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Introduction[edit | edit source]

At present time, open source projects are used successfully in different areas of technology. They have proved their ability and effectiveness to solve complex problems. Some open source projects are clear leaders in their area. Other projects compete with proprietary solutions and, through competition, have improved the quality of software solutions available in their field. Examples of successful open source projects include browsers, operating systems, office suites, graphics editors and web servers.

If you know the history of the GNU/Linux operating system, you can understand what prompted its authors to create a new operating system. The proliferation of proprietary software created a new problem for users. In the pursuit of profit and to protect their intellectual property, software companies started to impose ever increasing restrictions on users' rights. Many people did not approve of this situation and decided to challenge these impositions. Their solution was to offer software that is free to use and extensible by anybody.

Similar stories can be found in almost every area of technology. Over time, the situation has improved for operating systems and now we can choose among several free offerings. Not so in the apparel industry. There are many solutions, fine solutions, but they are not available to the common person. Even small companies cannot afford the existing solutions. To us, this resembles the Middle Ages. The lack of affordable solutions prompted us to create this project.

The goal of our project is to develop a program for creating sewing patterns that is available for free to all who wish to use it. We believe that a small group of people with a common interest can achieve this goal.

What is Valentina?[edit | edit source]

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. It blends new technologies with traditional methods to create a unique pattern making tool.

Currently, there is a lack of affordable software tools designed for creating patterns. Some people faced with this problem resort to using CAD tools or graphical editors designed for other purposes. However, these tools are inadequate when performing certain pattern making tasks (e.g. adding seam allowance, truing a dart, walking a seam). Moreover, these programs are good enough to create a pattern in a single size, but when you want to make changes for another person, you can't do it quickly. You need to create the pattern from scratch. 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?

Why use the traditional method?[edit | edit source]

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 figure or from an individual's measurements. The better the formula, the better the fit of the resulting garment. Unfortunately, devising formulas to make 2D cloth fit a 3D figure is not easy. Therefore, formulas are typically used to create only the most basic patterns, known as "slopers".

Contemporary pattern makers rarely use drafting methods because they find it inefficient to start patterns from scratch. Instead, they use existing patterns, called "blocks", as a starting point to create new styles. They modify the blocks using flat pattern making techniques. These techniques consist of cutting the pattern and manipulating the pieces to relocate darts, add fullness or shape the pattern to fit the hollows of the human body (i.e. contouring). A pattern created with these techniques still fits the standard figure or the individual's body for which the original block was created. However, compared to a pattern created with formulas, this pattern does not adjust as easily to a different set of measurements.

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. However, in order to create patterns that are more complex than the traditional sloper, it is necessary to translate the flat pattern manipulations into formulas as well. We believe that, using a bit of ingenuity and computing power, we can accomplish this task.

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 so many clothes go 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?[edit | edit source]

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: pattern making in 2D is easy to implement. On the other hand, creating a 3D pattern making program can be very difficult and expensive. Before you begin to develop software you need to know the limits of your development team. We think that starting development of Valentina in 2D is the best choice for the size and skill level of our team at this moment.

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 use a 3D mannequin in the future. A good 3D model could save us time and money.