in the latest version of Adobe Reader. FREE FROM HERE.
  • Give your pattern time to download completely. Save it somewhere safe that you can find on your computer.
  • Be sure to print from the SAVED version.
  • Printing a pattern that is open from your internet browser will cause the pattern to not print out correctly.

| Check the printer settings |

  • ‘Actual Size/Scale 100% should be TICKED
  • Make sure:  ‘Choose paper source by PDF page size’ is UN-TICKED.
  • Still not printing OK? Click ‘ADVANCED PRINTER SETTINGS’ then click “PRINT AS IMAGE”



Once you are happy with your test square, you can print your pattern, again refer back to the contents page so you print the right pages. Soon you will have a stack of pattern tiles in front of you.

How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

The grey square is the outside edge of your pattern tile, all you need to do is trim away the excess overlap on two sides. For absolute accuracy cut on the outside of the grey line, so you can still see it. Carry on until all the tiles are trimmed.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Each tile has a large grey number in the centre, these run from left to right so you can put your tiles in order. A TILE LAYOUT DIAGRAM is included in the instructions as each pattern will vary a little.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

Stick tile 1 to tile 2, line up the triangles and the pattern as you go, butting the grey frame edges next to each other – NOT OVERLAPPING. I always use transparent magic tape for patterns, but it’s a little TOO transparent to show up in a photo…hence the lovely washi tape! Keep working your way across row 1, and then do the same for row 2.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing patternJoin rows 1 and 2 together, and continue until your  pattern is taped together, using the tile layout diagram as a guide.


How to print and tile a PDF sewing pattern

A whole tiled pattern can get a little unmanageable in one piece, so chop out completed sections of the pattern as you go. All you have to do now is decide on your size and carefully cut out each pattern piece ready to make your garment.