When in comes to pattern drafting, think DRIVING.
It sounds very scary for those who doesn't drive, tension, panicking, fear comes to mind. "You will never get it right!"- the voice keeps ringing in your ear, "Told you so", every time you hit a small bump on the road, and so on and so on. You keep learning, sometimes the hard way, you are getting through, until you realise that the voice is gone, you catch your mind wandering somewhere else and the whole thing feels like a second nature to you.
Drafting your patterns can seem very intimidating, but it is a really amazing skill and it can take you to a completely new level of possibilities. The good old paper and pencil method certainly is great, but with the introduction of various 2D CAD designing software makes it much more efficient.
If your dream is to design paperless patterns, you must first look at what kind of packages are out there to suit you best
Here are just a few examples of professional pattern making programs:
Gemini Pattern Editor A very comprehensive piece of software- includes quick and accurate pattern design, using basic design tools and advanced geometrical procedures. Advanced model design and make-up with simulation for darts, folds, -Automatic and manual pattern grading. Pattern checking and verifying, measurement table, real time watcher. Pattern digitising, support for fast access digitising functions, vocal confirmation.
Gerber Accumark With AccuMark, you can quickly create new patterns or modify existing ones, use powerful shortcuts to automatically apply common pattern changes. You can also perform even the most complicated grading calculations instantly, according to the rules you specify.
Sound amazing? Well, be prepared to fork out around a thousand bucks for most of those programs. You have the money? Fantastic! If you are thinking to start your own business in pattern making - get one of them! But for the majority of dressmakers this is not the option, so what is out there for those who cannot spend so much?
To start with the most of the cheaper software options available share very similar qualities:
Pros: you have a vast majority of pre-installed styles to choose from, often come with comprehensive sewing guides, and you can design your own styles using multiple custom measurements charts. You can edit the pattern within a program to create your own unique designs.
Cons: You cannot save your unique designs to open them with a different measurement chart. There is no grading option (this is the one you have to pay your big reddies for in professional software). The file format can be program specific- that means you cannot outsource the patterns for grading services. Also some fitting issues are reported to be quite problematic.
Here are a few examples of home user pattern making programs
Pattern Master - offers five separate software programs that automatically draft custom-sized sewing patterns to your measurements. It has a 2D pattern Editing CAD software, yardage calculator, and amazing customer support. Around $225 per program
PatternMaker - Their Professional Studio is a full-featured CAD program, specifically designed for pattern drafting. You can extensively modify a pattern made from the collections, or you can draft your own pattern entirely from scratch, it also support .dfx files- which is a very common file type in the professional pattern making world. Great interface. $399 or $600 for a Grading Studio.
DesignSew -Designer Software for creating and Sizing patterns to measure for custom fit The interactive interface and vector CAD format provide the features and benefits of a CAD studio to input and print patterns using a windows PC and Printer. $499 ($179 for a home user edition)
The bottom line: if you want to make your own patterns using CAD software, you need to ask yourself this:?
- Do you want to learn the basics of pattern drafting from scratch, or you are happy enough using the preset options?
- Are you going to do with the patterns you create? If home use is all you need- there is no need to spend too much on it. Wild Ginger is selling a book on Digital Pattern Drafting with a 2D CAD program included for just $99!
- If you are looking to create patterns to share or sell, you need to first of all research each software output format options. It is not the issue with more expensive ones, but beware that some of them are saving patterns in a specific file format, that will not convert to other types. It can be a real issue if you need to outsource grading, for example.
Download trial versions, when possible, and find the interface that works for you best. It is worth spending a day or two on a demo, to have a clear idea on whether is will suit your needs best.
Go to relevant forums, discussions and read carefully all posts- especially the ones complaining about any issues- negative comments can often give an insight into potential problems you can encounter in your future.
If paperless pattern making is for what you want to do, thinking these few points through can not only save your money make it an amazing fulfilling experience, but can simply make it an amazing fulfilling experience.
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