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Posted by Joost De Cock at 11:20pm Monday, Nov 3

There\'s a new MakeMyPattern for you to try at beta.makemypattern.com

There's a new MakeMyPattern for you to try at beta.makemypattern.com

Today I am launching a beta version of the new MakeMyPattern.com.
After months of development, it is time to face the music. I am both proud and terrified, as I have never worked this long on something without feedback.

I hope that will change soon. Because now, it is all yours: Visit beta.makemypattern.com
 

Posted by Joost De Cock at 11:38am Tuesday, Sep 2
I\'m building things in my garage, like this dude

I'm building things in my garage, like this dude

I am giving you an update on what has happened to my New Year's resolutions. Nine months into 2014, that's not a day too soon.

If you'd like, you can read MakeMyPattern in 2014. What you can expect, and what not to expect, but here's the essence of what I planned to do back then:

  • Split frontend (website) and backend (generating patterns)
  • Build frontend on Drupal
  • Build pattern editor for the backend
  • Base patterns on XML
  • Simplify things
  • Focus on patterns
  • Get help

 

Looking back on that list, I'm proud to say I haven't cut a single corner. Most of these things are either done, or a work in progress:

  • The frontend of the new website runs on Drupal
  • The backend is completely independent
  • I threw out a bunch of things that were not core functionality, yet took up a lot of effort (no Facebook authentication for example).
  • I'm currently working on three patterns that are completely new, and will also bring over the best patterns of the current site.
  • I got some help with some of the trickier parts ;)

 

There's only one thing I dropped, or rather changed: the pattern editor. I ran with the idea for a while, but it was flawed from the start.

Designing patterns on the current site is complex. The editor hides that complexity, but limits what you can do. On the new site, designing patterns is a breeze, and I can program them exactly as I like them.

This added flexibility allows for a lot smarter patterns, and it's what I'm most excited about.

It's not just a new look

This is a hobby project, and I do this in my spare time. While I work hard on it, I can only do so in my free time, and so as a project, it's low on resources.

I'm also doing a lot of things that are technically not about remaking the site, but are part of my efforts to make the site better. Adding new patterns is one example, but there's other things too. For example, I'll be doing a photo shoot soon to get detailed pictures on how to take measurements. This is something different people have asked for, and I want it to be part of the new site.

When will it be ready?

I plan to make the new site available as a beta and have it co-exist with the current site for a while. My aim for this is two months from now, or early November.

Before the end of the year, and I hope before the holiday season, the new site will completely replace the current one.

So, if all goes well, two months from now, you'll be able to see what all the fuss is about. I'll talk more about what has changed and why at that time.

For now, I want you to know that I haven't forgotten about this. And I think that if you like this site, you'll love the new one.

love,
joost

Posted by joost at 12:59pm Sunday, Jan 5
I\'ll try harder in 2014. I promise.

I'll try harder in 2014. I promise.

This morning, I fixed a problem on the site that was caused by a bunch of temporary files slowly filling up the server's disk drive. When it finally ran out of space and things broke, I wouldn't even have known unless Matt was nice enough to send me an email about it. Thanks Matt!

It's certainly a low point in the 9 months of neglect that the site had to suffer. Especially because 2013 started so well. Before this 9-month hiatus, I worked on it rather hard for over a year. I added new patterns, new features, and move the site towards this idea I had that pattern drafting should be simpler.

But I also started realizing that I needed instructions. So I set out to make trousers and document the process on video. The end result, my Trousers from scratch series, is something that I'm moderately happy with. Certainly the nice comments and feedback that I've had made me very happy.

But it also took a crazy amount of time. And between working on the site, and making videos for the site, I think I somewhat overdosed a little. So I ploughed through and finished the videos. But after that, I really needed a break. I just wanted to sew a bunch of things without having to stop at every step to make a video what I was doing, or worry about if this or that pattern would scale to different measurements.

I uploaded the last of my videos halfway through September. And so I've had a good 3-month break, and I'm ready, and willing, to tackle this beast again.

