One of the most appealing things about the Animal Crossing franchise has always been the potential for you to create and even share your own content. You can paint patterns that can be used on clothing, umbrellas, items, displayed on their own, or use them as your town's flag; you can display them in a shop so that your townsfolk (or visiting friends) might wear them around; you can even create a small chunk of music as your towns theme... Currently my town's representing with the Cutie Honey theme and a handsome little deer flag, if you're curious.
But Animal Crossing: New Leaf adds a new layer to the game's user-generated content system: QR Codes, which allow you to share your favorite patterns in an incredibly convenient format, as well as fill your own game with other players' amazing content. However this isn't an ability you have right from the start of the game. Like just about everything else it takes frequent and diligent play to unlock... But it's worth it.
The key to accessing the QR code import/export function is befriending Sable, the quietest of the 3 hedgehog sisters that run the Able Sisters fashion boutique on main street. Even though you can make a pattern on the fly no matter where you are, this place should be a frequent stop if you like the game's creation tools. Talking to gregarious sister Mabel will allow you to save your patterns, as well as making more complicated "Pro" patterns, which usually take up more than one pattern square and allow you to make dresses, shirts with differently textured sleeves, photoboards and so on.
Anyway, the real goal here is to befriend Sable by popping in to say hi to her every so often. She won't say much to you at first, but one she warms up to you she'll give you access to a new "sewing machine", which allows you to scan QR codes you find or export and share your own easily.
Now thankfully New Leaf has been out in Japan for 7 months, so there's already an abundance of content just waiting to be scanned into your game. Since North American players will be befriending Sable soon enough, it seemed like the perfect time to share some of my favorite content resources for New Leaf... And boy is there a lot of content to share.
Adorable geek lady extraordinaire Anne Lee of Chic Pixel has collected some of her favourite patterns in a three-part post loading with links, including a ton of gorgeous fashion. These designs range from modest and lovely mori kei and super kawaii lolita-inspired fashion to full-on steampunk outfits and items from games and anime. There's even a dress inspired by Kiki's Delivery Service, and ground patterns that'll give your town a top-down rpg map vibe. Check out part one, part two, and part three for all that and a whole lot more.
Bidoof Crossing is a pretty great blog with a large question and answer section full of valuable information, as well as a relatively small but well-organized collection of QR codes. The paths category as well as the photoboard category should be of particular interest, since those patterns can be a pain to find when you need them.
Tumblr at large is also bursting at the seams with QR codes. Players are scouring every corner of the internet to find and share user-made content, so in addition to an abundance of blogs made just to support New Leaf QR code exchange, some patient digging through the appropriate tags (like this one, or this one) can turn up some amazing stuff. As with anything else on Tumblr, you'll find it's easy to fall down a rabbithole of links in no time.
I'm squirreling away a tidy stockpile of codes for when Sable finally opens up to me. What about you? Be sure to share your favorite user-created designs in the comments below!
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.