I completed training in early May along with Test Cutter KaeLeah Spallin. Gerber provided a 7 day online course with 5 hours of instruction per day. Our instructor was kind, experienced, and encouraging. It was a different experience for her to be providing training to Costume specific Cutters as most of her experience lays in the fashion world.
One thing I found very interesting was learning how to communicate with the software. It is capable of such complex tasks that the way you interact with it has to be very specific. Different mouse clicks, different types of points, different saved settings on your file all influence the actions you're able to make in your pattern design. Once you have a handle on this it affords you a lot of control, however when you are starting out it can feel frustrating because you're following all the correct steps and not getting the result you want simply, because buried in the background you've not ticked the correct box. Luckily we have a great manual, lots of resources, and access to our instructor if we need any help troubleshooting these issues.
I can't help thinking how great it would be to see a similar product developed specifically for costuming, I think that a lot of the background requirments used in fashion manufacturing could be elimated to create a cleaner more functional work space for bespoke and costume specific production. Hopefully once we are done testing we will be able to help interested users assess what sorts of digitial tools are the most useful and worthwhile investing in.
So far my favorite function might just be 'walking a pattern', it's strangely satisfying and very accurate! See the little video below, this blouse is from a training exercise so ignore any wonkiness in the pattern, haha
The grant has arrived and Cathleen didn’t waste any time ordering us computers and half scale mannequins. Cathleen and I (KaeLeah) did the AccuMark Core Class first, finishing up this past week. The AccuMark Core Class covers the majority of the software provided by AccuMark. It was developed primarily for fashion so Cathleen and I were learning it all, trying to glean out what would translate to the world of costuming. I have to say that my pattern drafting/costuming brain is in a much different place than my computer brain so it was challenging at times. The class spanned over 7 business days so I jumped at the opportunity to try out my new learned skills over our weekend. I started with the basics and drafted a male body block for my adorable half scale male mannequin, Manly. I have to say even though I was fresh and struggling somewhat with the software I could see the benefits of drafting a pattern on the computer as opposed to paper. It was easy to make very precise measurements and to ‘true up seams’ before cutting out the paper. I made up the block and found it to be a little snug on Manly. I don’t think this was a problem with the computer program though, probably just my measurements on such a small body. I chose to make the alterations directly to my original digital block, although there are ways to mark and make alterations to the pattern in the program.
Then I decided my female mannequin, Minnie, should also get a basic body block. I struggled a bit more with hers as the darts were not doing what I wanted. But once I figured out how to get an angled bust dart everything flowed really well. I put together the block and it fit perfectly. I’m very excited to start manipulating patterns and working on some more challenging pattern drafting.
This spring Gerber (the software company we are using for our research) is merging with their European counterpart Lectra. This is great news as both companies are exploring cutting edge 3D modelling technology, and I'm sure their combined resources will only lead to new developments which could benefit us all.
Check out the inspiring video below, detailing how traditional and digital can come together!
We applied to the Digital Strategy fund (in spite of it being notoriously difficult to win) because at our date of submission on June 15 it would have meant the earliest possible start date for our project. We're no worse for wear however, and we intend to apply to a number of grants with fall submission deadlines in hopes of beginning our research next spring.
Stay tuned friends!
We submitted our grant today, and we want to give a huge thank you to the absolutely fabulous designers who volunteered their talent and their time to this grant proposal. Their generosity is deeply appreciated by our team!