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Automated alteration of patterns

Nils_Dogger | Posted in Patterns on

Does anyone know of a software application that alters patterns perfectly to one’s sizes for a specific model? If so, please let me know.


  1. lin_hendrix | | #1

    Hi Nils,

    There's lots of software out there to create patterns. Most of these packages include a set or sets of "designs" that will update to the input measurements. I don't believe there's any software out there to alter paper patterns.

    I've had the best luck with Patternmaker's home version. http://www.eskimo.com/~pmaker/

    I have test driven Dress Shop and Personal Patterns and found them lacking in the editing functions. Patternmaker is the most reasonably priced CAD software with the most editing functions.

    All the software packages' included designs are based on flat patternmaking methods. There are *many* philosophies on how to draft a flat pattern and each software company has neccessarily adopted their favorite method; their method may or may not suit your model regardless of the software's adjustments based on the input measurements.

    Unfortunately the only way to discover if the base method is one that suits your model is by purchasing. I was able to test-drive the Dress Shop and Personal Patterns because they used to have a money back guarantee (which I took advantage of). I went for Patternmaker because of the more extensive editing and creation functions. My background is flat/draped patternmaking so I can start from scratch if I wish. If you're not willing to edit the pattern you still may not get a good fit.

    If you have no background in patternmaking and just want to sew up the designs you might be better off buying Dress Shop or Personal Patterns. If you wish to avoid the expense (all three mentioned run about $200-$300) you might wish to try the companies that print a pattern to your input measurements. These patterns are very reasonably priced ($12-$30). I know of two, EZ fit http://www.ez-fit.com/ and Unique http://www.uniquepatterns.com/

    hope this helps,


    1. TheSloperLad | | #2

      I for one think that starting with a fitted sloper is the way to go.  It does fascinate me how many styles can result from simply modifying length and/or circumference ease.  I'd be interested to know if anyone else has tinkered with this concept. 


      1. SewingSue | | #3

        TSL, I am currently playing with exactly that. The Wild Ginger software was on sale around the Christmas holidays. I was sceptical to put that much money into software with a relatively short trial period. 30 days when you have to turn the software into finished garments isn't very long. I read a post that the Click and Sew patterns use the same technology as Pattern Master Boutique but were limited in their available styles. I purchased two Click and Sew pattern software programs; casual pant and casual top. It took two sets of measurements to get it right but WOW what a difference. Even the first outfit made with a few bad measurements were far above any paper patterns I have used. And that with hours of alterations. My dear sweet neighbor helped witht the first set of measurements and doesn't know anything about sewing. We did pretty well. But then had a friend over who sews a little and I asked her if I could impose on her to help with measurements. That was all it took. Now I am off and running. I ordered the full Pattern Master Boutique yesterday and hopefully it will come in this week. In one week I will be off for two weeks and want to play with the new software. I just printed out a pattern for my fifth top and third pair of pants. I even made a pair of shorts and they fit too.

        Currently I am playing with tweaking the pattern a bit. Raise the sleeve cap, lower the armhole depth, use the arrows on the front and back patterns to change the armhole slope. It's great. All of them are far superior to any paper pattern I have ever used. I read somewhere that you don't need as much ease and they were right. I had to decrease the amount of ease because I had it too big. What a first. Everything is where it needs to be. Can't say enough about how much I enjoy this software. I will give the Click and Sew software to my SIL after I get the new software in. I know she will love it too.

        I do find putting all those pieces of paper together a bit bothersome but it is worth it. I switched to legal paper which helps some. I was thinking the old style printers with the paper which feed on little holes would make things easier and thought about banner printing. I created my own banner paper by taping together sheets of legal paper end to end. Just a couple pieces of tape to hold them together. That really has speeded things up and I think it is more accurate that way too. I try to lay out the pieces for printing where the breaks won't hit at a critical spot; in the middle of a dart or such.

        Depending on how much the Click and Sew is like the Pattern Master Boutique they could make some improvements. But I will withold judgement until I get the full software in and have time to play with it. Best wishes to you. Wish I hadn't waited so long to make the plunge. Will keep my stash of paper patterns though if for nothing more then copying details. Best wishes on your pursuit. Sue

        1. TheSloperLad | | #4

          Sue, I'm really surprised that your printer let you use pages taped together.  It must be a back fedding model is it?  I'm using my son's printer for a couple of months (back feed) and would be afraid of gucking it up.  The old tractor feed wide bed printers were much more pattern friendly.

          I'd be interested to know if anyone has tried using just select pages of the pattern single sheet where predictable straight lines joined the pieces.  There must be an alternative to taping them.  It might be simpler to just kep permanent copies of slopers on firm paper and style on-the-fly. 

          Has anyone out here found a suitable alternative?


          1. SewingSue | | #5

            TSL, My printer is fairly new, maybe two years old. It is a ink jet printer not a laser printer. Laser printers would probably not be able to accept this. When a printed sheet comes out of a laser printer it is quite warm and the tape would probably not stay in place and possibly cause a problem. It has a top feed. All I did was butt the two sheets together and place a small piece of tape at either end and center. I crossed my fingers and toes, bit my lip and said a prayer that this wasn't going to be a bad thing. It worked, no problems. The paper dispenser will not hold the sheet this way so I have to be right there at the printer and control the sheet until the roller catches the pages and starts feeding it in. I printed using the tile select option and selected all the tiles in the column I wanted to print and printed one column at a time. I used transparent tape and rubbed the tape with my finger to be sure that it was well attached and no excess glue on the tape. By all means, if you don't feel comfortable doing this don't do it. I can't assure by any means that it will work with all printers. But I was very pleased that it worked for me and it makes assembling the pieces just a little bit simpler and I really believe a little more accurate. If I could justify the investment a plotter would be wonderful. But I can't justify that. Maybe within my lifetime the cost of plotters will be reasonable and then I could get one. Laser printers have come down in price but still not affordable for most of us. Still really for businesses not home use. Sue

          2. JeanEsther | | #6

            Office supply stores sell banner paper--paper that is perforated between sheets rather than cut.

