I put the pattern I used online and offered it for free on Craftsy. I haven't seen anyone make it yet, but I like the thought of someone making the dress. It makes me smile.
My next goal is to make new patterns, grade them and sell them as e-patterns. I don't have grand dreams, but I think I can make enough to pay for the software and eventually pay for some fabric purchases here and there.
I read a really great series of posts by Sew Mama Sew about how she does pattern drafting, grading and makes e-patterns. She does it all without the aid of a pattern drafting program. And while this has been the most informative and helpful information I have seen about making e-patterns, I am still not dissuaded from looking for software.
I found out there aren't that many options for the home sewist. The commercial pattern-making software is out of my budget. They run 7,000-10,000 and are (apparently) fantastic. I may never know.
There there are some others that work for home sewists to make their own patterns. That is fine, but I want to make graded e-patterns. There are really only two options for the the a small business with that functionality. They are still a lot of money, but I am willing to invest in something if I think I will (eventually) make back the price of the software in sales.
There is the option of using grading services, but I'd rather not hire out the work since I am not planning on this replacing my actual job. So.... the options:
PatternMaker Grading Studio
I took a computerized pattern drafting course at a local community college and they used this software. I was extremely disappointed in the class. One of the issues was that the class was actually two different classes (fashion illustration and computer pattern drafting) at the same time, taught by the same teacher. It was a disaster run by a less than tech savvy teacher. She just had me following the manuals on my own. She was not a good teacher, didn't seem to know anything about the software and I dropped the class after only a few weeks.
I wasn't all that impressed with the exposure that I did have to the software. It seemed clunky and something that hadn't been cutting edge since 1985 or so.
Here are the cons:
Clunky and not intuitive or user friendly. It seemed impossible that I would ever do pattern drafting in this software. Curved lines were hard to create and control. I tried to create an empire waist from my sloper, which involves slashing the bodice with a slightly curved line and it was a complete mess. Soooo much easier by hand.
Here are the pros:
Grading, grading, grading. Allegedly. I never got to try this functionality. The college didn't have this module, so I didn't get to try it out. I don't mind hand-drafting patterns, but grading and tiling them for e-patterns are a pain.
The software package for the grading is found here: http://www.patternmakerusa.com/PatternMaker%20Store/gradever.html. It is currently about $1,200. The big problem with wanting to buy this is there is no demo and I don't see a return policy. Eeek! That is a lot of money to try out something and not have it work.
Wild Ginger Cameo 5
Their Web site is just terrible. You would think that with all of the fantastic programming skills needed to make good software, they could manage a simple site. I kept looking for a product feature sheet that I never found. However, they do have a demo to download, as well as a 15 day money-back guarantee.
Here are the pros:
Grading. Money-back guarantee and demo. At least I can try it out before I shell out that kind of cash.
Here are the cons:
Too little information on the Web site. It is even more expensive than PatternMaker. You have to buy two modules at almost 1,000 each and then it isn't clear what else (if anything) I would need. I think two modules should do it, but I am not entirely sure. It is really a lot of money. But if it is really that fantastic, it may be worth it.
You can find Wild Ginger information here: http://www.wildginger.com/products/default.htm
I am going to download Wild Ginger Cameo and do the demo. If anybody has any other software they have tried or can talk me down from the "grading is a pain" ledge, I'd love to hear from you. Maybe I am making it more difficult in my mind than it really is.
- I purchased Wild Ginger Cameo 5 and have a review done here.
- My post about learning to use the software here.