How to Resize a Pattern Ultimate Guide

Learn how to resize a pattern like a pro with this expert guide on pattern grading from Sew and So!It’s wonderful when you can find patterns for projects that are the exact size, but more often then not books, eBooks and online downloads request you to change the pattern size yourself. But how do you enlarge patterns? The templates give you a percentage that the patterns need to be enlarged by. Motif’s, however, can be used for many projects and will need to be scaled up and down accordingly. This article, originally written by weefolkart, shows you how to resize a pattern —enlarge and reduce— and provides information on how to use photocopiers, home printers, gridding techniques and overhead projectors to re-size them!

How to Resize a Pattern: Reducing and Enlarging:

There is a basic math formula to know while learning how to resize a pattern. It is essential to know the existing size of either the height or width of the image of the pattern and your desired size of the same measurement.

‘Desired Size’ / ‘Existing Size’ = ‘Percentage to Enlarge or Reduce the Pattern’

Example: Reducing for a t-shirt pocket:
You have a pattern with a width of 5 inches and would like it to be 2 inches wide:

2 / 5 = 0.4 (40 percent)

Example 2: Enlarging to Make a Wall Hanging:
You have a pattern with a height of 6 inches and would like to be 14 inches tall.

14 / 6 = 2.33 (233 percent)

Using a Home Printer

Depending on your home computer or printer’s capabilities, learning to use the scaling function may be just the answer. Most home printers today have a built-in scanner and can make photocopies. Adobe PDF’s have a print to scale option and depending on the size of the pattern you need, this may be all you require. Use the scaling formula above to determine the percentage to which you will need to set your printer/copier. This works as long as the finished image size will fit on the printer paper. If it doesn’t, have a read about tiling.


Some home printer/copiers will allow for tiling, which means it will enlarge and print an image that is greater than a single sheet of paper by printing a portion of the image on several sheets of paper like a puzzle. These separate pieces can then be taped or glued together to form the one large image. However, all printers are different so you may need to check your printer’s manual for details on this option. Adobe PDF also has a tiling option that corresponds to your printer type.

Using a Photocopier

Businesses, like Staples, are able to print very large images, which is a great option as you learn how to resize a pattern. This is a great option if you would like to enlarge your image to create something like an intricate duvet cover. They will even do the math for you if you haven’t already calculated your scaling percentage.

Graphing and Gridding

This is the original way people scaled images before home printers and scanners.
Draw a grid over your one-inch one-inch grid pattern would be an easy starting point. If you would like your image to be 3 feet tall, draw a three-foot-tall box and then grid it with six-by-six blocks. In this example, you would have six-inch square blocks in your enlarged grid. Now you need to freehand copy what appears in each pattern grid blocks to the new sized grid blocks. Breaking up the image into these smaller blocks and then focusing on drawing one block at a time makes it easier to draw the pattern and keep it in proportion … even if you find drawing a challenge.

Overhead Projector

If you have an overhead projector available to you, you can use this for enlarging images. You will need to copy your pattern onto a sheet of transparency paper. Print your pattern onto transparency paper (available for your printer.) Once you have your transparent pattern, place a large sheet of paper on the wall, set up your projector so that it is displaying the pattern at the desired size on the wall. You can then trace the projected image onto several pieces of paper and attach them together with tape or glue.

There are online resources that can help re-size your patterns, such as Online Rapid Resizer. This tool resizes line drawings and color photographs conveniently on your home printer and guides you through an easy print option.

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