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Using Fashion Design Software

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 30 Jan 2015 | comments*Discuss
Design Fashion Software Catwalk

No matter how good the other aspects of your fashion business are, you won't get anywhere without strong design. Doubtless you wouldn't want to work in fashion in the first place if you didn't have some strong design ideas, but realising those ideas and turning them into something which looks good on the catwalk can be another matter. Fortunately, these days, there's computer software available to help you produce templates which are easy to work with.

Fashion software is ideal for turning your vision of a garment into a pattern which you can apply directly to the fabric you're working with. It can also enable you to create templates which you can then adjust to create a range of similar designs. Software like this is especially useful if you haven't formally studied fashion and lack the technical skills to develop patterns by yourself.

Choosing the Right Fashion Software

A few years ago there were only a couple of fashion design programs on the market - now there are over a dozen. The important thing to realise is that no one of these is superior to all the others and it's not a simple question of getting what you pay for. What's important is to get the right software for you. To do this, there are several things you need to take into account:-

  • How good are your fashion skills? Different design software is aimed at users with different levels of ability. Some programs, like Digital Fashion Pro, make things easy for you by providing basic templates to work from, but this can be restrictive for more advanced designers who want to create their own templates from scratch.
  • How good are your computer skills? Some fashion design software, like Virtual Fashion, is designed for the casual computer and is easy to work with, whilst other programs, like Fashion Toolbox, are a bit trickier to use but give you more flexibility as a designer. Remember, there's no point in getting a more complex program unless you can use it properly.
  • What type of computer are you using? Some programs, like Assyst, will work on the full range of modern operating systems, whilst others will work only with one, like CM32 Professional for Windows. Different programs require different amounts of space and different degrees of power - to use the latest Fashion CAD software, for instance, you'll need a fast machine.
  • What type of clothing are you working on? As well as general fashion programs like those mentioned above, there are a variety of specialist programs available for things like embroidery, patterned fabric design and even handbag design.

No matter how perfect a particular piece of software might seem for your needs, you should be aware that you may find it difficult to use in practice. Make sure you have access to good technical support facilities so that you can phone up for help when necessary.

What Fashion Software Can't Do

No matter how good the fashion design software you're using is, there are some things which it won't be able to do for you. At present, even the best software available can't tell you how a garment will hang when it's on a real person. Different types of fabrics behave in different ways and this is something which you, as a designer, will have to visualise for yourself. Similarly, though it may be able to simulate natural movement, your software won't be able to tell you how a garment will behave when it's under strain. This isn't a problem on the catwalk but if your designs are going to be practical in the real world you'll need to make sure that tight angles and narrow seams don't make them too vulnerable to pulling and tearing.

Above all, it's important to remember that your fashion design software is a tool. It won't do everything for you but you can work with it to achieve spectacular results.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Homesewer - I'm afraid we can't recommed specific products via this site. However, if you search online you should be able to find the software that you need.
StartAFashionBusiness - 2-Feb-15 @ 10:58 AM
I am looking for a pattern making software programme which is easy to use and suitable for non-commercial use, therefore not too expensive.I had a Fittingly Sew one which was ok but a bit complicated to learn, but I have updated my computer and Fittingly Sew have not updated their software to keep up.I am C&G qualified, so know how to design the old fashioned way but still it is good to be able to produce and print out a basic well fitting block on the computer ready to adapt.Is there anything suitable and not too expensive on the market please?
Homesewer - 30-Jan-15 @ 11:53 AM
I have been looking for a guide to my young fashion business, and today I am very glad that I found this web site. Jennie Kermode, God bless you for using your talent to help some of us who just started this business because of our love for the industry. I hope to work with you one day. thanks and keep the good work.
BUBE - 21-Dec-11 @ 8:17 AM
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