Can You Make Real Sewing Patterns with MD?
Many people have been asking me the same question about MD, so I thought I’d do my best to answer it in a video.
The question is “Can I create patterns in MD and then output them to create real world patterns for sewing?”
To answer this, I need to explain to you what MD is and where it came from.
Garment Construction Process
Here is a simple chart showing the garment production process.
The fashion designer draws out, or sketches, the design for the new garment.
The pattern makers create basic block patterns and then working patterns of the garment.
Samples are made using these patterns and they are fitted on a standard sized model. Adjustments and changes are made until the garment looks like the designer intended to.
The sample is approved and costed. Then a production pattern is made.
The pattern is then graded. This is the process of creating many patterns of different sizes based on the one original.
The final patterns are used to cut out the fabric and the garment is sewn.
The sewn garment is pressed and finished. Then it is packed up and shipped to your local retail stores.
Before computers, this process was very time consuming and tedious. It took a long time to bring garments to market, which was a great burden on the apparel industry. If the garment was designed in one place and then manufactured in another country, this process took a very long time.
Computers Are Used
Computers sped up the process greatly. CAD programs were used for drafting and grading and, of course with the Internet, ideas could be shared anywhere in the world in seconds.
With early computers, this part of the process was still very labor intensive. Every time the garment was rejected for changes, it had to be remade and refitted. They had to pay for the pattern maker and tailors to remake the garment, they had to use more and more fabric and the fit model had to be paid for try ons. It was time consuming and expensive.
3D Cloth Simulation
Then 3D cloth simulation came into the picture. With computer simulation this entire process could be done on a computer quickly and it was easy to share the results with potential buyers and manufacturers. The fabric could be changed without spending any money and the drape altered in seconds.
This process was quickly incorporated into Apparel Manufacturing software including Optitex and Clo3d.
Clo3d realized that they had something that not only worked for the apparel and fashion industries, but also for CG artists looking to make garments for their characters. So they decided to pull a limited amount of functionality out of their program and offer it to the CG community. That new stand-alone product was called Marvelous Designer.
I know this seems like a round about way to answer this question, but it is important for you to understand all of this.
As you can see, the MD portion of the process comes AFTER the pattern is made. The patterns do not originate here. The production pattern is made from the original pattern, well outside of the MD process.
Let’s say you were able to create a model or avatar for MD that was sized exactly as you needed, which isn’t an easy process. Then you could draw out the patterns in the 2d window to fit and those patterns would work, right? I’m afraid not. MD is far too forgiving and it would be extremely hard to achieve a real-world fit for those patterns. Also, you can not print your patterns out of MD.
So then what about my patterns from PMP? My patterns use real world drafting techniques based on actual measurements. In theory, these patterns would translate to the real world, but there are still a lot of problems.
First, my patterns are not scaled properly for the real world. They are created for MD. Secondly, there are many things missing on my patterns. There is no seam allowance and no notching. All the necessary interfacing pieces are missing, too.
In order for this to work, I would have to provide you the patterns in MD form for your virtual try ons. Then I would have to add all the other pieces of the garment necessary to make it, even though they aren’t used in MD. Seam allowances would have to be added and other key points noted on the pattern for sewing.
These patterns would have to be a completely different set that could be printed out in real world scale. Those could then be sewn together, just like any other sewing pattern.
Could this be done? In theory, yes, although it would be a completely new process and application. People in the CG world would not be interested in this process. It would only apply to people who sew.
I started out on YT creating videos for sewing and there just wasn’t much of a market for it. There aren’t a lot of people who sew these days. This would be a tremendous amount of work for a very limited audience. That doesn’t mean that I won’t give it a try some day. Wayne and I actually talked about this when we first started developing PMP. We knew it was a possibility.
Know you understand what MD is and where it came from. This also illustrates it’s limitations as far as real world sewing is concerned.
Back to the question “Can I create patterns in MD and then output them to create real world patterns for sewing?” No, you can’t. That’s not what the software was designed to do and it can’t do it successfully.
If you are a budding fashion designer, you can use MD to conceptualize a complete line of garments and it would work beautifully for that. If you found a market for those designs and needed them made, you could contact a skilled pattern maker and they could take your designs and realize them with real world patterns. Those could be used to manufacture your garments.
On the plus side, your work in MD would much better illustrate to the pattern maker your intentions and be a better starting point than drawn sketches.
That’s the way things are today. Who knows what the future holds. I’ll make sure to keep you up-to-date on all the possibilities.