Tutorial - how to use the layers option on a print-at-home pattern

Do you have a print-at-home pattern that has the 'layers' function? Are you a bit unsure about how it all works? Here's a quick guide on how to use layers!

Firstly, what is this 'layers' thing, and why should you be interested?

Layers in a pattern are a way to pick and choose which size you want to print. Each size is printed on a different layer in the pdf file, and you can then choose which layers to show and which to hide. Then, when you go to print your pattern, only the visible layers are printed. In other words - if you're going to make up a size 42 (or any other size), you can choose to print only that size. No more trying to find which line is the right one for your size!

Layers work on Adobe Reader (otherwise known as Adobe Acrobat Reader). This is a free program used to open pdf files.

Here's how to use layers (we'll be using the Sophie pattern in this example).

First, open your pattern file in Adobe Reader. You'll see a narrow menu down the left-hand side of the screen, with three icons. The one at the bottom, with two squares on top of each other, is the one that you'll be using to choose which layers to show. Here's where you'll find it:


And here's a closer look at what it looks like:


Now, to access the different layers, click on that icon with the two squares. A menu will come out from it, with each layer listed. 


Next to each layer you'll see a small image of an eye. Here's what that menu looks like a bit closer - see the eye on the left of each layers name? You'll also see that each layer has a name that tells you what it's for - e.g. size 44, size 32, etc. There are three layers at the bottom of the list that you need to leave on so that you can piece your pattern together correctly - the grid lines, tile markers, and page numbers.


To turn the layers on or off, click on the eye images. The layers with the 'eye' visible will be shown, while the others will be hidden. Here, we've hidden all the size layers except for size 42. (The grid lines tile makers and page numbers are also visible.) As you can see, all of the pattern lines except for the size 42 one have vanished.

Now, when you print your pattern, only the lines shown will be printed. And it'll be a lot easier to cut out or trace - yay!


  • Janet

    thank you so much for explaining this. i had no idea — you’ve really assisted me!

  • Angela Moore

    You information on how to turn on and off the layers was SO helpful!!! Thank you!!!!

  • dolly

    I installed the adobe reader and cannot figure this out. How do I open pattern in the reader? i open the pattern and do not find these sidebars. yes, I’m slow at catching on. I don’t see how to open the reader.
    Thanks for your help

  • Kat at Muse Patterns

    Hi Davina,

    That’s unusual! I’m pretty sure it will be because of the version of Adobe you are using – if you are still having the same issue after you update your Adobe, please email us so we can see how we can help: hello (at) sewingmuse.com.


  • Davina

    Hi there, I have opened my pattern in Adobe Reader 9 but the only layers I can see and turn off and on are Pattern, Tile and Layer 1. Is that because I have the wrong version of Adobe? Thanks.

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