          3. TheSloperLad | | #7

            Hi Jeanne and thanks for the suggestion.  You must be feeding from a top loading printer also, aren't you?


          4. JeanEsther | | #8

            No, front loading. Both my ink jet printers are front loading and can print banners. My laser jet (also front loading) cannot. BTW, I've only printed banners from publishing software--I don't own pattern making software, though I'd love to.

          5. TheSloperLad | | #9

            Hi Jeanne,

            Please excuse me, I came here to continue our discussion but was distracted by someone struggling with the concept of slopers with which my interest and involvement is passionate.

            Do read it if you have a chance, and you might like to try a sample sloper as discussed, to see if banner printing experience helps you through pattern printing.  I think it will.

            Cheers!     TSL

          6. JeanEsther | | #10

            Do read what?

          7. TheSloperLad | | #11

            Sorry Jeanne.  I got carried away with a post that I think you've shown interest in as well, but now I don't know how to get back to it (or even what it was exactually).  It would have been something regarding personal slopers, but I'm feeling lost in this sea of messages.  Silly me didn't keep a copy of that one.

            Cheers!     TSL

          8. JeanEsther | | #12

            Thanks, anyway. If you find it, let me know. I am interested in that.


    2. fabricator | | #13

      Hi!  I'm new to this site and am a little confused about posting, but my question is definitely relevant to your discussion.

      I was a patternmaker in the industry for about 10 years and I am now in the market for some home patternmaking software.  The thing is, from the little bit of research I've done in the past, I'm not finding anything comparable to the industry software.  I realize it won't be as sophisticated, but I do at least want to be able to draw my own lines, pivot lines and slash and spread.  If there was a way to digitize a pattern piece into the system, that would be great, but I'm aware that would probably be a totally impracticle request at this point ... requiring some sort of digitizing table.  However, if there's anything out there anyone could recommend, I would greatly appreciate it.



      1. HeartFire | | #14

        in the wild ginger software (paternmaster botique) you can get into the editor mode after you 'auto' generate a patern and slash and spread it, move seam allowances etc. its not as easy as the Gerber software but it does work. Only problem is that I find its easier to do it by hand!

        1. fabricator | | #15

          Oh, that's what I was afraid of!  Thanks, though.  Val.

        2. evanthiaemig | | #16

          For someone in the patternmaking industry, Gerber is easy, drawing the pattern is really easy for me.....but I have to remember some of these girls can't make patterns fromdrawing one line and draft from there, I can......but I also remember how hard and confusing it was when I was just learning 20 yrs ago......now I can make a pattern freehand with my eyes shut and almost guess it would fit a size 10....never in a million yrs did I think I would ever be able to do what I do today. The patterndrafting books are great - but they are scary looking even to me, like drawing plans for the golden gate bridge!  

          since I am new to this forum or whatever, I am reading old messages, who knows if anyone will see this, but if I can give anyadvice to anyone out there please let me know.    As far as any homebased patternmaking software, I tried one (can't remember which) but I had a heck of a time making it work!  I have been using industry patternmaking software (Lectra, Gerber, TUKAtech) for many yrs.

          and what I am saying is this, even myself as a professional patternmaker had a hard time with a home software program.....I am not saying anything bad  or negative here,  its just that you need to keep doing it, over and over and teaching yourself how to get the results you want, you need to study just like a college course, and you will be surprised at how well ypou will have picked up the home software out there.   I don't bother because I do patternmaking for a living and I do not want to come home and do it,,,I just want to sew, sew, sew.......Thats another thing...you will have to give up some of your sewing time in order to learn the software.

          Just remember back when you were first taught how to sew....as for me, I was a small child......learning some easy stitching plain skirts and stuff, PILLOWS! ha.ha!

          think of it this way, try teaching someone to sew a pillow.....then go straight to a fancy wedding gown!     as you sewing ladies and men out there, you know what all it would take to learn everything inbetween those two items as far as sewing ability.

          The same goes for patternmaking , whether it is drafted by hand (which is a dying art) or drafted by CAD software , there is a lot to learn before you get to the good stuff....be patient....if the tech support is there and they also know how to make patterns from scratch, and sewing, (besides the software) you will learn as fast as you are determined to learn.  don't give up. 


          1. poo | | #17

            thank you for your reply (and yes I did see it!)you are very right, there is a learning curve to everything and once you know it its smooth sailing. I think the biggest problem with the Gerber program is that we - the home sewer- don't have access to it, its so very expensive. I use the Wild Ginger software and the basic 'click & sew' pattern drafting part is very easy, the editing section is much more difficult and cumbersome to use. I will use the software to get me a basic pattern and drape/pin fit from that. I don't look for a perfect fitting pattern from it, as I do custom sewing anyway, its not like I'm producing a production pattern. I personally really prefer to hand draft patterns, I think that's a lot of fun - and I"ve learned to let go of the text books and do my own thing finally and its really a blast! sort of like you being able to draft freehand in Gerber. I've had some great teachers.
            right now I'm actually having more fun with sewing, I've taken a part time job with the Houston Ballet and we are making the costumes for a new edition of Swan Lake. I"m learning a lot of new techniques, working with gorgeous fabrics and having a lot of fun

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