I have been experimenting with Marvelous Designer (MD) and Blender in my quest to make mesh clothing for Second Life (SL).  I am a hobbyist and damn proud of it!  I do this because I enjoy creating and learning...not to make money.  While I am not the quickest learner, I keep getting distracted by other project but, I always return at some point in time to pick up where I left off.

Today, I want to talk about pattern creation or the drafting of patterns.  I have discussed this subject in the past to some extent, but as I learn more, I think an update is needed for sharing.  Sure, with Marvelous Designer you don't really need to know much about real world clothing design, pattern making, or sewing.  You can watch a few of the MD's introductory tutorials, make a few rectangular or circular shapes and voile you have a skirt, shirt or other items. You don't even need to trace patterns!

Granted, what you make with simple shapes may be what you want then again, it may not turn out as nicely as planned.  BUT...yes, a big can always remedy the situation somewhat by learning a bit about how garments fit in the real world, how clothing is designed, created and sewn together, not to mention why patterns are drawn and created like you see them in the real world.  Learning more about patterns and their creation can be helpful to see how problems can be resolved with fabric garments, which in turn may assist you with your 3D modeled clothing in Marvelous Designer.

While many creators in SL do not particularly care for Marvelous Designer, for a myriad of reasons, many others, like myself, like the product despite the expense.  You can model clothing just as well in Blender if you have the time, but for me, Marvelous Designer is much easier and gives me realistic results pretty quickly.  But, MD is not without it quirks and issues.  For those of you, who may not be familiar with tracing patterns in Marvelous Designer already,  I feel MD falls down on the job when it comes to easily and intuitively being able to trace pattern pieces.  I think they could easily remedy this issue but that is merely my personal opinion.  You would think it would be a simple as creating a box, adding the texture of your pattern, then using the polygon tool to trace it...but....NOOOO.... that would be far too simple and too easy!

Okay, for those of you needing a bit of Pattern Tracing Help, here is a simple and easy tutorial to make pattern tracing in Marvelous Designer easy!  This tutorial was made by Kimberly Hargis, she is a frequent contributor to the Marvelous Designer forums, and was done a year or more ago.  Kimberly also has a virtual shop for creators to sell their models and items in the real world.  While this video was created using MD3  it works the same if you are using MD4.


If this video doesn't play for you, you can also find the video at the following link

I been thinking for awhile (LOL yes, thinking gets me into soooo much trouble) how nice it would be to have some base templates to work from.  You know, trace out some pattern pieces for say a shirt or skirt, save it as base template using the project file option.   We all have these "Ah Ha!" moments, some of us (meaning myself) get them far later than others.

Creating your own base pattern templates for Marvelous Designer, can save you a lot of time in future projects.  These base patterns appear to be called "slopers" or "blocks" by the garment and design industry, depending on the country you are in.  These slopers are far from a final product...they are used as guides to create base patterns to work further from to create varying pattern pieces so you are not starting from scratch.  And, from what I have read, "slopers" are very precisely made in real life with a whole lot of measurements that go into creating them. 

TasP, another contributor on the Marvelous Designer forums has some great advise and information about general fashion creation.  While the posts are a few years old on the forums, it is still great advice.  He did a nice little article on making flat patterns, which you might want to check out and read on the MD forums.  I have posted the link below for your convenience.  He posted a nice graphic and a bit of an explanation on sloper components, which may be of interest you.

Flat Pattern-Making: Blocks vs Patterns By TasP

In his article, TasP was nice enough to post the above graphic to  illustrate his points and give an idea of what the sloper(s)? look like. I did use the above  "sloper" and traced it exactly in Marvelous Designer; however, I did have to make a few dart modifications on the final product.  Here is what I came up with with...

FRONT--Using TasP's Sloper Components Graphic

I took out the shoulder darts and sleeve darts while doing a bit of correction to the underarms, where the sleeve attaches, and remade the top of the sleeve. It simply didn't look right when simulated on the SL AV in Marvelous Designer.

Please note, if you do decide to copy and trace the above "sloper" pattern, it will need to be resized in Marvelous Designer to fit the model you are working on.  This particular model is from a pregnancy shape I created in SL and exported to Blender to make the model. 
SIDE--Using TasP's Sloper Components Graphic

BACK--Using TasP's Sloper Components Graphic

Notice how the dress lays without wrinkles or, where the darts match up on both the top and skirt portion.  There also is an inevitable problem at the shoulders where the sleeve and top will see a telltale point at times...which I usually will fix in Blender.  On the original in Marvelous Designer, if you cam in, you will see a few wrinkles.  I will do a bit of Photoshop work on the final product to add hints of wrinkles where needed plus, adding the shadow and AO maps to the final texture will help as well.

As I was working on this blog post, I had to do some more research.  LOL...yes, you can't just stop with one resource when creating!  I ran across a video tutorial on YouTube that I also wanted to share.  I watched one of Lori Griffins' videos about a year ago and, like a slacker, did not follow up.  I am happy to say, Lori has an additional video that suits our today's topic.

I am using a new method of embedding tutorial videos from Youtube.  If the one above is absent or does not play try following this link.  

Lori's video goes beyond TasP's posting of the "sloper" or "block" graphics and demonstrates how you use these and how to alter them to create your own projects.  What is the old adage...."Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." Maimonides...I think the same can be said of teaching you how to create your own "slopers" or "blocks"

Pattern Drafting for Sewing and Marvelous Designer 
By Lori Griffins
Published January 28, 2015

I would strongly suggest you subscribe to this channel and watch the other videos Lori has posted.  While they are in no particular working order, I think if you visit her site and bookmark her blog website for future reference you will be a very happy camper.  Lori creates her videos for both the real world and virtual clothiers and best of all she is using Marvelous Designer.  It is a win-win for all of us!

I tried to create her bodice top for this post using a graphic from her blog site.  Needless to say, it didn't work as well as I expected. It was a quick job on my part and I did not get the sizing correct for the SL Avatar.   I will try to show you more in a later post what it looks like.

Lori mentions QCAD in several of her videos.  She uses this program to make her patterns, which she imports into Marvelous Designer and traces them. So, I bought the program today...Happy Birthday to me...for me the cost was not $50.00 as she states in one or two of her videos.  I purchased the pro version today for about $37.18 is a link if you are interested  QCAD is not really necessary for you to buy;  you can do all you need to do in Marvelous Designer with a bit of planning and thought. 

Okay, you have some new resources to use now go use them!

Happy Creating Everyone!


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