Free and open sewing patterns gain popularity has over 7,500 users today.
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How has open source changed your life?

I've been sewing for six years, and I now make all of my own clothes. Sewing is easy. It really is. What's hard is getting things to fit properly. That's why you use a sewing pattern. It's a blueprint for whatever it is you are making. A good pattern gives you good fit. Most patterns don't.

That's because—much like clothes in the shop—patterns come in sizes. And sizes are a crude way to put people in boxes. They are made for an imaginary average person, rather than for you.

Your very own pattern draft

There's another way, and that is to draft a pattern based on your measurements. You measure a bunch of different lengths, widths, and circumferences on a person's body, and use those to draw a pattern that fits that unique person just right. These custom-drafted patterns are vastly superior, but they require a lot of work. It's mostly a bunch of calculations and then connecting the dots.

Given that computers are pretty good at calculating things, I figured I'd tried to automate the process a bit.

Custom patterns

What I wanted was to pool knowledge and distill it into something that is better than what I could do on my own.

I started to generate custom-drafted patterns. Today, about four years after I embarked on the project, it has over 7,500 users for which it churns out a steady supply of patterns.

All patterns are free of charge and licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Get started by choosing from a collection of sewing patterns, entering your measurements, and then picking a bunch of options. Then, out comes your custom pattern.

In the world of home sewing, it tends to require a bit of explaining why one would choose to give away their work for free. Things are different in the open source world where the idea of sharing your work with others for the benefit of all is the very thread from which communities are woven.

The culture of sharing and improving each other's work is what I—arguably somewhat naively—aspired to when I started this project. I may have become a pattern designer in the eyes of some, but that was never my intention. What I wanted was to pool knowledge and distill it into something that is better than what I could do on my own.

Now that that is running smoothly, I think it's time to move the goal post. While I can't magically bring the culture of open source to sewing patterns, I certainly can bring sewing patterns into the open source world.

Making the code open

About two months ago, I started rewriting the entire codebase. I am using this opportunity to implement some improvements and features that were difficult to implement in the existing backend. But my main reason is that I am going to make all of my code available as open source. And for that, I need to make it easy for others to extend and adapt the code.

With a mission that is not merely about making patterns anymore, I also feel like a name change was needed. So when I finish my rewrite, I will relocate to, which is free as in beer and free as in speech.

Who's with me? will continue to offer what does today: free sewing patterns drafted to your measurements. But additionally, it will be open to your contributions.

Here's hoping that in the Venn diagram of the somewhat geeky and sewing, it's not just me in the middle.

Talk sewing and pattern design to get my attention. Add a sense of humour to become my friend. Antwerp and Follow me on Twitter @j__st, and on Instagram at joostdecock.


Hello Joost! I have been following your work since listening to your interview on Seamwork Radio. I love what you do to help everyone who has an interest in making their own clothes get a jump on it. You are changing the world in such a profoundly subtle way but you ARE changing the world :) I look forward to seeing your new site and continuing to follow your work into 2017. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and a nourishing 2017 to you :)

Aww, thanks Kathleen, you are so sweet. I am looking forward to releasing the new site. Partially because all the coding is keeping me away from my sewing machine ;-)

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and wish you nothing but the very best for 2017.


In reply to by PsychicSewerKathleen (not verified)

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