I don't. Well, I did once and it was OK. I taped four sheets of paper for a PDF doll dress pattern. That's my limit. It made a darling little dress, too.
We all know patterns aren't perfect. We aren't perfectly built to match pattern measurements, either, any of them. So disregarding fit what does taping have over rotary cutting out a pattern in minutes? The only advantage I see is to the producer of the pattern. It is a quick way to get a design out to the public and turn a quick buck. Go entrepreneurs! But sorry, other than the four sheet limit, this does not appeal to me in any way. Thirty to seventy pages is not uncommon. Are you kidding? Do you know how much interfacing I can buy for the price of my printer cartridge, never mind the ream of paper? Add in the price of all that tape, too. Oh, and don't forget the time it actually takes to print off and tape your PDF pattern. Then there is just dragging around all those taped white sheets to the cutting board. Now all of this is coming from a user standpoint. I definitely see the advantages from a designer standpoint and who knows, I may do a PDF pattern and sell it myself one day. But using them, not so sure. Give me a 3.99 Vogue pattern sale any day.
google PDF patterns for women, or children or whatever and see what comes up.
Another beef I have with PDFs is that many are so unfitting and generic. Whether it's Burda or your local Mompreneur, a tee shirt is a tee shirt, a baby bib a baby bib and a hi lo skirt is a hi lo skirt. The majority of designs being sold as PDFs are very very basic. Now that is a good thing. I am for anything that gets anybody to sew any type of clothing. So newbies, jump on board. But will the results be in a heap in a corner of the closet with the store bought fast fashion these generic downloads emulate? Or is it the other way around? Will the generically looking and fitting PDF garment be thought of as just as exciting and glamorous as all the rest of the generic tees from the fast fashion emporiums? If that is your standard, and it is for much of our population, these designs are right up there.
There is one very fascinating aspect of all of this, however. The other night I was on one of the brightly pastel colored blog/websites of a clearly inexperienced sewist but very capable blogger and PDF user and maker. In the same paragraph she says she abhors "The Big Four" and a sentence later she admits she's never used a pattern. Her sidebars offer you her PDFs. This is not a dropout from FIT but a lovely young woman who learned on her own like I did and based on the results shown in her blog, maybe sewing for a year or two max. Now what you read from here on is merely my observation, not a criticism of any kind, but I do find it fascinating. Our young, really young, newby sewists are so digitally primed that they think it is normal to print out 65 pages and tape it together. It is something they have grown into, would never question, and clearly would wonder why anyone would not do it this way. Everything else in life comes by way of clicks: dates, purchases, jobs, etc. I have seen just this sentiment on more than one hip pastel sewing blog. I just find this so fascinating. This is a price we are paying for the lack of textile education in our schools. There is another way, newbies. No, there is not instant gratification. Yes, you will have to really think about how the garment goes together when using a RL pattern. You will even have to follow directions, sometimes bad directions. But after you have done this enough times in enough variations you will be damn good at sewing. Taped Tee Shirt after taped Tee Shirt doesn't quite get you there. I am hoping that all those digi-sewists out there will eventually graduate to using real patterns, whether Indie or Big Four.
My caveat here is that I do know there are some designs sold as PDFs that are not so generic and blah and actually have fit as part of their existence. Burda definitely has some. But still, I am just not ready to be a Taper. Are you a Taper? Digi-sewist? PDF maker and seller? Would love to hear from you all as I find this a rather fascinating provocative subject. The floor is yours. Just be nice.........Bunny