What is Valentina?
Valentina is a cross-platform patternmaking program which allows designers to create and model patterns of clothing. This software allows pattern creation using either standard sizing tables or an individual’s set of measurements.
Currently, there is a lack of affordable software tools for creating patterns. Some people resort to using CAD tools or graphical editors designed for other purposes. These tools are inadequate when performing certain pattern making tasks (e.g. adding seam allowance, truing a dart, walking a seam). These programs can create a pattern in a single size, but when you want to make the pattern for a specific person then you must re-create the pattern from scratch. Also, making changes to the design of a paper or CAD pattern is difficult and time consuming. This is where traditional methods of pattern drafting can be very useful. Why can't you tell a program how to change the pattern so you don't need to do it ever again?
What is Pattern Making?
Pattern Making or Pattern drafting is a system of pattern making where the lengths and positions of the pattern lines are calculated using mathematical formulas. These formulas depend on a set of body measurements either from a standard size or an individual's measurements. The better the formulas, the better the fit of the resulting garment.
Contemporary pattern makers use drafting methods to create basic simple pattern shapes, called "blocks". They use a block as a base to create new styles. They modify the blocks using flat pattern making techniques. These techniques consist of cutting sections of the block and manipulating the pieces to relocate darts, add fullness, add tucks or other design elements, and shape the pattern to fit the hollows of the human body (i.e. contouring). A complex pattern created from a block will fit the standard size or the individual's body for which the original block was created.
Paper patterns and CAD patterns do not auto-adjust to fit a different set of measurements. They must be copied, and rules are applied to increase the pattern in certain locations. 'Grading' is the reason that our clothes don't fit - Real people don't grow or add on pounds in orderly increments! The assumed body proportions in these grading rules are typically skewed toward northern european body types. A pattern made for the northern Europe body proportions won't fit persons in Korea. For example, when someone grows taller, their armscye doesn't usually get larger. Yet grading causes larger sizes to have large armscyes. Plus size patterns are infamous for their too-short sleeve lengths and too-wide shoulder widths. Valentina's made-to-measure and boutique-size capabilities can give you the control you need to create patterns which avoid these problems.
The advantage of recreating pattern drafting techniques in software is that the resulting formula-based patterns can be automatically custom-fitted to an individual's measurements or to a different size.
What's wrong with ready-to-wear clothing sizes?
Why is it important to make the pattern fit an individual's measurements? Because the standard sizes used in industrial production and home sewing patterns are inadequate for a large part of the population. Women, in particular, deviate greatly from the standard figure. In America, for example, only 8 percent of women posses the hourglass figure that has long determined the proportions of clothing. It is no wonder that an estimated 60% of clothing goes unsold each year, even after multiple discounts, ending up in landfills.
Recently there has been an increase in demand for made-to-measure clothing and re-defined standard measurements within the 'slow fashion' and 'eco fashion' movements. Tools optimized for made-to-measure clothing and special sizes are needed to meet this demand. These tools can be used in the effort to promote local and regionally based garment manufacturing, small batch textile manufacturing, 'slow fashion', and 'eco fashion'. We hope Valentina helps people all over the world promote local and slow manufacturing of clothing.
How about new technologies?
When people hear about Valentina some of them think it is a program like Blender or a 3D pattern making application. They ask questions like the following:
- Why not use 3D?
- Why not create a plugin for Blender?
And so on. See more FAQ.
The answer to all these questions is quite simple: Clothing is made from 2D material. Creating garments on a digital mannequin in 3D then cutting them along seam lines and flattening them to cut out in cloth results in complicated pieces with many unintended 'splits' which create more fabric waste and more sewing difficulties than necessary. (Think of the global map that is flattened like an orange skin. Then imagine attempting to flatten a shape that is exponentially more complicated than a simple sphere.)
One of the bad things about using the traditional methods is that you must have a good imagination. Especially when you have a complex pattern. This is where 3D can help. This is why we plan to import 2D patterns onto 3D mannequins in the future. A good 3D model could save us time and money.