How To Save PDF Patterns to iPad – Tutorial

I hesitated writing this post because I worry that readers will say “duh Ros, can’t believe you didn’t know this!” But I felt that way before I wrote this post about zippers, and it has become one of my most popular and most pinned posts, so I figure I’ll help someone!

Like many of you, the majority of patterns I use for my sewing projects are by independent designers who sell their patterns as downloadable PDF files. Which is great BUT there is a lot of printing and paper wastage.

Until…I was chatting on the phone to my lovely friend Amy and she said “grab your iPad and I’ll show you what I mean about that pattern.”
Me: “Umm why would I grab my iPad?”
Amy: “Don’t you save your patterns as an ebook so you can sit the iPad next to you when you sew?”

So full credit for this tutorial goes to Amy because she taught me how to do this. It has been a game changer – it is so handy to have the pattern sitting right next to me when I sew without having to mess around with lots of paper.

So basically, you save your PDFs into the iBooks app and you can use them like an ebook. Then the only printing you need to do is your pattern pieces. You can also use this very same tutorial to save your patterns into your iPhone.

First, you need to get your saved PDFs to your iPad. I just attached them to an email and sent them to myself.

Open the email and tap the symbol and your file will begin to download.

Once it’s downloaded, tap the PDF symbol and this will open your pattern.

Once your PDF is open, go to the top right hand corner and tap the share arrow.

You will get a few options depending on the various apps you have on
your device. I like to keep my patterns all together in the one place,
so I choose ‘Open in iBooks’.

And that’s it! Once you’ve opened your pattern in iBooks it will automatically save it in there so you can go back to it anytime. Save them all in there, and you will have a lovely bookshelf full of patterns.

This will work for any type of PDF file. Using your iPad you can flip easily between pages in the pattern and have it sitting next to you in your sewing space for easy referral.  
Saving the pattern to your phone is also very handy when you go fabric shopping – you can refer to the pattern so you know exactly how much fabric yardage and which notions you need.
Apologies to Android users, this tutorial is for iDevices only but I’m sure there is a way for you to do this on your tablets and phones that is very similar.
 Easy, convenient and uses a lot less paper! Do you save patterns this way too?

32 thoughts on “How To Save PDF Patterns to iPad – Tutorial

  1. Never would have thought of that. Ever! I have them all on my MacBook, but it's a hot mess to dig through them. I see a new project for me and my iPad this week. Thank you!!!

    Enjoy your weekend ๐Ÿ™‚ Cindy

  2. I really dislike pdf patterns because of the extreme waste of paper and ink. I avoid them like the plague. I will have to give this a try. Is there a way to save them to icloud so you don't use all your free space on the ipad?
    Thanks for this tutorial!

  3. I do this I have patterns, woodwork plans my digital bottle caps iBooks is only for PDFs and I use the kindle ap for my books. I think it is a great idea to share the idea. I love having all my things in the one place

  4. Yep – all my patterns are saved in iBooks and I love it. They all look so pretty lined up and I find I now just print the pages I need cause it is so easy to read on the iPad. Great tutorial x

  5. Thanks for sharing this tidbit! I use Google Drive to save all my pdf patterns – there is an app on the iPhone for it and I can access them from my Kindle or any computer – you can also share things with other people through Drive. It's super helpful because I always have them on hand but they're on the mysterious 'cloud' so they don't take up space on my device. An option for Android users or IOS users alike.

    1. Unfortunately you can't do it unless the pattern or tutorial is available in a PDF format. Best thing to do would be to bookmark it in your internet browser for easy access or pin it if you use Pinterest. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I save all my patterns to Dropbox, so it syncs with all devices. I do like how these are displayed with the images, so you can see which pattern is which though!

  7. Iโ€™m just starting to do dressmaking again after many years and have never bought a pdf pattern – do I need a computer? Can I order straight to my iPad or iPhone? Then use a copy company to print?

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