Hopefully someone can help with this. We have sewing patterns that consist of multiple pattern or garment pieces that are layered into multiple sizes, alongside text and other graphic elements. Each piece is layered so that when its exported to a PDF, you can turn on or off your size when you want to print it.

The problem is that each sewing pattern (which can consist of upwards of 20+ layered pieces) is then formatted for various paper sizes, like letter/A4 and 36x48/A0 sheets. Each paper format is saved in its own file. So we are copying and pasting each complex, layered pattern piece into multiple files, and when changes happen, we have to change it in multiple places, with all the accidental errors that can happen from copy/pasting.

I know you can link/place artboards into new files, but it doesn't keep the layers in the new document. I also suspect our pattern pieces are too complex to use symbols. Can anyone suggest the best way to have these complex, layered objects be linkable AND maintain their layer structure in new documents? That way if we change it in the master location, it would update everywhere. Thanks in advance for your help!

  • What version of Illustrator are you using? You could have different artboards, all overlapping, for the same artwork Jan 5 at 20:18
  • Does embedding a file after linking to it show layers? Idea... I haven't tried this... link to a universal file containing the pattern and layers. When changes are necessary, edit the universal file and update the link in the output file. Before output embed the linked file, output, revert (or close without saving). This would allow 1 pattern file to edit... what I don't know is if embedding would then show layers in the output file.
    – Scott
    Jan 5 at 20:48
  • let me guess you need the layers so s pattern cutting machine can automatically cut it? Not sure how symbols would help as youd need symbol per layer. I dont think complexity is an isse per see. not really what illustrator was meant to do though. Both the multi artboard and embedding ideas are okay though.
    – joojaa
    Jan 5 at 22:48


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