So, I did it, after a while of stalking Victory Pattern’s Lola Dress on the internet I finally went ahead and bought the pattern. I’m still not sure that I’m going to use my precious fabric on it, but I decided I would definitely like to make it in some other fabric, and then after that, we’ll see.
So, the pattern cost $12.95 CAD, which cost me £7.45 on the day I bought it (I’m guessing that will vary with exchange rates). I noticed it had a Copy Shop version as well as print at home. Now, I’ve been having awful trouble with PDF’s, which I have moaned about lots on the blog, and how once printed out on my printer it is technically impossible to get all the lines to meet up. And that hassle only starts once I get the whole thing printed out, which is usually not so easy as it should be.
I remembered reading ages ago in a post from Toni at Sew Jereli that she’d had a pattern printed cheaply and I’d been meaning to try this. I double checked just now, it was $3 AUS she paid – I don’t know the exchange rate but that’s definitely in the “not much” category. Anwyay, I decided a few pounds for a pattern piece was surely worth the lack of hassle sticking it together and deciding which lines to match and which to fudge, plus I dread to think how much of my horrendously expensive ink cartridge it would use.
So I phoned my local copy shop and asked if they could do it. Yeah, no problem, email it through and we’ll ring when it’s ready to collect, but our minimum price is £5.77. That seemed a bit steep, but as there are 30 tiled pages in the print at home version I decided it was worth it to have it all on one piece of paper, after all, that must be the advantage of getting it printed at the copy shop, right?
Well, they phoned back a little later (nice quick service) and said it was ready to collect. I asked the price and was shocked to discover it was over £9! (I didn’t write it down, I think they may have said £9.57). I went to collect it the next day when the rain had abated (I didn’t fancy carrying my paper pattern home in a heavy downpour, and no, I don’t have a car) and got distracted discussing the pattern with them, I clearly wasn’t paying attention as I checked when I got home and I actually paid £10.18 (50p card cost maybe?) – meaning that between purchase and printing my pattern cost a whopping £17.63 – surely I could’ve bought a whole pattern book for that! (As a comparison, the fabric I just picked up to make my first version with is £3.99/m, admitedly that’s cheap, but I’ve bought 2 1/2 m which I hope will do the whole thing so that cost me £9.98 plus some thread).
So, what was I discussing at the copy shop to distract me so? (In my defense I was paying assistant A who started serving me whilst at the same time chatting to assistant B who wandered over to talk to me as it was she that had done the work). Well, they hadn’t printed a sewing pattern before (the bloke seemed a little confused as to why I’d even want to but he politely didn’t say anything). Because this one was Canadian it was in inches, not cm (technically we’re metric here in the UK, but most sewer’s I know still use inches). I assume that was why it didn’t quite quite fit on one page, because she said it didn’t so she had to do some jigging about. She said she could’ve shrunk it to fit – luckily she didn’t! (I guess even I, in true British-Cannot-Complain-Just-Sulk-Later Mode would have put my foot down and refused to pay for a shrunken pattern). Instead she ended up tiling the image – which was quite complicated for her to do as Victory had quite reasonably password protected the document. So I’ve ended up with 4 (huge) sheets of paper.
Looking at the pattern, I think I understand. I’ll try and explain verbally since I don’t think I should post a photo of pattern details online! The pattern seems to be just a couple of inches too wide for the paper (presumably this is the Canada/UK paper size difference akin to the Letter/A4 one I’m sure everyone is familiar is), so she’s rotated it 90 degrees so it going cross the grain (so to speak). Obviously it is too long to then fit on the width of the paper, so it actually fits on 3 pages, with a bit of overlap as on a normal pdf. Then she’s printed a 4th piece from the middle – I think this was to get some of the pattern pieces in whole rather than across a join. I will still have to do some taping together, but no where near as much as with a normal print at home, although without the “cut off here” lines. I think it’ll be ok.
I think the lesson I learnt from this is that I should’ve emailed them the document and asked for a quote to print it. And then maybe I would’ve been able to discuss options when they realised it wasn’t going to be straightforward rather than have them guess what would be best. Possibly just getting them to concentrate on printing the bigger pattern pieces and doing the smaller bits at home. Or maybe just deciding to call it quits.
I wondered afterwards how my costs compared to buying a paper copy. On the Victory website I could’ve bought and paid for posting to the UK on the pattern for $27.30 CAD, at the exchange rate I had the other day that would’ve been £15.69 which would’ve been cheaper although not as speedy (I’ve no idea on timescales for post from Canada to the UK). A quick (but not thorough) internet search also showed me that I could have bought the paper copy in the UK and had it delivered from Trixie Lixie for £17.50 + £2.75 for standard delivery equalling £20.25 – so at least I was cheaper than that!
I just wondered if anyone else has tried printing patterns at copy shops. Were you successful? What was the price like? Did you encounter problems with paper size? Do you think it’s worth it?
As for me, as this really is the most convenient copy shop available, I will certainly think twice before trying it again. So, for me, it’s back to figuring out how to get my printer to print a pdf “properly” – or maybe I should stop getting pattern idea’s from blogs and start looking at what’s available in my local shops (which is almost all Big 4 stuff).