Quite a while ago, a friend hinted me to a software that lets one enter their measurments and generates a pattern fitting their size. For a tailoring person that sounds like heaven! No more mock ups, no more fittings? I tried out this program for one costume and it worked very well on an adult woman. Some time has passed, and since I have the bjd of a friend here for photographic reasons, I decided to try the software on her, as it says that it will work for BJDs as well.
Disclaimer: while this post is not sponsored and plainly a review, it contains links to a software program, and can be seen as commercial.
The Software “Passt!”
The software is called Passt! and ist is developed and distributed by golden pattern. As far as I can see, there is unfortunately only a german version, but since there is not much to read, you might be ok with dutch or little german skills. If there is enough feedback, I can try to translate the major points.
The basic program is free, it comes with a simple a t-shirt as freebie. You will pay for the patterns instead of the software.
A pattern will cost you between 10-20 Euros roughly, which might sound quite expensive at first. Also golden pattern offers packages of patterns. Tbh the patterns aren’t expensive at all. When buying a pattern of a store from Burda, simplicity, butterick, mccalls etc the price for one pattern is roughly the same. Of course here you have to carry the printing costs yourself, but remember you will receive the pattern in your personal size, and even for your dolls, not matter what size they are. Also, each pattern comes with varieties a printed pattern will not. For a simple princess line dress for example you will be able to choose length, neckline, sleeveform, fit (tight, fit, loose), and width of skirt. It also comes with sewing and fabric instructions. So the price for a pattern is very decent.
The process of generating a pattern
Before you can print a pattern, you have to enter the measurements of your doll. Doing that is easy, it’s located under “my measurments > add new measurement”. Simply choose “doll” and which gender (or child) and go on.
You can name your file and start filling in the measurements. Pressing enter will prompt you to the next measurement (though my computer tends to give me that “This did not work” noise, which is quite annoying and I had to turn the sound off), when you save you will also get a little sketch of the body on the left side. Not sure if this is just for the software or for the user to control if something looks horribly off. There are quite a lot of measurements to fill in, so take your time to do so!
Once done, the “fun” starts. Quotes cause actually at this point the software lacks userfriendliness and usability. As far as I can see it will automatically use the last used measurements, which is quite confusing if you have more measurement tables saved (I have 5).
You will now have to navigate to “my patterns” where all the patterns you purchased are listed.
When you click the pattern, nothing will happen, what confused me a bit at first and every time I use the program, I have to get used to it again. Apparently the program saved your pattern, because when you go and navigate to “my projects”, it will continue with the pattern you chose.
Now it will let you choose the varities of the pattern, or you can work with a randomized one.
To continue further you have to navigate to “project” in the tabs of the current window, which I personally didn’t notice at once. In this tab you can now generate a pdf file and save the project if you want to.
Once you did that, you will receive a pdf that is printable on your home printer, as well as a description how to sew the garment. For a BJD this is a nice thing, you basically only have to print the parts with the pattern on it, which will, depending on pattern, be 1-3 pages I guess. I used the princess line dress and it was two pages. Printing for a human can take loads of paper sheets though!
So this process is a bit complicated and could do with an overall rework in usability.
Once the pattern is printed (be careful not to resize it with your printer), you can simply piece the sheets of paper togehter and cut the pattern out! There is another trap for bjds here: the cutting lines are roughly 1mm in width. While this makes not a real difference on a human, in doll size it’s not clear if you need to cut inside or outside these lines. For my dress I have to cope with 7 of these lines which makes 7mm difference for each side, 1.4 cm in total!
From my experience it’s better to cut inside, at least if you want a tight fit.
Pattern printed out on my home printer
In this picture you can see a Doll with a top that I made directly from the pattern. The fit was supposed to be tight, but it’s not THAT tight. This can have more than one reason though. First of all, measuring a doll with a normal measuring tape can lead to incorrect numbers, if you really want to make sure, I’d advise you to use thread to wrap around her, and then measure the thread in total. Also we have the line-problem I was talking about. So I think with a bit of experience, the patterns fit perfectly fine as they do on humans.
Huge plus on saving time for the fit and pattern making!
Prices for the patterns are really decent! There are a lot of basic patterns that you can alter into other ones without having to make 50 mock ups for fit first and then pattern second.
The overall usability of the program lacks a bit. The interface design looks old fashioned and makes it a bit hard to navigate through the program. I hope the developer takes at some point a bit of time to invest in the overall usability tests and interface design. Then the program would be pretty much perfect.
For those who are capable to read (a good portion) of german, I recommend you try the program with a basic pattern such as the princess line dress or some pants!
Let me know your opinion or if you are interested in a in-depth tutorial/translation!