I’m looking to transition into the freelance world more to try to leverage a better hourly wage and be able to work my own hours.
I have been freelancing on the side with a full time job for about 2 years now and I think I’m pretty close to being ready to make the leap, the only major thing holding me back is software.
I’ve spent my whole career using Accumark and am quite expeirenced with it. However, the cost to buy Accumark is honestly, insulting, when you look at how much patternmakers actually make these days. It’s $10K just for starting costs and then another $2k a year to maintain your license. They have a subscription program except it’s not a subscription bc you have to commit to a year of paying $500/month, which is also insane.
I’ve been looking into other patternmaking software as an alternative. Tukatech is much less expensive (it can be pricey depending on what functions you want, but at least they offer an actual subscription). I am trying Tukatech out and I’m trying to learn it on my own, but honestly, I’m not that impressed. Maybe I just don’t know all the tools yet, but doing simple things like adjusting a grainline or finding a midpoint on a line seems nearly impossible. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the program and I’m generally pretty computer savvy. I’m considering giving up on Tuka and exploring what else is out there.
I’m curious everyone’s thoughts on patternmaking software- usability vs affordability. Or anything really, would love all your feedback!
Lectra is in the process of purchasing Gerber. I don’t know if Modaris is cheaper than Accumark but it wouldn’t be bad to look into it.
Optitex should be cheaper. Tukatech is based on Scanvec but I’m not sure if Scanvec is still around or not.
Oh this is so helpful to know! I don’t know much about these other brands (I know optitex and Lectra but that’s it)
I looked into Optitex a few years ago and it sounded like it costs the same as Accumark but has fewer features (I also have friends who say Optitex is not as good as Accumark)
I do not know if it is available in US but Pad systems is very easy to learn ,( I learned it by myself and I was not good with computer at the time.)
And it was 3000$ for the license compared to the 30 000$ for Lectra…That was a while back but maybe look it up ?
Honestly I sold it because I found making patterns freelance was a nightmare as clients never want to pay for corrections they ask . Also I never could get my clients to understand that if you use the same pattern on different fabrics it is normal to get different results.
Thanks for your feedback!
Yes, I’ve experienced some similar frustrations with clients… ugh.
Anyway-I’m curious what you do now instead? You are no longer doing patterns?
After the freelancing for patterns I did freelance for about 7 years for artwork ,opened a boutique (bad idea as I draw very well but count badly ,lasted 3 years).
Anyway after 20 years on my own I returned to the industry 3 years ago: first as fit tech ,very boring, then technical designer.
That one was great but Covid happened and the Montreal fashion industry collapsed . So It’s been a year and I am home trying to find another field as the ageism thing discussed in another thread is a real problem…
oh gosh I’m sorry to hear that! Yes, I can imagine, it is difficult to get hired, particularly when you are very qualified, the number of upper level positions is fewer and fewer.
I really appreciate you sharing your experience though! I hope things improve for you soon!
It’s ok, I am lucky as technically I do not need to work but it is boring…At first I thought to look at it as if it was a preview for retirement . Except that without travels and being able to go out it is closer to prison time…
Good luck with your freelance.
Only advice I can tell you is do not be too generous, clients do not appreciate it, they take advantage.
Charge for what you do .
And increase your rate every year. I didn’t do that ,I was clueless and it is harder to increase a lot at once . A little every 6 months or year is easier to get accepted.
I’m a freelance patternmaker who uses Accumark. There are more affordable options. I would suggest getting in touch with someone there and asking about options. I currently have an SAAS subscription. I started out using PAD because Gerber was so cost prohibitive, but PAD just doesn’t have the functionality that Accumark has. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Lectra purchase.
Thanks for sharing! Yes, I did actually reach out to them and got pricing, but I have hesitated on signing the contract seeing how hard it is to get people to pay even $50/hr (and I’m feeling like I really need to be making $60-75/hr to make the 10k plus price tag plus sizable yearly fees make sense).
They did have a lower level option I didn’t really discuss with them bc they said it wouldn’t work for my needs, but maybe I should explore that further.
I just wish they had a subscription I could opt in and opt out of when I need it!
How do you know about the Lectra purchase? I was trying to look into this last night and there is so little information out there. I don’t know much about Lectra other than knowing they are based in France.
Explore the lower option. I have the yearly subscription, I use all the patterning modules except 3D. I provide pattern making, grading and marker making services using it, I still pay a few thousand dollars a year, but I have no desire to outright own a key. You can also try looking into CLO 3D, I don’t think you can make production markers with it but you can draft and I think you can grade patterns with their standard $50 yearly subscription. Not sure if that works for you, but its another option.
I think someone I’m connected to on LinkedIn shared Lectra’s letter of intent to purchase Gerber, it was a shock and I think many of us are waiting to see how that situation all shakes out.
Oh Wow, that’s great to know, thank you!
Yes, I have used CLO, it’s $50 a month, which is very reasonable. As you said, it’s not really built for production patterns or even marker making (although I suppose I can export as a DXF and open with illustrator). I think it’s a great tool for development though, I would really love to start using it more to cross check patterns on an avatar and see if that is helpful.