Computer aided design (CAD) has made life easier for designers and prospective designers. Fashion design programs enable you to have fun creating your own clothing, changing colours and textures to your taste. Many fashion design software programs allow you to create an avatar according to your own sizes, display your creations three-dimensionally and translate the design to a pattern for your convenience.
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Edraw Max is a 2D vector-based fashion dress program with a large variety of templates. The program comes with 10 models and a choice of a variety of skin tones and hair colours. You can use the hundreds of clothing templates to mix and match styles and recolor the clothing to your taste. With the drawing tools, you can create your own designs. Edraw Max is a fun program to try out if you are a beginner fashion designer. A free download is available from their site (see Resources).
Virtual Fashion Pro
Virtual Fashion comes with a draping simulation that enables the clothing to adapt to the model's body and pose, according to the type of fabrics you chose. You can customise your model by changing skin colour, poses and even applying make-up. The program features a photo studio, which enables you to take photos of the model from different angles, using several lighting effects. Unfortunately, this program is a bit dated and only works on Windows 2000 or XP. The original supporting website has stopped working, but it is still possible to download the trial program and have fun (see Resources).
Free Etelestia Trial
Etelestia is an online fashion training program that teaches you how to design clothing and make your own patterns. The program comes with step-by-step instructions for making personalised patterns for women, children and men. The software includes several fashion drawing aids and enables you to create line or freehand drawings. Download the free trial to see if this program is what you were looking for (see Resources).
Optitex provides both two-dimensional pattern design and three-dimensional garment design software. Several packages are available from their website. The software features 3D models and virtual clothing to suit any model as well as pattern design options. Several high-end online clothing stores such as Nike, Muta Sport, Brides.com and Spoom feature Optitex' technologies to display their clothing range. A fun free online service provided by Optitex is to create an avatar according to your exact sizes and try on different clothing. This way you will see what suits you best.
Browzwear software features a realistic fabric draping simulation. It uses your mass, weight and fabric type as input to create a realistic image of how your design will look.
Browzwear offers three different software packages: VStitcher, which has been designed for patternmakers who need to design and create patterns for new garments; V-Styler, which has been created for fashion designers who want to work on the design and colour of clothing without worrying about the pattern; and V-Viewer, for merchants who wish to view certain collections. Support in the form of training is supplied with purchase of any of these packages.
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