I was a little surprised to see that makemypattern now has 1157 users. That's a lot more than I anticipated. It also makes it a harder decision to make changes that will not be flawlessly backwards compatible for the users. But I have run into some problems with the site that have convinced me it needs more of an overhaul than some code tweaks.

So, I've been thinking about it for a while, and here is what I've decided to do. Call if my New Years resolutions:

I will not try to do everything

The site as it is now is entirely coded by myself. From the code that generates the patterns, to the code that publishes this post, I wrote it all.

That is too much stuff to do. Especially because, I am really not very good at this. I'm not a developer, and I'm not a pattern designer. So making something that makes patterns automagically is hard enough as it is without also having to worry about user registration, blog posts, and so on.

So, I have decided to break the project apart in three chunks:

  • The website: I will setup a new site on Drupal, my favorite CMS. Drupal will handle things like posts, user accounts, authentications, and so on. Sure, I will still need to configure it, but at least I won't have to code it.
  • Generating patterns: I don't know Drupal well enough to integrate all that stuff, so I'll keep it seperate. My idea is to setup some sort of an API where you can throw a bunch of data at, and you get a pattern back in return.
  • Designing patterns: This will be the hardest part (it was also one of the hardest things to do in the current version). Some sort of front-end that allows me (and in the future maybe others) to design patterns in a web based environment. Tricky this one. 

 

Patterns will be stored in XML

Currently, patterns are stored in the database. They are spread over a myriad of tables, rows and fields, and it's hard to get an overview. 

The idea is to have patterns exist as a standalone XML file (that would be generated by the graphical editor). Give such and XML file with a bunch of measurements to the API, and it builds a pattern for you.

This is going to require some serious re-thinking, but I've thought about it for a long time and I think this is the way to go.

My focus will be on patterns

I want to re-focus on doing patterns, and try to do them well. What I mean is that I will keep it simple in areas that are not essential to the patterns. For example, signing up with Facebook, Twitter or so on. Nice to have, sure. Important to get a good pattern? No.

Don't expect to be able to sign up with your Facebook account in the new version. I will probably try to find away to carry over your measurements and so on. But apart from that, it's not a major concern.

Get help?

As I said, I'm not very good at all this. So, if you happen to be a gifted web designer (or your boyfriend is), feel free to drop me a line at joost@decock.org because I can really use some help here :)

 

That's about it really. I expect to start working on this new version as of tomorrow. I will probably publish some sort of alpha trial version as soon as it's somewhat useable.

In the mean while, what's here still works. I use it for my patterns, and I'm rather happy with it. Not all patterns are equally good, but I think all of them are a good starting point for anybody who is looking to draft their own blocks.

 

Did I miss something? Is there something you absolutely want me to add? Let me know!

 

And have a great 2014 :)

 

joost 

 

 

Posted by joost at 3:55pm Tuesday, Apr 30
Ladies one-piece swimsuit

Ladies one-piece swimsuit

This pattern is a basic block for a swimsuit for ladies. If you're looking to make swimwear, this should be a great starting point.

For all details about this block, and a lot of information on designing swimwear in general, I kindly refer you to patternschool.com. Same goes for the instructions for the extra measurements that this pattern needs.

As a matter of fact, this pattern was a request and is the implementation of these drafting instructions.

Make this pattern
Generate a Ladies one-piece swimsuit pattern

For now, I don't have pictures so I can only put up a screengrab of the finished pattern. If you make this, I'd love to get some pictures :) 

Posted by joost at 5:12pm Thursday, Mar 14

Here is how I keep my sewing thread organized:

Low-tech thread holder

Low-tech thread holder

I've been using it for over a year now, and I'm rather pleased with it. (this is an old picture, it's completely full now).

