Success With Kaya Papaya Design PDF Patterns

Lisa Stewart

For many of us, a PDF pattern is something new. A PDF is a Portable Document Format file. It is basically a "snapshot" of a file as it is held in a fixed format. A Word document may change format when downloaded from one computer to the other depending on the software on the computer. A PDF file will not change format. 

I'm going to cover all the details for Kaya Papaya Design's patterns. We'll start with getting your pattern downloaded to your device. When you purchase, you are given a download link through an app. You can download on multiple devices up to 5 times. Very rarely the app is not supported on a cell phone or tablet, and you will need to try a different device or contact us for help. This message below will show up on the check out screen. If you leave quickly and don't see it, you will get an email with the link. Sometimes if the link on the screen doesn't work, please try the email link.  

After successfully downloading your pattern, take the time to look over it before printing. There are a variety of important notes before proceeding. There will be a general description of the pattern, and special notes from the designer that may be very helpful in choosing your fabrics and interfacings. There will also be a guide to the abbreviations used along with information on seam allowances and top stitching.

Note that Kaya Papaya Design patterns will have a standard seam allowance noted for each pattern. Most patterns will have a 3/8" seam allowance but a couple of the beginner patterns, like the Cici Too Cosmetic Bag and the Penelope Crossbody Bag, a 1/2" seam allowance is used. Once you start adding in layers to be seamed, a 1/4" seam allowance can be hard to maintain. There may be times where the seam allowance needs to be trimmed away or snipped. We don't feel that we are that perfect in stitching and feel that a slightly larger seam allowance gives us some "wiggle" room for error without running out of the seam allowance. This is very helpful when you are first learning to sew bags. 

Last are notes that guide you in printing. This may include, if applicable to the pattern, notes indicating whether there are rectangular pieces that you can skip printing and use the measurements provided on the Fabric and Interfacing Cut List. 

Before printing all of the pattern pieces, print the page indicated with the "Tester Square". As seen above, it is on page 1. It is situated where it will best fit, so not always on Page 1. So, if you have printed at 100% - not "custom", not "fit to page", not any other print command - your tester square should measure 1 inch from outside edge to outside edge. NOT the inside measurement. (This picture below is not to scale!)

I personally also like to check the measurement of any pattern piece on the same sheet as the tester square as a back up. (These measurements again are outside edge to outside edge - not inside). Very rarely, depending on the type of printer, the square could be correct but the pieces print "off" in measurement a little. All of our pattern pieces indicate the measurements taken at the widest edges and are also reflected on the Fabric and Interfacing Cut List.

The next section and/or page in the pattern will be the Materials and Notions List. This includes all the fabric and interfacing yardage and type requirements, the hardware needed, and may even list tools that we feel will be most beneficial to make the bag. We do list this in the Product Description so that you can determine if this is a bag you want to make, but it may be more detailed in the pattern. Do not skip this part. It's no fun to be bopping along on your bag and realize you don't have a particular notion or piece of hardware and everything comes to a screeching halt while you wait on UPS to deliver!

At some point on one of the pages just mentioned, you will see the following and we strongly suggest it be heeded:

Have you ever seen the test that states: Read all instructions before marking this test? At the end of the test it states: Do not mark on this test. I remember being guilty of jumping ahead when I was younger and many times making a fool of myself. Take the time to read through the pattern before cutting your beautiful fabric!

What is the Fabric and Interfacing Cut List that I keep referring to? After having made two of Patricia's patterns, I call it the "road map", but maybe it should actually be the "trip prep list." It is invaluable for knowing what to cut and keeping track of everything. It also includes important notes on interfacing application, difference in fabric weight's interfacing needs, and any other special prep notations. I recommend printing this page for reference. Here is an excerpt from The Alyssa Hip Bag:

We have recently added a new feature to our patterns. It is a chart titled Pattern Piece Labels. It is printed in colored columns by type of fabric or interfacing and intended for cutting out and clipping to the pattern pieces. The Fabric and Interfacing Cut List is color coded to match. I found this to be invaluable for the pattern and kept everything nicely sorted. It is optional whether you decide to use it. This is an excerpt from our newest pattern:

A last important item of note is our copyright. Many of you make bags for sale and we are thrilled that you have chosen one of our patterns to make for that purpose. The copyright is stated in both the Product Description before purchasing, and at the end of the pattern instructions. If you ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 

I personally print my road map (Fabric and Interfacing Cut List) and labels in addition to any shaped pattern pieces. I may print any page(s) that I feel I need to make notes on. I make notes regarding the seam allowance and top-stitching as sometimes it changes in the instructions and I need a reminder of the standard! I have found that following these tips in using our patterns insures a more enjoyable experience with less colorful language. Now any problems I have are just caused by my sewing machine - certainly not by me! Ha! ;o)

Do you have any tips for using a PDF bag pattern? Any questions?

Are you a beginner bag maker? Check out our growing Learning Center. 

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced bag maker, we'd love to have you join our Facebook Pattern Group. Ask questions, give guidance and encouragement, share your makes. Patricia is always quick to answer questions, and loves your feedback. 

Please feel free to comment, but be aware that Shopify doesn't offer a way for us to respond. If you have any questions, please PM through Facebook, or email us at We'd love to hear from you!

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