Up-sizing scaled patterns is not as difficult an endeavor as it is time consuming. When I first started up-sizing, I used the grid and radial methods (I certainly did not have access to a projector or any other industrial equipment), and eventually, for Victorian/Edwardian costuming, I mastered the Diamond Cutting System (which I still use). But, there is a more time efficient method to up-sizing. It is not a new idea. However, for those dressmakers who never thought to do it, or for those who hadn't realized they needed no special program or equipment to up-size a scaled pattern, there is a very easy, step-by-step technique that can cut hours off of the process of pattern scaling simply by using your computer and a printer. Hallelujah!
|~Selected pattern scanned in JPEG format~|
Step 2: Select the pattern from your saved image files; right click on the image; choose "Open With..."; select "Paint". The image will immediately open in the "Paint" program:
Step 3: Once your pattern image has opened in "Paint", click on "File"; select and click on "Page Setup..."
Step 4: From here, the "Page Setup" window will pop-up. Note that the paper size is set for 8" x 11", the margins are set for 3/4 of an inch (you need this overlap to piece your pattern together), the orientation is for a portrait, and it is horizontally and vertically centered. For "Scaling", choose "Adjust to" and key in the percentage needed to increase your pattern to full size. For example, if your pattern is at a 1/8 scale, you will need to increase the pattern image by 800%; if your pattern image is at a 1/4 scale, you will need to increase it to 400%; 1/16 scale, 1600%, and et cetera. Once you have keyed in your percentage, click "Ok".
|~My pattern is at a 1/8 scale; increased by 800% for normal size~|
Step 5: Now, you need to check your image. Go to "File" and select "Print Preview"; scroll through the images to make sure that everything appears in good order. Then, click "Print".
Step 6: The prints will be in order from left to right, from top to bottom. Begin laying them out on a large flat surface one by one, until your full size pattern is complete. I like to print a copy of my pattern to use as a guide as I am piecing everything together - it helps me with the visuals.
|~My printed copy for visual reference~|
|~Laying out the paper pieces one-by-one~|
|~Finished lay-out and time for taping~|
Step 7: After the pieces are nicely laid out, I number each one (in case they get blown around - it makes putting them back in order easy), and trim and tape them together. What to do with those unused (blank) pieces (usually around the boarders of your full-size pattern)? Put them back into your printer's paper tray!
|~This pattern piece has been numbered "20"~|
|~What paper pieces remain blank, I return to my paper tray~|
It seems that this method uses a lot of paper. Not really and no more than a full size pattern purchased from a theatrical pattern company, like Truly Victorian or Rocking Horse Farm. And, printing it this way is far cheaper than having it printed at Kinko's/FedEx ($.75 per sq. ft; copies only to 36" wide), Staples (a 36" x 48" engineer's copy is $5.95), or Office Depot ($.50 per sq. ft.; copies only to 24" wide). A ream of cheap paper at your favorite Big Box store costs around $4.00, and you can print approximately 8-10 full-size dress patterns (that averages to $.45 per pattern)! Not to mention the paper waste is minimal - blank sheets can be reused, where as with traditional patterns white space is wasted space destined for the trashcan once the pattern is cut. There is also the issue of ink, but if you set your printer to the "Fast Draft" or "Economy" print setting (depending on what printer you use), you will only use 30%-40% of the ink you would normally use on the printer's standard print setting.
I hope this little tutorial sets you on the quick path to constructing and donning your merry apparel rather than spending that precious time scaling patterns!
Blessings and happy sewing!