If you want to make one, here's what you need:

  • Something you can put toothpicks in (I used a leftover bit of insulation material)
  • Toothpicks
  • Some fabric (I used jersey)
  • Sewing pins

 

And here are the steps:

  • Cut your base material in whatever shape you want it to be. I went for rectangular, but if I did it again, I would go for something more funky :)
  • Cover it with fabric by stretching the fabric over it, and pinning down at the back
  • Push in toothpicks to hold up your thread bobbins

 

That's it, you're done :)

This post originally appeared on sartorialdiy.com. Sartorialdiy was a blog I operated, but I closed it on favor of makemypattern.com.

I am re-posting some of the posts that have proven to be useful to other people as the domain will expire soon and I won't extend it. In other words, this post would drop off the internet if I didn't repost it here.

Posted by joost at 9:46pm Monday, Mar 11

Just a quick post to point out two things that I've been doing differently lately.

Shared pattern pieces

Since patterns MMP-14 and MMP-16 are very similar, I'm sharing certain pattern pieces between them, like the fly piece and waistband. I've labeled them with both pattern names as such (for example)

MMP-14/16 Part H
Back pocket bag

I hope that makes sense to everybody :)

Rotated pattern pieces

As you can see in this picture, I've rotated some pattern pieces upside down. This is because this way they fit better on the page and we use up less paper. I think saving trees trumps the fact that you have to twist your head to read things. Certainly because once cut-out, none of it matters.

 

Posted by joost at 9:36pm Monday, Mar 11
Here\'s an extract of what MMP-16 looks like

Here's an extract of what MMP-16 looks like

Pattern MMP-16 is a slimline variation of our pattern MMP-14, the classic trouser block. This pattern is largely similar but comes with a number of alternations:

  • Default bottom leg width is 20cm (for comparison, it's 22.4cm on our classic trouser pattern)
  • The waistband sits 2cm lower on this slimline version
  • The front pockets are less slanted, the opening at the waistband starts 2cm closer to the side seam
  • It has a shorter crossseam in the croth, so will fit you closer

Long story short, this will look a lot younger on you than our regular trousers pattern. 

Don't let the bottom leg width scare you

If 20 cm seems just a tad too narrow from you, keep in mind that the pattern comes with adjustable bottom leg width and adjustable waistband width. In other words, if you want it a bit wider (or even more narrow) you can simply specify that when generating the pattern.

This pattern has a (very detailed) video series that explain how to make them.

You can find them here: joost.decock.org/fromscratch/trousers
Posted by joost at 10:00pm Tuesday, Mar 5
The lining has been added to pattern MMP-14

The lining has been added to pattern MMP-14

I pushed through an update to the pattern that's been getting the bulk of my attention lately, the Classic Trousers pattern MMP-14. The update was inspired by my experiences in making the pattern and so I fixed a few things left and right that needed improvement.

The biggest change is that I added the lining pieces to the pattern. I feel like a nice pair of classic trousers deserves lining, and altough adding it the the pattern wasn't exactly hard, I hadn't included the lining pieces. Now I have.

Since I was adding lining, I've also changed the waistband from double-cloth to single-cloth with lining. There's a few more adjustments, like the back pocket bags didn't account for the fold of the welt pocket, and I improved the back pocket facing and interfacing pieces.

Last but not least, I made an effort to cram everything neatly (hopefully) together on the pattern. The pattern used to be widely spaced out, but that makes the proces of printing and piecing it together a lot more work. Now it all fits snugly together, and I'm made sure to not make it too wide (but rather longer) so that if you have a large-scale printer you can use, it wouldn't be too wide.

Note: Arranging the different pattern pieces on the pattern is a bit complex since the individual pattern pieces obviously differ in size based on your measurements. I ran tests with a few standard measurements and it worked out for all of them. However, if you happen to find that pattern pieces overlap or are oddly placed on the pattern, make sure to let me know.

Or things upside down ok?

In my efforts to squeeze everything together, I did two things I haven't done before. First of all, I've rotated the front block so that it's upside down. This way, I can fit it closer to the back block. Once cut-out, it obviously makes no difference how the pattern pieces was put on the paper, but it can look a little odd so upside down. If you don't like it, let me know and I can change it back.

