Symbols , Text, and Buttonholes

Being the chess player I am, I like to be thinking a few moves ahead… while I work on updating the tool dialogs, groups and penstyle interaction

I have my ideas, but I’d like to get input from others on their ideas for adding some new features to address adding symbols, text (besides the current pattern piece labels), and buttonholes.

As a general note, I see these being implimented in the same manner as the current pattern piece labels & grainlines… that is as subclassed QGraphicItems - with the option of being anchored (pinned) to a point, as well as being scaled, rotated, or moved (offset from the anchor), as well as having a given width or length depending on the object. Pairing some text with a graphic is also a consideration… such as arrows with the text “ON FOLD”. Buttonholes would be a special case where you define a buttonhole and then repeat x number of times with a given distance between buttonholes.




This is what we have for grainlines at the moment but there is a lot of unused space around this area. I’m thinking that fold lines are also a form of grainline, so we could utilize this unused space and also link it to the checkbox in the Labels section which one places a checkmark into the check box.

Sooo… If the check box is checked then there could be a section here that says:

  • Arrows to the left/right/above/below of the main line (selection box);
  • Distance between main line and arrows (distance input like with the notch sizes);
  • Text on line (default font and font size or you could add choices).

Perhaps the text box could a black border with a small margin between the text and the border and the border be filled with a solid white color to cover the line, so that it looks like this (I put it on a colored background just to highlight the solid fill of the box:


The same text box could also be utilized with the grainline so that one could add text like ‘Cross-Grain’.

I think this same text box could be utilized (perhaps in the Labels section but I think it would be good in the GrainLines section) to add other text to a pattern, like over a line or internal path with the instruction ‘lengthen/shorten here’ or ‘gather here’.

Perhaps the Grainline heading on the left could be changed to Other Pattern Markings?


I stumbled onto this website that explains pattern markings very nicely: Basics: Pattern Symbols | Yesterday's Thimble


Do you think the “place on fold symbol” (with the arrows at right angles at either end) needs text to be part of it? I think it is a universally understood symbol. But maybe it isn’t🤷‍♀️


That would be great! To be able to add text where you want. Labels stay as they are but to be able to have a text box, similar to what one can do using “Mark up”to add text to photos?

(I know nothing about how difficult these things are to implement!)

Looking at the link you posted, The cross in a circle mark is a good one, as well as the dots, buttonholes and x’s.


Hmmm… Perhaps not, but I create patterns to sell as PDF’s and spend hours getting them onto Inkscape, all dollied up & perfect for the people to buy, so for me, it would be a real treat :grin:

:sweat_smile: I don’t either, so I hope I’m not suggesting too much :tired_face:

Yes, I like the pleats, as well, but that site doesn’t show the gathers, which I think is quite an important one.


These are some from:

This is the gather markings, on the right, that I prefer:



On a paper pattern i have always used a wavy line to indicate gathering, but I have no idea if that is universal or I just made it up. It may be related to a traditional tailoring kind of chalk marks in a fitting shorthand, but I would have to look into that. I don’t use commercial patterns so I am not sure what the general public is used to seeing.


The art of fitting gentlemen’s garments here

Heres an interesting reference book. I have this book, But I am not suggesting that these esoteric markings will be useful in this context.

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We’re sort of on the same page. I envision the grainline(s) being integrated into an overall “Symbols” tool. after all a grainline IS considered a symbol. For one it would solve an existing issue - one i think you submitted? - in being able to add more than 1 grainline to a pattern piece. Secondly it would like you suggest here to add text to grainlines as well. Which would be useful if there are multiple grainlines.

This is a ddialog from when I was working out symbols on my own fork, it’s a bit outdated as it needs a “Text” field, but it will give us a starting point.


For example in the “Type:” combobox one item could be the “On Fold” symbol…


Where the red dot represents the origin point of the symbol that would be the point that gets anchored - if an anchor point is selected. I would add the options of top & bottom anchors so that 1) it addresses the grainlines 2)For an on fold you could either anchor it to a point or center it between a top & bottom anchor. You may note that an offseet value could be used to place the text in relation to the symbol origin point. Rotation should be obvious… and in the case of say anchoring an on fold between 2 points, you could use the line angle formula of the 2 points for the rotation angle.

We can account for that by simply leaving the text field blank. With that being said I find it more the norm in commercial patterns to include the text than not. You have to remember commercial patterns are not made for professionals, and in that respect one of the long term goals of Seamly2D is to make patterns availble in the Cloud… which may include sewers new to pattern making. Also in the reference pic I took below you may note it specifies Center Back… as opposed to Center Front. For what it;s worth I’ve been writing “On Fold” for 40+ years.

From the programming persepctive - once the framework for the symbol tool and dialogs is in place, it’s not that difficutl to add new symbols. Just need to figure out how to draw out the graphics.

