Home » FAQ


See also the Glossary page.

System Requirements

PatternMaker requires any computer running Windows 98 or later. Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8 have all been tested. The basic installation of the PatternMaker engine requires approximately 25MB of disc space; add-in garment collections require about 3-5MB each. In Windows Vista, PatternMaker must be installed in an administrator’s user account. In addition, on some Vista systems it is necessary to run PatternMaker in “XP Compatibility Mode.” Currently, PatternMaker is not available in Web or mobile device app versions.

PatternMaker does not have a native OSX version. Here are a few options to run the Windows program on your Mac:
1. Dual-boot or virtual machine: Some of our customers use PatternMaker on a Mac with BootCamp or with a Windows emulator such as Virtual PC or Parallels. The program reportedly runs fine, although it may be sluggish on computers more than five years old. Both of these options require installation of a copy of Windows.

You need to go online to unlock the PatternMaker program, one time only, when you purchase it. You do not need Internet access to run it after that.

To gain full access to all the features during the trial and after purchase, the softare must be registeredThere is no cost to register for the 30 day trial. We strongly encourage you to register the software to have full access to all the great features.

Using PatternMaker

CAD stands for “computer-aided design.” CAD programs are most commonly found in fields that require drafting a blueprint, such as engineering and architecture. PatternMaker’s CAD program contains drawing and measuring tools to do the same things you would do on paper with pencil, ruler, French curve, etc. but with the speed and precision of a computer and without the time-consuming labor of drawing, measuring, and redrawing.

It was mostly was an issue of cost. PatternMaker’s goal is to develop software specifically with the independent fashion designer in mind. A large part of which means making sure the products are something he or she can actually afford. The amount of programming work that would have gone into creating a 3-D modeling feature would have been enormous and left us no choice, but to raise our prices. Rather than have that happen, we decided not to include it at this time. But later on, who knows?

Yes. There are no built-in limitations on the kinds of patterns or number of items you can draw with PatternMaker Professional Studio or higher. Where most sewing programs only allow one to create variations of a preprogrammed set of patterns, with PatternMaker the only limit is what you can dream up.
MacroGen allows pattern designers to translate their designs from their simple formulas based on measurements to a macro which can be read by PatternMaker.
MacroGen not only is used to create a macro, but illustrations, fitting rules and user style choices are added in. When a PatternMaker user runs the macro, it drafts a complete custom-fit garment pattern with designer created style options, ready to print.

Yes, with PatternMaker you can draw any pattern you like, the only limits are your imagination. However, when it comes to dolls, keep in mind the patterns we currently have are for adult proportions and will not work for doll clothes automatically. However, it is possible to create the pattern using adult measurements and then selectively scale it down to fit a doll.

PatternMaker’s proprietary file format is not readable by cutting-machine software. We do support AutoCAD ™ DXF format . We are developing features to export patterns in DWG and DXF AAMA or DXF ASTM formats which are common exchange formats readable by cutting-machine software. Our DXF files can be manually edited in a CAD program to make them compatible but it takes some knowledge of the formats. Please contact us for detailed status.

PatternMaker offers two products that will help you make your own macros. MacroGen allows you to make “made to measure macros” and the Project Editor allows you to make “fixed size macros.” And the Collection Creator (soon to be released) will help you to bundle everything up into an .exe file that will install into PatternMaker.
We will offer more macro sets by other designers as they became available. However, be aware when purchasing a macro by another designer that they could be based on other fitting method system. The default fitting system in PatternMaker is the Scandinavian one.

PatternMaker software is NOT returnable once the unlock codes have been issued. We offer a free program and a free bodice macro just to make sure things will work before you have to spend any money! If something happens, please feel free to contact us at support@patternmakerusa.com

With PatternMaker you can:
use the computer-aided design (CAD) features to make your own patterns.
use our add-in patterns to let the program make custom-fit patterns for you.
begin with one of the add-in patterns and then use PatternMaker to modify it.
draw or draft a pattern for yourself with PatternMaker Professional Studio or higher. You can draw any shape you’d use in patternmaking, including all the dotted lines, arrows, lettering etc. Built-in measuring functions make your work very precise.
use our optional patterns to let the program make custom-fit patterns for you. (ALL versions of PatternMaker)
begin with one of our optional patterns and then use PatternMaker to modify it. (PatternMaker Deluxe Editor or higher)
print your pattern out and start cutting fabric. (ALL versions of PatternMaker)

If it has a Windows printer driver capability, yes. Details of implementation vary with plotter model. For specific help with your system, contact us.

We would suggest entering your own measurements into one of our free macros and then sew yourself a muslin version. Creating a pair of fitted women’s trousers is a fairly rigorous test for a computer program to perform, and we’re confident that you’ll like the results. The patterns are free for as long as you want them on your computer. You don’t have to take them off in 30 days. Only the CAD tools programs have a 30-day limit.

You can:
use the computer-aided design (CAD) features to make your own patterns.
use our add-in patterns to let the program make custom-fit patterns for you.
begin with one of the add-in patterns and then use PatternMaker to modify it.

PatternMaker is strictly a 2-D CAD program, designed for flat pattern work. It’s not intended for 3-D fitting or draping. You won’t see a 3-D image of the pattern. It does not show a finished garment while you’re working. Despite the similar-sounding names, it is not for designing fabric patterns either.