The other thing I did was put the waistband and the waistband lining adjacent to each other. Since the cut-line is straight and exactly the same length, this saves time when cutting out the pattern pieces. Once again, it's confusing, let me know and I'll space them out a bit.

Reblogged by joost from SartorialDIY at 5:33pm Monday, Feb 25   [Original by Joost]
A pile of boxers

A pile of boxers

This post originally appeared on sartorialdiy.com. Sartorialdiy was a blog I operated, but I closed it on favor of makemypattern.com.

I am re-posting some of the posts that have proven to be useful to other people as the domain will expire soon and I won't extend it. In other words, this post would drop off the internet if I didn't repost it here.

It's on my todo list to turn this static boxer pattern into one a smart pattern that adapts to your meaurements (you know, the kind I try to add here) but in the meanwhile, you can go to town on this version.

The pattern is something like XL, it doesn't come with sizing, so you're on your own if that doesn't suit you. It does come with instructions though :)

Here's what you can get:

I drafted this pattern myself until it worked for me so your milage may vary. However, a bunch of people made them in the meanwhile, and they seemed happy, so there's that.  

You can find some pictures of finished versions of the pattern below.

Posted by joost at 2:30pm Sunday, Feb 17
Here\'s what revision 3 of MMP-14 looks like in linen

Here's what revision 3 of MMP-14 looks like in linen

Yesterday I finished the trousers I had been working on for a while. They are based on revision 3 of the classic trouser pattern and I made this pair in linen.

Yes, linen. The stuff that wrinkles when you merely look at it, but it feels so good on your skin and it's nice and cool in the summer.

As I mentioned in our anniversary post, I've jotted down some things that should be improved on the pattern as I was making these, and that's what I'll be working on next. However, I wanted to put up some pictures so that you could see what it looks like.

Although there's certainly room for improvement, I'm moderately happy with the result. The fit is good, and all the obvious problems with it are due to my own mistakes (like making the welt pockets too narrow) rather than problems with the pattern.

It's also the first time that I invest so much time into the lining of trousers, but it really makes them super nice to wear, so I intend to also add all the lining parts to the pattern.

Below are some more pictures that show you the good and the bad.

Posted by joost at 11:03am Friday, Feb 15
One year MakeMyPattern.com. CC picture by ninjapotato

One year MakeMyPattern.com. CC picture by ninjapotato

We blew out our first candle on Wednesday, yet things have been so busy that I didn't even find time to write about it. I'm working on trousers for the moment and I really wanted to finish them for the occasion. Alas, the flu decided that it was going to not do any sewing but rather be in bed and feel miserable.

Back on my feet now, but those trousers aren't really moving forward. That's mostly because I've been side-tracked by a really fun mini-project that I'm very excited about, but can't talk to much about for now :)

Anyway, on to the anniversary post. Seems like we should be looking back on what we did last year, right?

Looking back 

Confucius said "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop" but if you've ever edited a Tumblr theme you already knew that. It's probably a philosophy the works well for MakeMyPattern.com. A lot of things have happened in the last year, and I've put in a lot of work, but I won't argue that those changes don't always come at breathtaking speed.

The website is running on code revision 59. That means that on average, I improve something on a weekly basis. Most of these things are evolution rather than revolution, so you're likely to not notice too much of them.

Some of the more visible changes are that I've made it easier to actually find patterns on the site, both on the actual pattern page as on the front page.

Since we're on the subject of patterns, we've got six of them now. So far, all of them still have the beta label attached to them, some of them might even be better off with an alpha label :) However, I'm really making inroads on MMP-14, the classic trousers. But more on that... now.

Looking forward

As I said, pattern MMP-14 is fixed in my crosshairs. I've already listed a number of improvements that should get implemented in the pattern. Once I'm done, I'll update the pattern, bump the revision number and make them again. However, this time I'll be documenting the process, and that should lead to our very first pattern instructions. Yay!

I'm also hoping that MMP-14 will be the first pattern that will come out of beta.

Apart from all that, I'm just going to keep doing what I do. Try to make things better, and try to add more patterns. Don't hold your breath, I do have a day job too, and I also actually like sewing, but you can be sure that I'll stay on it.

Posted by joost at 10:56pm Wednesday, Jan 30
Looking cool requires pockets. Fact! Image by inhisgrace

Looking cool requires pockets. Fact! Image by inhisgrace

I've been a bit occupied making a movie for my dad's 70th birthday, but that's behind us now so it's back to patterns!

I've been itching to get to work on some trousers, but before cutting up some fabric I wanted to fix the issues that came to light when I made a muslin earlier.

Those issues are a waistband that is too short (that was an easy fix) and pockets that may look nice from the outside, but aren't really all that handy inside.

So, I've added depth to the back pockets and I've included a bit of interfacing as that's the way it's done on the store-bought (and expensive) classic trousers that I've been studying for inspiration. It makes sense to give them a bit more strength at a place that's going to see a lot of wear and tear.

The front pockets than. I simply threw them out and started from scratch, as I was really not pleased with them. The pattern now no longer comes with a 'fold down the middle' pocket bag, but rather with pocket bags made from individual front and back pieces. Once again, inspiration came from existing trousers that have nice pockets. Is it just me, or are the middle folded pocket bags a sewing shortcut that sacrifies too much functionality and form for the time it saves?

The pocket bag looks very different now, but it just seems to make a lot more sense to me. That is, for now, I still have to put this together.

I hope to be able to do that soon, but since my boss is expecting his second son to come into this world next week, I'll probably have to squeeze in some priority baby stuff.

The pattern is now at revision 3. If you want to try your hand at it, make sure to let me know :)

Reblogged by joost from Handmade by Carolyn at 12:52pm Friday, Jan 11   [Original by Carolyn]
Carolyn sure knows how to do a nice collar

Carolyn sure knows how to do a nice collar

I must admit, I'm a sucker for anybody who can make a shirt. So when I saw this gorgeous white cotton shirt that's handmade by Carolyn, I had to share it. 

I'm simply going to point you to the post by Carolyn for more pictures and details, since I'm a little crazy occupied for the moment. I've got a new job since the start of the year, and it's certainly keeping me busy. On top of that, I'm helping my girlfriend move from Dublin to Brussels this weekend as she is moving in with me :)

I hope to get back to some more mucking about with patterns after the move. I've got some updates to the trousers patterns that I'm working on :)

Posted by joost at 9:51pm Saturday, Jan 5
A CC picture from Flickr user Ennuipoet from No Pants Subway Ride 2012

A CC picture from Flickr user Ennuipoet from No Pants Subway Ride 2012

While I'm still improving our pattern for men's trousers, I did make a promise that I'd do something for the girls over the holidays. So today I've put up a pattern for tailored trousers for ladies.

For now, it's just the blocks. There are no pockets or waistband, and you'll have to piece together the fly on your own. However, the idea is that the blocks should give you a fit you can only wish for in store-bought patterns :) (or pants for that matter).

While we're on the subject of fit, this pattern also requires some extra measurements that you couldn't enter on the site before. Now you can :)

I will be adding more details to the pattern later, but to be honest, I have zero experience in wearing women's trousers, and even less (if that was possible) in making them.
As such, I'm not entirely sure what the pockets should look like, how the fly is constructed and whether there are differences to men's trousers regarding the placement of pockets and so on.

If you have advice, feel free to let me know. Meanwhile I'll see if I can find some nice girl who can lend me her pants so I can study them.

You can wait for the next revision of the pattern, or you can try the blocks now and use your other trouser patterns to fill in the blanks.

As usual, if you have any feedback, make sure to let me know. And enjoy!

