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Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wild Ginger Cameo 5 Patternmaking Software Part 2

A few people have contacted me to ask about how it is going with the Cameo 5 pattern drafting software after reading my first post about it, so I thought I would do a quick update... the truth is that it isn't going as well as I had hoped.  I haven't produced a pattern with successful grading at this point.  But, to be fair, I haven't spent an enormous amount of time on it.  I spend about a Saturday every 3-4 weeks, during which time I have to relearn some of what I learned the last time, then become extremely frustrated at not getting any workable items out of it.  So, it doesn't inspire me to rush back to tinkering with it.

The software was expensive (around $2,000) and not being able to use it is disappointing and frustrating me.  But not because the product is inherently bad... mostly because I am finding the resources to learn how it works are slim and the learning curve very steep.  There are some tutorials that are included and I was excited to see there was a book for it that could be purchased for $35.00.  I purchased the book, only to find that the information is exactly the same as what is available in the tutorials already, but just written out.   I got the book to get more information and expected to find it for that price.  I don't find the explanations provided sufficient to make this product work.  I am a computer geek for a living.  I know my way around a computer, but this is really tough.

Here are some examples of what is frustrating me.

1. Funky mysterious curves when grading. This is a sleeve from the Project Peggy dress pattern I put up for free on Craftsy.  (Here is my post about making the pattern and pictures of the dress)
I drew the sleeve in the pattern designer and here are the results when trying to grade it.  I have gone back to the original pattern piece so many times to try and correct whatever I can, but I can't see what might be creating this mess.  It is also impossible to redraw the lines manually at this point. 

This is another example on some neck facing.

 This is the entire dress when graded.  It doesn't look too bad if you don't examine things closely.

But, then more trouble comes in and brings me to my second frustration point.

2. Inexplicable sizing shenanigans.  Here is an example: 
It is hard to see in the screenshot, but there are different colored lines for the different sizes.  When I follow the bottom purple line, it is the last line at the bottom of the hem, so it is the largest size.  It is also the top line at the top of the neckline.  But wait... it is also... the narrowest line at the waist?  If it were grading properly, wouldn't it be the widest one?

Here is what I am getting from this:  Us chubby girls should wear the shortest skirts.  You thin girls need to cover up.  It is known.

I was thinking that maybe the issue is that I can't draw patterns correctly... so I tried again on a dress I created from the pattern library and didn't make modifications to it.  Same issue.

I contacted the support for Wild Ginger and they are quick to answer.  Lisa Shanley is extremely responsive and when I mentioned that I couldn't get the software to work, she reiterated that there is free support and that to help me, she would need some files.  She said she is sure there is a simple step I am neglecting and that she could help.

I have yet to take her up on it, but I am sure that she is right.  I am sure it is something simple I am not doing that is also not obvious in the book or tutorials.  The truth is that I don't have tons of free time to play in the sewing lab and most of the time it is far more attractive to make myself a pretty dress than it is to be frustrated by this software and not have anything to show for it.  So, I choose the sewing.

I'll definitely work on this again, just maybe when I take a week or two off from work and can really get into it.  They seem like nice people at Wild Ginger who really want the software to work for the people who purchase it and I am not ready to give up completely yet.  But right now, I just want to sew something pretty.
Pattern Drafting Course with Cal Patch


  1. Thanks for posting. Any updates? Did you get the tech support and sort out the grading problems. I would love to know.

  2. Dear Cherie,
    What a great blog! So glad to have come across it as I am contemplating purchasing the Cameo 5 Grading Module to add to my Cameo Suite, I was pleased to find your review - I've used Cameo over the past 8 years and have had lots of challenges and many frustrations with creating elegant curves and having proper curves draw in the Made to Fit Module. I'm definitely going to give it more careful thought before buying it. If you have any more tips for me, I'd love to hear! Happy 2015

    1. I am afraid I haven't picked it up again since I wrote this. I got a new computer and never installed Cameo. I found it so frustrating. Maybe I'll feel differently once I try and work with it again, but right now it is hard not to think of it as a waste of money.

  3. Really helpful review, thank you for your time writing it up. I hope you have found some solutions for the issues that you were having, but it sure looked frustrating!

    1. It was. Someday I'll try to pick it up again. Thanks for reading.


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