Some new-user comments

I started using Valentina a few days ago. I’d been creating sewing patterns in Inkscape and was just about to look into generating my svg pattern files using Python to place the measurement parameters, when I wondered whether anyone had already done something similar. That’s how I found Valentina, and I’ve since used it to print an A0 mens shirt pattern that I’ve cut and sewed.

I have a few comments on the software.

Workflow: I really like the three-stage workflow: draw, details, layout. It took a day or two for me to appreciate how powerful this is: multiple patterns can be generated from a single set of drawings. I get the impression this is akin to how professional designers work.

Line width: In the Preferences pop-up I have tried to change line width to 2 mm to make pattern cutting easier. This has had no effect. I thought perhaps that I might need to select OpenGL render, but when I did Valentina failed to reload and I had to reinstall it, making sure not to reuse my settings. I guess I could have tried downloading and installing the missing dll, but it all seemed to be getting a bit out of proportion. I can live with the default line width.

Labels: I struggled with this feature at first, because I assumed that if I applied a template it would overwrite manual settings for parameters such as alignment. All lines in my labels were stuck in right alignment until I resaved and reloaded the template.

Layout: This seems a bit hit-and-miss. I know my pattern can be arranged on a single A0 sheet, but Valentina often doesn’t. If I fiddle with layout parameters I can sometimes get it to work. Other times I just export svg and do the layout manually in Inkscape before mailing the design to the print shop.

SVG export: I was surprised that all objects were in a single group when I opened the svg file in Inkscape. I nearly always have to ungroup them and then regroup them into separate pattern pieces, which would appear to be the most logical way to export them.

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Welcome @Mako. @slspencer originated the forumla based approach that is part of both the Seamly2d software (the subject of THIS forum) and the Valentina software. Could you say a bit about your computer configuration, and what version of the software you use? This information will better help someone to understand any request for help you may have.

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Thanks for the reply. Actually I downloaded both Seamly2D and Valentina originally, but after installing them I surmised that they were nearly identical and so uninstalled Seamly2D. Oops.

I am working on a laptop with Windows 10 and Valentina I’m not too bothered about the apparent software hiccoughs I’ve encountered so far, but if anyone knows the trick to increase line width, I’d be grateful if they divulged.

What is perplexing me more, now that I think about it, is the rather archaic nature of measurement systems, the existence of which I have only just become aware of. Should I bother to develop familiarity with one or more of them, or should I evolve something of my own? This evening I have already begun to work on the geometry of necks, shoulders and (consequently) necklines. I didn’t expect to be using the quadratic formula when I started out! I am not sure whether this will prove academic or utilitarian, at this stage.

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What is perplexing me more, now that I think about it, is the rather archaic nature of measurement systems, the existence of which I have only just become aware of.

I am not sure what measurement systems you refer to. Are you using a particular resource to guide you in creating patterns? Here is a list of the systems that were examined in creating the list of standard measurements used by the Valentina and Seamly software (actually the Tape program or the SeamlyMe program deal with the measurements)

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I’ve seen references to Kershaw (I’ve thought about buying his book), Mueller and Sohn, etc.Such systems appear to use overlapping but slightly different methods for getting a set of measurements. When I look at patterns I might want to modify, I usually cannot be sure which system they use or whether, for example, when they say ‘shoulder slope’ they mean the same as what some other pattern-maker called ‘shoulder length’. That’s just an example, but the net effect is that the set of measurements I’ve taken and recorded in Tape could belong to any system or none, for all I know. This appears to be a complication when looking into extending the set in what I would hope would be a consistent and systematic way. Moreover, most patterns I’ve looked at seem to start with a reference point that is hard to locate anatomically - somewhere inside the neck at about the height of the top of the shoulder. As a complete newcomer to this, I would be more confident basing a system on the points where bones actually press against the surface, such as at the point of the shoulder, the sacrum, the collar bone, etc, or maybe even concavities like the highest point in the armpit. Don’t others find the basis for starting design a bit vague?

