Tracing existing patterns?



Hey everyone,

I just got to know Valentina and it really seems to be the software I was looking for, BUT I only want to trace already existing patterns. Is there any way to do this in Valentina? Maybe using some workaround? Thanks!


Hi, @noidea

There’s none that I know about, sorry. But it’s really fun creating patterns :slight_smile:


As far as I know Valentina not yet. There are plans to share patterns though.

What I don’t understand is the need to trace existing patterns. What do you do with that workflow?


Yes there is… if you understand how normal grading works and follow a method I came up with.

I will provide a basic leotard pattern I recently did using this method. Let’s assume we’re going to use a standard 2" grade, where each quarter get’s graded a total of 1/2".

What I do is trace out a pattern piece on paper, using an XY reference point… in the example I use the chest line and center front or back (fold). Then locating each “grade” point I measure the x and y distances relative to the 0 reference point. This is pretty much how one digitizes a pattern using a large drawing tablet. Now here’s where the trick comes… seeing as how Seamly2d does not have a normal grading method based on rules one sets up we have to have a way to set a grade rule in the formula of the points. Knowing the size of the pattern that was traced I know the chest, waist, and hip size the pattern fits… in the example it’s a 42 chest, 34 waist, and 44 hips … I can use those measurements to know how much each grade point has to move in/out or up/dn - they way I do this is using math trick of subtracting the chestscale (1/2 the chest) from the ChestsSale measurement from the Tape file… multiply this by the amount the point normally moves in a 2" grade… and add this to the x measurement from the tracing. For EX: Take the point BC_1 - on the tracing it’s 9 1/4"… the ChestScale of a size 42 is 21" , and the BC_1 point would move in/out a full 1/2" in a 2" grade. Here’s the formula for the point BC_1"

9.25+ ((@ChestScale-21)*0.5)

This is where the neat math comes into play… lets say you want to grade up 4" or to a 46 with a ChestScale of 23":

9.25+((23-21)*.5) = 10.25"… the point will now move out the 1" for the quarter and 4" total or 2 sizes up

OR let’s say we want to grade down 4" to a 38

9.25+((19-21) *.5) = 9.25+((-2) *.5) = 9.25+(-1) = 8.25… the point will now move in the 1" for the quarter and 4" total or 2 sizes down


Here’s the pattern file and 4 measurement files to play with.

Womens Leotard.val (19.5 KB)

Women_42.vit (4.2 KB)

Wolf_W_12.vit (4.2 KB)

Wolf_W_18.vit (4.2 KB)

Beth_48.vit (4.3 KB)


To take an existing pattern and then by using a Tape measurement form you can create a pattern “made to measure”… like every other normal garment CAD software does. I have a ton of patterns I use at work and have to manually grade them when I need a custom size… by putting them into Seamly2d I will only need an actor’s/actress’s measurements to customize a pattern to their size.

Also… not all patterns are drafted - Like Seamly2D does… a lot of costumes we do are draped with muslin on a form and transferred to paper. Here’s a pattern one of my employees recently draped:

Shift Dress - Copy.val (45.7 KB)

Wolf_W_18.vit (4.2 KB)

Wolf_W_12.vit (4.2 KB)


Here’s another example of a 3 button sack coat I used as a test to validate the method I used. I used a size 38 with 2" ease… or a ChestScale of 20". I have a whole set of this pattern so I was able to check to see if the pattern was grading properly/.

Levinsohn3282.val (122.7 KB)

Wolf_36.vit (4.2 KB)

Wolf_38.vit (4.2 KB)

Wolf_48.vit (3.9 KB)


That makes sense. I wasn’t aware that this is called tracing :slight_smile: And, yes, draping. I didn’t do that, so I didn’t come up with it :blush:


If you’re running from the development environment rather than a pre-built executable you can inject a couple of lines that will cause an existing SVG file to display as a wallpaper. The neat thing is that it pans and zooms with the pattern.

You still need to go through a similar process to that which @Douglas describes as you need to reverse engineer the scaleable pattern from the picture.

This is only really useful if you have patterns that you’ve made previously available as SVG and know the measurements that they were made for.

Let me know if this if of interest and I’ll explain further. Nb. my C++ is not up to adding this as a proper Seamly2D feature, but anyone that knows the code could probably add this in a couple of hours.


Generally it’s referred to as digitizing a pattern, but essentially you are tracing around each pattern piece on a giant tablet using a special cursor mouse to enter in each of the relevant points. Along the way you define each point type - some of which are defined as grade points which then move according to a set of defined grade rules. BTW… when you look at the size chart of a commercial pattern - that chart IS the grade rules for that pattern, and a womens will grade different than a misses, than will a petite, than will a mens, etc.

All I did was figure out a way or reverse the process to enter the X/Y of the points by using formulas based on the pattern and measurements.

At my costume shop we do both… Since my main background is in drafting / engineering I tend to draft patterns, where as my one employee doesn’t really draft and drapes everything. I now have a way I can enter his patterns in Seamly2D and grade & print them later for different sizes. Just a note… something else I do - rather than drafting using a system (like what Sealmly2D does) or draping, I will draft patterns from slopers or basic blocks (usually women’s wear) by manipulating darts, moving seam lines, or slashing, etc.

Oh… I should also point out another reason why one would want to trace or digitize a pattern (into Seamly2D.) Since a good portion of my business is dealing with period clothing, it’s not uncommon that I will take a pattern off an existing (vintage) garment - either by taking the garment apart (usually if it’s beyond repair) or not. When I first worked in the costume dept at the University of Buffalo as part of degree in technical theatre… I had to take the pattern off a vintage Victorian bustle dress without harming it and then reproduce the dress for a production of La Ronde. In this case the vintage dress was chosen because it was the same size needed… thing is - back then there were no PC’s or software to make patterns with so I would have had to grade the pattern manually. LOL


You mean the ones that you pay money for?


That was Douglas, not me :slight_smile: But I assume yes, he means probably the ones you have to pay for.


Yes… those ones you pay exhorbinately for. That’s one reason Valentina / Really is not normal… it won’t cost you an arm and leg. :slight_smile:


I use lots of old sheets in duplicating or creating a pattern from an existing piece. No matter how well.i think I created a pattern by drafting, draping, or a combination method involving lots of guessing I find sewing a fitting garment from old sheets is the only way I can be satisfied with fit and not waste a lot of beautiful expensive fabric. This was especially true when inventing a pattern for a custom wedding dress for my niece who lived 500 miles away


We do mockups all the time at my shop… years ago we bought out a drapery business and have tons of cheap fabric we use… it’s cheaper than buying muslin.


Speaking of digitizing patterns…