Projector Files for Sewing
Are you wondering “Why do I keep hearing about projector files? How does it pertain to sewing?!” If so, let me open your world to a paperless sewing experience.
I used to dread starting a new sewing project…does ANYONE enjoy taping together 40 pages?! I primarily sew for my toddler, so I would print all sizes, then after piecing and taping all the pages together, I would trace out the size she was at the time so I could use the printed pattern again in the future. This would take upwards of 2-3 hours depending on how complex the project and we haven’t even gotten to the cutting yet!
Enter the wonderful world of projectors. Now I simply open the file on my computer, turn on my projector, and literally project it right onto the fabric. I can finish cutting an entire pattern in about 30 minutes! I use a piece of sheet metal under my cutting mat and place magnets in order to hold the fabric in place, then use my rotary cutter. If there are a lot of similar pieces, I just pop a post-it note on the fabric piece with the name. Projectors are also awesome for “fussy cutting” as you can get perfect placement for designs, stripes, etc. If this is piquing your interest, I highly recommend joining the Projectors for Sewing Facebook Group.
There are a couple options for projecting. Personally, I have it mounted to my ceiling because we’re in our forever home. Having a ceiling mount does require you to have a pretty decent amount of space from your cutting mat to your projector (I have about 56” and this is probably the bare minimum). The more space you have, the larger your projected area will be – i.e. the more of a pattern piece you will see (mine is about 24” x 36”). If you are in a temporary sewing space or renting, you can use a tripod or you can shell out a bit more money to get an Ultra Short Throw (UST) projector, which can be set on a shelf and is great for when space is super limited.
My current setup:
- Vivimage Explore 2 (~$100 after coupon)
- Erisan Wall & Ceiling Mount (~$30)
- 12ft Power Cord (~$9)
- 28mm Rotary Cutter (~$9) – I like the smaller one for more control
- Sheet metal from Home Depot (~$22)
- Magnets (~$8) – I really like these because they are low profile and have plenty of power
Once you have everything, it’s time to calibrate. Don’t let this scare you! It only took me about 20-30min to calibrate my projector, but if you’re having trouble, the wonderful folks at the Projectors for Sewing Facebook Group are always happy to help! They also have some fantastic information in their Announcements. (Special thanks to Sasha Sewist for allowing us to share here and for all she does for the projector community!)
- Visual Quick Start
- What to Look for in a Projector
- Setup and Calibration
- Top Tips for Projecting – This one is a must read!!
With just a little elbow grease and effort, you’ll be off and running!
Vintage Little Lady projector files have a host of features:
- Layers for each size including a Grid Calibration layer
- Thicker lines and increased font visibility
- All grainlines going in the same direction
- All pieces included in a single PDF file (no need to reference the cut list)
- Pieces cut on fold are “unfolded” so you have the option of using the fold OR cutting the full piece (great for fussy cutting those cute bodices!)
- Mirrored pieces are laid out side-by-side for easy cutting with a single layer of fabric. They are labeled with “-1” & “-2”. If you prefer to cut the mirrored pieces traditionally (i.e. with 2 layers of fabric), you only need to use the “-1” piece.
Pattern used in this video is Chloe, a free pattern available in Baby, Girls, and Tween. https://vintagelittlelady.com/freebies/
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or feedback on the VLL projector files.