Our editorial staff evaluates products and services independently, but Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links. Learn More

Best Picks

The Best Pattern Making Software of 2017

Software helps make your crafting inspiration a practical reality.

Pattern Making Software Review

Why Pattern-Making Software?

Everywhere you look, you see the result of patterns. Every item of clothing or accessory you can see – the curtains that frame a window, a lace tablecloth, an embroidered pillowcase – comes from a pattern. Patterns go beyond most people’s initial understanding of merely being a way to construct clothing; what may seem simple at first glance is actually a complex arrangement of very precise measurements and shapes that would be nearly impossible to duplicate without the structure of a pattern.

Learning about the patterns that go into constructing such commonplace items helps you to deconstruct them and understand what goes into making them. A simple dress might look easy to make, until you break it down into its component pieces. Measurements down to a fraction of an inch must be accurately accounted for or else the pieces will not fit together into a pleasing whole. Likewise, a knit cap might seem utterly simple until you must learn the symbols and names for each stitch and try to design a pattern that can be understood by the entire knitting public.

In addition to a sense of the technical requirements, pattern-making requires a vision: An aesthetic sense must be the driving force. When designing an item of clothing, you must pay attention to details including the neckline, hemline and style of sleeve. Perhaps 90 percent of an idea is suitable but 10 percent needs to change. As the pattern designer, you have that freedom. Three of the top pattern making software programs on the market are Knitbird, Filet Crochet and Dress Shop Quick Start.

Pattern-Making Software: What to Look For

Type of Pattern
First of all, it is essential to understand what kind of software you need. Patterns are usually designated for sewing or for knitting and crocheting, all of which may include garments and other types of patterns. Clothing pattern programs are pretty easy to sift through. Their customization abilities vary widely, so if you have something specific in mind, be sure to find out if the software supports it before you commit to purchasing. Knitting pattern software is straightforward as well: Some programs are designed for aspiring pattern publishers, and their output is of professional quality, whereas others are simply a means of documenting an idea. Crochet patterns are also common, but be advised that crochet-using yarn is different than filet crochet, which is a decorative fiber art that results in a lace-type fabric. Another type of pattern is embroidery, which is decorative stitching added to existing items such as tablecloths and wall-hangings.

Because there’s such a wide variety of pattern types, compiling a price range is no easy feat. Knitting and crocheting pattern software can be very economical. On the other end of the spectrum, embroidery software can cost in the thousands of dollars. Dressmaking patterns sit in the low hundreds of dollars, generally.

It’s always a good idea to check out technical support offerings and methods of contacting the company before committing to a purchase. A user community forum doesn’t take the place of professional tech support from the company, but it can be a real bonus to chat with pattern-making enthusiasts and pros about the program you’re using or the item you’re designing.

Some of the programs support only Microsoft Windows operating systems, whereas others offer Mac or Linux versions as well. Mac users aren’t necessarily out of luck if they want to use Windows-only software, however; they can run those programs in a Windows emulator such as Parallels or VMware Fusion.

It is a thrilling feeling to create a garment to wear or an accessory to display. The act of imagining something and then working with fabric or yarn to bring it to fruition is something that everyone should have the chance to experience. At the end of the process, you’ll have a tangible and unique item. With a little bit of background research, you can find the pattern software that best suits your needs and start creating.