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Our newest design is the Tristan top

3 months ago
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Several months ago, I customized the Noble block for an outfit for my local Renaissance festival. Wouter – Noble’s designer – reached out to chat about my top’s construction. One thing led to another, and we agreed to collaborate to publish it as a standalone top design.

The result is the Tristan top.

Tristan has princess seams that go through the shoulder straps. This is a design element from the very first Tristan, where I highlighted the seam by using two different fabrics. We built in a lot of options, such as lace-up closures on front or back.

Since I so thoroughly enjoyed working with a developer for the first time, I thought I could write a little bit about things that made our collab successful.

Designers should think about scale and options, and be available to developers

Two of the ways to contribute to FreeSewing are to develop and design sewing patterns.

So what does that actually look like?

Someone asked this question on Discord, and I thought it was a great one: “What should a designer do or know to help make a developer’s job easier?”

Wouter shared some things that came to mind from the projects he’s done with a designer:

  • Think about how things should scale. When a measurement increases (waist, for instance), the pattern should accommodate for that. But there may be other things that should compensate too, for aesthetic or other reasons. And there are things that should change in other areas of a design when a certain measurement changes.

  • Think about dimensions of things in your design as “relative to”, instead of distinct numbers. Designs need to scale from doll to giant, so the width of a fly guard needs to be a percentage of the waist, not 5cm.

  • What kinds of things do you want to make optional, or adjustable. A lot of things may sound good to you, but not to who wants to make your design for themselves. Pockets and such are a good example of potentially optionable things. The width of a waistband could also be made adjustable to accommodate the taste of the person making the design.

  • Be available to the developer. Sometimes they need a decision on something, and it is nice if there is a good understanding on how quickly answers may be forthcoming.

  • Have a test garment made, and be willing to make photos of it in different angles. Knowing how a garment is supposed to move and be draped on a body helps with certain aspects of making a design scalable.

  • Have a name picked out :wink:

I’ll add that adding a new design to FreeSewing involves a lot of work beyond the design and development. The designer should add a showcase and ideally help out in other ways such as recruiting testers, making a technical flat, and writing sewing instructions. The wonderful FreeSewing community is available to help with much of this!

Developers should work together with designers to solidify ideas into code

So, what should a developer do or know to help make a designer’s job easier?

  • Embrace the designer’s vision. Be willing to try things out and iterate as the design evolves.

  • Be clear about what is easy or difficult to implement. If a designer asks for a feature that would take a ton of effort to implement or is a bad idea for whatever reason, she may not know. Work together to find an alternative.

  • Help with tech support. Walk the designer through getting started with Gitpod and, if it makes sense in your situation, making pull requests or commits.

Wouter, of course, did all of this.

Thanks for having me on the blog, and I hope you enjoy sewing your own Tristan top!

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