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Affordable CAD Software for Clothing Design Students and Beginner Fashion Designers

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Learning how to use CAD software programs to sketch drawings has opened career opportunities for me and others in the designing industry.

As design software tools continue to gain popularity, many who love to design clothing and accessories have found CAD software invaluable.

Yes, there are still many beginners and veterans in the industry who will rather hand-sketch their creations (something that takes a bit longer than going digital). But with CAD software, you will find that its endless possibilities are a panacea for expanding creative skills.

From free (fashion design) CAD downloads online to affordable programs and the pricier and more professional ones like Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator, design software is the present and future of fashion designing. And if you are a student or aspiring designer, there comes a time where it will be mandatory to use them. Today, learning how to use software has become a part of the curricula in apparel design schools.


Benefits of Using CAD Software for Fashion Design

Not every aspiring designer needs to go to college to learn how to use software programs. Many are self-taught. So if you wish to design clothing and accessories like jewelry, bags, footwear, lingerie, etc..., you will discover a lot of learning materials from sources like YouTube and program tutorials. There are many places to learn from all over the internet. And while some are not so good, some are great, and many are very impressive. While many will teach the basics from which you can develop yourself further, others are more complex and have a longer learning curve.

Even if you lack designing, sketching, or dressmaking skills, with clothing design software, you can:

1. Expand your creativity and design skills beyond imagination.

2. Bring whatever you conceive to reality with a few clicks of a button.

3. Create incredibly realistic fashion illustrations and presentations.

4. Build a portfolio-worthy collection of designs.

5. Convey a personal style that truly represents your vision without the constraints and limitations of hand sketching.

6. Create multiple sketches and patterns more quickly and precisely

7. Create multiple variations of a design and adapt them to varying textiles, textures, and prints.

8. Increase your productivity by modifying the same design to make countless variations of the final piece.

9. Improve accuracy with zero drafting errors, unlike with hand drawings. Manual designing cannot measure up to the accuracy of CAD software.

10. Share instantly (for collaboration) with other clothing designers. Being digital files, you can easily share among others working on the same concept.

11. Do without carrying bulky drawings and sketchbooks around wherever you go.

12. Access to hundreds of ready-to-use templates that make it easier to use the software effortlessly.

A fashion design student or a beginner in the industry can start with a free download or free trial software. It is the best way to learn the ropes. They can familiarise themselves with their simple interface and learn how to navigate to create simple illustrations. After this, upgrading to a more complex program will become less challenging.

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Free Programs

Some free downloads include:

1. Valentina pattern-making software.

2. Tailornova online fashion design software.

3. Blender free and open-source design software.

Free fashion design software programs will introduce a first-time user to how fashion design software works. However, you will get to a stage where you need more than the basics. You will eventually need tools with more varied components like art and graphics, design templates, digital fabrics, techniques, and other advanced tools.

Affordable Programs

Some great and affordable CAD software for clothing designs include:

1. SnapFashun.

2. eDraw Max

3. Browzwear

4. Pattern design software (created by EFI Optitex).

You can try them for free before deciding whether to buy them or not. These contain loads of features like:

  • A quick conception and choice of fabrics, colours, and patterns before the final design.
  • Freedom to modify print patterns.
  • Interactive libraries with multiple categories and the capacity to add new ones.
  • Templates and sketchbooks.
  • Ability to sync with Adobe Illustrator.
  • Easy to store and retrieve sketches
  • Work on different concepts in multiple windows.

... And more.

Pricey Programs

Some of the more complex professional design software that computer-savvy students and beginners in the industry can use include:

  1. Digital Fashion Pro
  2. Corel DRAW
  3. Adobe illustrator
  4. CLO

These more complex software programs can easily create manufacturer-ready digital fashion and style drawings. They are used by most professional fashion designers, fashion design teachers, brands and clothing lines, and aspiring computer software savvy designers and beginners.

If you are a soon-to-graduate student, a beginner, or simply wish to upgrade your design skills, you should buy more professional software, or subscribe to a downloadable version. With paid versions, you will not only have an edge over the others, but you will also be way ahead of old-school designers who still insist on sketching the conventional way.

Welcome to the new age. Charles Frederick Worth, the father of fashion and style and the first couturier with a clothing label must be chuckling now. What it took weeks and months to create can now be accomplished with a click of a button literally in minutes.

Fashion Software Programs Suitable for Professionals and Veterans

If you plan to go more professional and aspire to be a top-notch clothing designer, Adobe Illustrator or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro is recommended by most. But there are other great CAD programs to consider as well.

There is CLO 3D and Wild Ginger Cameo (for professional patternmakers). CorelDRAW is exceptionally popular for creating realistic models and mannequins. And Adobe Illustrator enables designers and artists to create professional standard vector graphics, which you need to make your creativity shine. However, the best design software will always depend on personal requirements.

