How to best make a pattern fit a given avatar?

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How to best make a pattern fit a given avatar?

Post by davidjcalabrese » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:25 am

I'm still new to sewing & MD, so this might be a silly question: how does one prevent extra folds or other non-flat areas in the simulated garment when it doesn't fit perfectly? It would be great to see a cheat-sheet like, "If you're seeing the fabric do this strange thing, adjust the pattern like this..."

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Re: How to best make a pattern fit a given avatar?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:02 pm

There are two ways to get clothes to stay on an avatar in MD. You can follow the apparel industry standards for pattern drafting so they fit like real clothes, or you can make them very tight. Most people make them very tight, particularly when they are just starting out.

If you turn on your strain map for your dress, I'm sure it is a bright red. If your clothing is tight, it will deform like this. I can't see your patterns, but I'm guessing if you make them larger, it will not look correct because they aren't the shape they need to be.

Drafting patterns from scratch is a big challenge. Few people know how to do it, even in the real world. I created a program that drafts patterns for MD. I did it for this very reason. If this interests you, you can find it here -

The only other way to get good fit is to study real world patterns and understand the shapes you need to draw to make garments. Download some of my free project files at Fearless Makers ( and study them. That may help you.

Sorry, there's just no easy fix for this.

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Re: How to best make a pattern fit a given avatar?

Post by Rosemaryr » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:13 pm

(Seems like Lori types faster than I do! Some of this Lori covers in her answer, but I have a few points to add.)
If it's a normal-shaped human avatar, then going through the (granted, lengthy) process of measuring the body and making customized blocks, is the best route. The blocks, or base patterns, would then be the starting point to designing a new garment. Lori, being a real-world seamstress, has automated this process in her Pattern Maker Pro system. She has a lot of the most common avatars, including the MD avatars, as well as a lot of pre-made pattern blocks. But there are also many online resources to do help you do the same manually, if you choose.

Additionally, using the stress mapping inside MD will help pinpoint places on your patterns which are too tightly cut to the avatar. MD cloth, (when a pattern piece is too small) is forced to stretch like spandex to cover the avatar. (The program forces the cloth to the outside of the avatar's skin, while at the same time, forcing the seams to connect. This leads to the unnatural stretching of the cloth.) Ideally, there should be as little 'red' showing in the stress mapping as possible. Some amount *is* necessary: the top of shoulders, for instance, should show a bit of stress, if there is a large amount of cloth hanging from the shoulders. To correct that stretching, you would add to the pattern in some fashion: scaling the pattern up in one or more dimension, or moving an edge or point by itself if the rest of the pattern fits well.

Excess cloth is a bit easier to detect and correct. Look for triangles of sagging cloth, or as you said, gathering of cloth. Reducing the amount/length of cloth can be done by adding darts, adjusting the various points that define an edge to make it shorter, or even scaling the overall pattern.

As for -correcting- issues, as you describe (excess fabric in this area, etc.), there are a number of sites online that depict and describe how to make such alterations.
For example, just typing in "pattern alteration fitting" at Pinterest brings up a lot: ... %20fitting

A lot of these alterations assume a basic understanding of patterns, and just need some practice to pick up the principles involved.
That is why MD is so much fun: you can make alteration on the fly and immediately see what effect it has on the garment.

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