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LINDAMARIE | Posted in Patterns on

I am new to this group.  I’m married with two children–both grown, one in college and the other married with a child. 

I have been playing with the Dress Shop 5 Pro software by Livingsoft for several months now.  I was curious to know if anyone else has used this product and what you like or dislike about it.

I am currently trying to adjust my measurements after gaining weight.  I love the freedom to print out designs and have my “uniqueness” all worked out without too much effort on my part.

I don’t sew as much as I would like–work etc.–but I love designing.  I just wondered if anyone else has tried this program. 


  1. SkiNsew | | #1

    I use a different brand of software than dress shop but I can comment a bit on using pattern software:

    1.  The software produces the best fitting clothes that I have ever made.  Before buying the software I had several slopers that I had "perfected".  The software was even better.

    2.  The quality of the fit depends almost entirely on getting absolutely accurate measurements according to the software directions. 

    3.  People who use the software still make many trial garments when they are trying out new design choices.  This is especially true when they are planning to use a fabric different than what they usually use.

    4.  Sometimes the design and ease choices are quite daunting.  There are sooo many choices that you never have to make when you buy patterns.

    5.  There are no instruction sheets that come with the pattern.  Many software users still buy paper patterns just for instruction sheets.

    6.  Cutting and pasting 8 1/2 x 11 paper into pattern pieces is tedious.

    With all of this said, I still love my software and have not used any paper patterns since it arrived.


    1. FitnessNut | | #2

      If you don't mind my asking, what software do you use? I have Fittingly Sew and used it for a number of clients in the fall, but haven't since then. Probably because I had a client that the computer couldn't figure out.....a very large lady. I had some trouble with her sloper manually as well. I haven't been back to computer drafting since then and really should, for myself at least. I keep thinking that if I could master getting the sloper right for my clients, it would save me so much time.

      1. SkiNsew | | #3

        I use Pattern Master Boutique for adults and Child's Play for children.  I have not tried to use the products on any unusually shaped bodies.  The makers of the software provide a user bulletin board and picture album that users may post to.  I have seen many ladies with "queen size fluff" that have posted beautiful garments that they have made.  From reading the posts, I believe that people of larger sizes have more trouble getting their measurements correct but that once this hurdle is over, they are able to use the software successfully.  The Wild Ginger group that creates the software also provides excellent technical support, which includes advice on problems with getting the slopers right as well as software problems.  There are also user groups in many areas of the country that meet on a monthly basis for show and tell as well as advice.  Hope this helps.


        After reading your post again I decided to add that many of the users recommend doing a final pin fitting if you are doing something that you have not done in the past.  For example if you are just making one more pair of twill pants that you have made numerous times, you can just go for it.  If you are now going to make these pants in silk, you might want to pin fit them to see if the different fabric. etc creates a different fit.

        Edited 7/1/2004 7:24 pm ET by mare

        1. FitnessNut | | #4

          I think you're right that larger sizes have more difficulty getting the measurements right, whether for manual or computer drafting. I think that this is one of the more difficult aspects of the whole procedure. Unfortunately, because I do custom work, I frequently am working with unusually shaped bodies. I have tried to produce a sloper for myself, but DH just can't get the measurements right. Last week, I managed to fit a manual version, so can use it to develop one in my computer programme.

          I'm glad to hear that your software company provides good technical support. This is an area that I've been disappointed with from Fittingly Sew. For instance, I had trouble making a princess line dress with the seaming coming from the armhole...the manual covered only the variation from the shoulder, which I had no problems with. I did eventually figure it out, but it took hours and shouldn't have. I requested but did not receive help. I'm just grateful that I had extensive patternmaking classes in design school, both manual and computer oriented, so I'm not coming at this without any background in the area.

          1. SkiNsew | | #5

            I think the lesson to be learned from our conversation is that there is no fool proof method of pattern drafting.  I have always believed that you should use everything that you have ever learned and when you encounter a problem look into your knowledge base and pick out your "best efforts".  My pattern software has the ability to do some custom drafting to customize designs.  Many of the woman find this great and time saving.  I want to use it too but am not skilled in it so if I have a lot of time, I fool around with it in the computer.  Most times I just manually alter the pattern that the software produces.

            Have fun sewing


          2. GinnaS | | #6

            Sandy - I also have PMB (Pattern Master Boutique).  I bought it in April and do not have a lot of time to spend with it so I am just a novice at this point.  One thing I have learned is that there is a learning curve for me both in learning the software and in learning about pattern drafting.  PMB also has a CAD portion of their program that allows you to change the patterns the program has drafted.  With your experience in manual drafting your learning curve would be much less than mine <vbg>.

            The measurements taken for PMB are a little different from measurements taken for manual drafting but they work in the program.  There is on screen help and manual help for taking the measurements properly.  Measuring usually requires a measuree and a measurer but some have been able to measure themselves successfully.

            I'm still working on my sloper (remember I have very little time to do this) and Wild Ginger, the company that wrote & sells PMB, has made some very good suggestions when I had a problem.  They also responded the same day to my email.  Two of their employees also post to the user email list.  They do support their product.  I am very happy with this company and product.


          3. FitnessNut | | #7

            I'm so glad that you, too, are having a positive experience with computerized patternmaking. I purchased Fittingly Sew primarily because I have a Mac computer and they are one of the few who produce a Mac programme (FS was originally done for a Mac). Since I've also had computer pattern drafting at a college level (done concurrently with manual patternmaking) the learning curve has been much less steep....its simply a matter of learning another system. Actually FS is very much like the industrial CAD programme I learned at school and was, fortunately, very good at. <Large, large grin>

            I do hope that you have invested in a good book on patternmaking. It will be essential as you progress beyond the pre-designed components and venture into your own, more complex, designs. If you can do it with a pencil, you can be sure there is a way to do it on your computer, although sometimes the hardest part is figuring out how!

          4. GinnaS | | #8

            I have 2 different versions of the Armstrong book.  They are not the current version.  After I get my sloper down I will probably stick to options the programs offers until I have more time.


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