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Hi @Mako, I am a newcomer myself and have just started using Seamly2d a couple of weeks back. I am playing around with the program to understand it.

I draft patterns based on three different system, Mueller & Sohn, Aldrich and an old, local book. For me, the most logical thing was to create individual measurement files based on which system I am using. Different measurements and calculations are used in the different systems. And as you say as well - the measurements itself can be slightly to different spots on the body. Then also, I have named the measurements as in the corresponding system, with the same short name. For me - at the moment - that seems like the best approach. But - I am still learning.

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@Nina Thanks for the response. I can see the logic in your idea of creating a set of measurements based on a single system, in a file identified as such. It makes sense to do that. You obviously know the system or systems you’re working with. I am sure I’ll figure out a viable work method too.

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@Mako, well - I am not sure I know that much about my systems - but for sure - I know that I probably always will start my alterations with an already constructed block. So what I am working on at the moment is to see which system that fits me the most. Then I will make my choice for which system to move on with. I have sewing only as a hobby.

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@Mako have you seen the list of body reference points in the wiki? Measurements - Seamly2D. The known measurements are between the landmarks on the body (also called body reference points)

I am hoping that @slspencer will comment here, since she is the one who studied the entire list of patternmaking systems and selected which points to include in the original system (that has become Valentina and Seamly)

The wiki might clarify for you the standard points expected in the measurement (.vit) file.

I have done a mapping of the names used in the “Patternmaking for Fashion Designers” book by Lori Knowles to the standard names. @slspencer is currently reviewing the list, but here it is for your reference. LoriKnowles-women-template.pdf (19.0 KB) (I will put it in the wiki soon)

I have done a similar mapping for the named measurements used by Don McCunn in his books. McCunn - Seamly2D

You can also see a list of all “known measurements” by looking at the database available in the SeamlyMe (or Tape) program. From within the SeamlyMe program, click on the measurement option at the top then click “database” from the menu. This is the same list that is available when you “add known” measurement.

It is really unlikely that you will find many measurements that do not map to a known measurement.

You can identify the custom measurements by the fact that they begin with @


@kmf Thank you very much for all that information. I am familiar with the database in Tape. Actually, ‘familiar’ may be something of an exaggeration. I’ll follow up on the other leads you presented. I’ve been creating my own custom measurements with the @ prefix. It was partly not wanting this list to get out of control and inadvertently reinvent wheels that I brought the subject up.

Well, I took the step of reinstalling Seamly2D alongside Valentina, partly because I got the feeling that in referring to Valentina here I had committed some unpardonable faux pas that everyone was too polite to mention.:slight_smile:

I discovered that the line width option that I mentioned, present in Valentina though it doesn’t appear to work, is not present in Seamly2D. I also found that Seamly2D will not open my Valentina patterns because of a version conflict. I have Valentina (23 Oct 2018) and Seamly2D (5 Jan 2018). Similarly, SeamlyMe will not open my measurement file. So, I hope there are no serious objections if I stick with Valentina and continue to use this forum. I tried to use the Valentina forum at, but that server seems to have disappeared.

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Thanks again for this. Part of it explains (here Measurements - Seamly), much better than I did, the problem I’d found trying to get a clear unambiguous understanding of measurements.

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No, no faux pas. We were one program under the Valentina name and then the fork came and we are now Seamly2D. There was some politics at the time, but I think we’ve all grown from it and moved on. We have helped many people from the Valentina fork and with pleasure. We’re always happy to help :slight_smile:

If you look at the wiki page (link at the top of the page), there are some manuals that where written when Valentina and Seamly were still one program that may help you to find your way around both Valentina and Tape. Some things have changed in Valentina, but the basics are still the same.

