If you're a manual patternmaker, meaning you draft your patterns entirely on paper, that's great, keep doing it, but you may also want to consider adding digital patternmaking to your capabilities as you'll enter a whole new world of perfection and precision. Sound good? It is. There are a few different ways of handling digital patternmaking if you aren't using patternmaking software and are simply using a vector program.
Why vector? Because it's easier to edit and move your lines, alter sizes and access seperate layers of your work without a hassle and your work taking a serious degradation hit as it will get if you use a bitmap editing program (Adobe Photoshop, PaintShopPro, etc) so I use CorelDraw9.
Another way cool thing about Using CorelDraw is changing the colors of your objects/layers is as simple as a click of a button. As for actual hands on measurements though, (I think this is probably the plus size that one may find with patternmaking software) CorelDraw doesn't allow you to measure curves, which is a nuisance, however, I just make a jpeg export file of my selected curve or pattern section, open it up in Adobe Photoshop and print it off to take the measurements. Then I'll make the necessary adjustments and repeat the proces till those curves are what they got to be.
I love manual pattern drafting, but it takes up the kitchen table all day and all night and that's a problem. Also, if you make an error, the whole pattern has to be done again rather than just a few lines having to be made or a copy of the original file needing to be tweeked. A lot easier to handle there, even if the experience isn't quite as much fun as traditional pattern drafting, you're still getting the job done especially if you're working from a drape you scanned into the computer because that's what I've been doing.
Just wish I had a model or a professional dressform with an arm attachment so I could do drapes of different sizes and properly check my sleeve draft.
My New York client wants to have a few samples produced before I begin the rest of the collection so I might have a day or two to work on my own portfolio pieces till I start back again. Once I get going on my portfolio pieces it'll also be some of the best patternmaking practice I've done because I'll get hands on, full, all around effort and results from draft to finished garment. This is something I can't do so well with my clients work because I'll never get to see the first sewn samples so I can't experience the purpose behind the adjustments that may need to be made.
With my own patterns though, I'll be able to tweek my pattern drafts to perfection and learn a lot of patternmaking secrets in the process.
I had a great idea last night though, I'm going to see if I can rent different size dressforms, or go somewhere to get access to them so I can drape different size bodice slopers. That would be so, so awesome if I could do that. That way I'd have a sloper size for every client's needs. Welll a lot of clients needs anyway, without having to guess whether or not I'm doing it right. If I can do that, I'll also look into getting some knit fabric so I can finally make my knit slopers. You see if I can do that, I won't actually have to invest a whole bunch of money into multiple dressforms or an adjustable one because I'll have those foundation slopers to make everything from. Unless of course I get into some serious draping. Then I'll still have a problem. I'm going to look into that today. There's a sewing shop nearby so I'm going to give them a call later.
As for working with clients, I stumbled upon a great resource a while back that was meant for the designer or company wanting to learn how to hire a patternmaker. I feel this 8 page e-book is very important for a patternmaker to read as well, just so he or she will also learn how they need to professionalize and perfect themselves (or rather, their work, I know, you're probably feeling "but I am my work :) , hehehe) and what to expect from your employer/client. This is so helpful. It may be a little scary, daunting to live up too, but knowing what's expected of you and taking the guess work out of what you need to know is great for getting a real handle of control over your efforts and focus. In the end, when you put in the time to perfect everything, it's empowering and well worth the extra effort. So if you have enough courage and faith in yourself to go the route, here's the link:
If you'd like to check out my fashion or eco friendly fashion resources lenses here are their links, feel free to drop me a note if you like what you see/read, I'll be happy to hear from you:
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Designer's Resource Page