How It Was Then Versus How It Is Now

The fashion design industry is growing at a high pace. Robots are sewing and cutting clothes, but it was not always so. AI technologies are put to action to predict trends; virtual realities are creating virtual models. And workflows are automated and personalized to speed up every element of fashion designing today.

The time and expense required to design, re-design and re-re-design a prototype over a century ago is eliminated with today’s CAD software. Just the thought of the many samples that had to be sewn before the dressmaker finally got it right makes one realise that dressmaking must have been a not-so-fun and tedious task.

Now, CAD fashion design has become a basic course in most reputable fashion design schools. By the time students graduate, they will be proficient in using the software. And as the clothing design industry continues to rise, designers must meet up to the challenges of competition. If you are not technology savvy, you won’t be on par with your contemporaries.

Today, with the proficient use of apparel design software, it is easy to carve a niche in the industry.

And If You Prefer to Hand-Sketch your Designs

Are you a fashion designer who prefers a quick-to-access sketchbook to draw your design concepts?

Do you require a profession-specific book to draw your ideas and develop your drawing skills?

Do you wish to develop a system to record and document your creations in an organized manner?

If your answer is yes to all, then the book Designing Clothes and Fashion Accessories is for you.

Fill this book of shapely model silhouettes’ with your fashion and style inspirations and design conceptions. Illustrate your ideas and record how you conceived them and how you came to the final design.

Fill this book of shapely model silhouettes’ with your fashion and style inspirations and design conceptions. Illustrate your ideas and record how you conceived them and how you came to the final design.

© 2009 viryabo

Thanks For Visiting. Comments Are Welcome

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on February 21, 2018:

Thank you Luciano.

Luciano Bove from Paris on February 20, 2018:

Really a nice Hub!

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on May 05, 2013:

Thanks JRogue, and thanks for visiting.

JRogue on April 29, 2013:

Lovely! Pinned to

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on April 07, 2013:

Im glad you find the article helpful Amo. Thanks for visiting

Amo Boah Designs Ghana on April 06, 2013:

I went through the website and i like the ease you it brings to drawing out your sketches, i think it's a good way to go these days.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on June 10, 2011:

You are welcome kaycee. Thanks for visiting.

Fashion design is a wonderful and sophisticated career. I wish you all the best.


kaycee on May 17, 2011:

I am very much interested in fashion. I know that I wil truly benefit from what you have here. Thank you so much for this comprehensive post.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on May 11, 2011:

Thanks Jason.

JasonPLittleton on May 10, 2011:

Great hub, Thanks for info.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 07, 2011:

Brookelynn, thanks for taking time to leave a detailed and insightful comment.

You are in a wonderful field, fashion design. I should have been a fashion designer instead of an interior designer. it such a glamorous career. LOL!

Well appreciated comments and visit.


brookelynn26 from Atlanta, GA on March 06, 2011:

Great hub, these programs are all great. I've tried most of them and they work. Sometimes the color palettes are limited but that can easily be solved by designing your own swatches in a program like Photoshop. One word of warning though, when you attend school for fashion design, you will be expected to spend at least a year learning how to properly draw fashion illustrations by hand. They didn't start etting me use Vector, graphics, and CAD until my junior year.

mysisters on January 14, 2011:

Nice Hub. This software looks very interesting. Thank you for the information.

anjali chauhan on December 28, 2010:

From where, can i download this software bcz by profession i`m fashion designer so tht i really need for this software plzzzz suggest me soon,Regards,

klarky on November 16, 2010:

where can I download this free? The software looks amazing.

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on September 27, 2010:

Breakingnews, Thanks for visiting and for your nice views.


breakingnews from Pakistan on September 27, 2010:

Thanks for amazing and knowledge full article to fashion designers

online clothing store on May 26, 2010:

Viryabo yours articles are amazing and knowledgeful.Thanks for all knowledge to share with us.

For online shopping visit on our website online clothing store

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on March 20, 2010:

Hi blogger, thanks for your visit. Its a great and fast way to churn out fantastic ideas in a very short time. Great for students especially.


blogger on March 19, 2010:

great softwre to deisgn cloths

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on January 02, 2010:

RosWebbArt, thank you for visiting and your comments.

Happy New Year and GodBless

Ros Webb from Ireland on January 02, 2010:

Nice hub. Some good information here. Thanks for the info.. RosWebbART

viryabo (author) from Lagos, Nigeria. on October 01, 2009:

Thanks for the visit Ebower and the nice comments. Im glad that you find this helpful. You'll definitely enjoy using the clothing design software.


Erin Bower from Georgia on September 30, 2009:

ok this is extremely interesting...I'm beginning to be a basic sewer, but can only draw cartoonish designs, so this is definitely helpful! :D

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