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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wild Ginger Cameo 5 Patternmaking Software Review

After a year and a half salivating over the idea of getting patternmaking software, doing some research and reviews, I finally made a purchase about three weeks ago.  After considering other products, I purchased Wild Ginger Cameo 5.

I thought I would be able to decide if I wanted to buy the software after downloading and playing with the demo.  But, in the demo, all of the tutorials and help are either disabled or scaled down so that they were essentially useless.  If that is all they had, I wouldn't have made a purchase.  But the company offers a full money-back guarantee until 15 days after purchase, so I figured that would be the real demo.

I got three packages: the basic software, the grading tool, plus a women's pattern library.  There was a sale on Thanksgiving for 20% off and I got the whole suite for about $2000.00 USD.   Which is a lot of money, but there are three things this software can do that the other, less expensive packages don't seem to do (or don't seem to do well).

1. The ability to sell the items you create
Some patternmaking software has restrictions on selling the items you create from it.  They are cheaper, but if I can't (eventually) sell what I make, it really defeats the purpose of creating anything in it.  I wouldn't go through the trouble of creating something digital if it is just for personal use - that can be done on paper.

2. Editing and creating patterns from slopers (easily)
After following just a few tutorials, I was able to enter in my slopers, based on my own measurements.
While I am nowhere near fully functional in the program, I feel like I am making some progress.  Thanks to the tutorials, I can slash and pivot, slash and spread, move darts, segment and make curved lines.

When I was making the curved lines on the sleeve cap, I was able to easily segment the lines, put in points and make arcs fairly easily.  I have tried to do that with other pattern-making software and found it difficult.

The next step is to take them and make some other patterns out of them.  For example, I'd like to make an empire waist out of the bodice and attach it to the skirt just like you would for pen and paper pattern drafting, but since I was able to draw the sleeve cap, I am not worried about that.

3. Grading
I have only gone through the tutorial project for grading on Cameo 5, but what little I saw of the grading had me dazzled.  Here is the result of following the tutorials and grading a skirt.  Different sizes!
Making the measurement tables and entering in the data for grading is a bit of a process, but when it comes time to create the actual grading markings, it is ONE BUTTON.   Grading by hand is so time-consuming, but this was so easy in comparison.   Also, you can save the file as a PDF and it prints perfectly with markings and labels for taping the pages together.

To use the software, it is still essential have to know how to construct a pattern on paper.  It doesn't replace that kind of skill, but it does make process easier.  For example, I find that slashing a digital pattern piece is easier than doing the same thing with paper.  Also, there tools for measuring lines and making sure pieces fit.  I was able to click a few times to make sure I had enough ease in my sleeve cap.  Measuring those curved lines is harder on paper.

The customer service seems good so far. I had one question about the purchase price, then again one about the installation and they were both answered right away.  Good customer service is a big plus.

Bottom line: While I have yet to make my own graded pattern with this software (only the tutorial so far), I can see that I am not far from it.  I am excited to keep using it and happy this is the software I chose.  It is more expensive than PatternMaker Grading Studio, but this is already so much better and  less clunky.

My next project is a clutch handbag that I will make into a PDF pattern and give away.  I have some ideas and can't wait to try and make them into a pattern.

Read part two of the review.

Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch


  1. Definitely money well spent ~ can't wait to follow your journey of tailoring this software to suit your needs ... 2014 will be a great year for you ... J

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. It is a bit of a learning curve and I am looking forward to trying to master it. Happy new year to you, too!

  2. Any updates? Have you used the software to make and grade a pattern? I'm thinking of purchasing pattern software and would love some more info. Right now, I'm using Adobe Illustrator, and it's cumbersome and difficult.

    1. I had a tough time when I tried to use Adobe. I'm sure it is a great product for other uses, but for me, I found it frustrating to use for patternmaking. I have had a sewing/hobby hiatus while I had out of town visitors and changed jobs but I am just about to dig back into the software. I'll post soon about it.

  3. Hi! Are all of the tools that are on the full version on the demo? For example, on my demo, there's no pan tool. I'm just wondering if there are more tools on the real thing.

    Also, how much CAD experience did you have before using this software? Did you consider taking one of the Wild Ginger classes they offer?


    1. I can't remember, but I don't think the demo had the grading part. Maybe it was missing other stuff, too. I didn't have any CAD experience. I haven't really used it for over 6 months. I got a new computer and it isn't even installed. I will get back to it eventually, but it is a really steep learning curve.

  4. So with just pattern master cameo v5 can you draft patterns to sell or do you need to buy more

  5. did you ever get back to it???
    ps how did you install your computer wondering how to turn on mine.

  6. Hey! I see you're not updating this blog anymore, but I really enjoyed reading through it! I'd love to know if you ever worked it out with Wild Ginger Software, and if you're blogging elsewhere I'd love to follow!

  7. Hi Cherie, I'm struggling to learn how to grade on Cameo 6, do you have any tips or any classes that would be of a huge help?
    I'm happy to pay for classes!


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