Joann and Singer Create Ditto, a Pattern Projection System
Fabric and craft store chain JoAnn and sewing machine brand Singer have partnered to sell Ditto, a new product that combines digital pattern projection with size customization for the home sewer. It is now available online and in stores. It was formally unveiled February 8, 2023, by Joann in a newsletter and at a well-orchestrated launch event during New York Fashion Week in Manhattan.
“Ditto combines algorithmic intelligence with digital projection to make patterns paperless, customizable and adaptable to specific body measurements—all in real time,” according to the product announcement.
Ditto executives, designers, and the sewing influencers who have tested it say it saves time and overcomes obstacles posed by paper patterns and other pattern projection systems.
Is it worth it?
The initial $799 price tag is a hurdle that any interested consumer will have to overcome before using this product. Add a pattern subscription or individual pattern purchases to that and the investment becomes even more of a financial commitment.
However, the product’s representatives and advocates say “Ditto is going to revolutionize sewing.” They add that it is easy to set up, it helps home sewers create customized designs and get a custom fit, and it saves paper and storage space.
What you receive from Ditto
The $799 Ditto kit requires some assembly. It consists of:
- Mounting beam
- 36-inch x 24-inch cutting mat
- 45-mm rotary cutter
- Four fabric weights
- Pattern target stickers
- Power cord
- Cord covers
- Three-month pattern subscription
What you must have
You’ll need a flat worksurface of at least 37 inches by 25 inches, a room with a 7 1/2-foot to 10-foot flat ceiling, and a tablet or smartphone to connect to the Ditto app.
Attach the small digital projector to a tension rod, called the mounting beam, that you set up between the floor and ceiling. Then use the Ditto app to calibrate the projector to the cutting mat. No measuring tools are needed, but the projector must be about 50 inches above the cutting mat.
Next, choose a Ditto pattern from DittoPatterns.com, input your measurements, and the system creates pattern pieces. Once you determine layout for those pieces, they are projected onto your fabric lying on the cutting mat.
There’s another outlay of money when choosing a pattern at DittoPatterns.com—after your three-month pattern subscription expires. You can subscribe to unlimited Ditto patterns for $99.99 a year, or for $9.99 a month. A third alternative is to buy patterns individually: Each Ditto pattern is $12.99, and prices range for the third-party pattern offerings at DittoPatterns.com.
Patterns offered through Ditto
You’ll find Ditto-branded patterns and the Ditto partner, or third-party, patterns and instructions available on Ditto’s website.
The 500-plus Ditto patterns are made to measure, meaning Ditto projects a pattern of your choosing based on the measurements you provide. “There are 17 different measurements used with women’s garments to create a perfect fit,” Ditto officials said. They include everything from neck circumference to belly protuberance. “There are slightly fewer [measurements] for men’s and children’s garments.”
Some 250 of Ditto’s womenswear garments have design customization options, such as changing a neckline or sleeve.
The 200-plus third-party patterns come from well-known commercial patternmakers McCall’s, Simplicity, and Butterick, as well as independent patternmakers. The indies include Style Arc, Liesl + Co., Named, and Madalynne Intimates. But these brands offer their standard sizing, not the made-to-measure fit customization that the Ditto patterns provide. The only customization offered by these patterns is through different style views.
“Ditto’s partner patterns are all sold as a bundle, meaning that they come with all sizes as well as all views,” Ditto officials note. “With partner patterns, the Ditto app allows sewists to select the specific view and specific size that they want to send to the workspace and project. Then, only the pieces for that view and size are filtered into the workspace.”
Ditto only projects patterns from DittoPatterns.com, so a home sewer cannot use the Ditto projection system for non-partner projectable patterns they may already own or for previously purchased projectable patterns from Ditto’s partners.
This new product has yet to be tested by a large group of home sewers, including those who use other pattern projection setups. Threads has not yet tested this system or reviewed the Ditto patterns. We invite your comments and opinions about the Ditto projection system, including the patterns.
Ditto is available at Joann.com, Singer.com, and DittoPatterns.com.
Photos: courtesy of DittoPatterns.com
My local sewing shop had a demo of this system and let us create accounts to try it out. First of all, the search engine is not ready for prime time. It's very difficult and clunky to use. Second, the patterns are mostly geared to young ladies, with loads of ruffles, off the shoulder items, mini skirts, etc. Almost nothing for a more mature person with a classic sense of style. Third, while there are some patterns from Simplicity and some Independent companies such as Style Arc, these are not customizable. When I can easily search patterns, upload a Vogue or other pattern and actually use it I may consider this. But now, it's just not ready to use.