Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Why is traditional Fashion Pattern Cutting done by hand better than CAD

I have worked in clothing manufacturering  since 1984.
Studied  fashion technology in Sydney at TAFE. 
My main job for all these years has been freelance pattern making , 
assistant designer and industry consultant.  I have always made patterns by hand, 
on cardboard . I don't not do my work in CAD - that's Computer Assistant Design . 
Hand cut cardboard patterns are better for many reasons. 
 They can last for ever. I still use the blocks I created at college 35 years ago. 
Drawing  on paper is creative, artistic, intuitive, this  can be altered, developed , 
fine tuned, constantly reused . It's a 3 dimensional process.
The client can consult with me on a personal level. Developing new styles is about
Communication on a social and emotional level. It involves people skills CAD can't do. 
Computers can't consult and offer that feedback needed to do new things. 
  A hand cut pattern by scissors creates a sharp fine hard edge on the cardboard .
Patterns cut by CAD are flimsy, the cardboard is cut by a blade, 
the edge of each pattern piece looks like a knife had slashed it ,
so the patterns have rough edges . CAD patterns are mostly for global production 
or mass production because the information can be emailed overseas to be printed remotely. 
If you are making locally, and don't have your own CAD system it's cheaper to have cardboard patterns, because freelance CAD services make a lot of money each time they print out. 
Many cutters prefer to do their own markers to work around each specific fabric width or grain. 
Cutters prefer cardboard patterns so they can better economise the fabric yields. 
Cutters are the most qualified people to do this, not a computer program.
CAD printers and programs cost at least $18 000. They are expensive to maintain. 
CAD patterns loose their shape when they are scanned and digitised. 
They also loose accuracy  in the printing process. When the pen is drawing out the patterns
 on moving role of paper the patterns wobble out of shape.
 I have seen this in action by many clients who wondered by their products don't fit. 
We compared the hand cut work with the CAD on paper and found huge inconsistencies.
Maybe that explains so many bad fitting garments out there. 
Physical hand done patterns are ideal for local manufacturering. 
When  a client pays me to make patterns, they are a physical product that I hand over, 
they belong to to client. 
Patterns done by CAD are  intellectual in nature. They can get lost in cyber space, 
always reliant on the CAD owner - operator to print it out. 
 Many Designers  prefer CAD patterns  because they assume 
anything done by a computer is better. This is not true . There are many set backs . 
A cardboard pattern can by laid directly on fabric , traced out by chalk and cut out instantly . 
CAD patterns have to be printed out for each use. This is expensive and unnecessary. 
Apart from my advice , it's important to ask your manufacturer what they prefer ? 
That in many cases can be the deciding factor, but this is where the trouble starts. 
If you pay me to make your patterns as a physical reusable prototype, 
that pattern belongs to you, and you are in control. 
Unfortunately most clothing sold in Australia is made overseas. I think it's as high as 95%. This means traditional skills like hand done patterns are on the decline , but the knowledge is still important. 

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