Reflections on Using CAD for Pattern-Making

Afternoons of clicking away on Optitex ended last week. Optitex is the pattern-making software I learned how to use during my three-week intensive course, CAD (computer-aided design) for Fashion/Advanced Pattern Making.

Optitex has tools for making darts, joining pieces, adding pleats, adding seams, and adding buttons. One of the most confusing things about the program was using the scroll button on the mouse to zoom in and out. I later learned that the location of the pointer on the screen affects the area that is enlarged or minimized.

Every class we learned how to draft a pattern of a different kind of garment. Our professor, Patrizia, guided us step-by-step in drafting skirts, pants, sleeves, bodices, and finally a jacket. Since our class was very small, consisting of four students, we were able to get detailed individual help, especially for our final projects.

Basic tube pant pattern

Basic tube pant pattern

Soleil skirt pattern

Soleil skirt pattern

Sleeve patterns

Sleeve patterns

We started working on our final projects during the second week of class and finished drafting our patterns on the Friday of that week. Everyone was so excited when Patrizia unrolled the patterns she printed for us over the weekend. Even though she said that our final project grade would only be based on the patterns we drafted, two of my classmates and I sewed prototypes in FAST’s (Fashion & Accessories Studies & Technology) tailoring tab.

virginia cad hylen

Hylen’s prototype

virginia cad caitlin

Caitlin’s prototype

Making my prototype was a confusing experience. When I initially sewed part of my skirt pieces together, I believed that I had made the zipper opening on the right side. Side zippers are generally on the left so they’ll be easily accessible by right-handed people. I took apart the seams and pinned the pieces together so that the zipper opening was on the correct side. However, on the day of evaluation, my professor pointed out that my zipper opening was on the right side. I realized that I must have confused the zipper opening of my skirt lining, thinking that the skirt lining was on the outside.

Another nerve-wracking experience was figuring out how to attach the bubble section to the bottom hem band that was already attached to the slits on the lining. I was very concerned that I wouldn’t be able to turn my work inside out. Despite my worries, I was able flip my garment so that the seam connecting the back hem band to the bubble section was on the inside.

virginia cad prototype

The next time I’m making a bubble skirt, I’ll make the yoke and the bottom band thinner and adding more fabric to the bubble section. As for the length, I’m considering making the skirt shorter so I can walk without needing to add a slit.

I really enjoyed taking this class. It’s very interesting to meet other fashion students and to learn about their background. Everyone has a different aesthetic, and I can’t wait for my next three-week intensive course, Apparel Design. Until then, I’ll be enjoying a one-week break from afternoon classes.

Crafting into the sunset,

If you’re interested in studying abroad, check out the Queens College Education Abroad office website.
To learn more about Florence University of the Arts, visit here.
To learn more about FAST, visit here

One thought on “Reflections on Using CAD for Pattern-Making

  1. The first thing to acknowledge when choosing an off-the-rack suit is that you’re buying into a prototype that has been designed to fit the masses. This prototype might never fit you as well as a made-to-measure or bespoke suit.

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