Comments on: Bewildered by pattern services? How to start a clothing line or run the one you have, better. Mon, 06 Jul 2015 13:00:37 +0000 hourly 1 By: Old school patternmakers: Should you get a CAD system? Or update the one you have? Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:42:34 +0000 […] markers. Yes, I know, grading and marker making was never part of our job description but this doesn’t make sense to today’s customer so the very best pattern makers out there are being pushed aside precisely at the time when we are […]

By: martin Tue, 20 May 2014 22:32:28 +0000 excellent essay Kathleen!

By: Kathleen Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:27:33 +0000 The entry you’re likely referring to is here. I posted an addendum at the top of the page, noting the correction (thank you for bringing it to my attention).

The reasons I migrated from Optitex to StyleCAD is explained here.

I completely agree that selecting a system can be overwhelming (oh wait, you said bewildering and it certainly is) and I keep thinking I’ll write a post about it. Maybe after I come back from TexProcess where I plan to try out more programs than I was qualified to assess before.

An additional thing to keep in mind is the annual licensing fee you have to pay when you select a system. Optitex charges around $1500.00 per year (optitex is not the only one). If you decide to forgo paying because you don’t need service but then later on you do (because your dongle stops working), you’ll need to pony up the fee for all the years you didn’t pay. Really. In my case, I decided not to pay [because I wasn’t getting as much value from the program as I’d hoped and I didn’t want to invest still more,] and then my dongle stopped working. In short, I wasn’t able to use the software I paid for. It was a very very expensive lesson to learn.

There were other reasons I switched as well but StyleCAD doesn’t charge an annual fee. Their system is competitive price-wise with the other programs but is cheaper to keep. If your dongle stops working, they’ll fix it. Aside from that, I find it much easier to use. Maybe that’s just an old school pattern maker talking but I like that I can make my patterns electronically, the same way I would manually. With StyleCAD, I can do that.

By: Cathy B Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:08:23 +0000 Hi Kathleen,

In earlier blog posts, you were trying to choose between CAD programs, and at that time you chose OptiTex (I think the posts were from 2007 or 08). In this recent post you link to StyleCad as the software you use.

Can you tell us something about that changeover, why and how you made the switch? I am researching CAD patterning programs now, and the options are bewildering.

And also, thank you for your blog. I have learned a lot,

By: Lynn Werner Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:09:23 +0000 Kathleen, what a great article. I’m so thankful that my patternmaker works in an office alongside my sewing factory. It took two years and many problems to finally find her, and it makes a huge difference. I do also deal with a separate cutting factory, where they do the grading and marking as well. My only fear is that my Patternmaker will retire one day!

Thanks so much for the detailed info. As always, a great read!

By: Laura Treas Tue, 04 Mar 2014 21:49:47 +0000 Kathleen, I agree! When I was doing our own garment under one roof and we had no fear of fit problems, it was more manageable. But setting up a one-stop apparel manufacturer company takes time and is hard work. Building a sewing team takes days (or weeks). Training them on each new garment can take hours (or days). Figuring out the steps of sewing production so that it’s most efficient and writing them down takes hours and is tweaked over and over. And before any of that can take place or you can begin to lie out the fabric the patternmaker has spent hours making several patterns and sample garments to get the right fit.

Now that I’m starting my own manufacturing company for emerging designers I spend most of my first consultation educating DE’s who do not come to me with a ready to use pattern on (1) the pattern will probably take several tries to get the right fit; (2) they will need a production pattern and why; and (3) grading and marker making will have to be outsourced and why. (As you stated, the CAD system is very expensive.) And none of that even touches on the other issues of sourcing fabric and other notions. All of this takes time and cannot be lumped into one small sum of production.

Thank you so much for a much needed informative blog post!

By: Kathleen Wed, 26 Feb 2014 15:34:20 +0000 Hi C, thanks for your comments.

I agree it is critical to be flexible regardless of your generation. That said, it is perhaps even more important to learn what we’re already doing or have tried, so you don’t spend your time on something you will get NO benefit from.

For example, even if you have all the time in the world, I cannot see any benefit to making patterns in Illustrator (unless it is for home sewing patterns you sell by the download). It takes a lot less time to make them manually. See CAD vs CAD (I mean, really, do read that). I’m inspired to mention this because I don’t want others to think that Illustrator is a worthwhile alternative because it isn’t. Again, see the links at close, but also this one: CAD software compatibility in marker making . If one (again, writing for manufacturing aspirants who have read your comment thinking this is an option for them) goes through all the work of making patterns in illustrator, creating a marker in it and then finds that no one can use it, well, it is disheartening to say the least.

By: c brennan Mon, 24 Feb 2014 17:21:23 +0000 kathleen, thanks again as always for your insight. it takes someone who has seen the transitions occur on the ground to be able to tie all the threads together into a coherent story. i’m definitely grateful for that!

i am an extremely small-scale tailor (also very young, 28) who took up the occupation in response to an anemic job market. i have scraped together piecemeal my practice, first doing basic tailoring, then some clothing restructuring, then some custom work, now some small-scale wholesale. as a result, i have an extremely unorthodox practice that would probably (and understandably) give most of you an aneurysm with the amount of rules i bend or break.

i’m not interested in industrial manufacturing, so i’ve had a good experience using adobe illustrator, along with a large-scale plotter (i have a secondhand one, my FedEx Office nearby also has one you can use for cheap) to make custom patterns. illustrator’s use of vectors makes it more advantageous than photoshop, and it is less specialized than the more industry-specific CAD programs. for example, my experience laying out patterns on illustrator recently helped me layout my first lookbook, saving me time and money. Sip, there are a growing number of YouTube tutorials on using illustrator for pattern layout, once you get the basics it begins to snowball.

for my generation, i believe it’s important for us to be flexible, have many abilities and be able to work “cross-platform”. it makes me very sad to read about those of you with the specialized information retiring or moving into different fields. i wish i could study with you! unfortunately, the idea of narrowing my field seems to be inviting further unemployment in later life. that may be incorrect, but with the fluid nature of our changing world, it’s something i’d rather not bet against.

By: Georgette Verdin Wed, 19 Feb 2014 01:27:47 +0000 Kathleen, thanks for this very informative post. It’s always helpful to have the back story on why and how things have developed.

By: Carmen Santos Tue, 18 Feb 2014 07:01:55 +0000 Thank very much for the information