To give you an idea the symbols I’ve worked out most of the geometry for - Here’s the combox icons I used in my fork…

  • arrow - Arrow… use length value for length of arrow leader. Could use text for items such as “Place Here” or “Pleat”
  • button2 - 2 hole button
  • button4 - 4 hole button
  • circle - circle
  • circumference - circumference
  • cross - cross
  • cuthere - cut here
  • diamond - diamond
  • dot - dot
  • gather - gather
  • hook - hook
  • line - line
  • onfold - on fold
  • snaphole - snap
  • square - square
  • star - star
  • star2 - star 2
  • triangle - triangle
  • zipper - zipper (would use length to set distance between black & red triangle or maybe 2 anchor points )

We could add a grainline: grainline


I’ve also use a wavy line… if it’s say a large skirt that’s getting gathered int a waist band. I’ll put the wavy at both ends of the gather. If it’s just a small gather say on a sleve cap I’ll just draw a <— gather -----> somewhere between the notches / dots.

No reasson we couldn’t do both:



Thanks for the link. Have not seen this one before.

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While a buttonhole could certainly be a symbol, it would only be useful for single buttonholes. I plan on having a separate buttonhole tool (although it’s possible it could also include buttons, snaps, etc) that would automate the process of adding multiple buttonholes - probably by segmenting a straight or curved path, and placing a hole at every segment point. The idea is you would specify one buttonhole, and either a starting anchor point and spacing holes at a given spacing OR by adding x number of holes between two given anchor points. Other options required would be an offset to set the holes in from the a front edge, and and offsets from the top and bottom edges. For example… given anchor points A1 and A2 on line A1A2… providing an edge, top and bottom offset and 7 button holes would produce something like:



Sorry, I was busy trying to put my thoughts down when the electricity went out & therefore my internet. It seems that there’s a huge problem and our town will be without power for a number of days before repairs can be implemented & power restored, so I’ll only be able to reply intermittently while I have the small generator running.

Buttons I don’t know how important having 2 button icons is for pattern makers, but for me, just something indicating the placement of the button would be sufficient normally indicated by an X to show where the stitching will go.

Pleat Perhaps a dotted line instead of a solid one? And yes, I’d like the text option.

Buttonhole I quite like the |-----------X—| icon (I just typed this one) because it can be marked on the fabric to indicate where the button would be placed on the matching part and the position of the buttonhole. The length of the button hole would depend on the size of the button used which would normally be the choice of the person making the garment or written into the instructions.

Hook If you have a hook, you will also need an eye. I seem to recall them looking something like this:


All the others, I’m totally happy with :slight_smile:

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LOL, love the idea of both. Will we be able to curve the line?

Bleh! there goes my buttonholes & eyes on the previous post :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

This part sounds amazing :star_struck: :star_struck: :star_struck:

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This is normally used to indicate the bust and hip point positions (or any other point of interest in a pattern, I guess).

Perhaps we should leave the circumference to the lines that can have text.

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Here are some fancy ones if you prefer:


I’ve done them in .svg so if you’d like the file, I can send it to you. :slight_smile:


Buttonhole symbol- another symbol may be a hole with a line protruding- like a tailor’s keyhole buttonhole. Useful for horizontal button holes.

For vertical buttonholes, is the marking most often used H (rotated and elongated)shaped? would that mean figuring out the top, bottom and in from the edge offsets, then the buttonhole length, and then the spacing between those buttonholes?

yes, automated segmenting between two points on a straight or curved path would be awesome, and I can see that yes, you would need to specifiy the offset and then proceed to segment from there as you would need a start and end point for the buttonholes.

Would that kind of division of a line also be useful in segmenting a pattern piece in order to "slash and spread the sections of a pattern?

I love the fancy hook and eye symbol!


hola a todos. he estado buscando en mis libros y como símbolos para los patrones los únicos que he encontrado ha sido los de ojales, botones y ojetes son estos. Captura de pantalla 2021-04-04 a las 20.15.25 .

Aprovecho este hilo para esta propuesta, que el patrón tenga incorporada su ficha técnica ya que muchos símbolos de este hilo forman parte de las fichas técnicas de las prendas.Captura de pantalla 2021-04-04 a las 20.24.11


That is the universal circumference symbol used to indicate a bust, waist, or hip circumference.

This is from a Butterick medieval pattern showing the waist circumference.

But as you will note, it also has the measurement text… which is why I want to be able to attach text to symbols as well.


Not quite sure how to handle some of the (svg?) graphics. Have to keep in mind that the patterns also have to work on a plotter. I need to hookup my laptop to one of vinyl cutters with a pen and see how some stuff plots from the Seamly2D app.

That being said , usually most commercial patterns simply use a circle or dot to denote hook & eyes, snaps, or buttons, and the instructions will describe where to place them. Since for the foreseeable future, there won’t be instructions with Seamly2D patterns, I have no issue with using more graphical representations, where some one could look at the pattern and see - “oh a hook and eye is called for here.”