Project PerFlex – A Personalisation Service

Mar 14, 2021

3D printed bras – Picture by Brigitte Kock

Brigitte Kock recently returned from Dutch Design Week 2017 in Eindhoven where she participated for a full nine days with her startup PerFlex. PerFlex Is a collaboration between Brigitte, Niek van Sleeuwen and Bart Pruijmboom, three Industrial Design graduates from the Technical University Eindhoven (TU/e). PerFlex is a personalisation service, providing 3D printed shoes. Brigitte explains how she uses open source with her project PerFlex.

I studied Industrial Design at the Technical University of Eindhoven. It is there that I found my passion for the Wearable Senses Lab, an innovative lab perfectly fitted for professional clothes design. What is new in the lab is that technology and research are added to the design process. 3D printing on textiles, embroidering with conductive yarn, creating personalised garments based on a body scan, silicone gloves, think of something and there would already be someone who conceived it.

Dutch Design Week 2017 – Picture by Twycer

The design and production software the university makes available are the usual overpriced programs that are otherwise way too expensive for students to invest in. For all other software needs students fully rely on open source. So, for my final bachelor project I predominantly worked with open source programs. One very important advantage of open source is the ability to ‘hack’ the software and use it in a way that benefits the project.

About project PerFlex:

Currently available 3D printed wearable products originate primarily from large enterprises and provide consumers with limited options, AKA “one size fits most”. PerFlex sees it differently and facilitates a “unique size fits you” approach. The PerFlex website provides the consumer choices to combine parametric patterns made by designers with their body data to get a personalised 3D printed product.

3D printed shoes – Picture by Brigitte Kock

For our project we needed an option to change and fill in the pattern pieces dynamically. During the study we learned to work with Processing, an open source visual coding program. In Processing, I am able to easily write code for the 3D printer and thus provide instructions for the printing process. However, drawing clothing patterns in Processing is nearly impossible. So, I needed digital patterns (preferably dynamic) that I could import into Processing, which is how I came to Valentina, now called Seamly2D. The great thing about Seamly2D is that the pattern files are human readable. So after I made a drawing in Seamly2D, I could use the XML code to recreate this same drawing in Processing and from there on create what I wanted to make.

I believe that to innovate at a faster pace, open source programs and research are extremely valuable. And I’m happy to hear that Seamly2D is providing this support for the new generation of digital designers.


Product developer for Seamly pattern design open source software.
Patternmaker and network architect. Founder of the Fashion Freedom Initiative.