I have been thinking about creating patterns with software. Wild Ginger had been suggested to me by Nancy. I’m not there yet, but one deterrent had been the thought of having to print out things on letter or legal sized paper, then cutting them out and piecing them together with crop marks on each sheet to make a bigger pattern piece. Most pattern pieces would be this way so I’d be doing it a lot, if so. I know what that’s about, having been a graphic designer, and it’s NOT fun!

So today, I finally got out to a Staples store a block from where I live to see what their printing capacity was. Turns out, they could print things up to 36″ wide (with 24″ and a few other standard widths being the option). And they could print any length a pattern might use since it’s on a pretty long roll of paper. You could even upload it to a Staples copy and print site (Canadian site), in PDF format which Wild Ginger produces, and pick it up rather soon or after 2 hours for a discount! Talk about saving time and money of a plotter, essentially, rather than a printer!

Cost for black and white wide printing is 49 cents a square foot if you can wait the 2 hours, 64 cents a square foot if you can’t. That would be the square footage of paper used, not of your pattern. So if you had a tie piece 6″ wide and 18″ long, for sake of an example, to make 0.75 square foot for your pattern. If you printed only 1, you’d still be paying for 3 feet wide by 0.5 foot long or 1.5 square foot. Or 1 square foot if you printed on a 24″ roll (2′ x 0.5′).

Figure out square footage by taking width x length in inches, and dividing by 144. And for costs in your mind, basically think 2 square feet for a dollar (plus tax). It’s a pretty good deal!

There are two slight drawbacks to this process. First, I’m not sure Wild Ginger would allow you to make the most efficient use of paper by jamming your pieces optimally. I’m glad I have software to manipulate that with Adobe Illustrator. Second, Staples doesn’t print on soft paper like pattern paper. It’s a bit more like your office paper. Still, to be able to print my patterns somewhere close by at an affordable price, without having to wait at the store or come back for a second trip, is fantastic!

Now, where can I buy time cheaply to learn this Wild Ginger software? I’m starting a new job Monday where I have 3 courses in software I have to take already.

p.s. I’m sure other places provide this sort of service as well. Maybe they’re cheaper, maybe not. I haven’t done the full market research and won’t be given the Staples solutions works for me.

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