Since I’ve parted ways with my fabric stash in the UK to return to Canada, there won’t be much sewing the next few weeks. I’ve put together a couple posts on my favourite things, machines and equipment, but I have to tell you, at the end of the day, I spend more time on my computer than I do sewing - so here’s the last little bit of information that I have to share with you that relates to the ‘tools of the trade’.
The great thing about being a student and attending university is the access to computers and software. My three years at uni saw three different laptop computers, and a desktop computer, and I paid the price multiple times over in not investing in a proper computer to do my studies. Having a laptop repeatedly die on you is not a fun feeling when deadlines are just around the corner.
I’m not sure who my blog is tailored to - but if you’re a student, I’d recommend getting the best and most powerful laptop you can comfortably afford. I struggled my first two years with hand-me-down laptops that didn’t have enough RAM to even work Photoshop properly, which led to me avoiding it at all costs…and there’s now a little ‘gap’ in my knowledge. Having something with enough power to run the Adobe Creative Suite (you’ll use Illustrator & Photoshop like crazy, along with InDesign) will make you slightly less crazy.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been gifted a brand new Mac Book Pro as my graduation/birthday/Christmas…whatever else holiday/gift-giving event we can jam in there, as it was a very extravagant gift (thank you Andy!). To be honest, I should have bought one sooner. This laptop was made to run the fancy graphics programs that graphic designers use, and it seamlessly connects with the other Apple devices I have in my life, like my phone and iPad.
Buy yourself a good computer/laptop. It’s not something you’ll regret. Oh, and get a warranty, or make sure you’re covered. Laptop #3 was brand new, and it still imploded within weeks.
As I’ve mentioned before, we use a lot of Adobe Creative Suite for our studies. On the first two laptops I had versions of the software on there, but as these laptops started to die, I had to rely on the University. Going to and from the library wasn’t the most productive way for me to work as I get distracted easily. In the end I decided to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud to get access. It’s that free 30-day trial that sucked me in.
The first year the subscription was barely affordable. They tempt you in with a student discount, after the free trial, and for the first twelve months I was paying $23.58 CDN per month…and then after the first 12 months…that price then jumped to $42.52 CDN. **gulp**
I can’t imagine my life without Illustrator though. It’s where I draft all of my patterns. The advantage to designing lingerie is that most of the pattern pieces will fit on A3, so you can easily print everything you need. All of my portfolio pieces and my resume are in Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, so I feel that I need to keep up with this subscription. The biggest advantage with the subscription, is that I can keep adding it to all these new laptops (LOL!) easily enough. You download the software and sign-in. You can actively be signed in on two computers - so I’m also able to access it on my partner’s computer as well. Easy peasy.
With that said, if you can invest in an A3 printer, your life will be so much easier. Print your pattens at home, cut out and sew. You’ll have a copy on the computer that you can just hit ‘print’ again if you need another copy, and can make edits in Illustrator as you work.
There is an add-on that I’ve bought to make my patterns in Illustrator easier to check. It’s a measurement app, dynamic measure, part of Vector Scribe, from Astute Graphics. Again, you can get a free 14-day trial, and then spend something like £50, and then with a quick click of the tool on the tool bar you can measure your construction lines and make sure pieces will match up.
Another thing that I subscribe to is Foundations Revealed. It’s not software, or technology, but I thought I could share this resource here. It’s a fantastic website where fellow designers, mostly corset related, will share information about their projects with detailed instructions, as well as business knowledge and advice. It’s a great little community, and I am not on there enough. One day, I’ll make more corsets. I pay in US dollars, and it’s roughly between $6 and $7 a month - although I also believe that this is my student subscription price.
Alright, back to software & technology.
Another bit of software that we have access to at the University is Lectra Modaris. This is the fancy-pants CAD program where we can develop our pattern pieces and grade them. It’s widely used in industry…and is expensive. It’s not something I can afford on my own for home use. If I was having stuff made in a factory, they’d want my files in software like this, or Gerber, so that everything would come out rosy. I did have a lecturer that did freelance at home, she had invested in the system. Rumour had it, the system is about a £10,000 investment to start, and then about £1,000 per year after that for the licence and service contract. The investment is so large because you’ll need a high-spec computer to run the program, a pattern digitizer to get your patterns into the program, and if you want to print anything off, chances are you’ll also need a plotter printer - so, it’s a hearty investment for most.
One of the little tools I’ve taken a slight interest in, is this little Wacom drawing tablet. I really don’t enjoy drawing, and thought that I might like to use it to draw straight into the computer. A year later, I’m still learning how it works, but it’s great to draw little freehand gathers, and it’s brilliant for drawing hair. If I left it plugged in more, I’d probably use it more. But again, if I did more drawing that’d also do the trick!
I can’t think of anything else that I’d recommend to get your hands on from a software & technology point of view. The only other thing I can suggest is to always have a half-decent camera on you to take photos of things that inspire you! My tutors would say a mini-sketchbook, but we all know that’s not going to happen with me! And last but not least, these tired eyes don’t do well with laptop screens, so I’ve always added monitor, having even two monitors with my desktop PC so that I can ‘multi-task’. You know how that works…
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice