Sometimes I think the hardest part of sewing is the fitting. Very often people will tell me they tried sewing but that the fit was just so awful that they gave up. We've all been there, after carefully cutting out the right size according to the sizing chart finding both your boobs are falling out can be a bit soul destroying. But imagine if you could have patterns drafted for your size! Wonderful right? Now imagine it was all for FREE! BLOODY WONDERFUL!
Ladies and gentlemen I would like you introduce you to freesewing.org
Okay so here's the details.
The site is completely free [you are free to make a donation though] you just set up an account using your email and a password and your good to go. You can then create models, you enter a whole bunch of measurements lots more than the standard sewing pattern asks for and then you can choose a pattern and start "drafting your own".
Currently there are 12 patterns available but the "drafting" process means you can alter them to fit with your vision. For example you can raise and lower neckline and hems, add ease and just generally foof around. [I'm currently imagining the hoodie above as a dress!]
Now some of the patterns don't have full instructions, some just have a list of bullet points or a link to something similar however I don't think its anything someone with a bit of sewing experience couldn't handle!
Hands down the most important part of using the website is making your you enter your measurements correctly. Each measurement has a "help" feature which tells you what you are actually measuring but I highly recommend getting a friend to help you measure for accuracy. I've already added all the measurements for lil man so if I need to whip him something up they are all there.
Now in honour of their official launch I asked creator Joost a few questions!
1. Who's behind freesewing.org?
I am :)
My name is Joost De Cock. I live in Antwerp and in my spare time I enjoy making things.
There's a number of people who've been supportive, given feedback, or helped me out (I thanked a bunch of them in my announcement blog post) but at the end of the day, it's a one-man show.
At least for now. I don't want it to be/stay that way which is part of the reason that I started building freesewing.
2. When did you learn how to sew?
When I was young, my mother would mend my clothes. But she never enjoyed sewing, and so she didn't really care too much about matching thread colours, or avoiding wrinkles and whatnot.
As a growing up teenager, I was mortified every time she would mend my jeans with pink thread or something, so one day I decided I would do it myself.
That's when I learned, but I didn't really make anything. I knew how to fix/repair things and that was enough for me.
As I grew older and moved out of my parents' house, I bought a sewing machine and I did use it to make curtains and bed linens and other simple things, but still no garment sewing.
That changed about 6 years ago when I was home sick for a couple of weeks with mononucleosis.
I was bored to death, but didn't really have the energy to do much physical activity.
So, somewhat out of the blue, I decided I would try making trousers. I bought a Burda pattern and some fabric and went to work.
The trousers were, in retrospect, a complete disaster, but I really enjoyed the process.
This was sometime in December, so that new year, I made it my new year's resolution to no longer buy clothes. Instead I would make everything myself.
I'm still doing that, and thankfully I've gotten a bit better at it :)
3. How did you come up with the idea fir the site?
As a 6 foot 6 (198cm) man, sewing patterns are problematic.
First up, there's far fewer choice for men than there is for women, and in addition, I don't exactly fit in the standard sizes.
So much like the clothes you buy in the store, the patterns never worked for me and needed alterations.
Alterations that aren't that obvious to a beginning sewist.
So one day I bought a book on pattern design. Winifred Aldrich's book for menswear.
I got to work with paper and pencil, and almost immediately felt like "This would make a lot more sense on computer".
So I tried building something that would draft the pattern for me.
When I got that to work, I tried to make it so that I could put in different measurements, and the pattern would adapt.
I got a few people to try it and received positive feedback, so I decided to try and build a real website that would offer that service.
That was makemypattern.com version 1. Which I later rewrote completely to version 2, which I then rewrote completely again and that is now freesewing.org.
So while freesewing is new, it's actually the fourth generation of a idea that stretches back about 6 years.
4. Which is your favourite pattern on the site?
Gosh, that tends to change. As in, whenever I make a new pattern, I try to make it better than all other patterns :)
But from a maker point of view, I really like the Wahid waistcoat pattern because I think waistcoats are a nice look, and it's a pattern that is relatively quick to make yet look super stylish.
5. Are you going to add more patterns?
Oh for sure. I have 3 on the go at the moment that I hope to add before the end of the year.
I want to sort of 'complete' my menswear offer so that all the basics are covered, but I also plan to branch out into womenswear.
When I started doing this, I did it sort of for myself, and happened to share my work.
But now that I've gotten a bit better at things, I'm looking forward to design for women because it's more challenging.
Those curves take more work :)
6. What's next for freesewing.org?
I'm going to keep on adding patterns to the site, so in that regard, it's more of the same.
However, there's a big difference between freesewing.org and makemypattern.com and that is that it's an open source project now.
Which means that people can jump in and help out (please do) or add their own patterns.
But it also means that anyone can take this code and run it themselves.
I think it makes a lot of sense for a pattern business to provide made-to-measure patterns instead of standard-sized patterns.
So if you were starting a pattern business today, you could build it on top of the freesewing code.
In addition, there's a lot of information on pattern design and drafting that is buried in old books that are hard to get or expensive.
I think it would be a valuable sort of archiving effort to translate those time-honoured drafting instructions into code and have them available on the site.
I mean, we shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel every time somebody wants to make a pattern. The basics have been covered and it seems like a good idea to bring them into the modern era this way.
A huge thanks to Joost for taking the time to answer my questions! I can't wait to see where his project goes and I look forward to a future of free sewing patterns!
So far I've printed off the Trayvon tie pattern in a size suitable for little man [so much easier than trying to size down a pattern] and he helped to sew it up this morning! Its our first time sewing together so we made a tie for him and used a pattern I already had to make Rikki a matching one [Spoiler alert : I liked the free sewing pattern better!] [Double spoiler alert : we made both the ties from the same fabric as a dress I have, so we're basically the von traps]
So yes! Sign up for free sewing and let me know what you think!
P.S I wasn't asked to write a review about the website I just thought you guys would want to read about free patterns!!!!!!!!!!!!