Patternmaking in Adobe Illustrator
I began this year with the intention of understanding the craft of tailoring. I had books borrowed from the library to help with anything to do with a tailored garment, especially a jacket. I’ve prepared canvas, I was ready to buy wool. Alas, 2020 had a different idea. I had already in the back of my mind wanting to pattern make digitally using alternative applications knowing that after university I wouldn’t have access to Accumark at school. For a while, I had my mind set on classic tailoring, so I stuck with it. However, with circumstances changing the course of our first semester, I had to adjust my project a little bit. Space was my biggest issue. Wool fabric was not easily available. And I felt that practicing classic tailoring was not feasible. Not if I don’t have proper guidance. I have mentioned to my classmates before that I was interested in using Adobe Illustrator for patternmaking at the start of the year, but I thought it would be just an additional practice, I didn’t think I’d actually focus on it. I still continued learning about tailoring, and my attention and focus were definitely divided. It was, however, the class to do such learning. There were a few reasons why I wanted to use the application for patternmaking:
- I never enjoyed paper pattern making. It takes space – I only need my computer for digital pattern making. And a printer, which can be serviced. Lots of wasted paper – especially when I make mistakes and lines are drawn multiple times and rubbing ruins the paper (not that digital pattern making doesn’t waste any paper, it is, however, minimized).
- I love digital anything.
- As much as I love using Accumark, I can not afford to buy the program, nor do I have the computer compatible to use the program.
- It doesn’t take as much time – tracing is merely copying and pasting, redrafting. Of course, digital familiarity is needed in order to focus on the actual pattern making.
- I can easily make any scale.
- It’s faster to grade – when one knows how to grade patterns.
- It’s saved all the time and can be reprinted.
- I don’t have to bring big pieces of paper with me everywhere, helpful when I rely on public transportation.
- I can make it look as professional as I want it to be and make it look cohesive with all pieces.
- I can use the same files for laser cutting, which would be helpful when cutting fabrics faster (another part of sewing I don’t particularly enjoy as much)
- Unlike Accumark, which was designed specifically for pattern making, Illustrator doesn’t have the same powerful tools like faster dart manipulation, for example.
- Accumark can print to scale in a single paper (given the design is not bigger than the paper itself, which I have experienced myself). While illustrator can, it, however, needs a large scale printer services that can be costly. But unlike Accumark, Illustrator allows for at-home printing. Knowledge with printing from illustrator is helpful to keep everything up to scale.
- Printing at home means printing in A4. It needs to be puzzled together first before cutting and that takes time. Accumark prints and cuts at the same time.
- Digitizing a paper pattern or draped patterns is not at all easy with Illustrator. While it’s possible with a flatbed scanner, smaller-scale scanners will need extra steps and will take longer.