Posted by joost at 9:19pm Saturday, Jan 5
MMP-15 : Women\'s tailored trousers pattern

MMP-15 : Women's tailored trousers pattern

There are classic tailored trousers for women, based on the Aldrich method. For now, the pattern contains only the basic blocks. Read this post for more information.

Make pattern MMP-15
Tailored women's trousers

Posted by joost at 2:54pm Thursday, Jan 3
Orange and turquoise - a CC picture from the Flickr photostream of quinn.anya

Orange and turquoise - a CC picture from the Flickr photostream of quinn.anya

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. That was true in 1999 when Semisonic said it, and it's still true today.

Much to the surprise of some Mayan calendar makers, a new year has started and has been named 2013 (not much surprise there).

The new year is pregnant with promises and aspiration, hopes and dreams, wishes and resolutions. I hope that for each and every one of you, it may grow into what you hope it to be, maybe even a little bit more. Be healthy and save, happy and cheerful and do what you love. Since you're reading this, there's a good chance you love sewing, so have a wonderful time with that.

2012 was a good year. Among other things it was the year where I decided to take this idea I have and try to make it into something. That something is now makemypattern.com. It was better in my dreams than it turned out in reality. But it's not bad either.

2013 will be challenging for a number of reasons. Free time will be ever more sacred, but I still hope I'll have time to enjoy making things. Like making this site better.

I hope you too will make something in/of 2013. So happy new year, and have fun!

Posted by joost at 3:01pm Thursday, Dec 20
Instead of watching videos of cats, you can now watch our videos with your cat

Instead of watching videos of cats, you can now watch our videos with your cat

As you may have noticed, I just published a video on the site explaining how to login and/or signup to the site.

I know that many of you have no problems logging in, but I have received a few questions about it, so it seemed like a good starting point to get our videos of the ground.

I've been thinking about how I want to try and add instructions for the different patterns, and I'm now committed to adding video instructions. I realize that it's difficult (impossible?) to go back and change a detail in video instructions, as you can do with written instructions. But on the other hand, I think that they just work better. 
In my experience, seeing somebody do something just makes met 'get it' much better than reading about it. 

This is going to take some hard learned lessons before we'll get to videos that you'll actually enjoy watching. Another reason why I started with a subject that most of you probably have no problems with.

In general on the site, I don't tend to polish things until they are perfect before I put them out there. Same thing here for the videos. There's an issue with the colors in the intro that maks them looking washed out (it's a bug in Quicktime), and there's actually something that goes wrong midway the video (see if you can spot it, shouldn't be too hard as I'm rather taken aback by it). 

But this is a work in progress, and I think it's also important to show that if you haven't seen much changes in the patterns lately, that's because I was busy building video support in the site, not to mention struggle with making an intro for our videos (including my dazzling piano fingerwork in the soundtrack).

So here's your first video. I know that you are unlikely to watch it start to finish, but maybe have a look anyway and give me your feedback.  Because where my mind's at now, this is how your pattern instructions will look like. So if you hate that, better let me know ;)

Posted by joost at 2:29pm Thursday, Dec 20
Reblogged by joost from delGato at 9:43am Friday, Dec 14   [Original by Basti]
Think he\'s hot? What if I told you he made that shirt?

Think he's hot? What if I told you he made that shirt?

No, Basti does not call himself Mr. Perfect. He's a super nice guy and would never do that.
He's also not really known Mr. Perfect to others, but I think he should be because the stuff he makes simply sets the bar for technical perfection.

Are you the type who tries to make the inside of their garments just as pretty as the outside? Well, you ain't seen nothing until you've seen the inside of Basti's pants:

Posted by joost at 11:56am Tuesday, Dec 11
Metric pattern cutting for women\'s wear

Metric pattern cutting for women's wear

Look what Sorcha got me for my birthday! It's the 5th edition of Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear

I've got a few days set aside during the upcoming holiday season to work on the patterns on the site, and now it looks like I'll be adding something for the women out there :)

Watch this space, and if you know the book and have suggestions or requests about what you'd like to see, let me know.

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