Trace Method Step 1 – Convert PDF to JPG

First of all, you might wonder why PDF patterns need to be converted to JPGs. The main reason I do it is so that I can add just what I want to the pattern pieces in my cutter software, Sure Cuts A Lot. Patterns, first of all, are genter ally cut out from folded fabric. Cutters use a single layer of fabric. I may have pattern pieces that are cut on the fold that need to be changed to a full, flat pattern piece. Second, I want to add draw markings to the pattern pieces so that my Brother ScanNCut will know what to draw on the fabric with one of its erasable pens. Third, I need to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric grain, and plan my cutting layout accordingly.

There are at least two ways to convert a PDF page to a JPG:

  1. Scan the PDF page, and save as a JPG file. While this will certainly work, it is harder to get a perfect scan with the pattern pieces exactly straight.
  2. Convert the PDF file directly to a JPG file. The advantage of this is that I will be able to convert my file exactly as it is in the pattern, without having to worry about whether the paper is straight enough, or dark enough for a perfect scan. The disadvantage is that it requires additional software. I use Adobe Elements because it can directly open a PDF page and save it in a graphical format.

For this set of pages, I will be converting one of the great free files available from Pixie Faire. It’s the Trendy Tee shirt for Kidz and Cats dolls, available here:

Liberty Jane Trendy Tee for Kidz N Cats


To convert a PDF file to a JPG file:

  1. Launch Photoshop Elements. Select the <Edit> option.
    01 Open Photoshop
  2. At the File menu, select Open…
    02 Photoshop Open
  3. Open the PDF file from wherever you have saved the pattern.
    03 Select PDF File
  4. Photoshop Elements will then display a grid of pages available to be opened. Holding down the <SHIFT> key, select the pages that contain the pattern pieces. Be sure that you see the number of pages selected matches what you believe needs to be opened.
    04 Select pages
  5. Before you click the <OK> button, be sure that the resolution is at about 300 dpi. I do this just in case I need to get a higher resolution version of the page later. Once you’ve ensured that the resolution is high enough, click the <OK> button to convert the files to Photoshop format.
    04a Check dpi settings
  6. Photoshop will open just the pages that you select.
    05 Photoshop open pages
  7. I like to save each file as a Photoshop file, in case something goes wrong. It’s best to do that at a higher resolution than what you need for the JPG file, so I save them at 300 dpi. One at a time, save the files as Photoshop pages.
    05a Save as Photoshop
  8. One at a time, change each page’s settings to 150 dpi. This will give you the right scale when you import the images into Sure Cuts A Lot.
    06 JPG settings
  9. Save each file as a JPG after the settings have been changed.
    07 Save as JPG  08 Save as JPG -2
  10. You will now have an individual JPG file for each of your pattern pages.

The next blog will show how to use the JPG pages in Sure Cuts A Lot to set up your cut files.

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