How to change the size of paper pieced patterns

So you have a foundation paper pieced (FPP) pattern that you love, but it’s just not the right size for your project? Never fear–I’m going to give you all the info on how to adjust the size (shrink OR enlarge) your foundation paper pieced patterns so you can customize it to fit whatever project you’re working on!

Below, you can see my Tiny Log Cabin FPP block (FREE on Craftsy). The pattern originally finishes at 3.5″ x 3.5″, but I wanted a larger log cabin block to use for a pillow cover and thought 6″ x 6″ would work much better.

Log Cabin Blocks paper piecing Tutorial

If you have the pattern in EQ8, it’s a super fast fix–you just have to adjust the block size and reprint! Easy peasy!

However, if you’ve downloaded the pattern from another place, you’ll only have the sizes that the designer included. If that’s the case, you’ll just need a copier to enlarge or shrink the pattern to fit the size you’d like.

Log Cabin Blocks FPP Tutorial

When you copy the pattern, you’ll want to choose the Resize option and then you can change the enlargement or reduction value to what you need. 100% will be the original/starting size of your pattern. If you want to shrink it, you’ll choose a number below 100%, and if you are enlarging the pattern, you’ll choose a number above 100%.

For a simple enlargement, such as making a pattern 2 times the original size, the calculation is easy: 2x the original size is 2 x 100% = 200%. Or for half of the original size, the calculation would be: 1/2 x 100% = 50%.

FPP_change_pattern_size_3

What if you’re wanting to do an enlargement or reduction that isn’t straight forward, though? If that’s the case, here’s the formula for you to use:

FPP_Calculation

The finished/desired size is the size you want the pattern to end up being. The starting/original size is the size that the pattern started out as (these sizes are without the seam allowance!). Again, if you are wanting to enlarge the pattern, the “% to change” number should be larger than 100. If you are wanting to reduce the pattern, the “% to change” number should be less than 100.

If the percentage ends up being a number with a lot of decimals (e.g. 33.3333%), just round up to the nearest whole number (33.3333% —> 34%). That will make the pattern be just slightly larger (which is much easier to work with than pieces that are too small!).

FPP_change_pattern_size_2

After figuring out the correct enlargement or reduction size, you can go ahead and make the copies! I would suggest checking the pattern size with a ruler to make sure it is in fact the size that you were aiming for.

After you have your copies, you’ll notice that the seam allowances are not an exact 1/4″ anymore. If you enlarged the pattern, the seam allowance will also be enlarged and you’ll need to draw a new line 1/4″ away from the edge of the pattern to bring it back to the correct size. If you reduced the pattern, the seam allowance will be smaller. You’ll need to adjust it so it’s up to 1/4″ in size.

Sometimes the original pattern pieces are really close together and after you reduce the pattern, there isn’t 1/4″ in between the pattern pieces to make the seam allowances correct. If that’s the case, you can either print out multiple copies of the pattern to make sure you get each piece cut correctly with the accurate 1/4″, or you can keep the pattern pieces as is with a smaller seam allowance and after assembling each piece, remember to trim the fabric to 1/4″ (which will be beyond the edge of the paper).

FPP_change_pattern_size_1

I hope that helps clear up any questions you might have on enlarging or reducing a paper pieced pattern! Please let me know in the comments if you need any clarifications or have any additional questions for me. Thanks and happy sewing!

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3 thoughts on “How to change the size of paper pieced patterns

    1. You’re welcome! Another issue with enlarging that I didn’t mention is that if you enlarge too much, the pattern pieces might not fit on one piece of paper. But you can always get them enlarged on multiple pieces and tape them together if you need to. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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