With a projector for sewing patterns, you no longer need a paper pattern — you simply project an image of a pattern onto your fabric and cut it out. We’ll describe it in more detail and go over its definition and appeal.
You save a ton of time and money using sewing patterns projected! Before using a pattern, you don’t need to spend time taping it together or purchase paper and ink for printing.
Table of Contents
What is a Projector Pattern?
A projector pattern is very similar to an A0 format pattern, with the exception that you project the pattern onto your garment rather than having it printed on a single enormous piece of paper. It replaces paper patterns with a projected image of the pattern that is placed right on your cutting table. The fabric can then be cut directly on the mat without using a paper pattern using your scissors or rotary cutter and some fabric weights.
You’ll see that about two thirds of the sewing patterns at Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop come with a projector file. In other words, once you buy your sewing patterns, you’ll be prepared to start sewing.
Why Are Projector Sewing Patterns Becoming More Popular?
A Projector Saves Time
When using a projector, you don’t need to print patterns. In other words, pattern assembly takes up 0 percent of your sewing time. As an alternative, you start by cutting your fabric. When using your sewing projector, cutting out multiple sizes at once requires just a click of a button to change between them.
My least favorite part of sewing used to be assembling patterns and cutting out fabric. It took a lot of time, and I found it to be very annoying. I now enjoy cutting out my fabric and can quickly finish cutting a stack of clothes. I upgraded to a projector for just this reason, which was more than enough.
Projectors Save Space
Since you can use PDF sewing patterns instead of printed ones, you won’t need to worry about storage space. For easy access, I’ve organized all of my knitting patterns in one file on my computer. In addition, I save space by not having to store all of my paper patterns and don’t need to keep such a large stock of tape, printer paper, and ink on hand.
They Save Money
A projector’s initial price tag might seem a little intimidating. You can buy a mini projector (new) for anywhere between $60 and $600 for some of the higher end models. You might have to pay much more for ultra-short throw projectors. Additionally, you should mount your projector in some way. However, you are saving money on tracing paper, binders + sleeves (or however you were storing your patterns), printer paper, printer ink, tape and/or glue, as well as binders + sleeves (or however you were storing your patterns). Additionally, even if sewing is just a hobby for you, time is still valuable, so you are saving a ton there.
Better Pattern Match + Panel Placement
By transferring the pattern to your fabric, you ensure that the entire fabric is exposed. As a result, it becomes much easier to coordinate the fabric pattern across various garment components. Additionally, since you can see exactly where the graphic is on the garment piece, you are not left assuming that your panel placement is perfect.
The pattern pieces you are projecting are actually transparent. When grading from one size to the next, it is simple to see where your transitions should be placed because you can simultaneously see all of your size lines and the fabric. There are software options (I prefer Illustrator, but Inkscape is free!) if you want to add length to a torso or create custom color blocking.) that let you manipulate the pattern a bit as well.
Which Type of Projector is Best for Your Sewing Room?
Mini projectors and ultra short throw projectors are the two different kinds of projectors. Mini projectors hang from the ceiling or a wall, whereas ultra short throw projects are placed on a table next to your cutting mat.
You’ll need to decide which option is best for your sewing space…
From your sewing room’s ceiling to your cutting mat, take a measurement. If the distance is less than 62″, then your only option is an ultra short throw projector. (Sadly, that is the more expensive choice.)
Mini Projectors that hang from your ceiling need about 51″ from the lens to the mat — you should add on an extra 10″ to accommodate the projector itself and the ceiling mount (62″ total).
Other Features to Look for in a Projector for Sewing Patterns
Prices for sewing pattern projectors range widely. For a good one, you should budget up to $600, especially if you require an ultra-short throw model. However, if you look closely or wait for a sale, you can find mini projectors for less than $100.
Here are some other features to look at:
- Lumens Rating: The brightness of the projector will increase as the lumens rating does. If you intend to use your projector in an area with lots of light, knowing this might be crucial. The projected image is more difficult to see in bright environments.
- Native Resolution: Your projector should have a high resolution. Your image will be sharp as a result. Even if the file has a higher resolution, a projector with a low resolution will prevent sharp images from appearing.
- Keystone: A feature on some projectors helps to minimize distortion when projecting at an angle. When the projector needs to be hung at an angle, this knob on the projector typically aids in tilting the image. For projectors mounted on walls or ceilings, this can be very useful.
- Power Source: Some projectors use batteries, while others require an electrical outlet. If you don’t want a lot of cords around, batteries might be a good option. However, if you frequently change or recharge your batteries, your projector may lose calibration and need to be readjusted. Recalibrating can become a hassle if your projector is permanently mounted on your wall or ceiling.
- Wi-Fi: While others need to be plugged into a computer, some projectors can connect to Wi-Fi.
- Remote Controls: When your projector is suspended from the ceiling, having a remote can be useful. In addition to turning on and off a projector (saving you from having to do it manually from the ceiling mount), remote controls may also have menu options that allow you to flip or mirror images, which may be useful when cutting specific patterns.
- Size: Projectors come in a variety of sizes. Since short throw projectors are frequently big and bulky, you might not want them lying around constantly on your sewing table.
Pros & Cons of Ultra Short Throw Projectors
Ultra short throw projectors are useful for those that have less than 62″ clearance from ceiling to cutting mat. They are useful for people who don’t have a dedicated sewing area or who might not want to drill holes in their walls or ceilings. Ultra short throw projectors are simple to move or store if necessary. The cutting mat and these projectors are placed on a table.
Ultra short throw projectors’ high cost is one of their biggest drawbacks. The cost of new ones can be high, and replacement bulbs can be equally pricey. Finding one used raises the question of whether it will function properly without a warranty.
Your projector also needs to be calibrated every time it is moved, which requires patience and time. These projectors can be fairly large, which is another issue some people have with them.
Pros & Cons of Mini Projectors
Compared to ultra-short throws, mini projectors are typically more user-friendly and more affordable. Mini projectors are favored by sewers due to their straightforward design. They can also be permanently configured, requiring less recalibration.
Mini projectors have the drawback that not all sewing spaces can accommodate one, particularly if your ceiling to mat distance is close. They are typically mounted on a wall or ceiling, which some people may not prefer as a permanent fixture.
You May Also Like: Best Projectors For Gaming
What Kind of Projector Do I Need for Sewing Patterns?
Short Throw. The best of both worlds can be found with short throw projectors. They produce a big image similar to ultra short throws and mount well like a mini projector.
Can I Use Any Projector for Sewing?
If you have a home theater projector—you know, the one that you can use to project movies or slides onto a wall—you can use your projector to display digital pattern files directly onto your fabric. This indicates that you can cut out your pattern pieces without using paper, printing, or tracing!