I think I’m understanding what you’re struggling with because I have the same problem. It’s very overwhelming to be faced with tons of points that need to be measured and to figure out exactly how to use them in patterns. And my quest continues :slight_smile:

The only advice that I can offer you is… Find a book or website, use their measurement areas that they suggest and follow their instructions to create the basic patterns on Seamly2D or Valentina. Once you have the basic pattern going, use the slash and spread methods (rotations) to move the darts around and practice converting from capped sleeves to raglan. Use the basic pattern to create the patterns you visualize and make your muslin patterns. It’s only by doing this that the measurement areas become clear. It’s only by making up an article that you will see where the instructions are actually good for a person or not and whether you actually took the measurements perfectly.

I chose Winifred Aldrich’s book to start with because she only uses 21 measurements or so and there are sites that describe in detail how to take these measurements.

While my “conscious” mind is still over-questioning everything that I’ve learnt over the past 2 years, my “automatic mind” can figure out where and how to use these measurements but my self-confidence still needs a lot of work to actually trust myself :slight_smile: The main thing is to stop over-thinking things and to get down to doing, otherwise you get tied up in theory.

I hope this helps you a little :slight_smile:


Thanks. I’d pretty much come to this conclusion too. While precision is a prerequisite of quality, the whole design and creation process is something of an inexact science.

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@Mako I certainly did not mean to make you or anyone feel like discussing Valentina is a faux pax. I use Linux (actually Ubuntu) and because of the way that both Seamly and Valentina are delivered, I am forced to load only one of them. If I want to run both, I must have a dual boot operating system to do so. That is probably more detail than you want already so I will spare you any more.

Running the Windows (or MAC) operating systems will allow you to load both programs. The issue of pattern version compatibility between the two is something I am looking into, but also something over which I have no control.

I am capable of using various tools to hack around with the .vit and .val files but I absolutely do not recommend that you or anyone do this. If you do, it is at your own risk and you may end up wasting a lot of time.

At this point in time it is probable that Grace or I might know enough to hack a pattern file and make one created with the Valentina program work with the Seamly program. As time goes on, this becomes less and less likely to be possible.

I have no interest in making you pick one program over the other. I will simply say that the purpose of this particular forum is not to provide support for the Valentina software, so for areas where they diverge you are not likely to find help here.

I personally find pattern construction using any of the many documented systems fascinating and I have learned a lot by using both the Valentina software and the Seamly software. I have learned a lot by reading what many users post here and especially from reading the insightful answers @Grace regularly writes to user questions.

So welcome, please feel free to post questions. I will occasionally suggest starting new threads or organizing the discussion. We are glad to have you

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Hmmm… I think that it may be likely that you could open a Seamly pattern with Valentina, but I think that Valentina has added more features that will make it quite difficult to hack into the Seamly program and it’s the version control that is preventing serious crashes later on, perhaps when you’ve really spent hours creating the perfect pattern. So I’d advise working with either one or the other.

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I am sure that if a pattern relies on a feature that is not included in Seamly, the pattern could not be converted. I have not even considered trying to track features and figure out to what extent this may cause problems. It is precisely this issue that drives the decision not to attempt to provide support for Valentina on this forum, since we have no control over what features may be added, removed, or changed in Valentina.

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@grace @kmf If the two programs were data-compatible, that would have been nice. If in future the two teams come to agree on a common data format, that would be good for everyone. If neither, so be it. I am sure that if I generated a pattern with Seamly2D and compared that with my latest Valentina pattern I too could figure out what needed to be removed or altered in the latter in order to convert it to Seamly2D format. I, like both of you, don’t really see the right cost-benefit relationship to want to do this. I had a look through the xml of a pattern file, but that is as far as I will go, I think.

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@Mako if you want to examine your pattern you might also like to look into

That is an application hosted on a web site and contains the ability to share patterns as well as to generate an easy to read version of the steps inside the pattern.

I have also found a tool called described at quite useful.

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Thanks for the tips. I shall follow up.

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