PatternMaker Marker Studio has all of the features of the other versions, plus tools for arranging your fabric pieces, once created, on a marker or cutting table. These features work in conjunction with the grading feature to turn a first pattern in a single size into a nest of sizes and multiple copies of each size.


The macros have been tested on hundreds of subjects and fit most people. The fitting method is based on a system that has been used in Scandinavia for decades. In addition, our designer is also a sewing instructor and has tested the instructions to make sure they are easy to use. We like this measuring system because it’s somewhat forgiving, to where a little error won’t ruin your whole pattern. However, if accuracy is something you’re really concerned then you might want to make a fitting muslin first, to check your measurements. If you have a special fitting problem, such as uneven shoulders, our CAD features give you the tools to alter the pattern wherever necessary.

Most of the designs and macros are by designer Leena Lähteenmäki. They are designed to work either as complete patterns ready to sew, or as a starting point for you to add your own styling. In this way, they’re like custom-fit slopers. Except for the Renaissance Corset and the Dog Suit, these patterns are all based on the Scandinavian fitting system.

One of the greatest advantages of the Scandinavian fitting system is, unlike other systems, almost anyone can take their measurements and produce good results. Other systems either require an excessive number of measurements or hiring an expert measurer to get them just right. While others or are designed so that just a small discrepancy will ruin the shape of the whole pattern. But if you are a designer and want to make macros based on another fitting system, it can be done easily with MacroGen.


PatternMaker prints to any Windows printing device just like any other Windows program. If you have a large plotter, PatternMaker can print an entire pattern on one large sheet of paper.

If you’re using a desktop printer with letter-size paper, PatternMaker divides the pattern into a grid of pages, labeling each one for location and adding registration (alignment) marks in the corners.

PatternMaker prints to any Windows printing device. To print full-size patterns for cutting, you must either print large pages or piece multi-page patterns togther. Suggestions:

Use continuous-feed paper if available.

Low resolution printing is more efficient. 75 dpi (dots per inch) is sufficient for most purposes, and much faster for your printer to process.

Inkjet and poster printers are slow and relatively costly for this work.

Modern laser printers will be faster and less expensive than Inkjet printers

Because patterns are mostly white space, old printers (dot-matrix, laserjet, black-and-white) can make good printers. Windows drivers are typically available.


PatternMaker has its own proprietary file format, but it can also import/export files in DXF 9 (AutoCAD tm), a universally recognized format commonly used with cutting machines and other CAD programs.

PatternMaker has its own proprietary file format, but PatternMaker Professional Studio and higher can also import/export files in AutoCAD™ DXF 9 format. DXF is a universally recognized format commonly used with other CAD programs. PatternMaker currently does not support DXF AAMA or DXF ASTM which is used by cutting machines. To convert between different AutoCAD™ DXF versions you can use the excellent inexpensive program called “DeltaCAD” (www.deltacad.com).

There are several ways to get patterns into PatternMaker. Scanners don’t work directly with PatternMaker, but digitizing tablets do. Another option is to use CAD digitizing, but in order to do that you will need the PatternMaker Grading Studio or PatternMaker Marker Studio.

You can do simple line drawings with PatternMaker, but that’s all. You’ll need a drawing or painting program to do sketches.

If you’re a skilled pattern maker, you can do this about the same way you would via pencil and paper. PatternMaker will not do this sort of thing automatically. It is not a substitute for pattern making skill.

Scanners don’t work directly with PatternMaker, but digitizing tablets do. You’ll need the PatternMaker Grading Studio or PatternMaker Marker Studio for that feature. If you’re digitizing small-scale printed patterns, you can scale them up once they’re in PatternMaker. If you have a closet full of slopers, keeping them on the computer will save you a lot of space.

It is possible to scan a line drawing and convert it to a CAD format and then import the file into PatternMaker Professional Studio. It is also possible to use the scanned image as a background image and then trace the image in PatternMaker Professional Studio.

Scanners are not smart. But you can scan a pattern from paper, and set the resulting image as the background image in PatternMaker. Then “trace” it with the mouse. For more see this tracing a background.


The difference between the two, other than how you go about doing it, mostly has to do with precision.
“Digitizing” is the act of bringing something into a computer, be it a drawing or something else. One way to digitize a drawing is with a “digitizing tablet” in Mouse Mode. You install the tablet onto your computer and then your computer takes input from it much the same way as a mouse does. But just like inputting things from a mouse, your computer has no frame of reference as to the scale of things. So it uses whatever scale the drawing is in. You can still use your digitizing tablet to trace the pattern, but it will most likely not be perfect and you will have to Scale or Re-size it.
CAD Digitizing on the other hand is VERY precise. You install your tablet, select Digitizer Mode, then configure it in whatever software you are using. You will need to set a scale and the proper buttons. But from then on, a 12″ line on a tablet is a 12″ line. CAD Digitizing is supported by PatternMaker Grading Studio and higher.

In order to do CAD digitizing you will need the PatternMaker Grading Studio or PatternMaker Marker Studio.
An alternative is to use a scanner to scan a line drawing, convert it to a CAD format and then import the file into PatternMaker Professional Studio. See Forum.

Most of our customers prefer a CalComp or GTCO tablets. But, we have found you can use almost any tablet that has a Wintab compliant driver and the software will work. The driver is usually available for free from the manufacturer’s Web site.