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Sewing cad software?
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Ray Bailly
(tempestv) - F
Sewing cad software? on 04/16/2011 10:21:28 MDT Print View

Does anyone know of any cad software for designing fabric gear? Something that would let you design backpacks, clothing, stuff like that, and then produce patterns to use to actually make the stuff? My girlfriend is looking at getting software for designing quilt patterns in 2d, but I want something that will allow me to work in 3d.

I have Solidworks and Sketchup, which would allow me to draw up some ideas, but neither are designed for the purpose of sewing.

Lance Marshall
(Lancem) - F - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: Sewing cad software? on 04/16/2011 11:20:57 MDT Print View


Here are links to previous posts on the topic. Software specifically for sewing seems to be scarce.

November 2005

March 2006

January 2011

February 2011

Apparel pattern makers use specialized software for design and grading. Perhaps you could search for pattern and grading software. Probably limited to 2D.

Hope this helps.

Edited by Lancem on 04/16/2011 11:29:39 MDT.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Sewing cad software? on 04/16/2011 12:02:04 MDT Print View

I use Sketchup a lot, mostly for architectural applications, but I have used it to design a few large, inflatable sculptures that were sewn. In a few weeks I want to start designing a tarp tent, and I'll probably use SU. I use SU 8 Pro, with a bunch of plugins.

If it were me, I'd model my design in SU, copy the model, then select and make a group or component from each face in the copy (which would correspond to individual pieces of fabric). Separate the pieces, rotate so they are all in the same plane (there may be a ruby script to do this, but I don't have it) then use the offset tool to add basic seam allowance for sewing. Tweak as necessary, for flat-fell seams, etc. Draw a big rectangle corresponding to fabric size, make it a group/component, then arrange pieces on it for most efficient fit. Export as .dwg or .pdf (reguires SU Pro). Tweak as required. Prototype in cheap materials.

Apologies if this is essentially what you already do. I suspect any program that will automate the fiddly steps above will also be big $$. SU will certainly let you calculate surface area (thus weight) and rough volume. Obviously, SU models rigid planes that don't behave quite like fabric. When I've used it to model fabric forms, I rely on experience with sewing to get close, and then prototype.

The plugin "Soap Skin Bubble" might help visualize how flat shapes in fabric will bulge and curve. The book "SketchUp for Site Design" by Daniel Tal has a lot of good stuff on modeling, including canopy forms. I like both sMustard and Sketchucation as sources for plugins. I've just started playing with SketchyPhysics, which might have applications

Recent versions of AutoCAD incorporate 3D design. I have the latest AutoCAD for Mac, but really don't use it enough to say if it would work for you.

Andrew Schriner
(lettheguydance) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Sewing cad software? on 04/18/2011 09:38:40 MDT Print View

Having just gone through what felt like a fairly exhaustive search for free or reasonably priced sewing CAD software (Jan-Feb 2011), my conclusion is that you can either spend a ton of money and get what you want (because it's out there, but it's way expensive, like ~$1000), or you can settle for a cheap or free solution that will do some or most of what you want.

I use Solid Edge 2D drafting (free) to draw patterns when I have a pretty good idea of how they will go together in 3D and the main idea is to get edges that are going to be sewn together to be the same length. I like Solid Edge for this because I can have a table of variables that I can change in order to change the design, and multiple dimensions will be updated all at once to accommodate my change. If you go this route I would be happy to send you a sample backpack design so you can see how I am using the variable table.

Marvelous Designer is also very cool for modeling how 2D pattern pieces will look when sewn together and draped over a body (or tent frame, etc), but it doesn't readily deal with changes to multiple pattern pieces at once, doesn't let you easily add seam allowances, and the 3D modeling is a little suspect too because you have to input the right fabric properties to get a realistic model.

With any reasonably complex software, it may take a significant amount of time to learn to make it do what you want, and these are no different. Be forewarned. But once you're there, they can make you more productive.

Andrew Schriner
(lettheguydance) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Sewing cad software? on 04/18/2011 09:41:23 MDT Print View

I wonder if it would be possible for BPL MYOGers to jointly get an enterprise license for one of the more expensive but way useful software packages...? Split the cost and maybe get it down to a reasonable price?

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
Catenary Curves in SketchUp on 04/18/2011 11:30:17 MDT Print View

For catenary curves in SketchUp, I just downloaded this plugin:

It runs a little quirky on my Mac--need to set length units to decimal inches to get the curve to complete. Free. Will draw many other curves and spirals as well.

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F

Locale: North Idaho
SketchUp plugin to flatten models for patterns on 05/07/2011 12:24:20 MDT Print View

Just downloaded this:

Very useful plugin. Free/donation. Makes the process of flattening model faces to generate patterns semi-automatic. Real time saver.