The Making of a Pattern

I’ve been kind of alone in this whole pattern making process. I mean, I’ve bought other people’s patterns before (shout out to Teresa Wentzler, whose design work is now sadly closed, but forums are still accessible), and I’ve seen how they look. And I have the professional version of PatternMaker, now, sadly, unsupported. But I had what I’d call a steep learning curve. I’ve never actually known anyone personally that used it. And I certainly didn’t feel comfortable asking professional designers questions about how they published their patterns. So I figured it out on my own.

In the beginning, I did it all manually. I mean I quickly saw how to export the pattern and the info sheet to JPGs, but I did everything manually after that. I had to export both a pattern picture with the lines and center markings, AND a solid color image with no graph or marking to show what the finished product would look like. I went into my image editor and manually cut the pattern picture into quarters so that I could show them enlarged in my pattern book. I figured out a way to add grey borders to the inside edges of patterns to show overlap. I figured out how to watermark the solid color image. I opened a new document, and pulled each piece into that doc, along with all the requisite formatting and tinkering. Then I exported that document into a PDF. That was before I even started on the work for creating a listing on Etsy. I had to make a list of steps so that I wouldn’t miss any steps…because I did a few times. The list had 17 steps.

But then, a revelation! I discovered the Professional’s version had a feature called “layout”. That made a lot of things a lot easier. But it also lead to learning more features needed for what layout required. I learned how to mark “Layout regions”, dividing up the pattern into sections that I could then insert into the layout, so that the pattern was displayed enlarged in sections. This, by itself, has saved me literally HOURS. I learned where to fill in information so that it could easily be inserted into the layout, without having to retype it each time. I learned how to save layouts, so that I didn’t have to recreate them each time. Again, HOURS saved.

So now it seems simple. Finish design. Fill in info for pattern name, notes, and fabric type. Set fabric size. Turn off grid, turn on solid design, export to graphic. Mark layout regions. Go into Layout mode, select pre-made layout with 4 enlarged quarters + 1 detail + cover page + info page. Insert graphic on cover page. Check the 4 quarters are correct. Select the detail enlargement. Check the info page. Print to RTF. Pull up graphic in image editor, and add watermark. Pull up RTF and export to PDF. Start the Etsy list process. Easy-peasy. Especially after the 17 step manual method.

But I still didn’t know anyone to talk to, to compare methods with. And then I discovered that fellow Seamonkey, Joel (hi Joel!), also had set up an Etsy shop to sell his patterns. Well, it took a while to work my nerve up to talk to him about it. But I finally did. Come to find out he’s using PatternMaker too. Not the same version, but still! And he had an excellent recommendation for CutePDFWriter, which is software that allows printing directly to PDF, which saves me another step. So he had some recommendations for me; I had some recommendations for him. I hope he enjoyed the exchange as much as I did.

Now I just have learn how to DRAW!