Spurred on by the lack of patterns available for tall men, Joost De Cock (who is 6’6”) started Freesewing.org to solve a personal need.
"I wanted to alter patterns to fit me but as a novice it’s not always easy to know what to do. So I bought a book to learn how to draft my own patterns based on my own measurements. But it’s slow and boring drafting by hand," explains Joost.
With a job in IT and a passion for sewing, he was well placed to come up with a digital solution. “I thought it must be possible to automate the process. It all started as something to scratch an itch.”
The site now has 12,000 users with a colourful showcase page displaying photos of appreciative people wearing the clothes they’ve made.
To get started, you’ll need an account where you add your measurements. Then pick a design and the software will automatically create a bespoke pattern for your body shape. There’s a range of patterns to choose from, including a suit jacket, hooded jumper and shirt. For Cosplay fans there’s even a Sherlock Holmes style coat.
The majority of the patterns are for menswear but there are a few unisex and womenswear clothes. “At first I put the effort into making the patterns I needed. Designing womenswear is on the to-do list, now more people are using the site,” says Joost. "Version 2.1 will include 3 new patterns, 1 uni-sex and 2 womenswear. It should be out by the end of this week. Just to underscore that we're serious about womenswear."